Guest Posts

How to Run Away from Home at 40

Guest Post ~ Featuring Tracy Lynn from Our Four Suitcases

How to Run Away from Home at 40 Travels with Bibi

Ok, I admit it. I have a hidden desire to become a gypsy, one that wears a flowing, black gauzy dress just like Stevie Nicks wore in the 70s, as part of her Fleetwood Mac concert attire. I loved that dress and the magical free spirit vibe it seemed to represent.

Life has been very good to me, but I miss the long-ago days of having the freedom to just get in the car and go wherever my heart points me. In many ways, I can completely relate to today’s guest writer, Tracy Lynn, from Our Four Suitcases blog.

Tracy seems to live a life uncomplicated by the stuff that keeps people tethered in place. The post she shares with us below reminds me of the free spirit vibe I miss so much.

Tracy’s Bio:  Salutations! I’m Tracy Lynn. I am the mother to fraternal twins, two 21-year-old women, and I am in a long-time love affair to the love of my life for 24 years, Rob. We found the secret to making love last.  I’ll be happy to share it with you.  I’m a dreamer, reader and writer.  I am also a card-carrying member of the Gypsy Soul Travelling Club.  Want to join? Come visit me at my travel/lifestyle blog, by clicking here: Our Four Suitcases. 

How to Run Away From Home at 40 Travels with Bibi
Tracy Lynn
How to Run Away from Home at 40

I used to be the girl with a carefree, gypsy soul that longed to travel the world. Somehow, I became a suburban mother with the van, two kids, two cats and a husband before I had a chance to realize my personal dream of travelling.  I was not even going to have kids.  I’m fairly certain it was that one night during a hockey strike when everything changed.  Gone were my carefree days of plotting to take over the world as a slender, single girl.

We were an average family of four. I learned to budget, make do, use up and go without to make ends meet.  Marriage and motherhood, although fulfilling in many ways, was not enough.

I missed my youthful spendthrift days. I wanted a new life and I wanted to travel. At forty, I felt that I had missed my opportunity to experience more of the world. I wanted to see new things and experience new people. I wanted to shop like my twenty-year-old self, without worry. I needed adventures and being “suburban mom” was not cutting the mustard. Maybe, I was selfish, but we only get one life, I think.

I decided to run away from home and I found a new way to live that was fun and exciting.  Fortunately for them, I took my family with me. We moved five hours further north, almost into the bush of northern Ontario.

We took only what could be stuffed into the car. Movers are way too expensive!

We moved into a town with less than 7,000 people. Our move was a complete change of scenery and a good start to what was to become a new lifestyle of travel. Living in a small community is completely different than living and growing up in the suburbs or a large urban metropolis. We became part of the community, slowly. We did the bush rides, the tail-gate parties and the beach picnics. We sat out on beach blankets under the canopy of stars and we fished and swam and sunned. It was an idyllic existence and even better, it was cheap.

I am seriously not kidding. We learned to do what everyone else did for cheap fun on the weekends in a small community by learning how to shop garage sales and go to auctions where the bidding can be cut-throat. We found a new adventure every weekend with our new hobby.

It’s exhilarating to bid on treasures and to win!  We learned how to rebuild a home one second hand item at a time. We really got into the new hobby. We thrived on beating out competitors at estate sales.

Our home filled up with items that I could not afford to purchase ten years prior. I found my inner interior decorator and she was thrilled.  Reading up on the serious business of “picking” taught me how to buy low and sell high. I was a shark!

When my gypsy soul demanded a change of scenery from the rural to the urban I was ready.  I ran my first online garage sale in the month of March. I set up a Facebook page and created albums of items by selling price.

I pushed my dining room table up against the wall, pinned a white flat sheet to the wall and took pictures of every single item that we owned. Then I advertised my sale on Facebook through Kijiji and Craigslist. At the time, no one else seemed to have thought of the idea.  Everything flew out of my home at a break neck speed.

