McKinney Gypsy Caravan

One part travel blog. One part nerdy history lesson.

The McKinney Gypsy Caravan is on the move again

Hello everyone!
It feels like its been forever since I’ve done any blog posting…in reality its only been about 6 months… but a lot can happen in 6 months! Like, making a life-changing decision to move across the world. haha

So, that being said- we made the decision a couple months ago to jump in head first and relocate to Ireland at the end of August.

Usually the first question I get when I say that is “Have you ever been there?”. I find this humorous…I mean I know we’re adventurous… but I think you’d have to be crazy to move someplace you’ve never even visited, right?? To be truthful, we haven’t been there as much as most people who would uproot their life and move across the pond- but we’re pretty familiar with what life in Ireland will be like.

The next question is usually, “Is it for work?” No, not really. Although, it did start out that way. I did a little freebie consulting and proposal review for the government of Ireland’s health initiative a little over a year ago and began making some Irish connections, knowing their country is getting ready to embark on the electronic health record journey that the US did .  That led to some face to face meetings back in February and lining up a long term Meditech project outside of Dublin. So, we were pretty much going for work for a year or two… until the facility decided to pause their project and wait a year or so before continuing. I think that we were both so committed to going and excited about that adventure, that when the opportunity wasn’t there, we started discussing the feasibility of going anyway! ….and here we are.

I’ll continue to work remotely for now for a few clients that I have active, continue to run the business from Ireland and hopefully use this as a catalyst to finally take more of an admin role and less of a lead consultant role over the next couple of years. (Now, that being said…I’ll probably end up doing the exact same thing I do now in Ireland as soon as the first opportunity is offered. I just cant turn down work. haha)

“Do you have a place already?” Yes. and no. We bid on and won a house at auction back in May. We paid our deposit and have been waiting on final contracts until this week (arrived in the mail today!) So, once both parties sign, we will be legally bound to purchase the purchase- and they will be legally bound to sell it. So, it’s in the works… but with as slow as things move there in real estate, I’ll be surprised if we officially own it by the date we go over on August 29th.

I don’t have any great pictures of the house, but you can view it from Google Maps here:

https://goo.gl/maps/bjDy9jXEh552

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It needs work inside, but it is just perfect. I have big plans for this little place. I’ll make sure the entire remodel and move project is documented here as we go.

Lastly people ask if we are really that scared of Donald Trump. haha The answer to that is YES. GOD YES… but not the catalyst for our move.

We have a lot of small reasons that added up to this making sense but some of the main reasons were that we love to travel…and Europe is a great jumping point for travel to just about any place. Instead of 3 plane tickets costing $3k or more to go for a trip…. most tickets are under $100/person. We can get to Paris in 1.5 hours and $60 round trip. You just cant travel from the States like you can from Europe.

Another major factor is our long term plans. We wanted to get ourselves to a low cost of living so that early retirement and homeschooling Norah are options for us. Not to get too political or critical….but it really is getting harder and harder in the US for the middle class to get to a point of retirement just due to the little things that add up. Housing prices, utilities, cell phone prices, cable, health insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes, rising cost of food, etc… just to LIVE means you need a significant amount of monthly income- more than afforded on social security…and more than most people will have at retirement. Not to mention the cost of a college education for 1 or more children… the prices for college are just laughable at this point… and I just cant see pouring 100k or more into a 4 year “experience” for an 18 year old. (I am well aware I don’t HAVE to pay for any of it… but that’s a responsibility we want to take on as parents).

Enter Ireland:

This country house and barn on 2 acres was the equivalent of $72,000. Granted, it needs updating and remodeling…so the final price will be around $100,000. However, then we own it. Like, own it. No property taxes annually, no homeowner’s insurance (At least not in the way we know it in the US). Water is “free” but now has a new tax they have started… 2 years worth of back water tax on this house that will be owed when we acquire it is $90. So, something….but not what we pay. Electric is a competitive market with options…and discounted prices when you sign up- like DirectTv here. ha Plus, their temperate climate (although way colder than Florida!) means no AC needed… and the house has a cozy little wood stove/fireplace and oil fired heating with radiators, keeping bills down.  A SIM card for your cell phone with unlimited data, text and minutes is under $30 a month. Food is cheaper than it is in the US and such a higher quality- fresh milk, fresh local eggs, local butchers with meat raised and butchered in the same little town.

Healthcare is free once you’re a citizen (which will take 6-7 years to attain) but in the meantime, you can buy top of the line private insurance that has maternity coverage, mental health, prescription drugs, orthopedic clinics, etc… for $200 for the whole family a month. Compare that to the $600 we pay here for the equivalent of major medical. And that insurance works everywhere in the world except the United States. That should tell you something about the status of our health system.

Also, college. Now Ireland doesn’t have free college. It will cost you to study there…but not like the US… but being a part of the EU (and no- Ireland is not a part of Brexit…Ireland is it’s own country haha) you can travel, work or live in any of the 27 EU nations. That means Norah can choose college anywhere in Europe, some of which are free or very low cost if we attain Irish citizenship.

