The Three Core Philosophies That Guided Our Move to California

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As I’ve said before, our plans for a 50-state road trip spawned from the simple idea to move to California in favor of beaches and beautiful weather. We chose the greater adventure of exploring the country, but when people ask us which state was our favorite, the answer always rings the same: California. There’s no drive quite as beautiful as the Pacific Coast Highway winding along coastal mountains overlooking endless blue ocean.

move to california

Now, only six months since our last visit, we are back on the golden coast for the rest of winter, and just in time since the rest of the country is in the middle of blizzards right now! We are so extremely thrilled to be in one place for more than a couple days and give Franklin’s engine a much needed break. Now Franklin is parked in his new home, surrounded by redwood trees, nestled in coastal mountains, and a five minute drive from the ocean. It’s the ideal winter getaway.

What I didn’t expect is that our little move would be so questioned. People keep asking us why we moved to California. Why would we move somewhere so expensive? Why don’t we want to move back to Austin? Why for only two months? Why are we still living in our RV? When are we going to get real jobs?

To answer all of these questions, I want to share with you a few of the core philosophies Heath and I use to make decisions in our marriage.

Always choose adventure over comfort.

We moved to California to work with Jia Jiang, Heath’s mentor. Jia is publishing a book with Random House this April and Heath is working with him to build the cross-country book tour as well as build an online course. Heath has been working with Jia remotely since September while we’ve been on the road. We could’ve easily moved back to Austin where Heath could continue to work remotely. We could be near our friends and families in familiar territory after months on the road.

Instead, we chose to move to California as a new, micro-adventure. While we’re here, we have a chance to explore more of one of the most beautiful states in our country. Plus, we get to escape all chances of snow and winter blasts since every day here is sunny with a high of 65.

Bonus: The book tour launches at SXSW in Austin. We will be moving back to the Austin-area in early March before Heath travels with the book tour.

When given the option, choose that which challenges you more.

Before we purchased our RV, we had the option to borrow a pop-up camper from Heath’s grandparents that could be towed behind my car. We wouldn’t have to spend hours researching RVs online or spend thousands of dollars to buy one. Gas would be cheaper. And then after the trip, we could give the camper back and move into an apartment and live life as usual.

Instead, we took a financial leap, hoping our Craigslist purchase wouldn’t leave us stranded, and bought Franklin knowing we would keep him for the long haul. Living in an RV challenges our marriage, our spending habits, our lifestyle. I could (and probably will) write a book about all of the invaluable marriage lessons living in such a small space has taught us and how the RV has been the single most important factor in strengthening our relationship. It has taught us how to be less materialistic, how to recognize needs versus wants, and allows us to be free of the confines of a mortgage or lease.

We currently plan to live in Franklin for the remainder of 2015 as we pay off student debts. By living minimally in the RV, we aim to pay off over 27K in the next 12 months.

Do work that makes you feel alive. 

There’s an episode of Friends where Chandler complains about going to work stating how everyone hates their job. All of the friends pipe in saying they love their jobs. (Spoiler: Chandler quits his job later that episode to find a job that he will love). That scene always stuck with me because I think the general consensus is that most people don’t like their jobs. They want to quit or retire already.

When Heath and I felt this in our office jobs, we quit our jobs and created new opportunities for ourselves. We want to always do work that makes us feel alive, like we’re living what God designed for our lives. After making this decision, we felt a lot of financial instability and lack of security. But a quick six months later and we were breaking even while traveling across the country. Now we wake up and do the work we love and bonus! We get to work together every day.

And yes, despite what you may think, we love working together all day every day, even in a small 200-square-foot RV and we aren’t tired of each other yet 🙂

Following these core beliefs, Heath and I have grown exponentially in our seven-and-a-half months of marriage. We’re happier, stronger, smarter people because of them. For the next two months, we’ll be following our passions in Santa Cruz, California enjoying our new adventure and continuing to challenge ourselves.

11 Responses

  • Bravo Alyssa,
    May you always live this way. Adventure over stale. Living like you want and not what others expect.
    Life is not a roadmap that someone else give to you. Make your own way. Just like you are.
    All my best,

    • Pam,

      I love the word “stale” I am going to have to use that in the future. It so captures the idea of a boring, comfortable white bread kind of life! Thanks for your constant encouragement and inspiration.


  • Excited for you guys! What an adventure you’re starting out with, and you’re right– not just an “adventure” but an adventure that is building character, experience, and giving a unique opportunity to explore, pay off debt, and connect with one another and others in a way that may not be available for the rest of your life.

    Keep going! I’m excited to see all God keeps doing in you two, your hearts, and lives, as you chase the hard adventures of life.

    • Jess,

      So wonderful to hear from you–and such sweet words too! 🙂 I hope everything is going well for your family as y’all prepare for baby number 7! What a beautiful adventure life is.


  • Jason and I live by very similar philosophies and so far, we have no regrets! I hope your 2015 is filled with epic adventures, love, laughter and of course a meetup with us!

    • I think they are probably what led us all to the freedom of the RV lifestyle 🙂 Can’t wait to meet up with you and Jason sometime this year! (If only Heath and I planned more than two months in advance)

  • Alyssa, you are the ones who inspire. I am amazed sometimes by comments about “real jobs” and “normal life”. The brief stints I’ve had with that stuff have not worked out well. Now I am once again working on becoming debt free and loving working for myself wherever I happen to be.

    • It’s sad to think that loving working for yourself is considered the “crazy” and “abnormal” lifestyle these days! I hear a lot of “It’s good that you’re doing this now” or “Enjoy this opportunity with you’re young.” I think in some ways our age makes us less inspiring because we are young enough to have little to lose. The world still sees us as kids in a lot of ways.

      But you should be applauded for your bravery in tackling debt and following your passion. For fighting against the typical America lifestyle and chasing your dream. That’s inspiring to me.

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