Global Pandemic as Nomads?

In case you’ve wondered how this pandemic has influenced this nomad family to alter our travel plans and slow down to shelter and rest our bones.

First off, our hearts have gone out to the affected areas – some of which we are lucky enough to have visited. We were in Venice weeks before breakout, traveled through Northern Italy days before breakout and spent considerable time in France and then Spain while watching the confirmed virus counts spread. Seeing the numbers rise and rise and the death count mounting has been horrific. We’ve loved the people we’ve come to know and befriend in these areas that have been hit so hard. Our heart goes out to them and the tragedies they are experiencing. We also honor those serving in the medical field and are grateful for them as well as the other community leaders that are taking things seriously!

As we’ve travelled we’ve had the consistent debate regarding the optimal duration of our stops in any particular place. What is long enough or too long. We’ve done multi-month stays as well as multiple moves in a single month. There is a certain burn out you reach as you are moving over and over. To meet this burnout head one, we’ve been thinking to settle down somewhere for a while. Plus our travel plans always included some longer stops in places that would suit us. There was always a balance to finding places to stay to keep things interesting as well as keeping our own sanity at packing up and moving too much! Combined with coming back to the states this summer for a wedding in the family, we had been planning on heading to Mexico for an extended period – to stay put somewhere for long enough that we could settle in for a few seasons.

But, as you’re aware, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic due to COVID-19. We ended up cutting our travels short. We evacuated Spain to return “home” to shelter in place and wait things out. We have been very sad to leave our scheduled time in Andalusia as well as going through Morocco and then Utah. But we got home to Georgia for a 2 week self-quarantine. Just as we reached the end of self-quarantine, the state of Georgia issued a shelter-in-place order. Anyways, you know the rest of the story because you’ve lived something similar wherever you are in the world.

So rather than just coming to the states to spend the summer, we decided to make a year of it. We’ve now rented a house not far from our old house. We’ll be there for at least a year. We’re diving into the community and even public school! We figure a break from travel and stable place to call home lends itself to the kids getting to revisit school and enjoy the social atmosphere and social education from public school.

We don’t know enough about the world to know what we’ll be able to do next. We may set out again. We may move to Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter. We may enjoy the new slow home rhythm and settle in even longer. Time will tell and we’re open. Even though this shelter-in-place is rough on a nomadic soul and wanderlust. We want to do our part for now to “flatten the curve”. Ultimately, for us, it felt irresponsible and almost pointless to continue our nomad travel during this global pandemic.

We’re looking forward to sitting down a while and patching our bones before we get back to truckin’ on – nomadder what form that takes.

You’re sick of hangin’ around and you’d like to travel
Get tired of travelin’, you want to settle down
I guess they can’t revoke your soul for tryin’
Get out of the door and light out and look all around

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me
Other times, I can barely see
Lately, it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been

Truckin’, I’m a goin’ home
Whoa, whoa, baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones
And get back truckin’ on

Truckin’ by Grateful Dead

Packing and Moving and Packing and Saying Goodbyes

We’ve spent the last week overwhelmed daily with all that needed doing and all the emotions that came along with it. With the last push to let go of things and all the last furnishings in our house, organize what we weren’t getting rid of and taking anything we couldn’t sell to donate to friends and family and strangers. Selling our house to a great family and saying goodbye (for now) to the best neighbors we could have asked for.

We moved more than we intend to store in our parents basement (letting go is hard!). Then we also did our best at packing the van for a 6 week road trip followed by the flight that will begin our international nomad adventure. We brought bag after bag and box after box to the driveway and had to get creative in packing the trunk and every available space in the Honda Odyssey like Tetris masters. All the while knowing that we still have more stuff than we’d like. All our American consumer and preparedness training makes it really hard to leave anything behind though. We had to repeatedly tell ourselves that we can buy things as needed. That is such a different way of life and philosophy than we are used to. We usually buy in bulk and for long term, but we have to flip it and only buy what we need and only when we need it, and then only expect to keep it while it’s needed and useful.

