The Next Chapter

Shortly after getting Molly (that was 2018), we started to plan for the next chapter. That was 5 years ago. We headed to our local pub with a blank sheet of paper, so we could write all of the amazing places where we wanted to take Molly. Glasses of wine and pints of IPA helped. The list was not that long, but the months soon added up.

The Big Picture plan

This plan was very rough. It will obviously change, but it is a helpful starting point for big picture planning. When thinking about the big picture, we realized that we would not stay permanently in the United States. So it made sense to reflect this in the plan, and we decided to share our time between Molly and our respective birthplaces, Belgium and New Zealand. To keep the plan simple, we decided that we should spend a third of our time in Belgium, a third in New Zealand and a third in Molly. This results in spending 64 months in each, for a grand total of 192 months or 16 years. We did consider the option of just packing-up everything, transitioning quickly to a full-time life in Molly and on the road. We rejected this idea quite quickly.

We did not have a start date for this next chapter and no real idea or plan for when it would start. We knew we had to execute on the following three things to make this work.

  1. Finish building our home in Belgium. Construction was already underway.
  2. Establish a home somewhere in New Zealand.
  3. Have enough savings to quit working permanently.

Getting these three tasks done was not easy, and it took us just over 4 years to complete all three. The site for our home in Belgium was purchased in 2016, with construction completing in March of 2022. In late 2018, we purchased a vacant piece of land in New Zealand and started the process to build a home on it. That project took 2 and a half years, completing in June of 2021. The third task was to stop working; this took the longest, and was achieved in October of 2022.

November and December of 2022 was a crazy time. After 22 years, it was time to leave the United States. Leaving meant we sold or shipped to New Zealand or Belgium most of our possessions. We even decided to sell Sterlin, which was a very hard decision to make. Only Molly would remain in Seattle. This was the moment that defines when the next chapter started.

We are excited, and a little anxious, for what the future brings. We know we are on the right path, but the path is not fully defined. The big picture has been established and we followed our plan to get to this point. Now the next big adventure begins.

Belgium apartment construction, October 2018. We have only one apartment, not the whole thing.
Planning had started for our home in New Zealand. November 2018.
New Zealand Home almost finished. June 2021.
Our Beautiful Belgium Home. March 2022.
The day we knew that corporate life was finishing.