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. 

Closing Time… Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

More like: Closing time, You don’t have a home and you can’t stay here.

Day one on zillow

It’s really real now that we’re gearing up for our house closing! It has been a very fast whirlwind and we’ve been able to do a few surprising things with selling our house. We went from trying to rent the house Monday, to listing it as for sale by owner on Zillow and facebook on Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning), to frantic cleaning and showings on Thursday and Friday to holding an open house Saturday and Sunday. But before we even held an open house we received an offer Saturday morning. The offer came from one of the first people to see the house but we decided to go with the weekend and see what happened. After the open house, and with some negotiations, the updated offer was the best one so we went for it!

We had some requests after the inspection and we were able to do those without too much trouble, work or money. We had to water seal a wall in the basement and fix some wood paneling cracks, service the AC, bring some shoddy contractor work in the attic up to code and replace some questionable support beams in the basement. We are now preparing to be out of the house this week!

yard sale
Wrapping up the yard sale with not much left!

All in all, the process has been exactly one month from posting the house to moving out and closing! It’s been a wild ride and super busy, the month has gone so fast and we have had so much help from family and friends. I honestly don’t know how we’ve sold our house and finished liquidating our possessions and continued our preparations for world domination… er world travel. It’s been a busy month with posting the house for sale, showing the house, discussing with potential buyers and their realtors, selling our things via facebook sales, holding a big yard sale, lemonade stand, picking out and organizing anything we wanted to keep but not bring with us, donating van loads of stuff at thrift stores, neighborhood sending off parties, passport appointments, contractors in the house, had two birthdays in the family, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, eye doctor appointments, mechanic visits, trying to keep up with homeschooling, ending our soccer season with our last games and throwing team parties as team mom and coach, end of year ballet recital, buying plane tickets, selling cars, visiting with friends and family before we leave, and a full-time job (at least I don’t have a commute), etc, etc…  We even had to feed all four kids every day, right!?

Jim Gaffigan sums it up nicely.

Closing on a house is stressful at any time, I’m sure, I don’t know first-hand because this is my first time selling a house. But I can imagine it stressing me out. I feel like we’re approaching the tipping point though. We’ve so far been working hard to reach our end goal – nomad life. The benefits to that life and rewards are what draw us to it, but we have yet to realize any of them. They are still just dreams, even though we’re working hard to make them happen, we’re not experiencing them just yet. We have had all the stress and doubts and work involved in getting to them, liquidating our belongings, selling the house, prepping for the lifestyle change and more, all the stressful parts. In all that, we’re doing our best to take a minute and say a proper goodbye to the house we’ve called home for so long. We’ve lived here for exactly 10 years. All our kids have grown up here and learned to walk and talk within these walls. We’ve grown as a family and grown closer, we really believe that this adventure will continue to grow us even closer. It is really hard say goodbye sometimes, but we will have to remember our new family mantra: “Home is where your pillow is”. We’re taking the home with us, but leaving the house. We’re anxious to turn the page on the stress and take a little breath, but not until the weekend!

The itch

“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

I’d like you to think that I’ve read Moby Dick, but I haven’t. I remember skipping that one in High School and somehow still doing well on the test. This quote alone makes me want to go read it though. I too share this itch. Call it a travel bug, wanderlust, antiestablishmentarianism, nonconformism, or simply weird, I know this itch. Life to me is not about staying put, planting roots and watching time pass. No offense to those who dream of nothing else, but I am restless and always have been. 

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough – Mae West

As for me, I am [blessed] with an everlasting itch for things remote. I want to go to new places and see new things. This world is too small and time is too short to settle where I am. This itch is shared in our family, as we were finishing our time at university, we walked in to join the peace corps and go to Africa for a couple years before figuring out life with a job. We we filling out the paperwork and it came out that we weren’t both US citizens… Who knew that only citizens could participate in the peace corps? We learned the hard way! But instead we ended up starting our family and getting that job and buying a house. We’ve been itching ever since! Though much of that time we were in survival mode and dealing with milk feeding schedules and nap times and diapers and a lot of it is a blur.

Now that the kids are a bit more grown and we can all communicate with words most of the time and sleep through the night we’ve had time to reflect and realize that those dreams didn’t need to die with our family life. We heard of families that lived in RVs and traveled a lot. Families who did homeschool and used extended road trips as educational opportunities. We remembered our own international experiences and the transformative experiences of living within other cultures and languages. We heard of people who worked from home remotely and were location independent. We could see ourselves in those scenarios and constructed possible ways to combine it all and make it happen for us. We even took a test 6 week road trip one summer and had such a blast we knew that was the life for us. It took a little while to arrange all the pieces, but we experienced the home school, inquired after remote jobs in my field and let our dream wheels begin spinning faster.

