A Virtual Success!

Last August we held an event for virtual assistants in Vancouver British Columbia while house sitting in the area.

Kathy had found our event online and registered. We’ve kept in touch over the past year by email and calls. Today we received this email from Kathy:

Hi Sue & Joel,

Just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am for the encouragement you gave me last year when you were in Vancouver and the few months after when I was so unsure.

I have just landed my first “big” contract.  It is for a business coaching firm in San Jose.  We got together because of a LinkedIn VA discussion.  They were asking if it was possible for their meetings to be transcribed live.  All of the VAs that answered said, no, you had to record it first.  They said their meetings could not be recorded.  Then I came on and said it could be transcribed live.  I did a test run for them to show how it could work and we are now working together several times a week.

I never would have had the courage to go to these forums let alone say I could do it if it was not for the encouragement you had given to me.

Again, thanks, and enjoy your nomad life.

Kathy Andrews

Kathy told us the company was looking for 80% accuracy and she got 90% so they were very impressed! And as Joel told her, “Real-time transcription has to be nearly unique. In cases where there’s a need, you probably have NO competition!”

We’re glad to have been a part of helping Kathy succeed as a transcriptionist. Visit Kathy’s website at http://andrewsvirtualtranscripts.com/


House Sitting in Ottawa in August

It’s confirmed. We will be house sitting in August in Ottawa Canada. We’re looking forward to seeing friends in Ottawa and maybe even heading over to Montreal to say hi to some friends. Then there’s other musician friends in Toronto. Should be fun.

This house sitting thing is picking up. We’re leaving our current house sitting gig in Arizona on Saturday and arriving on Sunday at our next gig in Colorado. June and July we house sit in New Mexico and now Ottawa in August.

If you need a house sitter anytime from September forward, you’d better contact us soon before our schedule fills up!

No Back; Only Forth

Leaving Sacramento after our daughter’s wedding, Sue pointed out that this was the real beginning of our nomadic life.

Up ’til now, everything has either been a dress rehearsal (our month in Vancouver) or a trip (to Montreal) or a temporary holding pattern until we had to go back. We always had to go back.

This time, there’s no back, only forth.

We’re not going somewhere we have to come back from. We don’t have any specific places we have to be, or be back to. Nothing to hold us to any particular spot on the planet. Nothing to do that isn’t exactly what we’ve chosen.

Joel braves 70mph winds at Bray Head, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Joel braves 70mph winds at Bray Head, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Forth. Only forth. We go forth to house sit for someone who wasn’t an existing connection. Forth to spend real time near the place I was born but have rarely seen since then. Forth to August in Canada (I got my wish, again.) Forth to the easternmost land on this continent, to balance our standing on the westernmost land in Europe.

Our time here in Phoenix feels all too short, but before it ends in one week, we’ll have passed the 6-month mark in our nomadic life. The past 6 months have been the greatest period of change in my life, and in my head. I didn’t know it was possible to know Sue any better, and I do. I thought I knew where I was going with our business. Turns out that the greatest leap was to something that’s not a business at all, but a reason, so April 19th I’m launching a Great Big Thing that will be our primary business focus, despite the fact that it’s not a business at all.

During the past 6 months, I’ve forgiven myself for a lot of things. I’ve found things in my head that I didn’t even know were there, and found things I thought I’d lost. If we settled down in a little village somewhere tomorrow, I would still be changed irrevocably.

When you travel, the greatest discovery is yourself.

A Light Between the Branches (FAWM 2011 #9)

Especially proud of this one. I conceived the a capella intro two weeks ago, recorded it, and then got nothing for almost two weeks. I didn’t know what the song was supposed to be about, except in broad general terms.

Then, instead of trying to describe the entirety of our travel in Canada, I chose a single moment, one image that’s stuck in my head, of a light between the branches of some aspen trees.

Listen to ‘A Light Between the Branches’

As we’ve traveled I’ve discovered that the wide open spaces of Canada really appeal to me. Where we lived in northern California (and southern, now that I think about it) you could drive for hours, hours, and never leave the city. I mean, you could leave that city, but then you were just in this city, not the country.

