Details: How Are We Making This Travel Life Work?
Someone recently asked us,
"As a new reader - of such fun!!! - I immediately wanted to read in the "How this all started" what the plan for sustainability was. Is this a reckless couple endangering the future of their children?!? It's as if I can't totally relax into the adventure though, unless I can hear that they've set aside 1 year to travel & them plan to live simply by xyz. Or something, you know? Is there an explanation somewhere that isn't showing up on mobile, perhaps? (Hope this kind of feedback is ok!)"
How Others Have Done It
I know of two other families personally who are living the way we are, on the road. One explained to me that her family saved for 4 years before they took a year off to travel internationally. The other is journalist and her husband was in the NHL so they had a big nest egg with which to make the decision to travel the country in an RV for a year.
Enter the Nelsons.
Umm...we did not do any of the above, hence our moniker.
That just wasn't our journey. We were much less intentional about planning specifically for this life and more just tripped and fell over into it (which probably will not alleviate the reader's anxiety about what we're doing. Sorry!).
Instead, once our house sold, we struggled to come up with another location in which to settle down. The idea came up early one morning, after a long night of searching Trulia and Zillow with no luck (again!)--"What if we don't buy right away? What if we just travel for a bit?"
Here are a few facts about us:
- We didn't have a large savings when we started.
- We don't currently have a large savings.
- We hope to have a large savings one day.
And I love that part of our journey. If I were watching our life from the outside, I'd be encouraged that even little ole' me could make BIG changes in my own life, from exactly the spot I found myself. I wouldn't have to wait years, and I wouldn't have to be an ex-celebrity to do so.
Here are a few more important behind-the-scenes factoids:
- We sold our house, and therefore, don't currently have a mortgage or any utility bills to pay.
- We did own 2 cars prior to the move, and currently do, but are considering selling one, so we have more each month which could be used for travel expenses. Our oldest daughter is driving one of the cars, the other is being loaned out to folks who might need it.
- We use what would be our mortgage payment and find deals through Airbnb for places to stay while we travel. We travel via cheap flights or long drives, and stay in cool destinations for a 4-6 week time period.
- We live on a weekly budget of $250 cash, which includes entertainment, food, and public transportation costs, if we don't have our car with us.
- In between Airbnbs and traveling, we stay with family for a few weeks at a time to reconnect and to give the kids a sense of being back home. Some people talk about having RVs for this very purpose, having a homebase. We are considering that as a future option. But don't know much about the details of living in an RV. So, chime in if you can help us with that!! Like, what's maintenance like on those beasts?
I homeschool the kids using a methodology I love: Classical Conversations.
Okay, but how do you make money?
- Angus works full-time remotely, and can work from anywhere that has fast internet. (As a side note, this position did not come about until months after I quit my full-time job, and after Angus went back to waiting tables in the interim. There is something awesome about stepping out into the unknown and watching things fall into place!)
- We are building our network now and hope to do some travel blogging, creating partnerships with resorts and CVBs (Convention and Visitor's Bureaus) around the world. For example, we might stay at a resort for FREE, and then write a review about our experience for that company.
So, are we reckless?
To some, absolutely.
Could it have gone absolutely wrong? You bet. And it still could.
But know this, it could have gone wrong had we stayed on the most risk-free path in life. People lose their jobs and their houses all the time, even while playing it safe.
Have you ever gotten to the point where:
you didn't fear the consequences of taking the risk as much as you did the thought of staying in the same place, not changing, just existing?
Well, that's where we found ourselves. We just weren't willing to put in decades of being miserable, only to come alive on the weekends, in hopes that retirement would bring some utopia later in life.
I experienced an awakening of sorts, and I started making life decisions as if I truly believed the following statement:
Will you join me?