A common question, both from people who I tell about our nomadic plans and from myself. Although I do feel that I have a pretty good grasp of it myself now. A lot will be finding opportunities as we go specific to our time and place, but I know the general ideas – and some specifics – of how we’re going to make it happen. This plan did not start as an entire lifestyle, but the more research I did the more I realized how feasible it actually is! The internet is littered, in fact, with individuals and families who have ended their 9 to 5s in favour of a life exploring the world. However, I imagine many of you have not put in months of research on this topic, and none of you have been inside my head (lucky you!) when I was figuring out how to make it work for us. So I have decided to break down for you a little bit how we will live our nomadic life.
First, income: how will we finance not only our journeys but also our basic human needs? Our first traveling stint will be covered by what I have and will continue saving up until we leave. While we will make some money off the sale of the house, that will be saved for when we inevitably decide we need a more permanent place to rest our feet (I have dreams of a self-designed tiny home). It will also be there for emergencies incase something unexpected happens during our travels. When we are back in Canada after that first journey I plan to get my TEFL certification and decide on a credible organization to work for teaching english online. There are an incredible amount of job opportunities doing this, and as long as I have a solid internet connection I can do it from anywhere! I will also work various jobs when we are staying somewhere for a longer period (I’m thinking Tim Horton’s, grocery stores, summer camps, provincial parks, golf courses, retail, serving – whatever is available near us). These will cover our living expenses and help save for our next journeys. I also plan to do some teaching abroad – my bachelor’s degree will finally be an asset! I was pleasantly surprised to find how many countries actually have these jobs: Spain, Italy, Paris, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, Costa Rica… Some places I’ll only make enough to cover our living expenses for that country, but other locations I will be able to fund our living as well build up my savings. We will also do some volunteering jobs in which we will be put up with local families who provide us with accomodations and meals in turn for a certain number of work hours each week. This will be a perfect way to get immersed right in a culture and experience how differently people live in the rest of the world, while also having the opportunity to help others and make a difference.
Next, what about Cooper? What will he be doing during all this? How will he learn? And what about the rest of his family? Most importantly, Cooper is very close with his Dad and we are incredibly lucky to have an amazing co-parenting relationship. Before I started making plans or evening thinking about any of this seriously, I made sure that Bill was okay with it. He is very supportive while understandably having concerns for our safety and well-being, and asks that we keep him informed and included (which is a given) and that I don’t keep Cooper away for too long a period at a time. So, that being said, sometimes Cooper will be traveling with me and sometimes he will be home in Ontario with his Dad and sometimes it will be a mix of both, like next summer when I have a short-term rental 45 minutes outside of the city where Bill lives for three months. I have planned it for this time of year so that summer camps are available for Cooper to have a blast learning and adventuring while I work and save. As for other relatives, Coop and I will both get to see a lot of friends and family in the months that we journey through Ontario and across Canada, some that we rarely get to see now if ever! When I have a job teaching abroad, a friend or family member will join us and hang out exploring with Cooper while I work, and he can fly back with them to be with his Dad. He will eventually reach the age where he won’t need an adult to fly with him, but I don’t want to think about that just yet…
As for learning, we have already been unschooling since Cooper was 3 or 4 (I’ll get into this more in depth in a future post), meaning that we learn through life experiences and exploring interests rather than following a curriculum. This is wonderful for So Many reasons, but in this regard is perfect as we can do it absolutely anywhere. The world will be our school, and the possibilities of what we can learn are endless. And when I’m volunteering, Cooper will be working right alongside me gaining some deep experiences and learning some incredibly important life lessons.
Next, where. I don’t plan to do an insane “visit all 195 countries in one year” or that sort of thing (if that’s your choice, though, all the power to you!). On account of several of the reasons we decided to embark on such a radical lifestyle, I don’t want to just travel around the world maintaining this go-go-go lifestyle that frankly just stresses me out. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not going to waste away our days in these wondrous destinations doing nothing but lazing around our temporary homes. But we are also not going to spend all of our time making strict schedules to jam in every local attraction while we have time, part of our mind always thinking about what we’re going to do next instead of truly enjoying the extraordinary experiences right infront of us. Instead we will take our time in every location, truly getting a feel for each place and finding the unique adventures they have to offer. Our temporary homes will be a variety of short-term stays such as AirBnBs and HomeAways. Sometimes we will stay in hostels (they’re actually quite different from the scary, uncomfortable places that I used to picture when someone mentioned that word); there are even some wonderful family hostels around the world that will be perfect for Cooper and I to meet friends! In addition to these options, I hope to get into housesitting which will open up opportunities for us to travel to a wide variety of places without the expense of accomodation. Also, as mentioned above, when we do volunteering abroad the programs usually include accomodation and meals with a local family. While we’re ‘home’ in Canada we will spend a lot of time visiting and staying with friends and family (several of whom have already graciously offered us space – thank you!), tenting it out on our journies between destinations and of course exploring the wonders of our own beautiful country along the way. When we’re not staying with people or need something a little more long-term so I can work and Cooper can be close to both me and his Dad at the same time, we will get short-term rentals such as the beautiful cottage we have rented in Windy Lake for three months next summer (check out the pictures below – I seriously can’t believe I lucked out so hard). And as such our lives will continue until we’ve had enough, ready for something different which we will know when the time comes.
I know, even with this long explanation of how it will all work, it’s still crazy. Things will absolutely not go as smoothly as writing about them did and we will definitely have hurdles to overcome, but doesn’t everyone? The way I look at it, if I stay where I am, doing what I’m doing, I could end up screwed financially and career-wise with a mortgage chasing me for the rest of my life…and probably kicking myself in the ass for not doing this when I had the chance. You can have the best laid plans for your life, but there is no guarantee things will turn out that way. Employees lose their jobs in lifelong careers and businesses go bankrupt, people fall ill and get in accidents (knock on wood), unexpected expenses come up forcing you to spend everything you’ve saved for years. I’m not trying to cause distress here, just making the point that none of us ever really know for sure what’s going to happen. For Cooper and I, this is what feels right at this time and I believe life will take us where we are supposed to end up. Because I am me, and human, I experience moments of panic and doubt. What the hell am I doing? How will we live?! But I assure myself with the knowledge that there are always jobs, even if they aren’t all glamorous with high salaries, and rooms to rent, even if they aren’t the biggest or most beautiful. And if we aren’t happy, we will decide what we want and work towards making that change just as we are working to make this one. For now, we will prepare for and embrace this nomadic journey in our extraordinary lives.