Montreal Itinerary

Looks like it’s going to take 2 full weeks, 14 days, to make Montreal. Guess I’m not the road warrior I thought I was, but I just can’t imagine pushing that hard for that long. Also, I guess I can’t just drop in on my Mom, who I haven’t seen in nearly 10 years, for a single night. (We’ll be back later to spend a couple weeks with her.)

I’ll be reconnecting with an uncle and aunt I haven’t seen in nearly 30 years, staying with a musical buddy who’s slept on my couch, staying with a friend who just moved from here a few weeks ago, and meeting a couple folks who’ve become incredibly close online but whom I’ve not yet hugged in real life.

Update 1:Thanks to Jerry Kennedy‘s reminder nudge, we checked out Couchsurfing.org and found a place in Albuquerque.

Update 2:I didn’t check with enough people in Toronto, so one of them checked with me. H’ray for Debs, my musical friend in Toronto!

Thursday 30 Sep Home Phoenix Terry
Friday 1 Oct Phoenix Phoenix
Saturday 2 Oct Phoenix Albuquerque Sonja
Sunday 3 Oct Albuquerque Denver Jason
Monday 4 Oct Denver Rapid City Denny
Tuesday 5 Oct Rapid City Arlington Mimi
Wednesday 6 Oct Arlington Rice Lake Mom
Thursday 7 Oct Rice Lake Rice Lake
Friday 8 Oct Rice Lake Rice Lake
Saturday 9 Oct Rice Lake Fremont Charlie
Sunday 10 Oct Fremont Fremont
Monday 11 Oct Fremont Toronto Debs
Tuesday 12 Oct Toronto Ottawa Shawn
Wednesday 13 Oct Ottawa Granby Cristina

What I Learned from Our Trip to Canada

You may wonder what it’s been like packing up the van and taking our six-year old to Canada and back. There were those of you who were worried about how Fiona would handle it. Would she have friends to play with? Would she have a bed to sleep in? How would she continue doing her school work?

Then there were the questions of how we would continue to work while traveling. Would we have internet access when we needed it? Would clients want to work with us knowing we were out of the country?

And then the questions of how much would this cost? Wouldn’t this be expensive?

Let me start by saying we’ve decided the experiment was a success. We learned some things and know they are some adjustments we need to make so that in the long run this works most effectively. There were some challenges – all of which we were able to deal with successfully. So much so that we’ve decided to do this as our way of life for a while. We’re leaving California again at the end of September to travel cross country and up into Montreal to stay with friends for a while.

Fiona had a great time! She made new friends that we will stay in touch with. She got to play with new friends at the park. Everywhere we went she had a bed to sleep in. Actually the last night she slept on a friend’s couch – and thought that was a blast! We started doing school work and it worked just like it always did.

We continued working with all our usual clients and started working with new clients. That’s the beauty of our virtual work – it doesn’t matter where we live. We always had internet access either where we were staying or at a nearby coffee house. One new client did ask where we were located and then was very impressed that we could get the work done so quickly – all without being anywhere near him physically.

This was not expensive! We never ate out and enjoyed home cooked meals the entire time. Lodging cost zero. So there were no extra costs except for gas for the van, which had already been covered by funds we received from our yard sale and donated to us.

So I learned:

  • Being together as a family is most important
  • Possessions are not important
  • Our work is not dependent on our location
  • Fiona is a very happy traveler
  • Joel and I love traveling
  • It will actually cost less to live as nomads than to continue renting and paying utilities
  • Our family must live a nomadic life (at least for a while) so we can meet new friends and enjoy our life!

So here we go! We’re in the process of selling off a lot, storing the few things we always think we’ll want, and packing up the rest to go on the road. Fiona has helped decide which books and videos to take, store or sell, and will help decide which toys to take, store or sell. We have wonderful friends here who are willing to store what we’re leaving behind. Other friends who are graciously opening their homes to us along the way. And clients who know their business will continue to be taken care of as we travel.

Stay tuned for what happens next!

Vancouver Review: Dates & Duration

We crossed the 49th parallel heading north at 9:15 am Monday the 2nd of August.

We crossed the 49th parallel heading south at 3:30 pm Wednesday the 25th of August after spending 3 weeks, 2 days, 6 hours & 15 minutes in Canada

Still to come: statistics (miles, dollars, etc.), impressions, achievements, and more.

Heading Back to Washington Today – Still in Need of a Place in Oregon on Friday

We’re wrapping up here in Surrey British Columbia today and heading back into Washington. We’re sitting here in Canada knowing we’re going to miss it as soon as we cross the border.

Right now we’re at the Wired Monk Coffee Shop wrapping up some web work before we go make our lunch and then finish packing the van for the drive to Arlington to stay with Brad and his family for a couple of nights. We’ve really enjoyed being able to work at the Wired Monk; the people have been great. You can see some of our completed web work and web work in progress.

Many thanks to Renee and Rick for putting us up the last two nights!

We’re still in need of a floor to lay our tired heads in the Portland Oregon area Friday night. We really don’t want to drive all the way from Arlington Washington to Roseville California in one shot. We’d love to crash on someone’s living room floor Friday night so we can do the long haul Saturday and be home to see family and friends on Sunday. Let us know if you know of someone who can put us up one night.

Homeschooling: 1st Grade – Day 2

Today is Fiona’s second day of first grade. We homeschool through the Horizon Charter school program. Since we’re still traveling and are in Surrey British Columbia right now, you may wonder how this is working.

Well, right now we’re all sitting in a Wired Monk coffee shop in Surrey. We walked here from the place we’re staying at. So there’s P.E. – walking the neighborhood.

When we got to Wired Monk Fiona found an abacus. She thought that was a lot of fun to play with. She took a piece of paper and made up her own addition and subtraction problems and then used the abacus to figure out the answers. There’s Math!

She’s read some books and magazines – Reading. We did one spelling worksheet – Language Arts.

Later we will get out her Science book and do some science and some other things.

She’s been sipping on a Cherry Italian Soda all this time, had a cinnamon raisin bagel for breakfast and seems very happy. So far homeschooling while traveling seems to be more fun than when we’re at home.

Oh, and for a bedtime story last night she wanted to do something with maps. So out came her History/Social Science book with an atlas of North America. We traveled on the map from California to Canada, Alaska, Hawaii and across the U.S.

Do your kids have this much fun in school?

Our House Sitting Experience in British Columbia

We loved house sitting in British Columbia for Caitlyn. It’s been fun and we appreciate the trust she and Ian put in us in taking care of their home and dog.  When they came home for one day before the next leg of their  trip and then took Brodie their dog with them he seemed to miss us. So I think we did a pretty good job.

It was very important to us that they felt we cared for their home the way they would care for their home. We were there for three weeks so I made sure that in addition to neatening up daily I took one day each week to clean. That included:

  • sweeping the hardwood floors upstairs and downstairs
  • washing the bedding and towels
  • vacuuming rugs
  • cleaning bathrooms  – tub, shower stall, sinks, toilets
  • cleaning the kitchen – sink, counter tops, stove top
  • taking the trash out each week

Daily we made sure to:

  • run the dishwasher as needed
  • wipe down the kitchen table and counters
  • neaten up
  • bring in the mail
  • feed and walk the dog

Caitlyn had given us very specific information regarding the pantry and what we could use and what were ‘hands off’ items. Though we could use what was in the fridge, when the salad dressing ran out, we made sure to replace it with a new bottle.

It was our goal that when Ian and Caitlyn came home they would find their house in as good of  condition as when they left it. There should be no reason for them to come home and have to clean house or do a load of towels or run the dishwasher.  We hope we fulfilled that goal and that they will be happy to recommend us as house sitters and welcome us back again.

A note from Joel: my favorite house guests are those who know how to be invisible. Our goal is for Caitlyn and Ian to come home and, at first, wonder whether anyone was even here, and then, as the days pass, discover that the tiny hints of previous denizens are simply pleasant reminders.

So Ian and Caitlyn – here’s your chance. Let us know how we did and what we could have done better. And thank you again for allowing us to care for your home and precious Brodie!

Meeting Virtual Assistants in Person in Vancouver British Columbia

The Client Communication Clinic we hosted in Vancouver last Friday was great! We finally met Renee Shupe, The Redhead VA, in person. We also met an aspiring virtual assistant and are meeting her again Wednesday while we’re still in the Vancouver area.

We will be in the Vancouver area until August 23rd at least. We’d love to meet other local virtual assistants in person and chat with you about your business. If you were unable to attend the Client Communication Clinic and would like to receive the instructional materials, we’d love to meet with you and provide you all the materials for the same cost as the Clinic. Today we were able to meet with Maureen of Kairos Business and had a very nice chat about business. Maureen is a virtual assistant based in Maple Ridge.

We will meet with you in person anywhere within the Vancouver area at a time convenient to you for up to 3 hours and provide:

1. Client Communication Clinic CD package ($100.00 Value) – over 5 hours audio and 7 Special Reports on the following topics:

  • Identifying Your Ideal Client and Target Market
  • Networking Creates Word of Mouth Referrals
  • Converting Prospects to Clients
  • Effectively Marketing With Your Newsletter
  • Bonus Tips: Grow Your Business as a Chief Virtual Officer
  • 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success by John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing

2. Building Blocks: Succeed as a Chief Virtual Officer, a 72-page action guide. ($19.95 Value) We use this action guide during the Clinic. You will also receive an Implementation Checklist to help you implement what you learn from the CD and Action Guide  in your business right away!

3. Personalized business advice and answers to your questions about your Virtual Assistant business.

All this for $100.

If you’d like to take advantage of this special offer, use our contact form and let us know where and when you’d like to meet and we’ll work out all the details.

It’s Beautiful and We Want to Stay

We’ve been in Canada less than 6 hours and I already think I want to stay. It’s perfect weather. The sun is shining and there’s a nice breeze. The windows are open! We had a nice walk around the neighborhood while our hosts familiarized us with places within walking distance. We can walk to the grocery store!

The house we’re staying in is beautiful, the neighborhood quiet. The neighbor from across the street already came  over, introduced himself and invited us over to a party they are having this evening.

I’m sure we’ll have lots more to say and tomorrow it’s going to be time to dig in and return to our usual work schedule. We’ll keep you posted!

Today in Arlington Washington

So we finally arrived yesterday evening at Brad and Kristy’s house. We had great salmon for dinner and our friend  from Triiibes Rex came over from Everett to visit. Joel played a little music and then we got a great night’s sleep.

By the way, the rest stops in Washington are great! You can get free coffee and yesterday Fiona got a free cookie.

So we’re catching up on rest, emails, etc. today. Fiona is still waiting for her tooth to fall  out and is carrying around a plastic baggie to put it in when it does.

Tomorrow it’s Canada! Hope the border crossing goes smoothly.