In May, 2004, my husband, Curtis, and I took a trip to Belize. We’d been married 2 years at that point, and had already traveled to Greece for our honeymoon and to Cozumel for a SCUBA trip with his three kids. The first week in Belize was spent in Placencia, a peninsula in the southern part of the country. We then spent 5 days on Caye Caulker. Both locations were relaxing and beautiful, and we were able to get several amazing dives in at both. But the last few days of the trip we set aside to study the real estate market and to make plans for our future.
After leaving Caye Caulker, we headed to Belize City. Now, Belize City is NOT where we would normally choose to spend vacation time, but this planning portion of the trip was an exception. We stayed at a lovely Inn called Colton House (http://www.global-travel.co.uk/colton.htm).It was a charming home, close to the water, and also close to a real estate office. We spent some time with the realtor looking at properties, but for the most part we stayed in our room at Colton House and planned. And what we came up with was our plan for retiring early, what we call our Colton House Plan. We talked about what we needed to do financially and where we might want to retire someday. We also decided that Belize was not the place for us to retire; the details were left to work themselves out later.
When we arrived back home, we immediately started working on the financial aspects of the plan. We paid off as much debt as we could as quickly as we could. For example, we paid off my car loan as soon as we got home from the trip; Curtis’ car loan was already paid in full. We have not had a car payment for the past 9 years, and as long as repairs are more cost efficient than buying we will not purchase another car.
Fast forward 9 years. Our Colton House Plan had been reworked, adjusted, and fine-tuned. We had talked about living in an RV full-time in order to save money, but had discarded the idea. Then in January 2013, we started looking at RVs again. We knew what our minimum requirements would be to be able to live in an RV full-time. We did not plan to actually purchase an RV until April, but we found one that was perfect for us and made the leap of faith that this was what we wanted to do.
I cannot say that the decision was easy. The first RV park in a reasonable distance to Curtis’ work had me in tears. I just could not envision myself living there. Together we worked through all the issues that came up. Even now, each of us has full veto power: if one of decides RV living is not working then we move on to something else.
We have just sold our house, which I purchased in 2001 right before we started dating. We had put a lot of love, energy, and updates into the house, and were able to sell it quickly and for a price that allowed us to pay off the loan on the RV. Now it’s time to start really saving so that we can retire.Currently, our plan is to retire to Ecuador. We first visited Ecuador in 2010 and completely fell in love with the country, the people, the weather, everything. It was the first and only place I’ve ever been so sad to leave that I cried; when we boarded the plane it felt like I was leaving home and didn’t know when I would be able to go back. We’ve since been back to Ecuador two more times, checking out different areas and staying in apartments, shopping at the markets, and preparing our own meals to make sure this is really what we want to do.
We plan to be in the RV at least three years and will re-evaluate retirement at that time. This blog will be a diary of sorts, about our life in the RV, our vacation travels, and our eventual retirement to Ecuador. We hope you join us in our adventures here and abroad!