In the Beginning a New Chapter post I introduced myself (Hi I’m Laura) and my husband Dave. I talked about Nerd and Super Nerd, the original 2010 debt-free journey website, and the plans for our 2017 “inspiring everyday adventures” website.

I also promised honesty and behind the scenes looks into our story so today I thought it would be fun to show you how our life is different from those early days.

Five Ways the Nerds life has changed since 2010.

Changes to the Nerds since 2010 #1 – No More Loans!

We paid off $133,313.33 in student loan and second mortgage debt in 2012!

It took us 2.5 years of saying no to eating out, saying no to vacations except for family cottages, and being VERY conscious of everything we were spending at any of the stores, no pretty things for the house or extras.

We still did home upgrades like painting the entire exterior of our house, staining the deck and a few other projects, but small (and cheap) fixes.

Those 2.5 years allowed us to eliminate ALL payments to loan companies except our primary mortgage.

NOW! We get to do anything we want with our income!

I’ve had family and friends tell me how lucky I am for paying off my loans, but I’m here to tell you that it’s hard work and it’s SO worth it! Being smart with money for 2.5 years allows us to adventure, to say YES to lots more experiences, and we don’t worry about making ends meet like we used to… which leads me to point #2.

Changes to the Nerds since 2010 #2 – Leaving engineering and work travel

In 2014 I left industrial and manufacturing engineering after 8 years of full-time engineering and 2 years of engineering projects as a student — I usually say 10 years because my student projects were REAL projects that a junior engineer would typically create, plan, and execute.

By mid-2013 I had been traveling for about 6 years, launching automotive assembly lines and I was exhausted from full-time travel. I tried transitioning into similar jobs but doors weren’t opening for jobs closer to home. Because we paid off our debts we could make the choice for me to transition into home life, which to be honest I’m still trying to figure out what a “house wife” looks like after so many years of intense travel.

Changes to the Nerds since 2010 #3 – Grandpa Time!
After I left engineering I was able to spend a lot of time with my favorite person in the whole world, my grandpa, who got sick shortly after I left my full-time career. It was a blessing to be able to spend time with him in that year and a half before he passed! I got to share pictures with him, hear stories, tell stories, and I got to help make sure he was taking all the right things when grandpa wasn’t listening to mom’s care taking urging.

Speaking of loss… since 2010 we lost our black lab, our orange kitty, my dad, my grandpa, and had a miscarriage in that order.

On the flip side (*smiles* yes I know what a flip side is!) we’ve also said hello to a niece, a nephew, two kitties, our black lab, and LOTS of new brothers and sisters through marriage — I am the oldest from a family of 3 kids and Dave is the oldest from a family of 5 kids. We have a much bigger family now and in case you missed it… we are two first-born engineers living in a house with a black lab and two kitties and yes it gets a bit crazy!

Changes to the Nerds since 2010 #4 – Traveling for Fun!

We have traveled A LOT! Mostly we’ve taken Midwest trips, usually from our home in metro-Detroit to Milwaukee where Dave’s family lives as well as “up north” to my family’s cottage on Lake Huron. We love taking trips to Traverse City, MI, and Marquette, MI to experience Lake Michigan and Lake Superior’s beauty… usually on the way to Dave’s family cottage in northern Wisconsin.

In 2014 I was able to join Dave on a work trip to Australia and in 2016 I was able to tag along on a work trip to Germany. We traveled to California for two weeks in 2016 which turned into a work trip by coincidence, this work trip meant I got to enjoy my February birthday in sunshine (only to be topped in 2017 as we had an unseasonably warm 75* day in in Michigan on February 18th!) — time to grab your calendar… my birthday is February 18th! Dave’s is June 9th… for those who want to send us cards.

All these trips had elements of wonder, frustration, awe-inspiring beauty, crankiness, and life-giving moments. None of these travels would have been made possible without the hard work up front (to pay off our loans) and the village who takes care of our house when we are gone from neighbors who keep watch (we have three law enforcement officers in the neighborhood) to the friends who check on our kitties to my family who usually takes our black lab, Clementine while we wander to a fro.

Changes to the Nerds since 2010 #5 – Cars

Since 2010 Cars have become an even bigger part of our life. Our careers have always been in the automotive industry and we both naturally have been around cars in some way since we were kids.

In 2015, we started helping my uncle on Vintage racing weekends with his Austin Healy Sprite as part of his pit crew. Usually, pit crew means helping tune up the race car between races so Dave gets to turn wrenches and I get to take pictures and make sure everyone is hydrated.

Because of the vintage racing weekends Dave’s heart for the Little British Car grew and in 2016 with Dave’s bonus we were able to add a “fun car” to our garage with the arrival of Dave’s 1979 Triumph Spitfire. It’s British Racing Green and I can fit a whole weekend into the trunk!

Sometimes life is completely ordinary like right now we have a few house projects and an endless supply of dishes and laundry. Sometimes life is filled with whirl-wind adventures, but all in all, we are working on enjoying life and supporting one another, even if we fail a lot in the process.

This is a small look into the story of Nerd and Super Nerd and I hope you’ll stick around to hear more!

If you’re not already signed up, I hope you’ll consider giving us your email address so we can let you know more of our story as we add more volumes to our adventures!

As always thank you for being here!