The shoppers were driving to our place to pick up items within 24 hours, in a Canadian snowstorm. We were back to owning nothing and were free to fly away without things weighing us down. It’s true that you never really own anything and that it owns you.

Without material possessions you can be as mobile as you please. Footloose and raring for new adventures is a good feeling.

We packed up one suitcase each and flew to a different province, Alberta. We lived 35 floors in the sky looking out on an impressive view in a major urban city of Canada. I took on a new management role with an old employer and the hubby stayed home with the kids.

Life was exciting, and everything was new, except the furniture. We bought a map of the city every weekend and highlighted every location there was a yard sale. We hoofed it around town shopping for second hand housewares and furniture. We had to learn to budget for city living again. We found the bulk sellers and started to go to church basement bazaars. We became part of a new community, the pickers.

Pickers are an entire community of people that love to save money and they are fiercely competitive and fun to best. My Rob was very competitive, and we saved loads of money shopping this way. I was able to afford to be a mom that was site-seeing with her family every week.

My gypsy soul did not rest for too long before calling for a new adventure. This time the sale of everything we owned took 3 days and lots went to charity. We were free to run away, again.

We landed in British Columbia, the land otherwise known as “Bring Cash”, once again, with just the two kids, the two cats and the four suitcases. The airlines were possibly getting used to scanning my suitcase. They did not even blink this time when my suitcase consisting of treasured Christmas decorations and clothes went through their scanners.

Even better, we did not get frisked and asked to wait like the last time. Did you know that it is not a good idea to bleach a cat’s carrier before going to the airport? Something about bleach and bombs. But that’s a story for another time.

We were about to find out that even second-hand items in the “beautiful” province are way overpriced.  Building our home up again has taken longer this time. Learning to negotiate the price down, how to walk away from a bad price and how to find those little-known spots to find bargains has become our saving grace.

I love the items that we have found here in British Columbia, I have no idea how I am going to fit them all in my suitcase if we move to the east coast. I’ll sell everything. They should fetch a pretty penny to support the start of the next adventure.

Learning how to shop second hand has given me a whole brand-new life, many times over. Running away has allowed me to realize my dream of travel and it has given me back my joy of shopping. I highly recommend running away from home every few years and starting all over again. It can actually be quite romantic to rebuild your new home, together.

Adventure awaits!

Did you enjoy Tracy’s story as much as I did? Let us know in a comment below and be sure to subscribe to this blog and check out Tracy’s page too!

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62 Comments

  1. The photo was what drew me into this article! I love that idea of free spirit living and long flow dresses. I can relate to this woman and her mindset. I love her fervor for life and travel. I want to take a trip with her!

    1. I wish I had a dress like that, I would totally get into the gypsy vibe! I think Tracy did a great job of sharing her passion for travel and unburdened living. I should take a few tips from her….especially that one about the online garage sale. I’m definitely doing that one!!

    1. I do too! I’m definitely going to use Tracy’s idea and have an online yard sale when I retire and move to a small cottage in the mountains.

  2. Oh my goodness! I just noticed the comments! So flattered, I am 🙂 Bibi, the online garage sale was madness! The apartment building that we lived in had a room filled with shopping buggies and the people that bought stuff online bought even more when they came to pick up their items. One woman and her daughter took three carts out on their first visit and came back for the most amazing kitchenware stuff that we had accumulated at garage sales. I went through a chicken phase and everything in the kitchen was chicken themed. That gal left with everything “chicken”. My husband was overjoyed to see it all go. I was a little overboard. I miss that kitchen, it was huge! I’ve had the fun of restocking two kitchens since that one and not a chicken in sight 🙂

    1. I admit I had a rooster phase! Chickens and roosters have a place, but maybe not as decorations in the kitchen. 🙂

  3. Wow! Just wow. I love that she was able to find a way to create a life that was perfect for her – and convince her family to come along for the ride.

