Why I Decided to Sell My House, 99% of my Belongings, and Travel the U.S. by Car (In the Middle of a Pandemic)

Nambe Lake, near Santa Fe, New Mexico

In July, I announced to my friends and followers that I was putting my house on the market and moving away from Arizona, my home of 11 years. Where am I going? Anywhere, everywhere, wherever I feel like (leave me your suggestions!), for as long as I want to… to live the #nomadlife. Just me, my dog and the few things I can fit in my car.

Since I made my announcement, many people have asked me how and why I came to this decision (and if I was sane). The truth is, I had an epiphany.

My reasons for downsizing: emotional and practical

This epiphany came to me a few months into the pandemic, on a Wednesday in early July, while working from my Phoenix home. Arizona had become a new “hot spot” — literally — both with COVID-19 cases and with regards to its signature soaring 110+ summer temps. My 11th summer on Mars, yippee!!

I was likely a little crazed and pent-up from being homebound, but I promise, this decision was not made spontaneously or with melodrama — after an analytical review, it came to me, clear as day, that I didn’t have to live in Arizona anymore. (And I called my boss that very afternoon to get her blessing!)

Firstly, I was a remote employee. I had been fully remote even before the pandemic hit, and my supervisors had always been supportive of me working temporarily from elsewhere. So why not permanently from elsewhere? As long as I was in a suitable time zone with solid internet, I could work effectively. Secondly, if I lost my job or found myself unemployed for some reason, I would, again, not need to stay in Phoenix to find work.

The common denominator = I don’t have to be in Arizona, dealing with the oppressive summer heat, homebound, unable to travel like I so desperately craved. And so, clear as day, I knew I had to sell my house, my furniture, kitchenware, and everything else, and be free: I would put my bare necessities into my SUV with Penny in tow, and set off for good weather and adventure, within the confines of the present situation and safety measures-permitting.

I’m definitely more of a left-brain person, so don’t worry, I analyzed the pros and cons. The practical reasons I found: 

  • I can’t be in two places at once, but when I’m on vacation, I’m surely paying for two places at once… which adds up the longer you want to travel
  • Sure, I could opt to rent out the home as a vacation rental or via a long-term lease, but I don’t want the burden of being a landlord and the associated costs and responsibilities, and then I could avoid a capital gains tax in the future
  • I could put my furniture in storage, but the more you store, the more you pay. And I’d still have to deal with it and transport it later…
  • And according to math: when I take my monthly mortgage, home insurance, electric, water, cable/internet, real estate tax (and so on) payments, and instead put that towards a 30-day furnished Airbnb, I just might break even, or potentially even save money

But money, logistics, and practicality aside, I place a lot of trust in my heart and my gut, and it was telling me:

  • I love to travel, and I crave adrenaline and excitement. After 11 YEARS, Arizona was home, it was comfortable, it was easy. If I was Ariel, the sea would be my Arizona, and “I want more…”
  • Furniture, kitchenware, and clothing is just stuff. Stuff that I’ll just as soon forget about. Stuff that, if it’s really important, can be replaced. 
  • I’m single, I’m healthy, and I’m financially stable… and aside from the obvious pandemic, this is pretty good timing all other things considered
  • I’ll miss seeing my friends as often, but I won’t not see them again. The world is small! 
  • And math aside… I’d pay a premium to be happy, unfettered, untethered, and free.

In just a few short weeks, Penny and I will be on our way. My goal is to visit all 50 states, but not as a tourist/vacationer, as a short-term resident (approximately one month in each area) — and I have 14 states to go.  

Let me know your thoughts! Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram at @juliebrose.

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