This song is a snapshot of a fairly representative moment as we drove the Trans Canada Highway from Toronto, the nation’s largest city, to Ottawa, the national capital. We spent 4 of the five hours in wilderness so beautiful I struggle to describe it. But here are the lyrics where I give it a shot:

A Light Between the Branches

heading north across the border to a land that feels like home
to a place a man can step outside and breathe
fill my lungs with all the songs nature’s singin’ out to me
where there’s room to spread my arms and sing along

there’s a light between the branches in a stand of aspen trees
that lift the stream up to the very sky
it whispers with a voice colored blue and white and gold
of peace for every soul that passes by

sky so wide I cannot see it all
trees of every color as far as eyes can see
listen to the rivers as they call
come lie in my arms and find the peace that means so much to me

there’s a voice across the prairie that’s calling out for me
to find my way out to another land
my soul fills all the spaces that are filling up my heart
with the comfort of a warm and gentle hand

sky so wide I cannot see it all
trees of every color as far as eyes can see
listen to the rivers as they call
come lie in my arms and find the peace that means so much to me

heading north across the border to a land that feels like home
to a place a man can step outside and breathe
fill my lungs with all the songs nature’s singin’ out to me
where there’s room to spread my arms and sing along

I Want to Live at the Edge of a Lake

After an event we drove around Lac Davignon. The causeway across the lake, the trees along the shore, the houses reflecting in the rippled surface . . . it’s a memory I wanted to keep.

We weren’t talking about anything of consequence so I dropped in three of my songs which almost fit within the 10 minutes of the video. Since I didn’t bother listing them in the video . . .

  1. You In My Arms
  2. Pax Aurora
  3. In a Midnight Sky

Scary Suspension Bridge Over Vancouver’s Lynn Canyon

Catching up on some more video from our Vancouver trip. Someone told us about this swinging scary bridge 150 above the floor of Lynn Canyon, so of course, we had to go see.

Fiona was very brave. I don’t know what Sue was, but she seemed to like it.

Here’s proof that I crossed it. Twice. Will I cross it again? Ever? Dunno.

Snow Day in St. Alphonse

“Snow? In October? Nonsense!”—Cristina Favreau

Oh yeah?

Connecting With Virtual Assistants in Canada

Now that we’re here in Quebec for four weeks, we’re taking some time to reach out and .connect with virtual assistants in Canada. Cristina (we’re staying here with her and her family) has been a virtual assistant and VA coach. This morning I reconnected via Skype with Roslyn D’Souza, a virtual assistant in Toronto.

Our virtual assistant coaching business, Chief Virtual Officer, has provided valuable information to help new and aspiring virtual assistants start and grow their businesses. If you are a virtual assistant in Canada, we’d love to hear from you. What’s working in your business? What challenges are you facing?

Visit our Chief Virtual Officer website for additional resources to help you in your virtual assistant business.

Montreal 10th (and Final) Leg: Ottawa to Montreal

Note to self (#61)—Two weeks is not nearly enough time to cross two countries.

Note to self (#62)—When you’re rushing across two countries in only two weeks you have, like, zero time to get to know the amazing, generous, wonderful people who’ve made it possible; not just possible, but heart-filling good.

The drive through Montreal was a lot like driving through a big city, even though we only skirted the south side. I lost track of miles and time and finally just couldn’t wait, so we stopped at an information center to use the bathroom. Nicole was extremely friendly and helpful. We helped ourselves to the basket of free local apples.

As we walked out I asked Sue how much further it was; it seemed like we should have less than an hour. She said “The last two measurements just say ‘m’ instead of a distance; like, we go up here 40m, then up another 120m and we’re there.”

Um, that’s like, we could probably see their house from where we were standing. I coulda waited.

We arrived just as Cristina’s oldest was getting home from school so they were standing outside as we drove by. They were still standing outside as we turned around and actually pulled into the driveway.

And so, we’re here. As soon as I resurface from the mountain of work that’s built up, I promise we’ll share more about the tactics and strategies that made the trip work (and the ones we’re bagging because they were hopeless) and tell you all about how to make it work when 8 people (half of them young children) share a single bathroom.

They’re Off to Italy and We’re House Sitting

Eric and Heather left for Italy this morning for two weeks. We’re house sitting for them while they’re gone. They have two mini dachshunds, Bob and Bentley, who need Fiona’s special care while Eric and Heather are away. Fiona’s very excited to be taking care of the two dogs, making sure they are fed and get played with every day.

Two weeks ago I first mentioned to my friend Heather that we’d be traveling and doing some house sitting along the way. She and Eric had been trying to decide exactly what to do with their pets while they were way. They’d just found out it would cost $50 a night to board them. When Heather realized that our family was looking for house sitting opportunities and would care for pets, she asked if our family would be willing to house sit and pet sit for them while they traveled to Italy. Of course!

So they’re off to Italy and we’re house sitting. Do you need a house and pet sitter while you’re on vacation? The Nomad Canfields may be just the solution you’ve been looking for. We are looking for house sitting opportunities in the U.S. and Canada in the coming months and can provide great references. We don’t charge for this service. Our payment is having your home as a comfortable place to live and work while we’re traveling. Contact us for more information.