The number one question I answer these days is, “Where are you living right now?”
As of the 24th, Hunter and I have been “house-less” for seven months. Back in February our landlord told us he was selling his house, and after spending weeks pursuing countless directions (including a tiny-house builder — yeah, we went there!), someone asked us if we knew anyone who could watch their house for a month in May. We mentioned that we may be interested, and we went home that day considering a new direction in our housing situation.
To give some context for our decision, Hunter and I came to a realization that our debt was crippling us back in 2018, and it was forcing us to make life choices that we might otherwise have done differently. We hated that our debt was telling us what we could and couldn’t do with our time and money, so we started putting every extra penny toward paying everything off.
So as we discussed house-sitting in May, we crunched the numbers and they were staggering. We realized how much more we could put toward our debt in April and May if we didn’t have rent/mortgage, utilities, etc. Plus, that would give us a little more time to figure out where to go seeing as it was already March and our lease was up in April.
Not long after we committed to staying in that house in May, word got out in our community that we were open for business as professional house-sitters, and before we knew it people were coming up left and right asking us to stay in their homes anywhere from a weekend to four weeks.
And slowly the conversation changed from talking about temporarily suspending the house search to house-hopping long-term. The couple that first approached us graciously offered to let us stay with them through September in-between gigs, so one month became two became five.
Most people already know that I have never been one to stay in one place for long. When Hunter and I got married, his grandmother commented that she hoped being married would keep him a little closer to home to which his mother responded, “Have you met Marguerite?”
And maybe it is the traveler in me or maybe I’m just this desperate to pay off my student loans — let’s be honest, it’s probably a mix of both — but here we are. We have watched five homes for a total of 16 weeks and 6 weekends over the last seven months with approximately 50 dogs/cats/chickens shared among them, and that doesn’t include all the kids we’ve watched for a day, an evening, or a weekend.
In that span of time, we have completely paid off nine debts among four providers. We are down to just Hunter’s student loans, so we are over halfway through our journey in becoming debt free. We still have a long way to go and much to do, but we’re here. We’re showing up day after day, toiling to see our goals through to the end. And it feels incredible—incredible to look back and celebrate, incredible to look forward and dream.
When I answer this question, the most common response is some sort of cluck of apology that this is what our life looks like, that we are having to sacrifice so much. We have given up a lot over the last year, there’s no doubt, and we have gained so much. We have shared more meals with more people than we have in a long time. Our relationships are deeper, our friendships closer. We have actually lived life with the people around us. We aren’t hiding away; we are in the midst of each other’s lives, and it feels like this is exactly what life should be about.
The reality is that we are only where we are today because of the generosity of our community. We have been welcomed into countless homes, and we have no lack. We have been given all we need and more; our hearts are overflowing abundantly. Our people have loved us so fiercely, and they encourage us when we question this crazy lifestyle we chose. They believe in us and what we’re doing, and they cheer us on to the finish line. It’s really a beautiful thing, so here’s to you — the people who have walked beside us, have supported us and encouraged us, invested in our family and my business, and continue to bear with us in this crazy thing called life. There are miles before us yet to go, and I’m grateful to know we don’t go alone.