Getting Started

Jul 06, 2019

Oh man, where to begin? So we bought a van!

Van purchased! Aahhh! No, let's step back. About a year ago, Stacy and I were at a bit of a crossroads. We were both thinking about where to go next in life. We were both at a good place in our careers, we had worked hard for a long time to get where we were. Stacy, in fact, had been working more or less full time since she was 15. But it seemed like we were at a decision point of sorts.

We still didn't own a house (Have you seeing the prices around Seattle?), so maybe that was the next step? And of course there was the issue of starting a family! (I mean, more than the animal family we already have of course) Best Buds Helping Adam get Work Done

After one particularly difficult night of work related issues we were walking home from a bar in downtown Bellevue while I, a little tipsy, complained about some work related stresses. Stacy, listening attentively, remained silent after I finished my complaint. Then she said "What if we quit our jobs and just went climbing?"

I laughed, but after a moment realized she wasn't joking. It was a ridiculous thought. How would we pay our bills? What about the cats? What about our careers? But it was so tantalizing, so exciting, I couldn't just dismiss it.

Of course this is what many people in the climbing community have done, it wasn't a novel idea. But for us to do it? We weren't some early 20s dirt bags. We were 30 somethings with careers... and cats.

I told her that if she was really serious, we should talk about it in the morning.

And so we did.

What followed was about a month of increasingly more serious talks: running the numbers, working out how, if it was really possible, this could work. And after a few weeks, it appeared that yeah, if we really put our minds to it, we could pay off all of our student loans, car debt, and other bills. And really begin saving. Given enough time, this could work.

But that was the issue. How much time? We weren't getting any younger. We did eventually want to have a house, and a family. And that puts time constraints on things like this. It would have been far more ideal for us to have done this a decade earlier. It certainly would have required a lot less Ibuprofen. But here we are. So the question then was, how quickly could we do this? And for how long?

We war gamed a lot of different options. Could we live out of our Subaru Forester? We had slept in the back of it at many trail heads. But could we do that for a whole year? In the end we decided no. We were devouring all of the van living blogs and vlogs we could find, trying to figure out what sort of stuff made living on the road bearable for long periods of time.

Finally we landed on the fact that we would indeed need to live out of a van. That fact rounding out our back of the envelope math, we calculated that we could, in fact, do this. If we spent the next year living frugally, paying off all of our debt, saving everything we could, and importantly, building ourselves a home on wheels; we could quit our jobs to pursue our dream of climbing full time. Not forever, but for at least a year.

Then we'd come back, pick up our careers where we left off, and work until we die I guess 😆

So about a month after our tipsy walk back from the bars in Bellevue, we committed to our plan, and began implementing it.

Stacy inspecting my work