The Dark Ages or the Age of Enlightenment: Five Weeks Without TV and Internet

vina-del-mar-sunset

Those of you who have been following us for a while know that for the last three months we’ve been in the midst of a huge move overseas.  As part of a military permanent change of station, or PCS, we have been reassigned from a stateside base in Texas to a Royal Air Force base in the UK.  Here’s a quick timeline to refresh your memory and get our new readers up to speed. Continue reading

So Long, Household Goods… See You Across the Pond

Moving Truck

As of last Friday night at 9:30 pm, our house has been empty.  Well, almost empty.  We still have some clothes to wear in the meantime and a few pieces of furniture and other random items we need to sell.

It’s kind of strange walking throughout the house and seeing bare walls and clear floors.  Our kids have spent the last 10 days with their grandparents so it has been eerily quiet, too.  This is the longest we’ve been apart and we can’t wait to see them on Thursday.

We saved an air mattress and have been camping out Continue reading

The Movers are Coming: Now It’s Getting Real

I know we’ve been on an irregular posting schedule lately and I wanted to give you all a quick status update as we continue to prep for our move.

We sold our house!  Well not yet, but it’s on contract.  Although we didn’t quite get the price we wanted, we’ll still end up with a small profit.  Our closing date is early August, a week before we make our move across the Atlantic.

The movers are coming tomorrow to begin packing our household goods.  This past weekend we were furiously going through our stuff, selling what we can’t take, and donating/recycling what we no longer need.  So far we’ve made a little over Continue reading

Feeling Stressed and Overwhelmed

Lighthouse

With just over 7 weeks until we move to the UK, we are beginning to feel the pressure of a massive time crunch.  We still need to sell our house, organize and get rid of more stuff, and prep for our trip to Chile.  Not to mention, both of our rental properties are in need of repairs and new tenants.  This is sure to be a wild ride!

The home selling process has not gone nearly as smoothly as we hoped.  Right before our house went on the market, several homes, including our next door neighbor’s, sold for above asking price.  The prospect of making a decent profit and a potential bidding war had us excited.  We’ve had around 15 showings and the feedback from every realtor on the house itself has been great.

Two weeks ago, we got an offer that ended up falling through and we were completely bummed.  Everything has been very quiet since then.  We believe our house is fairly priced at $10K less than what our neighbors got for a comparable house, and we really don’t want to go any lower.  Thankfully, we have another showing scheduled for tomorrow and hopefully this is the one!

In an odd coincidence, both of our tenants recently notified us unexpectedly that they’d be moving out.  One was a pain in the ass and we’re not sad to see them go, but the other was great and has rented from us for about five years and never once had an issue.  Up to this point, we’ve managed the properties ourselves.  With our upcoming move overseas, we decided it was time to get property managers.  We kept in touch with the realtor who originally sold us one of our houses and hired him on to manage the rental.  This should work out well and we’re not too concerned about finding new tenants.

Our other house has serious foundation issues.  We’ve submitted a claim to the builder’s insurance company and are awaiting the inspection results.  This has potential to become a serious headache and we’re in the process of hiring a property manager.  I’d love to sell this house, but it may not be feasible right now.  At a minimum, I hope our claim is approved and we can get the house fixed with little money out of pocket.  I wouldn’t mind renting it out for a few more years to help pay down the principle and then get rid of the place.

Lastly, our trip to Chile is only four weeks away!  Although we’re super stoked for the trip, it has given us an artificially short deadline to get everything done a few weeks earlier than would have otherwise been necessary.  We really need our house to close before this trip and that means we need a good offer… like NOW!

I’m not usually the type to get stressed, but this is starting to get to me.  I know everything will work out just fine.  Right now, though, it seems like there is so much to do in such a short amount of time.  It has been tough to stay focused at work and I’m really looking forward to being finished with the whole house selling and moving process.  Assuming everything gets taken care of over the next month, we should be able to enjoy Chile without any stress or worries.  That’ll give us some time to enjoy family and recharge before heading off to England.

Anyone else going through a stressful time right now?

A Big Change Sets The Stage For Deliberate Lifestyle Design

White Sands

As of today, I have 72 calendar days left as a full-time wage slave.  If you subtract weekends and projected time off, I’m down to 37 working days!  Not that I’m counting or anything 😉

With my formal working career coming to a close and our military move to the UK less than three months away, I’ve been thinking about all the ways our life is about to change and what we can do to purposefully design our new life.

For us, this move couldn’t be coming at a better time.  Over the last two years, and especially this past year since we’ve started blogging, we’ve realized that we don’t want to follow the life that has been scripted.  A huge change in circumstances, like our upcoming move overseas, will allow us to completely ditch our current lifestyle and build a new one from scratch, one that better aligns with our priorities and goals.

One of the biggest differences, aside from the funny accents and driving on the wrong opposite side of the road, will be our housing and living arrangements.  We currently live in a 5 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom, 3,200 sq ft house in the suburbs of a sprawling metro area with a population of over 2.3 million.

In contrast, the region of the UK we are moving to is characterized by small villages of around 10,000 residents.  Additionally, houses in the UK are much smaller than what is found in the US, particularly here in Texas.  In the area we’ll be living, houses seem to be around 1,100 – 1,400 sq ft for a typical 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom detached or semi-detached home falling within our overseas housing allowance.

These houses offer the essentials without the fluff we’ve become accustomed to.  No more separate game room, media room, or office.  Although the extra space is nice at times and I’d really like to have a dedicated office, what else do you really need besides a kitchen, living room, bedrooms, and bathrooms?

Smaller villages also mean everything is in closer proximity and should lead to a much more walkable lifestyle.  This is perfect for me since we are planning on downshifting to a one car household.  Our ideal location would be within walking distance of the town center and biking distance to parks and other local attractions.  We also want to live relatively close to the base to limit Mrs. DTG’s commute time and allow easy access to the base amenities like the gym and library.

Our current city is built around driving and without two cars it would be very difficult for us to get around on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago, I came across a website that allows you to calculate the walk score of a particular residence.  I typed in our address and the scores below confirmed what we already knew, painting a bleak picture that we’re actively seeking to avoid when choosing our next home.

Walk Score SA2

Walk Score SA1

Scores are out of 100.  As you can see, these are not very good.

 

Finally, the biggest change I mentioned upfront is that I will no longer be a full-time employee!  I’m not really sure what I’ll consider myself, maybe a semi-retired stay-at-home dad?  Now that’s a mouthful.  Or how about family asset manager?  Blogger?  Fledgling entrepreneur?  Regardless of how it is defined, I’ll need to adjust to my new role within the family.

Although we’ve been implementing changes into our lives over the past couple years, we’ve been clinging to some of our old habits (damn DirecTV).  Moving, in our case to another country, gives us a clean break from our present lifestyle and allows us to sculpt our new life just the way we want it.

How do you prefer to deal with change?  Would you rather it be slow and gradual or do you prefer to take a huge leap all at once?