I’d say a year ago, the vision I had in my mind for Jeff and I, was finding full-time housesitting gigs as an alternative form of accommodation. I was disturbed when I could only find one month covered before we were leaving for New Zealand and I had to (*GASP) pay for rent! It about killed my little deprivation-heart. Jeff and I are constantly fighting the part of us that says, ‘stretch this money out for as long as possible because its probably the only money you’ll ever get’. My friend Rebecca has helped me tremendously in changing my deprivation thinking. She has pointed this out to me enough times that I can just pull her voice up and have her say it to me: “Emily, look at how many windfalls you’ve had. There’s always more coming and each time feels like the last time you’ll ever get money. I don’t worry about you. You make things happen.”
And its true! She is right. And the more I have trusted in that process the more I get delivery of my dreams. That means that I do not hustle for money. I don’t compromise myself to make money. I like to feed positive thoughts like: All my dreams come true. Every thing I’ve set out to do, I do. Big and small.
And that’s true too! Nonetheless, it is something Jeff and I both struggle with.
But in between being choked to death by my deprivation thinking, I have long stretches of time where I am curious and learning about what Jeff and I are capable of. What I’ve seen so far is that we take between 3-5 days to settle into a new place. This is each time we move to a new location. Because each time we move, we’re moving our home. Because wherever we are is our home. There’s no other place. That in and of itself is challenging and disorienting. Just think about how much time and energy it has taken you to “move”. We do a version of that each time we “move”.
Our first month in New Zealand looked like this:
Jan 13th: land in Auckland, drive 3ish hours to the Coromandel Peninsula, Whitianga.
Jan 13-20: stay in Whitianga, one location
Jan 20: drive about 3 hours to Lake Taupo
Jan 20-26: stay in one location in Lake Taupo
Jan 26: drive about 2.5 hrs to Kotare Eco-village
Jan 26-28: Stay for hui (structured meeting of people and community), camping-like conditions, all meals prepared
Jan 28: Drive 1.5ish hours to Napier/Hastings
Jan 28-Feb 11: Stay in one location, finally start to catch our breath, start working again
Feb 11-12: Travel Waikanae, about 6 hours total driving and train
Feb 12-March 14: House and pet sit in Waikanae, one location (heaven)
March 14: 1 hour train, 40 min flight to Nelson, South Island, NZ
March 14-April 13: Airbnb, one location in tiny “suburb” of Nelson
Next Stop: THAILAND!
That gives you and idea of the breakneck speed we first had when we arrived. And that’s even with me a very organized planner. And also knowing that I always need ALOT of time. A lot of space to breathe and “come down” from activity. I quickly realized that a month was needed at each place we chose to visit. I knew from our travels in the trailer that expectations for how many things we could do in each place had to be lowered considerably. With an understanding between Jeff and I, “You can’t do it all, hell, you can probably do about 3 things”. We are always coming back to our priority: quality of life. Quality of life for us, and I’ll speak specifically for me here, means leading an uncompromised life. That I choose nothing over quality of life. The things that tend to threaten that for me are: scarcity mentality (ie fear of not having enough money usually) and people’s approval of me. Which I’m realizing is scarcity too. Not enough love to go around; not being enough. I work with those fears most days. And I’m 100% committed to not let them poison my thinking. I recognize they are a lie and poison so I’m doing everything in my power not to indulge them. But it is not easy.
What’s interesting about quality of life is that it’s very personal. It’s decided by me and its decided everyday. I have the general priorities in my life: spiritual practice, organic food, clean water, peacefulness, time (leisure time, space, do-nothing time), quality, relationships, and FREEDOM. Freedom could maybe trump all those, or rather sum up many of those. I want to be in control of my choices; my time, physical space, noise, food, etc. And I have probably given up things that others wouldn’t want to give up for those freedoms. But I almost couldn’t tell you what those are because they don’t register when measured up against freedom. Oh, I know one. Security. Or the illusion of security in work or a paycheck.
It’s something decided daily because I’m different each day depending on circumstances. I, as a person, don’t fundamentally change but my needs and wants fluctuate somewhat day to day. I LOVE being able to be flexible in my life to allow for that fluctuation or flow. I think it is actually more natural for us but in our desire for order (which I understand) we adhere strictly to time and schedules. Many of us also find ourselves in a capitalist society and workplace which doesn’t usually allow for that kind of humanness.
