Print Story The great plan.
By crispyduck (Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 01:42:03 PM EST) (all tags)
I'm gonna be a bike-gypsy

Selling the house

We are selling our house. We tried to do this just over a year ago, with the intention of being close to a station so I could easily get to work in London. We got no viewings after six weeks and decided to pull out, as the market was clearly poor for sellers at that particular time. However, we kept up our hopes that it'd get better.

I then realised there was no such thing as easily getting to work in London. Our plans changed - I would get a job in Guildford, and we would focus on getting a nice house in a quiet leafy area.

I got my job in Guildford. However, our plans have changed again, and this time we're selling but not intending to buy anything straight away.

Getting away

We're getting rid of all our excess junk. We'll temporarily move into a flat in Guildford, until April/May when I'll quit my job (Dgym has already quit his and is doing freelance stuff), we'll put our stuff into storage (i.e. somebody's garage) and ride off into the sunset on our bicycles.

When i say "the sunset" I mean Europe. What we really want to do is find a nice country to live in, buy a house and, er, live there. It was initially Dgym's idea and to convince me, he suggested it as a bike tour. I could hardly refuse that, but the whole idea has been growing on me. Since the start of the year I've been seriously questioning the whole miserable mortgage-paying, commuting, office-working existence I've been living. The commuting bit got a bit better but when I get old I don't really want to look back over my life and see nothing but working shitty jobs to pay off the mortgage.

Staying away

We're going to make a clockwise tour of Europe, starting in France, going across to Poland and down through Eastern Europe, then along the Med towards Spain & Portugal. We'll carry camping gear and stay in a mixture of tent/B&B/hostel depending on what's around, what the weather's like and what we feel like. We have a few countries on our list and may add a few more. When we find somewhere we like the look of, we'll stop there for a while and get a feel for the place, perhaps rent for a while and do a little work.

We'll probably spend the rest of the year touring, but there's no real time limit so long as we can financially sustain ourselves. Ultimately though, we want to decide on somewhere to live, and buy a house there. (There is always the possibility that we won't find that place, and we'll end up back here but I don't much fancy that ;)


We'll make a decent amount of money from the sale of our house and hopefully will still have a fair bit left after buying abroad - we'll keep that in high interest savings, possibly investing some of it.

Internet connection would be a big plus wherever we live. I'm aware this may be a problem in a lot of areas, and we may have to pay a fair bit to get it but it could be worth it as there's plenty of freelance work (and other ways to earn money) online these days. We've also got our own self-driven projects we're keen to try out. I'm hoping that whatever we truly want to do will fall out naturally from actually having the time and space to do it, and I'm confident that we're both smart enough to be able to pull it off. Maybe I'll end up fixing bicycles for a living. ;-)

So there's the plan. If anybody's got any experience in any of the above, do post. There's a lot of research to do over the next few months before we leave, and a lot more to do once we're out there. It may work, it may not work. But now the idea's there, we have to do it. I spoke to my mum on the phone today and told her about the plan. I thought she was going to flip and tell me how dumb I was being, but she was all for it.

Shiny toys^Wserious work tools

To help with our coding-on-the-go plans, we've just ordered a couple of Panasonic R4 laptops. Sweet. Now I just need a means of handlebar-mounting it. ;)

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The great plan. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Gorsh I'm jealous by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #1 Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 01:46:22 PM EST
No chance of that vagabond lifestyle with two kids, I can only dream. Have fun whatever you do.

I had an acquataince that spent time in France working on a bike team, he loved it. long drives through the countryside, cheap and wonderful vin ordinaire, and sprockets.

How can a comment be rated (4.00 / 0)? by herbert (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 12:55:25 AM EST
Which is what georgeha's comment shows.

Phantom comment rater attack!

[ Parent ]
The super secret inner cabal by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 01:11:37 AM EST
Have their comments rated at 4 immediately.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
They think they're so smart with their magic 4s by herbert (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 01:20:38 AM EST
but now I know how to identify them by these giveaway ratings, their downfall is only a matter of time.

[ Parent ]
the panny R4 looks awesome by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 03:31:50 PM EST
I would love it if I could work from a laptop.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

It sounds like a dream by calla (4.00 / 1) #3 Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 05:54:04 PM EST
come true. What a great life to plan and look forward to.

I'm envious.

"However, for this current diary to be genuine would have obliged her to read my Sam's Teach Yourself Unix Adminstration in 24 Hours, which is both disturbing and super erotic." Rogerborg

Woohoo, travel! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 2) #4 Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 10:03:20 PM EST
Did some travelling when I was younger... it rocks.

Sure you don't just want to rent the house till you're sure there's somewhere you'd rather live though? You can do it through an agency: they handle all the tenant stuff and just send you the money. I've met a couple of older people who were travelling indefinitely based on that kind of rent money, though that was in the developing world where you can do it very cheaply.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

Renting by crispyduck (2.00 / 0) #11 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:44:50 AM EST
We considered renting it out, but did some maths and decided that the benefits of renting it out would be too greatly offset by the fact that we'd still be paying a mortgage (and earning interest) on the place.

