Minimalism, vanlife, traveling, solo female traveler, sober travel, traveling in USA, downsizing.
I am somewhat of an enigma; I realize that. I’m also chocked full of dichotomies.
For example, I consider myself a homebody. I highly value my comfort and my health. I love my standing desk where I spend day after day spinning yarns for the novels I write. I love cooking my food and popping supplements like they’re candy. I crave order and have never been bored in my life. There’s too much to do! I’m an extrovert in an introvert’s body. I’m passionate about so many different things that if I were to list them all here, you may consider me crazy. And that’s okay too because what other people think about me is their business and their opinion and they’re entitled to it.
Time to get to the point Kimberly Anne and so I shall. For the past ten years I’ve put down roots. Roots have always been important to me, yet they’re also something that has always terrified me. I don’t own a house, I’m no longer married, I have no kids. There’s a story in each one of these, but they’re not on point.
At my core I’m a traveler, a nomad, a journey-person who has never had the courage to leave my life behind and set out on an unknown adventure. I’ve traveled plenty in my 54 years of life, but as a born Californian I’ve never moved out of the State in which I was born. I’ve spent up to six weeks abroad as recently as last year. I’ve spent over a month each in China, in Paris, in London and flitting through Europe. I’ve been to major cities in 16 of the 50 states. But for the past ten years at least I’ve squelched my dream of traveling full time for a million excuses. When I have enough money/can afford it. When I’m ready to retire. When I find a partner who wants to travel with me. And then came Covid.
My day job for 15 years has been in alternative healthcare and if I’m perfectly honest with myself, I haven’t wanted to be doing what I do for a very long time now. At first I was trying to build up my business, working 15-hour days, 7 days a week. Have I mentioned that I’m a workaholic? No? Well, I am. I love working, it’s not a “job” for me and maybe that’s part of the reason I’ve never been bored. There was always a new goal to reach, a new monetary number to be made. Three and a half years ago I started hitting the monetary number. I made more money per year than I’ve ever made in my lifetime. The demand for my services increased, and I rose to meet them. During my first year of success, I saved and saved and saved. About two years prior to my first successful year at my day job, I also took on a second job — have I mentioned that I’m a workaholic? The second job was something I’d wanted to do for my entire life, but it wasn’t anything that could or would earn money immediately. I wanted to be a novelist. To date, I’ve written 16 novels and published 11. I’ve also written and published half a dozen short stories.
When the end of 2017 came I proudly handed my quickbooks over to my accountant with my head held high. I had scrimped as much as I could and had saved thirty thousand dollars! To me, this was a small fortune. My accountant, with a straight face said, “that’s great because that’s the exact number you owe to the IRS.”
And so it went. The more I worked, the more I bled out. As soon as I was making extra money, my student loans started collecting a $1,000+ a month. So for the last three years I’ve been hemorrhaging money. Any penny I had left over went into publishing, which is not cheap! It costs $2,000 per book to self publish the way I want to self publish. You do the math.
When Covid hit and I got my stay at home orders, I embraced it. Writing full-time? Hells yes please! I’ve been home for 4 months now and it’s been great for me, but not for the people out there suffering. And being in healthcare, I know this thing is real and a huge threat to every nation. But the PPP (loan) and a small amount of unemployment couldn’t hold me forever, and so next week I’m going back to work. I’m terrified to be in a tiny windowless room, face to face, with people who are extremely immunocompromised. I will help as much as I’m able and protect myself and them to the best of my ability.
Over 90% of my patients are covered by health insurance and I was notified about a month ago that the insurance company that pays my salary will be cutting my services. Without an income I will lose my apartment as I rent and do not own. So in two weeks I went from a successful entrepreneur to homeless. When I told my partner, we would be celebrating our 1st year anniversary tomorrow, he dumped me. I’m making it sound way more dramatic than it actually was, though I am also aware that my life is now a country song.
Where does this leave me and why the hell am I writing all of this? Because change is the only constant in life. I can scream and cry and hold on to all I’ve built with torn and bleeding fingernails or I can let go and fall down into the dark precipice of the unknown.
I’ve chosen the latter. And thus the adventure of the unknown begins. My rough plan is to finally downsize — let go of that which I do not need by giving it away or selling it. I will get a small storage locker for the rest since I don’t know if, in a year, I may want to jump back on the hamster wheel again. And #vanlife. I will go into that decision in my next post and all the emotional and psychological crap it entails.
Hi, I'm Kimberly Anne! (aka K.A.)
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