Just before Christmas, someone made an offer, a very low one. We made a counter offer, then they ‘upped’ theirs. Still too low. So we resolved to take the Christmas/ New Year period off from home-opens (i.e cleaning), and start again in the New Year when the buyers would surely come-a-lookin’.
I even rang a charity store to pick up a few pieces of our furniture, in order to create an illusion of space (something our inner-city apartment is slightly lacking).
I felt positive and strong, and refused to let the dismal offer get me down.
New year, new buyers, I thought.
Then we got a call from our agent who delivered the news that the same people had substantially ‘upped’ their offer.
It was still short of what we wanted, and a far cry from what we originally thought we would get for the place, but with the real estate market in decline, it was a positive sign.
Suddenly the possibility that we could actually close the deal crept into our minds.
The biggest, most time-consuming, financially important thing on our Things To Do Before Traveling The World List, was within our grasp.
But I wanted more.
A short update on our story…
We bought the place when we were both quite different people, on a very different path, about two and a half years ago. Somehow I thought building a property ‘portfolio’ by taking out a huge loan to buy another apartment in the block we lived in was a good investment.
And it would have been if we wanted to work hard for the next twenty five years to cover the bills.
But the reality of two mortgages, as well as all the extra bills and fees that come with maintaining an apartment complex started to feel like a noose around our necks, and we became desperately unhappy.
The word ‘trapped’ doesn’t begin to describe it. We both made decent wages, and maintained good lifestyles, but neither of us were living the lives we dreamed of, and with that amount of debt, the possibility of pursuing anything else was slim. We had to remain unhappy in our jobs to pay the bills.
Be Careful What You Wish For…
Earlier this year, any discussion of traveling the world indefinitely was prefixed with the words “can you imagine if” and suffixed with an expression of wistful sadness. Then our tenant decided to move out.
And so began our journey of down sizing our debt, and right sizing our values.
We sold the apartment we lived in, that I had bought six years previously, and moved into the other. It is ground floor, a big draw card for a then first-floor dweller like me.
The relief of having one, reasonably low mortgage to contend with (and not having to lug groceries upstairs!), was a great feeling.
But were we happy? Not really. It’s a lovely place in a great neighbourhood, but our dreams of indefinite travel were beckoning…
In June, my company announced it was offering voluntary redundancies, and in September, I applied.
Why is it I jump into bad decisions like a sky diver with a death wish, but balk at awesome opportunities laying themselves out before me, as obvious as a gum chewing, paid-by-the-hour call girl, chanting “you know you want it”?
Thankfully, the universe was patient with me, being all too familiar with my faltering life-decision radar, and though I submitted my application two weeks after the closing date (see?), it was accepted.
I began the serious business of getting inspired by reading travel blogs like Wandering Earl, Almost Fearless (hell, if she could do it with a baby…), Nomadic Chick, and Neverending Voyage, and aside from the exotic destinations described, it was a ‘location independent’ lifestyle and having the freedom to follow creative pursuits like writing, photography and film making that interested me the most.
I started my blog, and my first post was published. The fact that two whole people read it gave me a feeling I hadn’t experienced in a while; the sheer excitement of doing something new.
Read it here, it’s truly epic stuff.
Since then, I have fallen in love with other blogs like The Fearful Adventurer (and read Torre’s then self-published travel memoir about her sailing adventure), and Kim of So Many Places, who was, in fact, my first ever subscriber outside my immediate family.
From across the globe, via the wonders of the inter-web, Kim’s posts about her own journey from “cubical dweller to RTW traveler” were my life line to sanity, when I very much doubted my own. She posted a shout out to me in her blog, which to me, was like being interviewed on Oprah, providing me with the confidence to keep writing. I think of her as my blogging mentor, though she doesn’t know it.
Note: Kim, you are my blogging mentor, ok?
And whilst we’re getting all mushy, I found a blogging sister too. Hannah from Further Bound is even newer to blogging than me (by a month or so) and I feel a such love and inspiration whenever I read one of her honest, insightful posts.
Back To Selling Our Home…
This morning our agent came over with a slightly higher offer from the buyer. It still wasn’t what we wanted, and in the end, we were grappling over a few thousand dollars.
Whats a few thousand to him? I thought, whilst they probably thought, what’s a few thousand to them?
I should point out that Tyrhone hates haggling. I on the other hand, revel in it when we travel: the shaking head, the shocked expression, and the clincher – the fake walk-away.
The agent called the buyer. They wouldn’t budge. I gotta say, I was pissed off.
I could sense I was losing this one, purely by the fact that we desperately wanted to make the deal. Sure, I played it cool to our agent, pretending I was happy to hang on a few weeks, but I was lying. I didn’t want to go through this again, but I didn’t like losing either and prided myself on my negotiating skills.
I hung on.
“They’re not getting the TV then,” I stated, as though our three-year old flat screen was my last high-definition shred of pride. (We had agreed to sell the place furnished, a win-win for both parties)
Thankfully, Tyrhone, who was characteristically quiet during proceedings, caught my eye, and gave me a knowing look. I knew the game was over. He asked me whether a couple of thousand dollars was really worth days (at best) or weeks of negotiations, or losing the sale all together and starting from scratch.
I knew our dream of being debt-fee, cashed up, and traveling the world without a schedule or an end date was near, and yet I was hanging on for dear life.
I’ve never let go of anything that didn’t leave claw marks, is a phrase I heard only yesterday, and describes me all too perfectly.
And then I did.
Not only did I let go, but I felt a sudden surge of excitement. No more home-opens, no more worrying, no more worst-case-scenarios.
We signed the papers, and I felt a mixture of relief and joy.
- We sold our home fully furnished (fifty less things to do)
- Settlement is in a month
- The possibility of February in Thailand is a very real one
- Our lifestyle redesign/travel adventure IS. ACTUALLY. HAPPENING.
2012 has started with a bang! Happy New Year!