We’re excited that after years of dreaming and then more years of planning and arranging, we’re 1 month away from pulling out and beginning our journey.

I have a small collection of a few inspiring quotes I like to keep in mind to harness my itch for enrichment, enjoy:

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.
Let’s make today an adventure kind of day
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – St Augustine
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs
Never let your mind tell your heart not to wander
Not all those who wander are lost – JRR Tolkien
The unhappiest people in this world, are those who care the most about what other people think. – C JoyBell C.
Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life. – Bob Marley
The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask

Goodbye House

This week we got serious about selling our house. We paused a bit on the materialism purge and put our house (for sale by owner) on the market! We decided to jump with both feet and sell the house so we aren’t managing tenants from the other side of the world. Having to worry about things like refrigerator repairs or a leaky roof seems to be more difficult the farther away you get. It also helped that when we looked into it, the home values had increased since we’d last checked.

Selling our house makes the whole nomad wanderlust life a bit more of a leap of faith too. Since there will be no easy evacuation back to the home we’ve grown comfortable in for the past decade. But it is just a house, and though we made it our home, it doesn’t have to be. So, for the foreseeable future, we’ll live by the mantra “Home is Where You Are“.

Home is Where You Are

We won’t need a brick and mortar (or wood siding) house to call our home. We’ll shoot more for a state of mind, a state of family togetherness and being. We will be home with each other.

So we decided on Monday, when we had a neighbor list their house for sale, that we were running out of time and needed to follow suite. Luckily the housing market in our area had just kicked into pre-summer gear and things were hot. Houses were going faster than buyers could go see them and we’d even heard of some going under contract before the buyers even went to see the home. As we’re usually pretty DIY, we decided to give For Sale By Owner a shot since it is such a seller’s market and with the help of Zillow and Facebook (and Home Depot) we listed our house late Thursday. I honestly spent more time painting one night than I did sleeping. With the house listed, we set up an open house for Saturday and Sunday. We had a few calls from interested buyers and their agents and before our first open house already had an offer to consider!

Things are moving fast now and it’s making everything feel so much more real! We’re realizing that after so much purging already, we’re only just getting started! It only makes sense that as we say hello to a new way of life, we have to also say goodbye to the old way. You can’t turn the page without, well, turning the page.

It is nice to know though, that we’re only saying goodbye to a house, not our home. We’ll be taking the home part with us where ever we go, nomaderwhere.

Hello World!

Hello world, and goodbye to our stationary life. We’re becoming nomad.

We’re preparing to embark on a journey! Our goal is to tour the world. We have the next few months planned, but beyond that is still a mystery, and that’s ok with us! What an adventure it will be!


We are a young family looking to see what the world has to offer. We’ve got 4 kids under 12, all walking talking and potty trained (for the most part). We’ve been a homeschooling family for a couple years and recently became location independent. Meaning, Dad doesn’t have to go to an office to work, and now he has a full-time job that agrees with him on that. He works remotely as a front end engineer, if you don’t know what that means, he builds websites (like this one). Mom is our chief homeschooling manager to our 4 awesome kids. The kids are normal kids, into science and sports and enjoy music, games, books and exploring new places.

Hello World!

As a web engineer, I’m setting this site up in WordPress and if you don’t know, the first post is by default named Hello World (it’s a programming tradition) and I thought I had never had such a good use for the title, so I kept it.

Our family currently focused on purging our collection of things we have used to fill our home the past 10 years. As you can guess, we’ll need fewer things because we’ll have to carry them all with us wherever we go. So, for the next 6 weeks we’re navigating the process of thinning out our possessions: including our house and our cars and everything in between. We’re also navigating the process of becoming nomads, things like passports and travel insurance as well as global banking and travel, and not to mention the obvious, accommodations for our family. In short, all the paperwork, but our vision is what is keeping us going at this point!

The quick tentative version of our plan is to leave home in the southeast, go to the west and then jump to Australia and explore the south pacific and hopefully Asia until we make our way to Africa and Europe.

We hope you will enjoy following our travels half as much as we enjoy doing them, no matter where our nomading takes us.