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The blog started right after we got to our first stop here in Panama, but the dream and the planning of going nomadic began about six months prior.
I think Todd's reasons for going are similar to mine, but I'll speak for myself for now.
Traveling has always been one of my favorite things. Ever since I was fortunate enough to go to Taiwan when I was 13 (Thanks Charlie!), I had the bug. Not only to travel, but to go off the beaten path. Honduras is more appealing than San Francisco.
We were up in Houston visiting a friend who was very excited about a thrift shop.
Normally I'm not a thrift shop kind of guy. I'm too particular about what I buy and I just don't like shopping that much.
But this time I was excited.
Boy, what an exciting title!
We've been here for almost two weeks. Living in a new place makes you notice all of the little things. Things that would never be written in a guidebook, because they're too insignificant, but together create the atmosphere you live in.
We haven't had much of a chance to go out and see the sights. We spend most of the day in the living room working. We eat almonds and drink water, and listen to the traffic below us.
My one and only concern before beginning the trip was that I might have to give up my diet. Those of you who read my person blog know that I eat Vegan and also avoid processed flour and sugar. Todd has also pretty much adopted this diet. For the curious, we eat like that because the most current scientific studies of diet have shown that to be the healthiest diet possible.
The mental discipline of sticking to the diet isn't difficult after a month or two, but finding acceptable restaurants can be quite tricky.
In Austin, TX we ate primarily at three restaurants: Casa De Luz (hi guys!), Mother's (hi ladies!), and Magnolia Cafe (hi ladies!). I don't know if a single day has passed in the past year where I was in Austin but didn't eat a meal at one of those restaurants.
I don't expect to be posting very much here for the forseeable future, maybe once or twice a month. Most new and exciting things that I'm up to are related to Life Nomadic, so make sure you check for my posts (and subscribe to the RSS) there.
The good news is that I will be posting at least twice a week there, Todd is posting as well, and I upload photos and write quick updates every day. Posts that I make to BTYB will be more "personal development" related, as well as projects I'm working on (like conversion doubler).
I also check the forums every day.
Todd and I have a tendency to not plan anything. Last year when we went to Japan we had no plans and nowhere to stay when we landed there.
Life Nomadic 2008 is no different.
Before we left I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find a an apartment to rent online. We even worked through Century 21 here in Panama, which turned out to be a colossal disappointment. They found us a place, but then when we got here they skipped on a meeting they were supposed to have with us and then said, "Sorry! He doesn't want to rent it short term anymore."
To say that we packed light is an understatement. We packed super light. Someone recently told me a saying that stuck in my mind.
"No one ever wishes they packed heavier."
So true. With fewer baggage comes more freedom, and that's exactly what we're after. Still, when Todd suggested that we take only a small backpack each, I thought he was crazy.
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!
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 got back from Boston on the 28th of December, giving me 10 days in Austin before Todd and I leave on the world trip.
Every day counts now.
I've been spending TONS of time with my friends. I've been slaughtering my backlog of important but not urgent todo items. I'm not wasting a minute. I'm hugging people. I'm making sure that I put aside time for everyone and everything I want to do.