I've talked about the bottom-line reason for us to be living this life out on the road: to pay off our debt from credit cards and student loans. To date, we have paid off around $100,000 in debt. We still have three student loans to go, but we are very pleased with our progress thus far!
As part of the next phase of life we are working toward, we are "pressing pause" on our debt snowball. I had mentioned in A Different Diagnosis that we need to get off the road as soon as possible. In order to do that, we need some savings to fund the transfer of what comes next. So, all of the mileage that has paid us starting in December through now, and through our next few weeks on the road, all of those miles are going straight to savings. We are preparing for early-to-mid February as our departure from the truck.
We have things lined up for us to move to Bismarck, North Dakota. Bismarck you say? Yes, Bismarck. As in it's-really-cold-and-no-one-lives-in-North-Dakota Bismarck. If you've paid any attention to the news lately of oil fields (projected 15-20 year boom) and low unemployment (current rate of 3.5%, in the last 20 years it has been less than 5%) in the state, then you understand part of our reasoning. We've done extensive research, applied for jobs (just waiting for a break in the weather for the ground to thaw to start work), secured an apartment and are ready for the move. We plan to stay located in Bismarck, though the oil fields are in the northwest corner of the state (and solo drivers can earn $100,000/year!), as our plan is to achieve conception as soon as possible. As there is not much more than oil in the northwest of ND, we want to be close to amenities to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
There is a very small, very slight chance that we will "scrap the plan" of moving to Bismarck and stay in Bend. The possibility of work there is slim, but we are staying open to that. We love Bend and would love to stay, but when we started making these plans, there was a lot of instability in what could come there. So, we will see what happens! But, as for now, our plan is to head east to Bismarck!