It all started with a fucking chaise lounge and this inconspicuous dream that we've been sold that a big house and fast car equals happiness. We had both graduated from our university, Kelsey a year before me, so she already had an exhilarating first year in the real world (She really did). As for me I had a very unconventional college experience so post-grad wasn't going to be my first exposure to the beloved real world. In case you can't tell I was quite stoked to be going back, but more on that later. Luckily I had a job set up well in advance of graduation with an awesome company I've always admired. Said company was also gracious enough to give me a $5000 sign-on moving bonus in which I decided would be best if the entire allotment was spent on furniture. Which leads to the chaise.
This was my first place, our first place together as well so we wanted it to feel right. It was an 800sqft two-bedroom apartment, which was the biggest space either of us have lived in outside of the houses we grew up in. I had anticipated spending some money on furniture but when all was said and done I had spent roughly $7500 on moving into an apartment that I didn't even own. Repugnance doesn't even begin to describe the feeling. I worked 40 hours a week to afford strips of fabric and synthetic wood stitched together that I got to see for 6 hours a day. Here I was not even 2 months into the real world and I was over it, there had to be more to life than spending and playing house.
After about two weeks of sleepless nights reading adventure blogs, I started to formulate our own plan. Van life it was for me, except for one hiccup - Kelsey was not for living in a van without a shower or toilet. Then came the liveaboard idea, which was brought up by Kelsey, not the guy who grew up on the ocean, whose greatest passion is surfing and spent 5 years in the Coast Guard on boats. Obviously I was all for it, Kelsey was onboard pun intended and the planning began. After about a full year of planning and researching we were fully inundated with becoming liveaboards. We looked at over 10 boats during the process in person and thousands online. Eventually we landed on Lucidity, do some digging and you can learn about her. Now enough of the sexy stuff and let's get into the things adventure blogs never tell you.
On the day we took on saving for our sailboat we had roughly a combined 50k in debt, and little to no cash. My debt consisted of a flashy Nissan 370z 40th Anniversary edition car loan, while Kelsey's consisted of all student loans. I was lucky enough to be down to my last 15k in loans and had been reading MrMoneyMustache.com along with this eye-opening book by Pat Schulte who circumnavigated well before 40 years old so needless to say I was prepared, and weirdly excited. The first few months weren't entirely difficult, we continued to travel at our usual pace but had completely cut out going out for drinks, dinner and packed every meal we ate at work. Anything we consumed was from the grocery store or free food at work. Within 4 months I had paid off my car loan and had about $250 to my name.
Fast forward 6 months and I happily sold my 370z, financed a Prius and had 40k cash to spend on a sailboat. During the last 6 months of saving Kelsey and I completely cut out traveling something we struggled immensely with. I was 24 years old and I accomplished it, if I can so can anyone and so should everyone else who has these desires. When I say I saved 90-100% of my bi-weekly income during this time frame, I mean it. How is this possible? How can you afford gas or rent? I'll explain.
My plan all along with the two bedroom apartment was to Airbnb the guest bedroom. Kelsey and I had been using the app for every trip we had taken in the past year and loved it. Kelsey took some woo-ing but she reluctantly came around to it and was all for it. What better way to be rent-free and meet people from all over the world? And that we did, guests from Pakistan, China, and India. All the while we were paying our rent in full each month from our Airbnb proceeds and half of the months we even had a surplus. Kelsey was paying down her loans at an astronomical rate and I was saving like your boring uncle who refuses to pay for heat or a TV.
The reality behind a lot of these adventure blogs is they don't take the time to break down how you should be saving, and more importantly what you should be spending on *IF* pursuing an early/mini retirement is what you ultimately desire. If not then spend on brothaman! This is meant to cater to those who want the great adventure, whose 2 weeks of PTO isn't enough and extended weekend vacations only grow their desire to travel. What you should be spending on is the absolute bare neccessities. Have weekends where you play the don't spend any money game. At first it sucks, then once you've done it a few times you end up doing it all the time without even noticing. Every weekend should involve extensive meal prepping for the work week ahead to ensure money won't be spent for lunch at work. Go to National Parks and pack PB&Js to eat all day with a gallon of water. Start to sell a useless item or piece of clothing you haven't worn each week. We owned two paper towel racks, one that we didn't use in which we listed on OfferUp and had to repost it 4 times over a 6 month period until we sold it for a whopping 1 dollar.
Everything is within reach with a plan. Formulate a plan with us for your great adventure, and abandon comfort.