Don’t Be Afraid to Run!

Welcome to our experience with The All Powerful Motivator….FEAR!

My wife and I lived in Illinois our entire lives…until February of 2014.  We grew up in the same small town of 5,000 people, on the same street even, less than six blocks away from each other.  A town where everybody knows everybody.  Three stoplights.  After being together for a few years, we then moved two hours from home during the summer of 2010, remaining in Illinois, in order to attend college.  We had this idea that small town living wasn’t for us anymore and, while in college (in a town of about 90,000 people), decided that once we graduated, we were heading for the city…Houston, TX to be exact.

You see, my wife knew early in her teen years that she wanted to live in a city.  I, on the other hand, always felt like a more rural area suited me better.  My grandparents live near the Garden of the Gods in Illinois and, spending a lot of time with them as I was growing up, that type of area is what I always thought I wanted.

The Garden of the Gods – Illinois

My wife and I love concerts, live theater, and other amenities that are most often attributed to the urban scene and, due to our many adventures during the early years of being together, my desires for rural living began to wane.  So, as we approached graduation, we began developing our plans to move to Houston.  I couldn’t immediately apply for nursing positions there because I had to take boards first and then, to be quite honest, getting a Texas license is a little bit of a P.I.T.A. and the process took some time to complete.  Because of this, we temporarily moved back home and I took my first job in Indiana, to which I commuted most days (nearly two hours each way :-|…otherwise, I stayed in an extremely cheap/sketchy motel, somehow managing to avoid getting loaded with bed bugs :-S) while working to secure a job in Houston.

During that time, I had also applied for every Indian Health Service (IHS) position I was qualified for, primarily due to the Loan Repayment Program, but never heard anything for months.  Finally, two hospitals in Houston wanted to interview me so we drove down in January of 2014; I was offered a position and moving plans kicked into overdrive.

Within a couple weeks, we were all set to move and then, late one evening, my phone rang…literally six days before packing the U-Haul and heading to Houston (thank God we hadn’t signed a lease yet!)  It was an IHS facility in South Dakota.  Fear of changing our plans paralyzed me, kicking my “fight-or-flight” response into overdrive.  I stammered through the initial call, nearly turning down the chance for an interview in lieu of holding true to my prior acceptance of a job in Houston.  Thankfully, my wife was sitting there with me and told me to take the interview.  Within a 36-hour window of time, our plans went from moving to Houston to my participating in a phone interview, receiving a job offer, accepting it, and adjusting our compass to the middle-of-nowhere South Dakota…exactly the type of rural area I had always envisioned.

The moral of my story:  if the opportunity is right, take a step (or a leap) outside your comfort zone and be prepared to run the hell away from what you think is your dream.

Image result for we buy shit we don't need fight club

Don’t be so dead-set in your ways and risk-averse that you lose sight of the opportunities staring you directly in the face.  It would have been far easier and less horrifying to stick with our original plan, play it safe, and move to Houston.  But honestly, we’d be friggin’ miserable if we were living in Houston right now.  We’d be near our best friends, which would be incredible, but between “normal” bills, higher rent, student loans, and the like, we’d barely be treading water.  Worse yet, I’d probably be working two jobs or my wife would HAVE to work just so we could make ends-meat.  F.I.R.E. wouldn’t be anywhere on our radar and, without a doubt, I sure as hell wouldn’t be writing this blog.

Instead, we took a chance and ran away from what we thought was our dream.  We have been immensely fortunate that  our roll-of-the-dice has paid off tremendously well and we couldn’t be in a stronger position because of it.  Because of our willingness to adapt our plans and take calculated risks, we are able to position ourselves in such a way that we will one day have the freedom to go anywhere and do anything we want, whether that may ultimately be living in Houston or, quite literally, any other spot on the map…or globe, for that matter!  Having that freedom is both motivating and incredibly empowering.  It has taught us a lot about ourselves, our willingness to do whatever is best for our family, and has brought us incredibly closer and stronger in our relationship.  My wife and I are an incredible team and I know, without a doubt, that we can achieve anything we set our minds to…even if it’s out of shear stubbornness!  😀

If you’re part of the personal finance or FIRE community, new to the game or a long-time veteran, I’m sure you can relate to our situation.  You are choosing to live outside of what has become the societal norm.  No more do we accept the notion that we must work until 65 and beyond, saving a mere average of 5% of our income, succumbing to the whims of marketing and spending the remainder on frivolous crap that continues to rob our future selves of freedom, with ever-increasing lifestyle inflation, and thereby keeping us on the never-ending hamster wheel of chasing the elusive and almighty dollar.

