We’ve been dreaming about a long-term trip like this with the kids for a long time.
Long-term adventure travel isn’t new to us. Back in 2008, before we had our children, Dan and I spent 2 months travelling through the U.S. & Canada (on much the same route as we’re taking for this trip). But since then, other than our bicycle tour in 2016, we’ve been pretty stationary—and I was getting antsy.
I’ve now had a chance to move around a lot and to live in the same place for a long time, and I must say that constant moving appeals to me a whole lot more than staying put. Travelling is a way of life for me, and is part of the reason why we’re so comfortable hosting people in our home through CouchSurfing and Warm Showers. While we are staying put, hosting travellers in our home gives us a chance to “travel” while not leaving our “hometown.” But after 2 years of this staying put… it was time to get going.
We started dreaming up this trip a while ago, and it’s finally here. Dan is off work for a year, and I’ll continue working (that’s the beauty of digital freelancing—I can take it anywhere with me). I’ve been doing freelance writing and editing for about 3 years now, and I love it. If a life of travel is something you’ve always dreamed about, I highly recommend becoming a freelance writer or editor (if you know you’ve got the skills for it). In addition to my personal blogs, I also provide blog posts and ad copies for companies, and have edited everything from cookbooks to training manuals to novels. Head here if you want to learn more about becoming a freelance writer (without picking a niche).
Anyway! I figured I’d give a quick recap of what’s happened in the last week (and the steps we took to be able to go on a trip of this magnitude):
1. We made sure the house was taken care of.
We hired a property management company (they really need a better website… maybe I’ll pitch them). This company found a tenant and is responsible for our property while we are away. We’ve given them permission to fix anything up to a certain amount, and if it costs more, they’re to call us.
The cost for this service is half of the first month’s rent, plus 7% of the rent per month. This is pretty average as far as property management goes. We were able to rent the house for more than the cost of the mortgage, so the cost to pay the property management company, as well as the property taxes are taken care of. After all that’s said and done, there’s not much income coming from the house, but we do get a little bit.
2. We saved up for this trip.
We have savings to use on this trip. We recommend anyone planning a major trip saves up for it as well. Start saving while you’re young for the things that matter to you. Our house isn’t much to talk about, and we drive crappy cars, which is why we can afford to do stuff like this. We also aren’t afraid of a little work while we’re taking a trip.
3. We have a source of income.
As I said before, I’ll keep working during the trip. We could do the trip without me working; however, we’d have to do it on a very shoestring budget, which is not what we want. We’ve done the shoestring budget trips before, and this time around, we want to have a chance to really enjoy ourselves.
Me continuing to work and bring in an income will allow us to do that. Although my work involves writing and editing, there are several other jobs you can do as a digital nomad. Graphic design, programming, and website design are only a few examples of things you can do from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. If you dream of location independence and long-term travel, it’s worth starting to research these options and opportunities.
4. We got rid of a lot of stuff (but not everything)
Although if it were up to me, I’d sell my house and everything in it and hit the road permanently, not all members of my family are as irresponsible adventurous. So we decided to rent the house and get a storage unit for some of our things.
Most of our furniture was really old (third hand) and falling apart, so we decided to get rid of most of it. We sold some and gave away some. We decided to keep things that were special to us, such as photo albums, most of our books, and of course, the kids’ toys. We got a 10×20 storage unit at Millhaven Storage and didn’t quite fill it up.
That stuff will be waiting for us when we return from our adventure. I have to say, though…. you collect a lot of stuff living in the same house for 10 years. So there were quite the number of trips to the thrift store, dump, and a lot of posts on the Buy Nothing Group for our neighbourhood.
5. We didn’t plan too much
A lot of people asked us all kinds of questions about this trip. The truth is, we have a generic plan, but we’re being very flexible for many reasons. Number one, if you plan too much, it’s not really an adventure. Number two, with kids, flexibility isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. We have an idea what we want to do, but we also need to make sure that our kids aren’t completely miserable (making them happy 100% of the time isn’t possible either, so we’re shooting for not making them miserable).
Our generic plan is to head east to Newfoundland, then down the East Coast to Florida, across the Southern U.S. in the wintertime, and then up the West Coast to British Columbia, and back to Ontario. There will be some zigzagging, as we intend on checking out some places in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. But other than this generic plan, we don’t have days and times in mind. We’ll also be dependent on weather. The idea is to try to avoid snow as much as possible (preferably all together, but we know this may not be possible).
6. We took a leap of faith
There are so many things that can go wrong on a trip like this. But there are also so many things that can go right, too. There are risks in taking a trip. There are risks in staying home.
For us, at this time, taking the risk that brings the most reward means showing our kids their country and part of their continent, and to enjoy the beauty this great world has to offer. To spend as much time with our kids while they’re still young (and we’re still young enough to keep up with them).
We can’t wait to share our adventures with you.
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