    1. That’s the best part, isn’t it Pam? I love that Tracy’s family is so adventurous and not tied to material possessions.

  4. I am 42 and just started running away from home the past two years. Can I say it is liberating? The littles are now biggies so they can fend for themselves – that makes life easier for sure!

    1. That is so cool Rachel! I’m about ready to downsize and run away myself. All of my kiddos are now beginning to have kiddos of their own and have all moved away from home. Why keep this house since they will never come back to live in the state I live in. I’ll go to them! Ha!

  5. What a great adventure! I always tell my husband that I’ll know where I belong when I get there. We too have gone from place to place; sometimes in the same State and even city, and sometimes many States away. We have lived in apartments, houses, on farms and ranches and quaint little neighborhoods. Still haven’t found THE place but the adventure looking is fun

    1. How very cool Nikki! It sounds like you and Tracy have the same sort of kindred spirit of adventure. I love it! Living on a farm and ranch sounds really fun to me. Did you love it? I think I would!

    1. Age is just a number! I’m 59 and have the wanderlust of a much younger person. Do what feels right for YOU, because in the end, you need to feel fulfillment from a life well-lived. 🙂

  6. For a second, I thought it is about being runaway, lol. I love traveling too as a way to wondering around, discovering things, live minimalist, and learn new things in other places.

    1. I agree, there is certainly comfort in familiarity, isn’t there? The call of adventure can be pretty sweet too though. I’m a bit envious of Tracy’s free spirit for sure.

  7. Wow, I’m much to attached to my “things” – I can’t imagine selling everything and moving with just a suitcase! Good for you to have the courage to do this!

    1. I totally get it Katie! I love my things too…it’ll be hard to let a lot of them go when I retire soon.

  8. I love shopping second-hand so much that I rarely buy anything like clothes retail. eBay is also my friend. I just took clothes to a consignment sale this weekend!

  9. I can relate in that we’ve lived that kind of a life for most of our marriage – having had to move more times than you can count. While I’m excited to finally “settle” in a home, I am now, in my 40s, trying to experience life a little more. Take it in. Breathe it in. Be a part of it. Great post. Enjoy your adventures.

    1. I’ve moved a few times and have definitely decided that I’m not going to take the same boxes that have not been opened in years and years with me the next time I go.

  10. Love this! We have little ones and take them with us and escape as often as we can. Cheers to the next adventure that awaits.

  11. I seem to do this every 2 years or so. Granted I am only 30, and it is still just me, but I’ve pared my belongings down to the essentials. I’ve also decided I’m not going to buy anything (from kitchen spatulas to couches) unless I really love it.

    1. Me too Kat! I retire next school year so maybe by then all of my ducks will line up in their rows and I’ll be off on a wild adventure of my own.

    1. As a teen in the late 70’s I totally had the hair but missed the adventurous spirit needed to rock a dress like that. Now that I’m much older, I should search for one, put it on, and let my silver-fox color hair be the perfect topping to a long, flowing black dress!

  12. I truly admire your free spirit. I would love to quit my job and stay home with my babies. I am busting my butt on my blog so we shall see 😉

  13. Monica, I hope you find great success with your blog! Staying home with the babies is the best and those that are able to do it are very lucky indeed.

  14. Brave and adventurous! I admire being able to pick up and move and start something new! I’ve read several of your other posts, and reading about your experiences makes me all the more excited to one day do the same with my husband.

  15. Tracy is a wonderful guest writer for sure! Visit her site for additional stories that are well-written and fun.

  16. HAHA I loved this post!! I am a traveller at heart as well! My husband and I are planning on going to Australia for a year to work and live and I am just SO excited! I also grew up shopping at second hand stores and will forever be a second hand junkie!!

  17. Ah, that feeling of freedom is definitely the best! This story was fascinating! This woman makes me want to take a trip with her and feel free again! 💗

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