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This week we have: Kate from On Our Way World!
I was stoked to see that Kate had volunteered for the series – because honestly, I wanted a peek into how her (and her family of 4) continue taking such awesome adventures together! “They must have some interesting lessons to share,” I thought to myself – and Kate didn’t disappoint at all. So let’s get to it. Take it away, Kate!
So often, we don’t realize the best moments in our life until we look back on them, 5 or 10 or 20 years later, and realize how impactful they were. I’ve been blessed to have a pretty amazing life, and it’s tough to pick out just two of the top ones. But, since Mike’s making me, here goes…
1- The moment a convoy of Humvees drove by me on the highway
I am the type of person who makes major, life-altering decisions at the spur of the moment. One of the first of these was joining the military – 9/11 had just happened a few days prior, and I was trying to figure out how to help, how to get involved.
At that moment, a convoy of Humvees drove by me, and I decided – just like that – to join the military (fun fact – I was going to join the Army, but I found the Air Force’s phone number first [the good old days of alphabetized phone books…] so I joined the Air Force instead).
Although it was driven by the most horrific event most of us have lived through, it has benefited me in so many ways. I got out of my hometown – something that can often be tough to do – I learned new skills and met amazing people (including my husband!), and I got the GI Bill, which covered all of my education until the very last semester of my doctorate, which I paid for myself.
Having a career I’m passionate about is huge for me, and I can’t imagine being anything but a nurse
In fact, it’s one of the things I struggle with as we work toward reaching financial independence and setting off on amazing adventures – I don’t want to stop working, and I’m trying to figure out the balance between slowing down on work, and maintaining my clinical skills so I can keep working as a nurse practitioner.
It’s not a bad problem to have!
Takeaway: Embrace adventure; sometimes it’s worth it to leap before you look
2- Seeing the Hopewell Rocks
There are a few places I’ve seen on TV, in magazines, etc., that I thought “I have to go there” – more than just an “I want to see it” – kind of a physical pull to go to a place and see it, touch it, etc.
The Hopewell Rocks – an incredible rock formation in the Bay of Fundy – was the first of those that I actually got to go to. It was really powerful in a way that’s hard to describe – just one of those really intense experiences that stays with you.
Since then, we’ve been to a few other places that I’ve felt drawn to in the same way – the Giant’s Causeway in North Ireland was one.
And since we’re basically completely location independent at this point thanks to a combination of online work and homeschooling, we are looking forward to more and more adventures like this!
I think there’s a theme here about embracing adventure!
Takeaway: Follow your heart and remember that life is short, the world is big, and there’s a lot to see! Make sure to carve out time for adventures, big or little, with the ones you love.
Losing my sister
My sister died when she was 20 and I was 22. She was an amazing, gentle soul – and an incredibly talented artist, to boot. She was going to art school in George and working part-time at an ice cream shop in town.
She didn’t come to my wedding (the wedding was, in itself, kind of a spur of the moment decision) because she didn’t have the money or vacation time. We didn’t think it was a big deal, because we had all the time in the world to see each other in coming years.
She was living her life, and I was living mine (in the Air Force, stationed overseas). But just over 3 weeks after I got married, she was killed in a fire at her home. It was devastating for our family. It’s taught me a few things – first and foremost, not to take time with the ones you love for granted, and to try and be there for special occasions whenever you can.
It’s a big part of why we are pursuing financial independence – to have the time and freedom to be there for the ones we love.
It’s also a reminder that life is short, and that there are things more important than finances. When the opportunity for adventure, family time, etc. comes up – take it. You never know if you’ll have another chance like that again.
And lastly, it’s reinforced the importance of taking some basic safety precautions. She died, in part at least, because she didn’t have a working fire alarm. There have been several deaths in vacation rentals due to missing carbon monoxide detectors – when we travel, we take some specific, basic precautions to make sure we stay safe.
People die all the time from not wearing seatbelts. It’s important to take the small steps that can help you to continue living a long, healthy life.
Takeaway: Don’t take life, or the people in it, for granted
Selling our last house
Oof – this was a tough one. We bought in a hurry, in a hot market, and we paid dearly for it when we sold a year later.
It’s easy to say “it’s just money”, and in the grand scheme of things – it is.. but it was a LOT of money, and something we’re finally just now recovering from. We moved across the country from the west (where my husband’s from) to the east (where I’m from) and felt like we needed to buy a house and get settled – all the things that “normal” people do.
We also bought in a good school district, with the intention of sending our kiddos to public school there. But, a last minute decision led us to homeschooling… which made the location less important. Then, we learned that my husband absolutely despises the east coast.
We were also spending so much money on the house that we couldn’t afford to go have all the adventures we longed for. Long story (somewhat) short, we sold within a year or so, and took a big financial hit.
Takeaway: It was a painful lesson that although – sometimes it is great to leap before you look – when you’re making big financial decisions sometimes it’s worth taking a (big) pause and making a decision with a clear head and a firm understanding of the implications!
The stories that these Wins and Losses participants are willing to tell continue to amaze me, and I can’t help but think that we’ve all got something to learn from Kate and her family. What stuck out most to me is the fact that they prioritize a living life full of adventures. And it’s not on a credit card – it’s because they’ve designed their financial plan to support these dreams – I 100% love this!
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!