One of our goals in downsizing and moving from our 4 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment is to free up time and money so that we can create more meaningful experiences and participate in more fun activities. We want our life to be more about experience and less about stuff. Before moving, we had a good idea of how that might play out, but we weren’t sure it would really work out that way. Now that we have a couple of months of this new lifestyle under our belts, I can say that it has been working out as planned.
I want to share some of the things that we’ve been doing since we downsized.
We love the Disney theme parks. We live in Orlando near Disney and have annual passes, and we love spending time riding rides, seeing shows, and enjoying the attractions. Our house was about an hour from the parks, and when we moved to be closer to work, we also ended up being closer to Disney. We now live about 15 minutes away, which makes it much more convenient to head over, especially in the evening or if we only want to go for a couple of hours.
After downsizing, we’ve been visiting the four Disney parks more often. Our daughter, Faith, loves going and we enjoy it also. Several times we’ve headed over in the evening to sneak in a couple of rides and dinner while still being able to get home in time for bedtime. We’ve also had more money available, meaning we could eat at the parks more often. This allows us to spend more time in the parks and also to go more often.
Beyond the money factor, we really have more time to visit the parks. We are no longer chained to our house on weekends working on housework or maintaining the yard. This means that every weekend, we really have both days available to fill with fun activities.
Our daughter has taken a shine to roller skating recently. It’s about $20 for the three of us every time we go. Before our downsizing, that would have been in the budget about once a month. Now we are able to go once a week. Sometimes we even go twice a week to take advantage of free pizza night, where we get to skate and eat pizza for $20.
I’m sure you already know this, but going to the movies is a big expense. For a family of three we spend about $25 for tickets and another $20 or so on popcorn and drinks. Before downsizing, going to the movies was almost never in our budget. Now we have the freedom to spend the money to enjoy a movie and munch on some popcorn.
In February we had to travel to Tampa, about two hours away, for a doctor appointment. Normally we would drive over, go to the appointment, and then drive back. This time we decided to stay for the weekend. We hit up priceline for a good hotel rate and planned some activities for the weekend. On Saturday we visited the Lowry Park Zoo, which is rated as one of the best children’s zoos in the United States. On Sunday we went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the dolphin (the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movie.) It was a great weekend. Faith had a great time, and Dream and I enjoyed getting away for the weekend.
We’re hoping to plan some more weekends away this summer, and maybe hit up some of the local beaches.
Disney Cruise Vacation
This was our biggest event of the year. Part of our plan is to take at least one big vacation every year. My fondest memories as a child all revolve around family vacations. In the current economy vacations seem to take a back seat to daily life more often than most of us would like. It happened to us more than we liked. We are making family vacations a high priority in our new lifestyle.
We just got back from the first of these vacations. We took a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. It was simply amazing. The ship was fantastic, our room was absolutely spotless, and the staff was amazing. The ship was so great that we stayed on board when it docked in Nassau. (We had been there twice before, so we weren’t missing much we hadn’t already seen.)
After departing Nassau, the ship headed to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. It was really nice to not have to dodge all the shady characters when getting off the ship. The only shady character we saw at Castaway Cay was Captain Jack Sparrow, and he was busy taking pictures with the kids, so we were able to slip by.
We spent the day lounging on the beach and swimming in the cool clean waters. We also rented bikes and rode to the lookout tower to take in the views of the turquoise Caribbean waters. Before the heading back to the ship we did a little snorkeling.
It was hard to come back to real life after our vacation, which is exactly how a vacation should feel. We’re looking forward to many more adventures like this.
There you have the highlights for the last few months. I’ll try to keep the blog updated with our adventures as we experience them.
I’d love to hear from you. Has downsizing made room for more experiences in your life? If you are in the process of downsizing, what adventures do you have planned?