Tell me about a gamble you took that paid off.  On the flip-side of that coin, what have you done that didn’t quite go as planned?  If you’re facing a big decision in your life right now, I’d love to hear about it.  What’s holding you back from making a big move in your life?  If you’re not up for sharing publicly in the comments below, please feel free to e-mail me at  While I may be out of fairy dust and magical wisdom to truly solve your concerns (nor am I really an expert at much of anything,) or necessarily ease your fears about whatever decision you may be struggling with, I’d be happy and honored to be your sounding board and give you my honest, impartial view of whatever situation you may be facing.  I look forward to speaking with you soon; have an awesome weekend!

– Brandon

21 thoughts on “Don’t Be Afraid to Run!

  1. I’m definitely making a big move and I’m not 100% certain of the financial ramifications. I have no doubt that I will be making more money in this move, however, I am giving up the stability of teacher tenure and being a part of an awesome retirement system. But I would be giving it up anyway, because we don’t want to live in New York City and raise our family here. We want something a little more “rural.” Or at least we think we do. I wonder if this move will lead to the life we think we want to live or send us running back to NYC. Fortunately, my husband has a spreadsheet for this and on paper it makes great financial sense. I still have to wonder…

    Liked by 2 people

    • The beauty of it all is that you have given yourself options and a back-up plan (i.e. “running back to NYC.”) I believe it is perfectly natural to have those doubts about our decisions but, to loosely quote Tennyson, it’s better to try and fail then to live your life wondering what would have happened if you had never tried. I think it’s awesome and quite brave that you are moving overseas to pursue a new avenue of your life and I wish you the greatest of luck and I’ll be looking forward to hearing about the adventure that lies ahead for you. 🙂

      P.S. – THANK YOU a million times over for the Liebster nomination!!! I’m sorry that I’m just not saying this but I’ve been ridiculously busy and haven’t had much time to do any blogging stuff. I’m not sure when I will have the opportunity to respond to it, but I promise to TRY! I’m truly honored and glad to hear to know that you enjoy what I have to say…thank you! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      I’ve got three questions:
      1. I imagine you have…but have you pro and conned staying versus leaving?

      2. What triggers you to “often wonder if we should just run…?”

      3. What’s keeping you from running?

      If you don’t want to divulge further, I completely understand. Let me know! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on taking the plunge! Whenever we have a big decision or life change to consider it’s easy to take the most comfortable option which is usually to change nothing. It’s a tough instinct to fight against and I’ve been thinking a lot about that recently as we consider our upcoming lifestyle change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! It really has been an incredible experience and we’ve been very fortunate that it has worked out so well. I can’t help but feel that if we had made it to Houston, we would likely have NEVER left. Not that that would have been guaranteed to have been a bad thing, but now I see our future being open to so many possibilities.

      To borrow the Tennyson quote I just used in my response to @nycteacherabroad, it’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried and live life wondering what would have happened if you had. 🙂

      With regards to your upcoming lifestyle change, are you referring to FIRE or something else…like moving into an Airstream?!? 😉


    • Woops! Had a Homer Simpson DOH! moment and just realized that I was thinking of someone else when I mentioned you moving into an Airstream! lol

      I’ll be looking forward to reading more about your move into the mountains!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. After finishing my undergrad and working for a little bit, I had an opportunity to move out west and work in Calgary where the economy was booming (at the time) from all the oil and gas money. I wanted to go but was reluctant to take the leap as I did not know anyone there and I still had an “the East is #1” mentality. So I opted to do my MBA instead. After completing my MBA the job prospects were okay but not great out east so than I decided it was time for me and my husband to move out east for work and here we are 4 years later in Calgary Alberta. What I regret is the additional student loans that I incurred by staying in Ontario and doing the second degree and missing the income potential that a job our west offered. My parents are very big on getting a “good education” and I was more prone to follow their advice then about work and school than I am now so I listened. I think my net worth would have been a lot higher than it is now. The upside however is that I was able to get the massive part of my schooling out of the way at a young age and I took reputable degrees that helped me increase my income. I don’t know if I would want to be in full time or part time school right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m just the opposite. Not having a clue what I wanted to do with my life, I got an associates degree after high school that isn’t doing me any good. Then I finally figured out nursing and worked on prerequisites for a couple years before actually starting nursing school. If I’d only have figured it out sooner, I would (theoretically) be better off financially. Honestly, though, probably not…our son was our catalyst for change.

      I was recently considering starting grad school; I would LOVE to get an MBA in Healthcare and Finance, as I have long been thinking that moving into upper level hospital management is what I’d like to do. Chief Nursing Officer or Chief Executive Officer has a really nice ring to it…lol! Then I realized that, unless I wanna work another 20-30 years, the extra student loans may just not be worth it. So I’ve held off…for now. Who knows? Maybe one day…….

      Liked by 1 person

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