next phase part 3 downsizing and lyfting

The Next Phase (Part 3): Downsizing and Lyfting

The evolution of my thought process continues to surprise me. No longer happy in my current home, I toyed with the idea of moving out of the country. Then I began to explore living and working from an RV as I travel the country. I’m jumping headfirst into RVing, which will give me the opportunity for new adventures, beautiful scenery, and interesting friends. So I’m in downsizing mode, selling and giving away things. And to break up the monotony of working from home day after day, I just became a Lyft driver (affiliate link). To complicate matters, I’m hobbling around on a broken ankle. What an odd year this is turning out to be!

The Emotional Side of Downsizing

I didn’t think I owned a lot of stuff – until I started going through shelves and closets. While most of my stuff carries little meaning, I’ve been surprised by some of the items that I don’t want to sell.

  • I sold all of my woodturning equipment. But at the last moment, I pulled out the portable woodcarver and wood burning kit – small items that easily fit into my RV plans. Plus, I discovered that the Escapees RV Club has a Woodcarvers on Wheels group. How cool is that!
  • I can’t seem to part with some of my nicknacks – the painted breadboard I purchased in Ukraine, the really cool cat ornament, the Aaron Rodgers Christmas ornament, the stone sphere given to me by a good friend – things that carry memories and remind me of people.
  • I earmarked a few things for friends and family – my Peruvian artwork went to my travel mate and dear friend. And my Adirondack chairs will go with me in the RV – I’ll drop them at my sister’s place in Tennessee. Years ago, my sisters and I found the chairs and ottomans in an odd little craft market in the Smoky Mountains. Somehow, we crammed them into my Honda for the trip to Virginia. It’s a fond memory and I want the chairs to stay with the sisters.

Hanging onto Memories and Stories

It’s the memories, stories, and glimpses of the future that will make up my possessions as I downsize to the RV life. I have no plans to place anything in storage – everything I leave behind can be easily replaced. By far the most difficult thing I had to do thus far is spread the ashes of my beloved cats, Smoke and Brett. I lost my #1 cat Smoke one year ago, and Brett followed in February. Their ashes sat on the mantel all this time. But that’s not where they belong, so I spread their ashes around the stone bench in the back yard. They will stay behind. I still miss them!

Stuff = Dangerous Obstacle Course

There is some irony in my downsizing efforts, as I tripped and fell on the obstacle course I had created in the loft. I ended up breaking my ankle! While it’s a minor fracture, it is setting me back in terms of being able to clear out my house. And it sort of confirms my view of “stuff” – it’s only there to trip over!

My new Gig: Lyft Driver

I have been going stir crazy working from my house, day after day. I’ll often go out for lunch, and that’s the only social event of the day. While I’ve thought about driving for Lyft (affiliate link) in the past, what prompted me to finally sign up was the experiences of a fellow student in the Financial Coach Academy (affiliate link). She drives for Lyft and in the course of regular conversations, has gotten a lot of interest in her financial coaching business. So perhaps during those long airport runs, I can attract some coaching clients?

Today was my first day driving for Lyft. I was on the road for a little over an hour, picking up three customers for relatively short trips (I earned about $21). I live in a tourist and college town, so my customers included a local high schooler getting to her job in the outlet mall, vacationers headed to the visitors center, and college guys with a craving for the best breakfast in town. Everyone was very pleasant and I enjoyed the experience. I like the scavenger hunt nature of Lyft, which leaves me wondering where my next customer will take me. So even though it’s day #1, I am finding Lyft to be a good fit for me – I can set my own hours and drive any time I feel like escaping the house.

Aligning the Business to my Nomad Lifestyle

I’ve had a difficult time finding my niche and getting people to sign up for my courses at the Early Exit Academy. I hired a copyeditor who helped me make improvements to my website and convinced me it was time to rebrand. So my Early Exit Academies for Young Escape Artists and Midlife Dreamers have been transformed into the Financial Freedom Academy. I feel good about the name change and the clear focus.

I’m also seeing more opportunities for my coaching business – DrBrendaMoneyCoach. I’m about to add a new program for Gutsy Women who want to throw convention to the wind and follow their heart’s desires. My move to full-time RVing will give me legitimacy as I take this gutsy move to a nomadic lifestyle. Plus, I’m finding that there are a number of RVers who run businesses from the road, including accounting and financial services – people who might become terrific referral partners. Who knows where this will take me?

What’s next?

I’ve been checking out RVs and have a better sense of what might work best for me. It’s the timing that has plagued me. Do I buy a rig now, using my house as collateral for a loan? Do I wait until I sell the house, which means I can buy it outright (but might not have a place to live)? What if I find the “perfect” RV and need to jump on it? I’ve talked myself into a circle pondering my choices. And this is what I’ve concluded. My #1 priority is to fill up the seats in my January Financial Freedom Jumpstart Workshop and get some coaching clients. Once I have that income stream, I’ll be in much better shape to buy the RV. I have to focus on sales! And the reward at the end? An RV to call home.

If you want an RV lifestyle or want to live an unconventional life, check out my Gutsy Women Program.

Read the Series

Part 1: More Questions than Answers

Part 2: Time to Hit the Road

Part 4: Downsizing and Buying my Dream RV

About the Author Brenda

Dr. Brenda is a financial coach, educator, researcher, and sociologist. In addition to blogging at The Five Journeys, she is the founder of the Gutsy Women Club. Her passion is guiding people on their journey to financial freedom through coaching at DrBrendaMoneyCoach and online courses at

  • My heart went out to you when you were talking about your cats. Part of me would have liked Pepe’s ashes and I would have spread them in the garden at the apartment I used to live at when he lived the most years. He loved that backyard. I like the name change! Clear and simple! Love that you’re driving for Lyft. I don’t even have the right car, but even if I did, the thought of driving around LA when I don’t have to? Ugh! lol! Good luck with everything, and sorry about your ankle!

  • Ramona says:

    Leaving is so hard, we’ve done it almost a year ago. Left EVERYTHING behind, popped on the plane with 3 suitcases and a kid and that’s it. Apartments, business, family, just the 3 of us on the other side of the world. Not easy, but the best move we made. You’ll be great, you’ll do great. Just follow your path 🙂

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