The First Trigger

For me the main trigger was our homeowner’s association (HOA) and everything it stood for. There were repair issues within the subdivision which our HOA had been battling for over a decade, and it was coming to a head. Our HOA decided to take out a government loan for two million dollars which we’d all be on the hook for. That was a crazy amount of money to split between less than 250 homes.

They said it would be paid through our property taxes, and that the lakeside homes would bear the bulk of the cost, even though everybody in the subdivision had access to the lake. A bit of research showed me that they could just as easily force each homeowner to pay their share all at once, requiring us to take out a loan.

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  • That’s just not something you expect when you buy a house, that somewhere down the road, some little group of people could get all up into your finances, your retirement savings, and everything you’d planned for, and obliterate it.

    My husband thought I was being melodramatic. Ever the optimist, he didn’t think it would come to that. But I’d read so many HOA horror stories, I wanted out while our retirement was still intact.

    The new HOA board also intended to rule the neighborhood with standards so strict that we couldn’t even hold a yard sale without asking permission, or plant a rose bush, or even REMOVE a rose bush. The proposed new bylaws made my teeth grind. This just wasn’t how I wanted to retire, having somebody all up in my business at every turn.

    None of this had come into play yet, it was just talk, but ill winds were blowing and I started keeping track of the old-timers, HOA board members who’d been on the board for years battling the communal property issues. One by one they were quietly selling and moving away, far away to other states where nobody would go looking for them. For me this was a red flag.

    Another trigger was our neighbor’s new dog, which she let run loose in spite of the leash laws and HOA rules. We’d paid thousands of dollars to fence in our yard to keep our dogs in and other dogs out, but the lake side wasn’t fenced. Our dogs were trained not to breach that boundary, but her dog had been allowed in the lake which brought it straight into our yard. The dogs did not get along.

    Economic factors came into play as well. The bottom fell out of the housing market not long after we bought in, leaving us upside down, owing more than we could ever sell the house for. It took years before the market rebounded just enough to give us a window to sell, with dire predictions of another crash.

    Politically the country was in turmoil, with Democrats and Republicans moving farther and farther apart in their ideas of what America should be. The winds appeared to be moving toward taxing people like us more and more to pay for out of control government spending. We couldn’t afford it, not so close to our retirement, and certainly not if they made any changes to social security which I’d be eligible for in less than four years.

    Bear and I disagreed on whether we could afford to live in our current house when he was no longer working, as we had a whopping house payment that would never go away as long as we lived. Everywhere I looked, I saw doom and gloom if we stayed here.

    You have to understand that I’m the Queen of Worst Case Scenarios. People call me up when they want to know “the worst possible thing that could happen” in a situation. But even if only half of my fears actually manifested, or even just 25% of the fears relating to this house and our retirement, it would really suck the wind out of our retirement sails.

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  • One thing that I knew for certain was that if we were going to make a change, any change, it needed to be now while we could still get a loan. I’d been pushing for us to just downsize into a house that was easier to care for with a cheaper payment.

    We’d talked about living in a house with more acreage so that we could plant grapevines and fruit trees, and this took up most of our discussions on moving. Giving it all up for an RV was a topic that had come and gone so quickly that we just didn’t think about it at all — or so I thought.

    Bear’s noggin was quietly immersed in the possibility of traveling the country in an RV. He just wasn’t saying it out loud. It was still a thinking game — a game of What If?

    * * * * *

    Enter into the journey with us as we share the full lead-in for the Big Change to living in an RV full-time, and to what lies beyond…

    In the meantime, follow me on a very different journey of high strangeness. Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions shares memories and dreams relating to my personal experiences with extraterrestrials, along with the little-known UFO flaps from the time periods which swept me up into an extraterrestrial neverland of high strangeness.

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    2 Responses to The First Trigger

    1. Gypsy says:

      Donna, traveling is what triggered this idea in the first place. There’s so many places we want to see, and because we won’t board the dogs, it limits us. We fantasize about faraway trips out west (we live outside Atlanta, too), and to the northern limits, and just everywhere! It won’t happen unless we make a major change. In the meantime, life is getting away… so it’s time, for something 🙂

    2. As we grow older, our priorities do change and we often look at things differently. I remember when my late husband and I gave up our dream house for the RV life style (we were still working). We sold the dream house just outside Atlanta proper (just after the Olympics), bought a used RV and quit our high pay, high stress jobs to become fiber optic construction inspectors, traveling from project to project. It was wonderfully freeing!

      Fast forward to the early 2000’s, now living in a house in FL, he’s in a job he loves and I’m semi-retired. Cancer intervened and we soon moved to a house in TN where I thought I’d live out my life after his passing.

      But reality once again intervened. I couldn’t find a job, a job that would provide funds to travel. But if I found that job, I wouldn’t have the time to travel. The house was paid for so I started looking at cheaper places to live. (There weren’t many.) Coming home from one of those trips, my youngest daughter asked me why didn’t I go back to RVing full-time. I had a million reasons why not but by the time I got home I thought, “Why not?” LOL!


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