I’m going back a little, to 2014. When we got the spark to change our lives, to become more self-sufficient, to cut our materialistic tendencies, and perhaps become happier. The story starts in another blog (Simplified Bliss) that was swallowed-up by the Web’s blackhole, so it’s getting repeated here.
We are a fairly average family. I have four terrific daughters, two still at home. The older girls got cheated a bit. Fewer vacations, less play time, and not much emphasis on Hawaii. My own father was in the Navy, and we lived all over, but my earliest memories start in kindergarten and spending time at Waikiki Beach. I couldn’t swim yet, but my sister Cathy and I had a blast.
The Island of Oahu wasn’t as crowed back then, and it’s still beautiful, so Cathy settled into a life in Honolulu in the late 1980s; Mom and Dad moved to Kalaheo on the island of Kauai about the same time. I worked, played poker and blackjack, and moved from college to college, winding up at the University of Reno, Nevada in the 1990s and met my wife Shannon.
We spent a few years in Gig Harbor, Washington where we flipped two houses after doing some remodeling such as as building extra closets, adding a third bathroom in one of the homes, and then replacing the outside siding and building a deck on the second. We learned a little construction, a little finance, and moved to Angel Fire, New Mexico.
I wrote my second book in our cabin (Stealing From Bandits). For you writers out there, my first book (Nevada’s Golden Age of Gambling) has outsold Stealing 10 to 1, so I was lucky to have some income from that, but making a living writing books is tough. I supplemented my book income with magazine articles, web articles, and some poker playing.
When we got serious about making more money, we moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, worked in the gaming industry, and vacationed regularly in Hawaii, visiting the family. I also wrote for About.com and managed to write another half-dozen books, which supplied a nice second income. And then came 2014.
Well, what to do. How do you quit the rat-race and live happily ever after? We started looking at raw land. We were raw. We had no clue. What to do?