If you follow this blog, you know I’m about to leave on a year-long “gap year” to South America with my wife and kids. At this point, there’s no turning back. I’ve quit my job, my wife shut down her home business, and just last week we signed a lease to rent out our house for the year. There’s nowhere else to go. Our gap year is locked in.
Last Minute Hectic
I cannot tell a lie (yes I can), the last several weeks haven’t been easy. It’s not like planning some little two week vacation to Hawaii. Taking off for a whole year is a completely different animal. You have to take some leaps, and you have to have some faith. There are no guarantees.
The last two weeks have been a whole new level of “hectic”. And stress. We emptied out and cleaned our house, packed all our sh*t into two small container pods, and sold our cars. All this, while our kids are going through all the end of the year assignments, celebrations, and performances.
But now, we’re finally over the hump, and we’re just attending to last-minute details before our flights down south next week. Our last minute hectic is winding down.
Our Biggest Worry
Someone I know asked me a really great question about it all a couple of weeks ago. “What are you worried about?”
Well, I suppose the answer to that is constantly evolving. Earlier this year, my answer would have been about the stress of leaving my job – whether I really wanted to take that leap or not, and whether I would be comfortable without an income.
But leaving my job was the right decision for me for a variety of reasons, and once I did it, that stress went away like a rocket full of monkeys.
Renting Our House
In the last few weeks though, my biggest worry has been getting a lease contract for our house. I really wanted to avoid getting on that plane without renters in our house. After all, our mortgage on our house in San Diego is going to cost us about $22,000 while were gone.
We finally got a lease signed last week, and I think we couldn’t ask for better renters. Here’s what the math will look like:
|Rent Income ($2,900 per month x 12 months)||$34,800|
|Mortgage ($1,872 per month x 12 months)||($22,464)|
|Property Taxes - estimate||($6,100)|
|Property Manager (7%)||($2,436)|
|Water Bill - estimate||($1,200)|
|Liability & Property Insurance||($1,129)|
You may notice that there is no allowance for maintenance or repairs. If there is a roof leak, a pipe leak, or some other repair required while we’re gone, it will quickly turn our cash flow into negative territory.
But, it’s all good. I’m happy to be basically covering our costs, and having our mortgage paid during our gap year. That’s the big deal. We were never counting on getting any cash flow from our house to finance our travels. But having our mortgage paid by someone else is awesome.
Gap Year Locked In
Now that our house is rented, there really is no going back. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not having second thoughts, but it’s a mental barrier to cross. Quitting a job is one thing – I can find another job if I want to. But, signing the lease to rent our house means we must find another place to live. It’s really the point of no return for us. Our gap year is locked in.
One by one, my worries have melted away. We are over the hump, and counting the days until we go south. Things are looking good. We’ve taken our leaps of faith, and everything is falling into place (so far). By this time next week, we’ll be in Bolivia.