Downsizing Story- an On the Road Sabbatical

If you have been following me on social media you may know about the downsizing in my life and becoming an empty nester this fall. Grab a cup of coffee and join me and I’ll share the exciting plans for our lives as our downsizing story is revealed and what is ahead for our lives at we hit the road for a sabbatical.   

A year ago, the ideas about downsizing and taking a traveling sabbatical were discussed in our house. The empty nest phase of our life was arriving this fall whether we liked it or not.  If you missed my blog on the Empty Nest, then check it out, because this is the start of our downsizing idea.  

The Idea

After many dreams, discussions, prayer, and reality checks especially when we had to put up with -40-degree temps and snowstorms of over two feet of snow, we made our decision.  We would start our plans to downsize and do a sabbatical after the kids left our nest this fall.  We prayed and throughout the year we watched God say move ahead.   If you are still living in Minnesota see my blog on Stay warm and Healthy this Winter.

God's Way

God’s Idea and Our Plan  

After making the decision in our minds, we shared our plans with our friends and family and knew if God wanted to change our plans he could.   He had every opportunity to do this.  Instead, we found out God made it even more apparent that this was His decision and it was his plan for us. 

Our plan is to downsize by selling our stuff, selling our house and then travel the middle states from January to middle May. This would be our semester of adventure and sabbatical.

Living in an RV is not for us.   I could never see myself driving at RV and felt it was too cumbersome for my liking. After research, we decided that we could live in an Airbnb at a week at a time and travel from state to state and city to city.  The price is right per night and we can connect with people when we live in their homes.

Goodbye Winter

Travel Goals

Our goal in our travels would be:

1. To get out of the deep winter Minnesota Months.

2.  See the places in the USA we have not seen. 

3.  Meet people along the way and learn from them.  

4. Spend time with God and grow our faith.

5. Figure out what state and city we want to move to.

 6. Figure out what we should do for the next 15 years, before we can retire. 

7. Use this time as a sabbatical where we refresh our minds and spirits and hear from God.  

My husband has worked full time since he graduated from college and has never taken any more time off than 2 weeks of vacation in a row.   Yes, he had lots of vacation time but you usually don’t use it all up in a row.

Family and Jobs

Some have said, why are you deserting your family, kids and leaving your jobs?  Our answer is it’s all a very natural process.  Our oldest got married and moved to California.  Our middle is graduating college in December, is very independent and wants to move out of state too.  Our youngest just started college and this time of independence is seemingly good for him.  Don’t worry he has snowbird grandparents and he can live with them in the summers.  

My parents have both passed away and my sisters and brother live a few hours to states away.  We know where ever we settle our family will visit us, especially in the winter.   Who knows where we will end up or what we will be doing?  

As far as jobs: my husband has worked at his job for over 20 years and has seen many changes and knows it is time to leave his engineering job.   I left my Dietitian job one month earlier than planned because I didn’t want to get the mandatory flu shot.   Please don’t hate me for my opinions, my reasons and my choices. 


The Downsizing

To implement our plans, we had two garage sales selling our smaller stuff such as games, crafts, dishes, hobbies, smaller furniture and you name it. We had a sale in May and one in August.   June to October we sold everything else we didn’t want on Facebook Market place.  

We decided that we would get rid of most of our stuff and furniture. The money from the sale of our stuff would go to our living expenses on the road.    Why pay for storage?

It was almost as if we were cleaning for our own death.  Giving gifts back to the giver, donating items, selling things and boxing up items we thought our kids would want.  Some of the memorabilia was kept. We stored six minivan loads of stuff at our relative’s places to retrieve from them at the end of our adventure.

Goodbye home
Goodbye home of 20 years

Home Sweet Home

We cleaned and purged our home all summer long and by the end of August, we listed our home for sale with a Realtor.   Our home sold in one day and we closed in 45 days.  Now, this was a bit sooner than we had anticipated.  Which to us was a sign that we are to continue to move forward in this adventure.   If you are interested in a local realtor you will love Jodi Carley at Realty Group.

We were blessed by a couple who go south for the winter and they let us live in their house for two months until we were ready to leave for our sabbatical.   Now we are almost done with this phase of the adventure: living in someone’s house.

The best part about living in another place before our adventure is- We find out what we need to take with us in our travels and what things we should store and just get rid of.  We will bring very little on our adventure since we will only have room to fit in a small SUV.



Along the way, God has given me some very fun gifts and memories this past year.   For instance, my oldest was able to live at home for a year as she did her student teaching and substitute taught.  All of my kids were able to live at home this summer for two months.

We were able to help plan my daughter’s wedding and see her off to live and work in a new state with her husband.  We were able to see my son graduate from high school, host our last grad party and move him into his dorm room for the school year.

My middle got a puppy and brought it home.  A contract was written up since we didn’t want pets in the house before selling.  This puppy gave us some great laughs, family moments and memories. This dog gave me hours of silence outside so I could make sure he wouldn’t dig up the yard.   The puppy was more a or less a foster dog because he needed to go back to his owner this fall. 

We were able to list our house and say goodbye to the memories and home before we sold it. I was able to fully recognize the gifts of people in my life at church, neighborhood, small group, Moms in Prayer, and Bible Study Fellowship.

The getting rid of stuff was a gift. It made me realize that I am not happy with stuff and the more I gave, sold or donated away the more content I was.  It all takes time to maintain and organize stuff. 

We were able to have great conversations with others about our plans for our future and encourage them to downsize, clean, plan for their future, save money or pay off debt.

The Future

The season of gifts, memories, and goodbyes is soon over.  We say hello to this new season of adventure, sabbatical, and warm temps.  

Stay posted for future blogs.  I plan to blog when we are on the road a few times a month and will do more posting on Facebook and Instagram stories.   Follow me through my MailChimp emails to stay updated on our traveling sabbatical. I will send you an Email once a month about our travles and links to any blogs.

Blessings to you all and may 2020 be your year of gifts and adventures. Stay Posted and Stay in touch!

At the first home we stayed in, this was on her end table.
Downsizing and Sabbatical

16 thoughts on “Downsizing Story- an On the Road Sabbatical”

  1. Anna, I remember the day I asked you if you would lead the Moms In Touch group for Baxter. You did it and it kept going! Thank you for saying “Yes”. I hope you have a wonderful time discovering what the Lord is going to let you take in! God is with you everywhere you will go. Ask Him to help you see everything He is showing you each day! God’s blessing! Merry Christmas! Love, Eileen

  2. Excited for you two! We are in the same boat. Last son graduates this year and will probably leave the state too. I told Michele let’s buy an island on Rainy Lake. That idea wasn’t well received sad 😞

  3. Wishing you a blessed journey wherever God leads you! You have such strong faith and with that you you have it all! God bless you!

    1. If you go to the bottom of my page it says sign up for dabillaroundthetable. I use a Mailchimp which will gather the emails and put them into a program I can use to send out emails once a month to link you to my blog. I can sign you up if that is easier. Thanks. Enjoy Christmas!

  4. Wow Anna, so brave ! Hoy hoy hoy! Yes I remember your family laugh. I’m excited for you and to hear more!

    1. So good to hear from you. Follow on Social media. Instagram is my fave so you will see more stories there. Sign up for emails from dabillaroundthetable on the sidebar or the way bottom. Miss all you! Blessed Christmas to you all.

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