I remember before we had left the States, I would reflect in wonder about what our new life would look like. I learned from Debtor’s Anonymous (DA) that you can’t make a proper budget until you have enough data. And that takes time. So I knew that making up our new budget would take time; I’d have to experiment and I wouldn’t have it perfect right from the get go (insert pinch-faced emoji here). It requires enough time so that you can get good averages. That, of course, applies to the rest of our life out on the road. It takes time to read the patterns and be able to plan for the future.
So far: one-month minimum on home accommodations.
Oh yeah. Jeff and I need to not spend literally 24 hrs a day with each other. It’s strange when this comes up. The pressure to be able to be with each 24hrs feels real. From the movies or something. I’m someone who very openly likes to be alone but can slip into a habit of not taking that time. And in our lifestyle now, like in the trailer, I would have to take specific steps to make that happen. Like saying, “I want to go to a movie and you’re not invited”. Back in Denver, we had designated time away through work. That’s most people I think. But what if that wasn’t an institutionalized thing? So we’ve had to be strategic about it. We have Action Meetings every Sunday. This is a great tool we picked up from Underearner’s Anonymous (UA). In this meeting we schedule our week as well as make action goals. I’ve learned that when I don’t heed the little voice inside me that says, ‘you need to take a walk by yourself’ that it will eventually snowball into me getting distant and irritable with Jeff. And then this triggers a myriad of things for Jeff. It’s just much easier to go for the walk and schedule a movie by myself.
I thought I knew where we were going. I had my sights set on France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK. I thought we’d make our way through those countries the rest of the year. I was on TrustedHousesitter.com every day scouring the opportunities. I even applied to several that I didn’t get. Thank God! Because the plans have changed! Jeff and I have become very drawn to the countries with a low cost of living. This is nothing new. But its new to us! New Zealand is expensive. Even with the USD being worth more here, I’m not sure we caught a break on our expenses at all. But, of course, no data to compare to! We have no control group! But we have spent the same on food that we did in CA. That was the most expensive place to live and for food in the US (of the many states we traveled). Anyway, we had to have a stopover once we left NZ. All planes have to stop on the way to Europe to refuel. From the research I had done and the travelers we’ve talked to, Bangkok would be “easy”. They speak English (mostly, and is considered a second language there), the are very connected, all Western conveniences, cheap, and very easy to get around.
I was not drawn to Southeast Asian countries. I would guess because they frighten me for seeming so different. But the more I’ve talked to my friends that have traveled there and the more research I do the more I’m understanding the draw. And the more mentally, emotionally prepared I’m becoming. Now my intuition has shifted and I’ve had the notion that we may get very caught up in these countries: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia. I’ve also stumbled on to an interest in Central American countries and South American countries. Like: Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. Low cost of living and high quality of life! I feel like I’ve been brainwashed to believe that all these countries are dangerous, dirty, and undeveloped. Many people had suggested these countries but in my mind I saw sacrifice. That it would be hard, certain things would have to be given up. But with a little research it seems that I’ve been duped by my own country and its propaganda. These countries seem to be doing life better than the US (at least in ways that matter to me). In health care, work-life balance, food, price, cost of living, quality of life etc. One of these might be our new home! Or one of our home places. I can’t wait to go check them all out! But then I come back to the one month minimum: ‘How will I ever get to all of them immediately??’ I eventually burn myself out on that quest and come back to reality, focusing on the current country I’m in and a little bit of focus on what is the immediate, next country.
- We need a queen size bed at a minimum, preferably a king
- We need our own bathroom
- We prefer our own residence and will definitely do this in cheaper countries
- We have to filter the shower water, we just can’t handle chlorinated water
- We have to have filtered drinking water
- We need space to store our suitcases
- We need a place besides our room for mediation, talking on the phone and work
- We are, in fact, being divinely inspired and supported in our life
- All our hosts have been fantastic, good people
- Animals are necessary for our life
- We have to be near the ocean, at the very least for most of the year
- We love snorkeling, and need to be near those opportunities
- We prefer tropical climate
- We are looking for a country that has its roots in spirituality, not capitalism
Sometimes I don’t know how to end a post.
*The featured image at the top is our current month-long Airbnb*