No possessions, no home, no real jobs, just two bags each. Sixty days into this new, unfamiliar life of long term travel. Wow, it has gone by fast and it is the longest we have been away!
It’s hard to describe how it feels. It’s both exhilarating and frightening with plenty of mixed emotions in between. Every day we wake up reminding ourselves that it’s not a dream.
The glory of a one-way ticket
Never in our lives have we bought a one-way plane ticket. There’s always been a start date and an end date — a defined break for fun and a return date to the daily grind of work commitments, household upkeep, and ensuring all was well with our friends and family. There was always the inevitable post-vacation blues, as we slid back into the routine of life.
Buying a one-way ticket completely changed everything. We felt the giddiness and thrill of no longer having that end-date. The sky is the limit, no time constraints, nothing to hold us back from soaking in every experience and adventure we can. It meant going wherever we wanted, unshackled by a looming end. We don’t think we will ever forget the feeling of the world being our oyster!
Sixty days in, our mood has changed from exhilarated to thoughtful. We are more settled, but still get excited when anticipating the next new thing to come our way. The first few seconds of waking up in a new location still brings that initial dream-like feeling of not knowing where we are.
The past world seems so far away. Of course, access to the Internet is ubiquitous and checking into that past world is easy. Those days of the old life, however, are very distant and different from what we see and what we do every day now.
Not having a home feels like not having any commitments, nothing to check-in on, no mortgage to pay, no fear of the pipe bursting and flooding our basement! The idea of home and what constitutes a home has changed. It is now where our families and friends are, where we will visit and enjoy our time when we are there, not where our possessions are (which now only amount to a few boxes of winter clothes and tax files).
The concept of a home base is a new thing for us. It’s a place we stay for longer periods of time to sort out plans, relax, do our online work, do laundry and repack, and build a daily schedule to have somewhat of a routine. It is our home at that time, but we know it will end. We both feel totally comfortable with this shift. Selling our home also allowed us to be completely debt-free, which is the best part of it all!
The Good, Bad and the Ugly Sixty Days in
Here is how we assess this new life over the last two months:
1. We learn something new every day: We used to dream of learning something new every day in our old life, as we often felt stagnant and incredibly narrow-focused. Now, we learn everything from trying to say hello to sorting out plans to get somewhere. We’re also learning technical skills like running our website. We do a lot of online courses to write and film better. These are big challenges for us and we get a tonne of satisfaction out of accomplishing them.
2. We use life skills that we take for granted: We’ve literally had to go back to the basics like finding food, water, shelter, and transportation. It also becomes a challenge to sort out these kinds of plans, often they work out, but sometimes they don’t! Every day we get a few quick wins when we solve something new, even if it’s just a matter of talking in a different language! It’s very rewarding!
3. We think differently and think better: We are truly present when we explore new places. We feel so grateful every day for having the means and courage to be able to travel like this. We also do our best creative thinking now, which means better ideas on how to build our new business, our next video, and our next blog post. Our problem-solving skills are also being developed constantly. It is amazing!
4. We are more flexible: In our past life, everything was planned. We stressed over our schedule, wanting everything to be done on our list and on time. We go with the flow now and we’ve learned to be patient with time. Things rarely happen as you expect they will. Our best travel plans happen when we take advice from our fellow travelers. More often than not, we change our travel plans, as a result, so there’s no point booking things more than a few days in advance! This is an enormous change for us, but we’re comfortable with it. We do, however, keep a schedule to outline our focus each day, week, and month.
5. We spend our money differently: When on vacation, most of us splurge. I know we did. Now, we discuss how much we want to spend, we negotiate, we find ways to save, and we prioritize our funds toward activities, not things. We resist the temptations of the markets since we have no home to bring things back! Our families, however, will start to see small, light, carefully thought-out gifts with meaning from our travels when we see them. I wish we budgeted more in our past life, as we could have started this new life earlier! I’m pleased to say we are spending between $50-70 per day total depending on the location. This is the biggest advantage of all to not living in the western world!
The Bad: I’d like to call these things opportunities!
1. Figuring out how to work together is an adventure: If you spent 24/7 with your spouse and started a business together, would you fight more? Well, we do! Some days aren’t easy, but in the last two months we learned a heck of a lot about each other. Our communication styles, our boundaries, and those moments where we just need to have some time apart. What’s really interesting is that our strengths and styles really complement one another when it comes to the business. I’m more planned and strategy-focused. Troy is the creative and tech-savvy one. It’s clearer than ever that our differences are an asset.
2. Finding a balance between fun, work, and living: To someone on the outside, it would seem we have it all figured out. We don’t. We are building a business in a new area of expertise to earn some money to support our future. At the same time, we are on full-day or days-long excursions to enjoy these amazing destinations, which is the fun part of our work. But, there are also some days spent completely in our guesthouse, working. We’re constantly finding the right balance between regular days, workdays, and taking a day off to enjoy every moment. We will get there.
The Ugly: This is defined as worse than bad! There really is only one.
1. We can’t sleep: It’s definitely a symptom of all this change. We are present and active by day, analyzing and planning by night. We often don’t get a full night’s sleep. Whether it’s travel plans, the next problem to fix on the website, or the next blog idea, our brains are in overdrive. This will subside (we hope!) the longer we are on our journey.
The good clearly outweighs the rough patches. We wouldn’t trade our current lives for the world (because we’re seeing it now!) and we know this decision is the best thing we have ever done. I guess we will let you know if this positivity continues six months in!
Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at TravelLifeMedia.com