Rethinking Some Things

We had everything planned out: Leave Mexico. Fly to Boston. Pick up stored items. Drive to Nashville. Rent an apartment. Buy a car. Buy furniture. Live there with our little dog for two years and enjoy the company of our daughter-in-law and granddaughter. After that, either road trip around the U.S. or settle in New England.

We honestly were never very excited about either of those post-Nashville options, but we knew with a car, furniture, and a dog any other future travel options would be limited.

While I was once again looking at cars the other day I noticed that Subaru offered a two-year lease option; everything I’d seen up to then only offered 36-month terms. Two year leases can be difficult to find, and although the monthly payment for a 24-month lease is higher than for 36 months, it’s still affordable (and far less than a car payment if purchasing). Leasing while we’re in Nashville would give us the opportunity and freedom to ditch the car at the end of our two-year stay if we want. And, while leasing is normally not the wisest financial choice, our short time in Nashville would be one of those occasions where leasing, at least initially, makes more sense than buying.

Leasing a car also got us thinking again about whether it might make more sense to lease furniture while we’re in Nashville versus purchasing. I’ve had a lot of fun these past few months looking online at furniture and deciding what to buy, but realized if we leased we could return the furniture at the end of two years and not be tied to having to find a place to settle elsewhere or storing the furniture if we decide to return to our nomadic lifestyle. Leasing became a serious consideration for a few days until we crunched numbers again and figured out it would be less expensive to purchase a few things from IKEA when we arrive and then sell them when we leave rather than getting tied down to either expensive furniture purchases or a monthly rental payment.

Leasing a car, and buying a few pieces from IKEA still leaves us with the responsibility of owning a dog, but I’ve been reading about traveling internationally with a dog, and while it does require a bit more effort it’s not all that difficult to bring your pet along to many countries. Our little guy will be small enough to travel in the cabin with us on flights, and while entry into several countries with a dog, including Japan, Mexico, Great Britain, and the E.U., requires some paperwork and keeping up with vaccinations and tests, it’s not overwhelming and would mean no quarantine. With our preference for longer stays, a little upfront effort would mean our dog could accompany us on future travels. Having him along would of course change the nature of travel and somewhat limit where we can go, but would not curb it entirely.

Brett and I still would very much like to travel as much as possible before we can’t any more. We like the nomadic lifestyle, and it’s a good fit for us. At first living in Nashville seemed like a complete game-changer, but we look back and realize our last two years on Kaua’i passed in what now seems the blink of an eye. Treating our time in Nashville like the temporary stay it will be is a more sensible frame of mind for us to be in, and one that better seems to fit our needs, dreams, and desires for the time being.

20 thoughts on “Rethinking Some Things

  1. Funny you should post about renting a Subaru……we are going this afternoon to pick up our Subaru Outback lease! We sold our older Outback, but still own a Forester and had thought we’d be good with just one car. We quickly found out that was not the case, so for now, the lease is a good option for us. Who knows, at the end of the lease we might buy the Outback or really be ready to downsize to one car. Isn’t it great that we can change our minds on most things! LOL!

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    1. Our first choice is to lease an Outback, but we also like the Crosstrek. We may buy it at the end of the lease as well depending the the direction things go at that point, but initially the lease versus buying will work best for us. The only downside for us is that Subaru stock is very limited in the Nashville area – hopefully there will be something in our price range when we arrive.

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      1. Yes, Subaru stock is very limited here. We had to go about a little over an hour away to get ours.

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      2. We have also started looking at what Toyota has available because Subaru and Honda stock is so limited. Even an hour away there are no Foresters to be found, and Crosstrek and Outbacks are very limited in number.

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  2. Great options. Leasing a car would be a good choice for you. It makes me rethink if we need a new car in the next three years, leasing might be an option for us as well. We really want a self driving electric vehicle in about five years- when the bugs have been worked out. And the IKEA furniture is also a good option. Nice looking, easy to resale and less then renting in the long run.
    I have to be honest. I love our small dog to pieces. She is the other child in our family. We have been working with her sleeping in a crate that could travel on airplanes with us. Unfortunately, she severely limits our air bnb options. I found a great place in DC that would fit our winter months, but the landlord is firm about no dog.

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    1. We’d love to lease an electric car, but good luck finding one in Nashville!

      IKEA has some great, stylish options that will be perfect for the next two years. We’re going to order before right before we leave here and pick up there at the Memphis store (there is no IKEA in Nashville) before we have to return the rental cargo van.

      Airbnb now lets you add a pet when you’re searching for a rental. We’ve seen some pretty nice places in our price range, at least in the places we’d like to visit. But I agree, it is going to be more difficult and require more effort with a dog. But, it’s doable.

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  3. My parents traveled extensively with their small dog and cat. They traveled for about 15 years internationally with their dog and cat. When both cat and dog passed they thought that they would not get any more pets, but they did. When they stopped traveling internationally they still traveled all over Canada with their new dog and cat. My mom passed in February and my siblings and I were discussing who would take the dog and cat since my mom was the primary caregiver for both.
    That has not been an issue. My dad, the dog, and the cat have already been away camping in northern Ontario for 2 weeks, with another camping trip planned in 2 weeks!!