We were wanting to move out anyway - if we decide to come back, there are plenty of places we could stay temporarily and we'd probably be wanting somewhere quite different from what we have now.

However, there may be another property opportunity which would allow us to part-own mortgage free and get an appropriate proportion of rental income (plus the rental & management would be taken care of). But that's very much up in the air right now.

[ Parent ]
Earning interest by crispyduck (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:51:04 AM EST
Didn't mean to say "earning interest". I'd hardly call it earning. Um... Paying interest. You know what I meant. :)

[ Parent ]
accruing? by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #15 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:35:20 AM EST
And eastern europe can have an advantage wrt. internet rollout, not having been landed with incumbent telcos the way countries like Ireland, Greece and Portugal have.

[ Parent ]
Major problem with this plan. by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Nov 27, 2005 at 11:41:17 PM EST
It'll be difficult to take more than one bike each.

Hey by crispyduck (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:32:17 AM EST
I could always tow the Brommie in a trailer. ;)

We know people with garages that we can use for storage, so we'll put our remaining bikes away while we're travelling and ship them over when we settle down again. I will miss them though...

[ Parent ]
You're going to store them? by Idempotent (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 03:28:49 AM EST
You heartless person. How do you think those bikes will feel without regular application of your bottom?

You'll come back, begging forgiveness. But by that time, they'll be old and bitter, and never again give you the pleasure you once had.

[ Parent ]
Bastard. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #9 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:03:54 AM EST
Urm, I mean congratulations. That sounds like an excellent idea. But renting your house out might also make sense. I think as well as an ultra laptop, you probably also need a pair of Thorn Ravens (or a Greenspeed tandem trike with trailer), a largeish solar panel for the back and dynamo hubs, obviously. But live as you dream.

I've no idea how practical it would be to make a living doing bike mechanics. As you're of a techy bent, why not try and start making or marketing some kind of premium esoterica? I've no idea what the recumbent, geeky accessory, and folders market's like in, e.g. the South of France, but it might be good to do something like that.

I was going to say how jealous I was, but it's just started snowing, so I don't care. Whoopee!

Good luck with it.

Funnily enough by crispyduck (2.00 / 0) #13 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 02:56:31 AM EST
Dgym's been looking at trikes (although after the R4s I think he's rethinking the expenditure) The Greenspeed tandem trike does look damn cool.

[ Parent ]
Wow ... by greenfish (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 08:17:24 PM EST
I'll be the one to say it:  you guys are insane!  I love it! 

I've always wanted to spend a good amount of time traveling, but haven't had the time or resources to do so.  I hope you enjoy it and learn something along the way.

It's a very gutsy move, and something I don't think I could ever do.  Wes and I plan to travel all the time after we retire, but that's many years from now.  For now, we have to deal with our twice-a-year (or so) vacations ... :P

Keep us updated on the plans!!

You UKians don't realize something. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 05:37:43 AM EST
You have one of the most wonderful countries in the world.

After Mexico I can't think of a nicer country :-)

I don't know what you are looking for, if it is more hours of sunlight, surely the UK is not the place to be, but sunlight is not all in life (I had plenty of that for years and believe me, it does not make your happiness).

If it is a more relaxed way of life what you need to change is your lifestyle, not your country (like in the UK, it is not the same to live and/or work in cosmopolitan area like London, in a suburban one like Guildford, or a countryside one like somewhere in Cornwall). If you intend to have access to the same goods and satisfactors (expensive gadgets, bikes, etc) you will find out very soon that the way of life you will need to lead is very similar, no matter where you are trying to settle.

So I will say it on behalf of your mom: you both are nuts.

But you know what? Nuttiness like this is the spice of life, the worst that could happen is that you are back to square one, which seen objectivly, is not too bad, or is it? (even when daily commuting and mortgage weight around neck are brought into the equation).

The only advice I can give you is to open your eyes quite big if you decide to buy somewhere in Eastern Europe, but also in Spain and Portugal.

In some countries environmental regulations have been non existent prior to joining the EU (if you dare to buy and live in a country out of the EU you would be more adventurous than the regular expat) and thus a house in a lovely place in the countryside could be located in top of a former waste dump and you may not be told about it. In Spain and Portugal the local council practices are so different from the UK's that you have to pay more attention to details.

Common sense and off your rose tainted glasses when it comes to property.

Living in a foreing land is one of the most interesting experiences you can have. It is hard, sometimes you will want to rush back home, but at the end you will be a richer person for it.

But you are still nuts.

PS: my mom and dad told me I was nuts when I left Mexico.

The great plan. | 17 comments (17 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback