The last time we paid rent was September 2010 for the house we lived at in Roseville California. Since then our accommodations haven’t cost us anything. Instead we’ve stayed a night or several with family, friends, Couch Surfers or have had house sitting jobs. Two nights someone did put us up in a hotel since they’d arranged a couple of business meetings for us.
For the first time in seven months we’re paying for a place to stay. We decided to spend six weeks in Wisconsin to be able to visit Joel’s mom and help her out. However the building she lives in only allows visitors for up to two weeks. That meant finding another place to stay for four weeks.
We tried to find Couch Surfers in the area to see if there might be someone we could stay with for a bit – nothing. We tried to find a house sitting job nearby – nothing. We asked friends and family in the area if they knew of anyone who might be willing to put us up at a low cost or in exchange for services we could provide. We checked everywhere for a place we could possibly rent for just one month.
You’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to since we haven’t posted in several days. We spent last Wednesday and Thursday all day each day on the road. Wednesday was driving from Colorado through Nebraska. I’ve always wanted to go to Nebraska since my maternal grandma grew up there. I don’t know where though. We stayed the night with a wonderful family we met through Couchsurfing.org. I only wish we’d had more time to get to know them better.
Thursday we spent all day on the road to get here to Rice Lake and stay with Joel’s mom for a bit. We’re settling in a bit. The internet access we had when we were here before is no longer available. So we had to go out and find some. And we did. We just walk across the parking lot and over to the local public library. It’s great! Not only do we have internet access, Fiona has access to a wonderful children’s section with lots of activities to do and books to read. Of course it’s not quite the same has having 24/7 internet access in our lodgings.
Since we can only stay with Joel’s mom up to 2 weeks, we’re looking for other lodgings for the remainder of our stay through the end of May. We’ve got some calls to follow up on that may get us some temporary and affordable housing.
So what’s everyone else been up to? :)
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!