Six months ago last week we arrived in Miami to begin our Expat Experiment. I can’t believe it’s been six months since we left Canada with little in the way of money and possessions but filled with excitement and grand expectations. I’ve started this post and deleted it many times not being sure of the story I wanted to share.
Lately bits of fear and doubt have started to cloud my thoughts. We haven’t been on the road as long as a lot of the travel bloggers I read and maybe hearing their stories of traveling for 5..10…14 years started to make me wonder can we do this? Will we make enough money online to sustain our traveling? How long will we enjoy living without a home base?
Three months ago, I was asked how we dealt with “bad days” as a nomadic family and my response at that time was, “Bad days? We don’t have bad days”. As if I tempted fate, things got more challenging after that.
The experience itself has been amazing, the traveling; Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Taganga, Cali, Popayan, Pasto, Ipialles, Otavalo, Cali again and now Cerro Azul Panama. The traveling around was exciting and exhausting. The best part was seeing all of these places through Maks eyes. He amazes me with his fearless and accepting way.
The chaos of figuring out logistics as we traveled Colombia with no set plans has made us appreciate being still for 6 months with our house sit now. Living with less has made us appreciate so many things we took for granted like an oven or a coffee maker. We are enjoying those now… ahhhh pure luxury.
We’ve met some amazing people and made friends that will make our time in each city we visited unforgettable. All of the experiences we’ve had together have changed us all in ways we can see in each other. We are all a little tougher, braver and more social.
We’ve had so many good experiences but definitely have had some challenges to: Dealing with living together 24/7. This was tougher than I thought it would be. I have always left the house to go to work, wishing to work from home. There are some days now I wish I could get away and go to work. Rob has worked from home since 2011 so he has done better despite having to deal with my obsessive tendencies on a daily basis.
Makai has had to deal with me as a certifiable control freak trying to unschool. I am glad he is confident enough at five to give his opinion and he does every chance he gets. Needless to say we don’t know what best for his learning at this point.
The biggest challenge so far trying to not lose our minds watching the bank account dwindle down, down, down.
Reflecting on why we wanted to do this in the first place has helped me deal with the things we have struggled with. Ultimately, it was to have more time with our son. To show him the world and give him life perspective you can’t get staying in one place. We wanted to show him anything is possible if you try.
We’ve learned some serious ways to save on travel because of our lack of funds. Travel to date we have spent $76.50 a day including all food, accommodation and flights, that’s all in. That isn’t too bad for two adults and a growing boy. Now knowing some great money saving tricks some parts of the world we thought would be too expensive t are now places we are considering visiting.
Maks education or uneducation is a work in progress. We stared to question if unschooling was a good idea before Mak could read and write. We don’t want him to struggle with those skills when he was older. We thought home schooling for reading and writing, so he could truly lead his learning was the best way to go. Mak disagrees so we’re still trying to figure that out. We are trying to keep things in perspective he is only five.
The work continues to make money from our laptops. We redesigned the blog at the beginning of our journey and are in the process of redesigning Daemontown as well. Rob built me a website for my freelance work and I have started to get some work despite my stage fright to get out there and get paid to write. I’ve spent a lot of time
stalling learning about freelance writing and SEO writing. Thanks to an amazing program called Location Rebel I finally got a kick in the ass to get out there. Sean Ogle, the guy who created Location Rebel is an inspiration to us.
His quote “There are seven days in a week and someday isn’t one of them” helped me overcome my perfectionism and actually get something done.
We have just started to dip into our secondary savings. The primary bank account is drained, I just felt a shiver typing that. I will be working a lot harder to get more writing contracts to stop the financial bleeding.
We’ve managed to land a long term house sit which has been awesome for saving money and easing our pain from missing our dog Zulu. We are working hard to get a great review to get more assignments in the future. There have been challenges house sitting to; scorpions, snakes and mold that grows everywhere (inside the house I mean).
Staying in one place for a while we have been busy crafting a plan for the next chapter of our Expat Experiment.
So how do we deal with the bad days? Honestly, there`s no definitive answer. Try to freak out less, stay calm and accept it can’t be all unicorns and rainbows or the good stuff wouldn’t be as good. We have learned so much about each other and ourselves and grown so much because of this experience already. We have no regrets.
We knew it would be hard; the getting on the road was so hard. Staying on the road will be hard to. I know we need to live in the moment, forget yesterday and don’t fixate on the future. If something isn’t working change it especially behaviors toward each other and just try harder. Try harder at everything, the blog, freelancing, helping Mak learn in a way we all enjoy, and being more patient with each other.
I want to say a heartfelt thank you, thank you! To everyone who reads the blog, our Facebook fans and our followers on Twitter. Your support and encouragement has helped us push through the rough patches and we are are so thankful to have you along on our journey. I honestly love our online community. We have met so many amazing people because of the internet, we feel so grateful to have you here with us.
The next chapter for Expat Experiment is shaping up to be pretty exciting and we will be sharing our plans with our subscribers first. I’m sorry there hasn’t been a news letter yet! We will be sending out our first one next month. It will feature travel tips we’ve learned traveling the last 6 months and preliminary details for our upcoming travel plans. I am very excited to share our news, we found an opportunity just to good to pass up.
So it’s been 6 amazing, crazy months and we hope for many more to come. Traveling has definitely been more of a journey for us than we expected and I feel so lucky because of that.
We have 2 and a half months left in Panama then we start next part of our adventure! The next countdown has begun, 75 days and counting.