We are going to Fiji though and have a list of things that are needed for life there. Then we arrive in Australia mid-July, which is winter, so we have coats as well as swimming suits and everything in between. It’s not as easy to pack light when we go Nomad because we are feeling like we want to bring all we will need as to be ready for the many scenarios we will encounter. As nice as it would be to have everything we will need on the journey, it’s not practical to carry that much stuff through the airplanes and transfers and trams and trains and ferries and Ubers and taxis and rental cars and buses which we’re sure to be utilizing. We will have to learn to do without or buy it there. 
It’s surreal to drive off with all the things we’ve kept for the journey in one vehicle and actually be setting off! We’re driving the family minivan with my keychain, with the van key being the solo key left on it. No more office key, that was my last job and I gave it back on my last day, my car has been sold, the house has been sold and my church key has been returned since someone else will be needing it soon. I’ve had many keys to lug around and the responsibilities that come along with each, it’s kinda nice to be free of that. Soon we’ll sell the van too and be on our own feet and whatever vehicles we hire/rent.

Driving off from our last local family gatherings into the sunset was hard. To know we won’t see the familiar faces in person for a good while was sad. We have plans for keeping in touch with video chats, but those are never quite the same. I said goodbye to my 4 sisters and their families, my parents and the slew of 16 nephews and one niece. The kids enjoyed some serious playtime with cousins before some goodbye hugs. Then the next day was goodbye to mom’s brother and sister and parents and more cousins and more hugs! It will seriously be hard to be far from the little cousins and we’ll miss seeing them grow! We won’t be gone forever, we’ll be around again one day, but we’ve got the itch pushing us on. 

Housesitting For The Win Win

So, how do we (a family of 6) afford all this travel? We’ve had this question over and over. To appease or travel bug we initially had the plan to buy an RV or 5th wheel trailer and travel North America via campsites. There would be a fairly large upfront cost of purchasing the RV and/or truck. Plus, since I work remotely, dealing with mobile internet options looked expensive at best. We love the idea of taking home with us though, there’s something to be said for having our own space which we could transport to any place. Plus, we’d mainly be staying in campsites, and we love camping. I also had an international travel itch and I worried an RV wouldn’t scratch my itch for long and I’d still be restless. Simultaneously, we looked into long term airbnb/vrbo hopping. Since monthly rates are much better than the standard rental rates, plus we’ve heard you can negotiate even better rates if you contact the owner previously.


After some discussion and research online we started considering housesitting. The more we looked, the more sense it made for us. There is even a website that connects sitters with those looking for house and pet sitters called trusted house sitters. We set up a profile and browse available sites and apply. It’s set up for pet sitting and house sitting, so not only do we get to watch for someone’s house, but we get to watch their pets too! There are dogs and cats of course, but also horses, chickens and even kangaroo! Saying goodbye to our own furry family members was one of the hardest parts of preparing for this lifestyle change for our family. So, we’re happy to have the option to include animals in our world travels.

Trusted house sitters has international listings too! So with a passport and a desire you can go sit all over the globe! We get to visit new places as we house and pet sit. It’s a classic win-win! We take care of someone’s home while they’re away and we get a furnished place to stay. The homes will have a home feel and furry friends to love while we save on our budget to do things while we’re there. Many house sits are in a home that has a stable internet connection already. Some house sitting are asking for a weekend or a few days, but some (the ones were more interested in) are for months at a time! We can stay in a country for a couple months at a time usually without even needing a visa, just a passport. So, our first house sit is in Colorado since we had some open time between a work trip and a family reunion. Then we’re going international and flying to the Pacific for a few more: 4 lined up in Australia and New Zealand through October!

House sitting seemed like a crazy idea when we first heard about it, but the more we looked into it, the more sense it made for our family and our plan. We were able to go international and have a home base that feels like a home (because it is), enjoy the company of pets and make some local connections with people that actually live in the places we visit. We have been able to secure 5 months of housesitting in under two months of membership. We’re still new to the site and the process, but as we go we’ll only get better at it, we’ll even rack up reviews from our sits that will better qualify us for future sits. It has been a slight struggle for us to find family friendly homes and pets, but enough opportunities that welcome us, appreciate our vision and are happy to have us in their home to keep an eye on things and walk the dogs.

If you’re interested in trying housesitting out, go check out trusted house sitters, (this link will give us both a discount). While the house sitting itself has no monetary exchange, you do have to sign up for an account on the website with a fee, which I’m ok with, since it ensures that the housesits and applicants are serious users and not just casual curious browsers or spam.