Let me state the obvious, we are no longer car-free, and technically no longer debt free either. The decisions that went into all of this were not taken lightly. They were by no means done on a whim.
For years we struggled with debt in order to maintain our life back in NJ, and in some ways to keep up with the Jones'. After the flower shop, where my husband worked at for 14 years, changed hands last year, it was time for us to make a move. We thought that maintaining our car-freedom and moving to a more bike friendly place would be manageable. Well it is, if there are jobs, and rents that don't continue to rise. My husband was able to get some part-time work in a local flower shop, but part-time is not enough for a family of five. I searched for jobs, went on interviews, etc. with no such luck landing anything. This past year has been amazing and utterly disappointing all in one.
We knew we would get some money back when we did our tax return, so we started to figure out what we were going to do. Do we stay in Portland and barely scrape by, and search for more work? Do we head back East and use all of the money to get another apartment we can't afford, in a place we really do not want to be? Do we put money down on a RV or van that will be ours, but also that we can live in? Obviously we chose the van route. We looked at RV's but they were just too big and too much money. We knew that an RV would always be an RV, it would not be able to get either one of us to work if we decided to settle somewhere.
We researched for weeks on what the best options and prices were for our budget. We debated about how comfortable we wanted to be, where we wanted to go, and what we really needed in our lives. We sold one of our cargo bikes along with countless other items that we had dragged all the way to Portland with us. This time we have really downsized, and we aren't even done yet!
We are still very passionate about biking, cargo biking, and family biking. Brian became a Certified Bike Mechanic last Summer through UBI. We still believe that car-free days, or if you can a car-free life, is very important and needs to happen for a lot more people. Being car-free for the past couple of years has made us, me especially, a better driver. A more aware driver. It's something everyone should take the time to do in order to remind themselves that cars are not the only ones on or by the road. That driving is not a right that all deserve at a certain age, but a huge responsibility that comes with harsh consequences if not used properly. We also understand that being car-free is not always the easiest option, or decision to make, and that more infrastructure is needed everywhere for bikes and public transport.
When it comes to now having a car payment that put us technically back into debt, we weighed the pros and cons heavily. An expensive apartment paying someone else's mortgage felt like a waste. Not knowing where we really want to settle also made us hesitant to spend thousands going somewhere else with nothing to show. So, the van is big enough to be our home for a while, and yet small enough to get us places and be used for commuting if need be in the future.
I guess this post is to clarify that we are still passionate about bikes, car-freedom, and getting out of debt, but we are even more passionate about doing what is best for you and your family. Right now this is what is best for us.
Thank you for following along (hopefully continuing to follow along) on our journey.