(Note: This post was written by Laurel Regan and originally published in a separate blog called “Why Windsor…”, which was later merged with Alphabet Salad.)
With the realization that I was ready for a change… that something had to give… came the understanding that serious thought needed to be dedicated to making some decisions about the future. Over the next while my husband and I started tossing various possibilities and scenarios around in conversation, each leading to some rather discouraging conclusions.
Possibility: Remain in Victoria, but move to a smaller home with a smaller mortgage. This would free up a bit of money each month and possibly enable us to do some travelling, thereby reducing the restlessness we both feel about being trapped on the Island.
Conclusion: Non-starter. After eight years together in a cramped condo, neither of us is prepared to sacrifice space. Besides, the likelihood of freeing up enough money to do anything more significant than breathe a little easier each month is unlikely.
Possibility: Remain in Victoria, but sell our home and become renters. This would provide us with a significant sum of money from the sale of our home to use for travelling, school, etc.
Conclusion: Non-starter. This scenario would remove us from the housing market, most likely forever. No matter how much a change is needed in our lives, we’re not prepared to lose the equity we’ve worked so hard to build over all these years.
Possibility: Remain in my current job, but reduce my hours to a four- (or even three-) day week. This would give me more free time to pursue other interests.
Conclusion: Non-starter. We actually need to make more money, not less, in order to sustain our current situation!
Possibility: Look for a different job in Victoria. This would alleviate the sameness of my day-to-day routine.
Conclusion: Most likely a non-starter. My current salary level is partly based on my seniority and partly on the fact that I have some additional responsibilities that are outside the scope of similar positions elsewhere, so the chances of finding a new job with equal to or greater than my current level of compensation are slim to none.
At this point things were starting to seem pretty hopeless. We felt as though we were going in circles and were really starting to get quite dispirited, wondering if it would be possible for us to make any kind of significant changes in our lives.
One evening, though, a whole new set of possibilities tentatively began to worm into my thoughts. For some reason I suddenly remembered a comment a friend had left on one of my LiveJournal posts several years ago, around the time we were in the market to buy our current home. I believe I had posted some links to MLS listings for houses we were interested in seeing, and she was shocked at how high the prices were in Victoria. She posted her own set of links to MLS listings for houses in her city… Windsor… which were in the same price range as the ones I was posting, but were absolute mansions. My turn to be shocked! Looking back, I think that online conversation planted a seed in my mind, even though I would never in a million years have realized it at the time.
At first, though, I was afraid to even consider the possibility of leaving Victoria, leaving my family and friends, leaving our lovely little home. How could we possibly do such a thing?
But the idea wouldn’t go away… not so much of Windsor in particular, but of moving in general…. so just for fun, I started looking at housing prices in other areas of Canada. I think when I realized that there were cities in my country where we could actually purchase a house outright… no more mortgage!… my resistance started to melt away and the excitement began to build. Suddenly a new scenario presented itself:
Possibility: Sell our home in Victoria and move to an area of Canada where real estate and the cost of living is cheaper, giving me the freedom to accept a lower salary and/or shorter work week, or move into a completely different type of work altogether.
Conclusion: I think we may be on to something…