Looking at life from a different angle now
The Good Life|March 2021
Bout with cancer, plus pandemic made couple wonder: Why wait to really live?
YVETTE DAVIS

Work. Save. Plan for retirement. That’s what most of us do. But retirement can seem so far away it becomes more of a dream than a reality.

The temptation to buck the system is great. Meet one couple who did just that.

Brenda Pickering and Rich Barrington started their planning over five years ago. Their dream? To travel the United States and live in the great outdoors. Both are camping and hunting enthusiasts, and enjoy being in nature more than in a cubicle.

“We spent all our weekends and off-work time camping and knew it had to be part of our retirement plan,” said Brenda.

Their scheme allowed for Rich to retire at 60 and Brenda at 55. They might have stayed on that timeline if it hadn’t been for two unforeseen setbacks: cancer and coronavirus.

Five years ago, a breast cancer diagnosis threw their schedule off track. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, that shock and the following surgeries and trauma both physical and mental really made us reassess what was most important to us,” said Brenda. “It was during this time that we really started penciling out what it would take to retire early in terms of money and time,” she said.

They took the next steps of preparing to sell their 2,850 square foot home with a 1,200 square foot garage, and down-sizingtheir possessions to fit in a 25-foot travel trailer, a Toyota Tundra and a 10-foot by 20-foot storage unit.

Brenda can attest to the work involved.

“Downsizing, what a job! The good thing is that we are not really ‘stuff’ people. I have always looked at something and if we haven’t used it in the last year or two I would get rid of it. I went room to room several times and reevaluated.”

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