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    1. I would much rather travel with a dog than a cat, so hats off to your parents! We always took our dogs camping with us in the past – they loved it! We’ll figure it out this time as well.

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  4. I still cannot believe it has been two years since you went back to Hawaii and have now left! I remember the post well bc the airport in Japan and the airplane you were on to Hawaii was so deserted! So yes, two years passes in the blink of an eye!

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    1. I’m right with you Cindy – it seems like only a short time ago we were passing through a nearly empty Narita airport and boarding a nearly empty plane to fly to Hawaii, not over two years ago. The only thing that gives us a sense of time is how long it’s been since we’ve seen our grandkids and how much they’ve grown. Less than two months though and we’ll be with them again!

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  5. I think leasing a car is an excellent idea. Also, IKEA is a viable source of basic furnishings and I think you’ll be very happy with their beds, bedding, and all you need for your future home. There must be an IKEA near Nashville or at least a pick-up point. I personally haven’t been very successful with their online shipping, but maybe things have improved.
    Slow traveling with a dog is possible but in my opinion ( and I see in other comments as well) it will limit your options both for lodging and moving around. Plus you’ll need to pay deposits as many hosts are concerned about damages. There is a couple who travels the world with 2 small dogs -https://www.youtube.com/c/TravelWithUsbyWarrenJulie- and sometimes they can’t go inside certain restaurants and I’m not sure about buses and trains. But I suppose you’ll cross that bridge when you get there. Maybe one of the girls will take the dog in.

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    1. IKEA has some very stylish and very affordable things that will be perfect for a 2-year stay. I love that we can check if items are available at the Memphis store (the closest IKEA to Nashville), purchase the items we want ahead of time and they will have them ready for pick-up on the date we can get there.

      Thanks for the video about traveling with dogs. It will be a learning experience, that’s for sure. We plan to learn as much as we can beforehand though to limit surprises. For example, dogs can travel on most trains in Europe, but not all so other arrangements would need to be made.

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  6. There are situations when leasing just makes sense, and this sounds like one of them. Yes, two years will be gone faster than you can imagine. We leased cars via our business when we lived in California. But I also leased my current car initially because I had been burned on my previous two cars — one because it was a Saab and when they sold to GM before going away, I was left with no warranty! So until I drove this car for a bit I wanted to lease it so I could ‘escape’ if need be. 😂 And IKEA furniture is a great option. You are very flexible and I’m sure you will roll with whatever comes along.

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    1. This is definitely one of those situations where leasing makes sense, and if we want to keep the car at the end we can buy it then. Makes much more sense financially in this case though to have the option to turn it back in when it’s time to depart Nashville. BTW, I love Saab – they were my ‘dream car’ (until GM bought them).

      I already have our IKEA furniture picked out LOL. We’ll order it a couple of weeks before we leave here. The bed we want is currently out of stock so we’ve got our fingers crossed it comes back in before it’s time to order.

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  7. Sounds like a good plan. Two years really isn’t that long. I agree with buying furniture instead of renting. You can sell it when you leave. I’ve never leased a car so I don’t know anything about that, but since you already know you only need a car for 2 years, leasing does make a lot of sense. If your plans change and you decide you want to keep the car, I believe you can buy it. I haven’t had any pets since I was a kid, but as others said, there are Airbnbs that won’t rent to people with pets, so that may restrict where you can stay, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to find places that accept pets.

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    1. We leased once before, and then bought the car afterwards – that’s the worst possible way to do things, but we’ll do it if we end up wanting to keep the car.

      On Airbnb, when you put in how many people will be in your group you can add a pet then and it will automatically filter the homes that accept pets. So that will be helpful although I agree it will limit our selections.

      The difference between buying and leasing furniture is a savings of over $4000, so really a no-brainer for us there.

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      1. Wow! I assumed leasing furniture would be more expensive, but I never thought it would be a $4,000 difference. Like you said below, just buy the basics at IKEA and you can always pick up other items at less expensive places. I’ve never been to Nashville, but they must have second-hand or discount furniture stores.

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      2. Leasing (decent) basic furniture for the living room, bedroom, and dining room would be somewhere between $300-$350/month. Times 24 months that’s over $7,000. We can get the basic (wood!) furniture we need (and like) at IKEA for around $3000 and probably sell for at least $1000 two years later when we leave. There’s no contest about what we should do.

        I know Nashville probably has great thrift and second hand stores, but finding those when you’re new to a big city can take time which we won’t initially have. As we find them we’ll buy things we can fill in with.

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  8. I love reading about your adventures. Tossing in my two cents worth, I buy almost everything at thrift and consignment stores or online via Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Consider those ideas before spending money at Ikea.

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    1. I am all for shopping at thrift stores, consignment, etc. if I know the area but we are going into Nashville blind. I have no idea where thrift stores are, if they’re any good, etc. Plus, we need to be “up and running” quickly as our DIL will already be working when we arrive, our son will return to Japan shortly after we get there, and our granddaughter will be starting school less than a week after our arrival. We plan to only buy “basics” at IKEA (dining table & chairs, sofa, bed, dresser) and will fill in with thrifting finds as we go along and learn our way around the area.

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