Although we are one couple, we definitely have two different perspectives. Throughout our blog, we will be sharing our thoughts in a “He said – She said” format. Please expect Audrey to be more Lifetime Movie and Harry to be more CNBC (with a bit of Comedy Central).
She Said – The Budget Savvy Travelers
“It all started in 2013. I began feeling this extreme amount of restlessness, I wish I could say that I didn’t know why, but I did. I had reached a 10-year marker in many aspects of my life.
Now that it is 2014, I have officially been working in my career for 10 years. As an early childhood speech therapist, one of the biggest strategies that we implement as a classroom team is a structure and routine. Although it benefits children with special needs, it started to get a little too repetitive and mundane for me. Working in special education can be a wonderfully rewarding job, but honestly, I started losing passion for my career.
For several years, my educational teams were given some challenging children. I mean, “Nanny 911” tough. I got tired of being spit at, hit, bit, argued with, and swore at. One of the most memorable quotes from a 4-year-old student was, “You’re not my teacher, you’re a bitch.” The negatives started to outweigh the positives. I knew it was time for a break.
Around this time, many of the last few family members and friends in our age group had succumbed to their biological clocks and decided to start their families. My husband and I also had these talks, but always knew in the end that having a family just wasn’t for us.
We enjoyed each other, the freedom from that responsibility, and never felt like we were missing a void that needed to be filled with children. It was always nice to return to our relaxed condo after visiting with everyone’s crazy little ones.
Speaking of the condo, that was another 10th anniversary that we didn’t feel like celebrating. Harry bought our condo a year before we were married. It was going to be our starter place almost ten years later, we were still in it! Don’t get me wrong, living in an affordable condo in the Chicago ‘burbs did allow us some great financial freedoms, but we were tired of it. Tired of living so close to neighbors, tired of not having our own space (like a yard), tired of feeling claustrophobic.
Eventually, all these little issues began to manifest themselves into bigger issues. My husband and I knew we needed a big change. But what?”
He Said – The Budget Savvy Travelers
Based on what Audrey stated above you’re probably thinking, “if you’re feeling so claustrophobic instead of going on some crazy trip, just sell the condo and move to a house.” This was an option, and one we considered, but we realized that it was not the route we were interested in going. When I bought our condo in 2004, I thought we’d live there 2 to 3 years and then move onto a nicer/larger house.
As we’re all aware, about 2 years later the housing bubble burst, along with any dreams of selling our condo. At a certain point in time, Zillow was valuing our condo at 55% of the price we paid! We’re now at a point where we should be able to obtain a reasonable price for the cabin condo [we have dreamed of owning a log cabin for many years, knowing it would not become a reality anytime soon, we decided to make our condo a cabin theme and name it “the cabin condo”].
Update: We bought the condo for $185,000 in 2004 and ended up selling it in 2015, about a year after we departed on our trip for $150,000. Ouch!
With the idea of moving out of the question, our minds began to wander. We began to question whether the Chicagoland area was somewhere we wanted to continue to call home. We’ve both lived here our whole lives, our parents lived here their whole lives, their parents lived here…you get the point. Also, our entire family lives here. For this reason, we’ve done almost everything this area has to offer.
There’s nothing new to look at. When we travel, I feel like life appears in vivid meaningful colors. Upon returning home, life turns to an uninspiring shade of grey. New places and experiences affect morale and a soul. I’m sick of looking out the same old window at the same old grey Chicago winter.
Chicago has many good things going for it. It’s easily one of the best, if not the best, cities for restaurants and eating out, great sports teams, a beautiful lake, and the vibrancy that only a big city can bring. On the other hand, because the city and state have been ruined by corrupt politicians it’s easy to see some of the huge underlying weaknesses. Looking at some of the recent headlines and it’s fairly easy to see that Illinois is in store for a rough future.
Biggest Losers: These States Move South—in the Rankings
Illinois among worst for ‘deeply underwater’ homes
Illinois has the 2nd-highest property taxes in the nation
Illinois predicted to be 50th in job growth in 2014
The next Detroit? Bond-rating for Rahm’s Chicago downgraded by Moody’s
Unemployment Rates for States
Sadly, there is an endless supply of articles indicating why Illinois is no longer a financially smart choice to call home. With that in mind, it gives us a great reason to propose the idea of going on a round-the-world trip. Upon completion, we’ll continue traveling throughout the US in the hope of finding the ideal city to call home. Currently, Boise is in the running as it seems to fit our ideal outdoorsy active lifestyle and has a fiscally responsible city and state government. Sorry Idahoans, but it could be worse, we could be from California.
Updated: As of now, we haven’t laid any sort of roots, never got around to traveling the US to find a place to live, and we’re still traveling the world and enjoying life.