Life Nomadic has begun. Six months of not particularly careful planning and a full week of hectic scrambling to rid ourselves of nearly every earthly possesion has paid off.
As I write our first post for Life Nomadic, Todd's in the next seat over editing our first video. The kid behind me is pounding on my seat. Holy god. It's like he's playing Rock Band back there and the tray table is the drums set.
I'd always talked about freeing myself from a single location... making my income portable, all of my belongings portable, and becoming more comfortable being a nomad. After Todd and I took a random trip to Japan I realized that there are probably MANY places in the world that I'd like as much as, if not more than, the U.S.
I told my friends about the trip I planned. Everyone was interested, some people toyed with the idea of coming. After only a few minutes of thinking, Todd said, "I'm in."
The Right Places at the Right Times
We made a list of all the places we'd like to go in the world. One by one we knocked places off the list. Unless we lived in each country for several weeks, we wouldn't get the full experience. Our goal was two months in each major location, plus side trips to some lower priority places.
We pored through travel articles and weather almanacs. If we were going to do this trip of the lifetime, we wanted to be in each place at the right time. Running of the bulls in Spain, cherry blossom season in Japan, southern France in the summer. We chose the weather we wanted. Nothing below 50 and nothing above 90.
The Right Stuff
Todd and I are both gear and gadget nuts. Every item we brought had to be the right tool for the job, and be as light and small as possible. We decided on tiny backpacks that are smaller than many school backpacks. Our entire wardrobes were brought to a thrift store and sold for a pittance. New high performance outdoor gear was purchased.
As I sit here above the Gulf of Mexico, I have every one of the things I own in the overhead storage bin. Only a year ago I had a full three bedroom house full of stuff. I'll go into a lot more detail about exactly what we ended up bringing soon.
I had already started my own business, writing and selling a book I wrote to share my experiences as a pickup artist, called Make Her Chase you and began a much more ambitious independent software project. Todd quit his job at an internet startup and created www.sendshack.com.
Life Nomadic isn't a vacation. It's life. When people ask how we afford the trip, it's like asking someone how they afford their apartment, gas, and bills. We've brought tons of technology with us to enable us to be just as productive anywhere in the world as we were back in Texas.
We're going to learn four languages this year. Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and French. I already had some experience with Spanish and Chinese. Todd's pretty much fluent in French. To fill in the (huge) gaps in our skills we're going to do the Pimsleur language tapes. I've tried a bunch of others, and they're definitely the best. I've already done three months of Japanes and Todd's done three months of Spanish.
When we're in countries that speak these languages, we'll speak only in the native language except during dinner.
We'll hit up our share of touristy stuff I'm sure, but we'll also seek out adventure everywhere possible. I'd give some examples... but it's better to wait until we do them!
All of our adventures will be well documented and posted here for you guys to see. Also, if you're one of my friends you'd better come on some of the adventures!
Want to see us do something? We're open to suggestions. Live in one of the countries that we're visiting and want to go on an adventure with us? Send an e-mail. We also need places to stay in all of the countries we're visiting, so let us know if you know a good place for us to rent.
We're off! It's Day 1 and we couldn't be more excited. We've already had a run in with the law, broken major social conventions, and have been the last to get on both flights!
My sister will be living in France after May 12th. Let me know when you're supposed to be going there. She and her long time boyfriend live in Aix-en Provence in the Chateau Noir. Anyway, I'll be visiting them some time this summer and it would be cool to hang out with the two Nomadics! Let me know if you need a place to stay.
Taiwan is where I went with Charlie way back then... that's actually one of the main reasons we're heading back - fond memories. If we can't stay there the whole time we'll probably go to the Philippines. I just found out yesterday that we only need to leave for a day or two to come back to Taiwan.
It's great to see you reading the site and commenting too (unlike OTHER family members).
Hi Ty -
Just a paternal grandmother in awe of your exciting venture...
Just received via e-mail pix of your folks' inspired new home taken by Dev...fantastic! but then your Mom and Dad have incredibly good taste..and creativity abounds in that space.
What happens if you can't extend your Taiwan visit? Will you be visiting the area where you were with Charlie or have I got the Oriental places mixed. If I do, blame it on my slippery slope years...down!
Love from Grumps ( the one watching a Western) and me, the one that wirtes. Nana
Can't wait to read more about your ventures. Thank you for sharing the story. I plan to link to you on my blog, if this is a problem please let me know.
Boy, was I born 80 years too early!
Wait til I share this w/ your cousins, aunts and uncles. you will most assuredly hear from James, at least. Too bad Jen and Nate are not still in W. Afrique.
If you are in Mass Oct 18 you will be invited to a wedding! Andrew's.
I just happened across your site (via StumbledUpon), and I can't tell you have envious I am of your trip. Many of us wannabe nomads have thought about doing what you guys are doing but don't have the balls to toss our stable lives aside and start really living. I love the way you're doing too- great minimalistic tools/gadgets and keeping a website as a record of your travels and experiences.
I'm sure I'll keep checking in on the site periodically. Enjoy yourselves and have a kickass time... for all of us who wish we were there with you!
great lookin hotel/ down at cabos with ur folks all is well/got a few things with big canadian logos that ur mom will send on down//hope u have a great adventure sandy and lee
Doha in July huh? Get ready for 110 degree temps and above. They must have paid off the alminac to say its under 90.
We've been in Panama for two days now, but it seems like weeks. There's obviously still TONS to explore around the city, but I'm already comfortable here and it even feels a bit familiar.
First of all, I love it. For me it has the ideal balance between chaos and structure. It's very safe... people are at least as friendly as they are in the US, if not moreso. They go out of their way to help us and put up with our mediocre Spanish. Our hotel right now isn't in a great area (though not a bad one either), and I feel totally safe walking a few blocks to go to a diner.
Even though it's safe, there don't seem to be a lot of minor enforced rules. Taxi drivers ignore speed limits and stop signs. The drinking and gambling age is 18, but I've heard even that's not enforced. You don't get the feeling that you're being overprotected or treated like a child.
The food has been MUCH better than expected. There are several vegetarian cafeterias that we've found already which are incredibly good and cheap. The one we visited tonight was owned by a very friendly Chinese couple (have you ever heard Chinese people speak Spanish?). There were maybe forty different dishes they had, and a serving of any one was only fifty cents. I asked for orange juice without sugar (most fruit drinks here have sugar) and they fresh squeezed it for me for only $1!
When we became "location independent" and decided that we weren't going to stay local, we had the whole world to choose from for our first adventure. So for all the folks who have asked us, "why Costa Rica?" here are some of the factors that figured into the equation.
Cost of Living & Amenities
Buffalo, NY (where we're from) may not have a great reputation, but it's a very inexpensive place to live. Real estate is insanely cheap, there are excellent public schools to be had, traffic is minimal, food is great, there's quite a lot of theatre, arts, music, and technology if you know where to look. We were looking to lower our cost of living even from Buffalo standards, but also feel safe and have decent amenities like good schools (we're not quite ready to homeschool/unschool our 2 wee beasties), decent roads, and reliable Internet connection--which we both need for our work. Costa Rica has all that.
Where we're going to be 'landing' is Playa Coco, about 30 minutes from the newly updated Liberia airport. Jet Blue flies direct from JFK to Liberia, so the whole flight will take about the same as if we were to fly to California.