Due to safety concerns, my family may need to leave our home and employment situation. Our lifestyle is rather bizarre. where should we go and how should we do it? very long and rambling-- sorry, but I'm somewhat confused at the moment.
posted by lgyre to grab bag (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My family (myself, husband and two-month old son) own a house outright in a very cheap neighborhood. We have lived here for four years, but after having stray bullets shot into our house last year and our housemate recently being assaulted so badly near our house that he had to go to the emergency room after escaping, we have decided that maybe we should stop tempting fate and move somewhere else. Actually, we're kind of in a hurry.
We have about 3,000 to 5,000 dollars of liquid assets, plus the property we own in this neighborhood (2 buildings) which we bought for about 80,000. (we bought some of this property with an extremely lucky windfall, in case it seems bizarre in relation to the information below). We might be able to get about 60,000 back if we sold out right now, but due to local trends it looks like this number might increase significantly if we hold out on selling for another couple of years. Our credit is not great, and we strongly prefer to avoid debt anyway, due to our employment situation, which is complicated.
We have been primarily self-employed for years. Work we have done includes selling art and crafts, DJing parties and playing music, professional writing, massage therapy (unlicensed, but we get rave reviews), dancing, catering, teaching yoga, construction, child care, and probably more things I can't think of right now. We're actually rather competent at most of these things, but we haven't been great about the business aspects of being self-employed. My husband also currently works two days a week as a personal assistant for a friend who is a wedding photographer. Plus, we both have degrees from Carnegie Mellon, but very little in the way of actual normal work history, which makes getting professional types of jobs pretty hard even if we try.
We value time to work on personal projects and be together as a family very highly compared to material success, which is the main reason we currently live where we live. We would strongly prefer to continue doing similar work eventually, although moving would disrupt many of our current opportunities, so moving to another city and starting out with hardly any savings and following this plan seems dangerous. Plus, our expenses would probably increase significantly. Of course, we might be able to get some sort of entry-level jobs (although I've been rejected surprisingly often for even these due to being "overqualified"), but since the pay would be so low and we would have to arrange childcare somehow, that hardly seems worth it, even aside from being soul-crushing. Eventually, at the very least, we would strongly prefer work that is part time, pays decently, is fairly self-directed and that we could do together and/or with our child around.
Also, our lifestyle is pretty far from mainstream in several other respects, and we would strongly prefer to live somewhere that at best that is kind of normal, but at least where it doesn't put us in further danger. specifically, we are politically radical, feminist, concerned about social justice and ecology (we don't currently own a working car), pagan, and enjoy living communally (we currently live with two housemates, at least one of whom might relocate with us). We love nature and have considered more rural environments (if we could find a safeish one), but we also enjoy the diversity and opportunities of urban environments (if we could find a safeish one).
So, MeFi, what should we do? I know this is asking a lot and we will probably have to compromise on some of our preferences, but I figured I'd throw them all out there for brainstorming purposes. We are extremely wide open to the range of possibilities, and in fact I'm asking this question mostly to expand that range (for example, our list of options currently includes joining a commune, moving to a very cheap country for a couple of years, and going to grad school). Are there any cool places where we could buy a house for $60,000? What about interesting jobs that would provide us with room and board? Ways to constructively and cheaply while away a year or so (while hopefully increasing our future prospects)? Or anything else relevant that comes to mind? Practical and crazy suggestions are both welcome.