There are a couple things I wish were a little different. Guns being the main item. Growing up in the US, having a gun in the house for protection gives you a little peace of mind. In Ireland, you cant own a firearm without a distinct reason to own one…and personal protection isn’t a reason, especially if you aren’t a citizen. So that will take a little getting used to… also, cars are taxed by the engine size so owning an SUV or a van or a truck might mean you pay $2000 a year to register it vs about $200 a year for a little hatchback car. So, we have already picked out our car for Ireland: a 2011-ish Honda Fit. will run us about $8500. Also, I had to promise Kegan he can buy an old Land Rover Defender or a Toyota FJ40 at some point for making him sell his Toyota FJ Cruiser here before we head over. I told him we would discuss when the house is finished. haha

So…overall, it totally fits our short and long term goals…and gosh darn it, the Irish are just awesome people…and it really may be the most beautiful place on the planet. I hope anyone who can, buys a ticket over to Ireland and visits us and lets us show you around some of our favorite spots. And who knows…in a year or two, we may be moving everything back going “well, that was fun… but it’s just not for us”…and thats OK. 🙂

That being said, the original use of this blog to share vacations every six months or so will likely change….and I totally understand if you don’t want your email inboxes cluttered up with weekly posts from me about little trips or home remodeling.  Feel free to unsubscribe and I will not take it personally in the least!

I actually bought a new website domain that is more fitting to our lives: GypsyMcKaravan.com

I’m working on moving all of the blog over to the new domain and ending FreshInnocentsAbroad… but I still have to see how that will work for the subscribers, I may have to have you resubscribe in the future, but we’ll tackle that when we get there.

Before we leave south Florida, we decided to do a little “staycation” next week and see all of the things in Florida a good tourist would see. Another post to kick off that trip is coming tomorrow.

17 Comments

  1. I am full of the jealous and totally thrilled for you guys! Like you said, whether this is a lifelong move or a two year move, what an adventure it will be!! I can’t wait to read about it all and even more, I can’t wait to save money for a family trip! Seriously though, freaking Ireland!!

  2. Leave Norah here, you can come visit her. Lol

  3. I can’t wait to read about your travels. Love you Erin, Kegan and Norah

  4. Loved seeing the picture of the house. So glad you are continuing your blog. Love reading about your adventures. Such an exciting time for your family (I know it’s not quite as exciting for those left in the states)! Have fun and keep us posted.

  5. Awesome so happy for you. Love the updates.

  6. Eeeek and I’m super excited that you are coming! Let the good times roll

  7. I’m excited for you. We hope to get back to Irlenad before our European vacation ends in 2017. If you want to see some of Germany, fly into Frankfurt Hahn (RyanAir) and we can show you around our little town.

    • For sure! We 100% will. Sometime in the Spring will be perfect for us. So we’ll coordinate and see what your plans are around March or early April 🙂

      • Sounds great!! We have a sneaky suspicion that we may not be leaving Europe in 2017, but nothing for sure yet. There are some opportunities to move over to the UK. We can island hop so easily!

  8. Patty Woodward

    July 7, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    How exciting! I’m thrilled for you and Kegan! What an adventure! I’ll probably never get to Ireland (a country I’ve always been enamored with) so I shall live vicariously through your adventures. I look forward to seeing your work in progress on your new home and the settling in process as you begin this next phase in your life. Hugs and love to you all.

  9. Lyla McGlinchey

    July 8, 2016 at 3:55 am

    Ahhh, alas the time is near. I wish you all the VERY best in this exciting opportunity and look forward to reading about your adventures big and small. Drew, Barbara and I would love to come visit you all once your settled, 2017 summer or fall maybe (and we WILL be staying with you, not just dropping by for a couple of hours ;), hehe). We truly enjoyed your visit and it touched my heart you guys went out of your way to stop by and say hello before heading back to Florida. Let us know your mailing address in Ireland and the approximate date of your arrival; Barbara and I may curate a lovely USA send off gift to great Norah upon her Irish debut! You know, because what little lassie doesn’t love packages! Have fun!

    • Yeah..turns out we don’t really have an address… Like no house number, no named road. Haha so… You’re going to have to give us a minute to go to the town post office and ask them how exactly we should address things if we want them to show up at our house. Haha but that is very sweet of you and Norah will be ecstatic. She hasn’t quit talking about Barbara. They really hit it off!

      • Lyla McGlinchey

        July 10, 2016 at 8:03 pm

        Whaaatttt???? That’s just odd. Well, maybe finding out how to retrieve shipped goods will be your first adventure? 🙂
        Let me know when you find out. Too cute on Norah and Barbara: glad they took a liking to each other!

  10. I want to visit and see Ireland while you are there! My lifelong friend/college roommate has travelled extensively and would love to come with me as a travel buddy, and I’m betting my Tara would love to as well. Maybe in a year or two? I’m excited for you! Oh yeah, BTW, is college that expensive in Indiana? My goodness, we have some great State colleges here in Texas (UT, A&M, Texas State) that cost about $10k a year; just in case, lol. 🙂 You know us Texans, (wink wink) Instead of Welcome to the United States we say Welcome to Texas and it’s 49 bitches, bahahaha.
    Love the blog!

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