I feel a strong pull to be in different places. Some call it a travel bug or itch. I want to see different things, how people live in different areas and even different times. I want to see as much of the world as I can while I’m here. I have enjoyed traveling and with a young family, we have had to be creative in how I could travel.
In 2016, I convinced my employer to let me travel for the summer with my laptop in tow. I promised to keep up with my workload and be in touch via email and chat. I argued that when in the office most communication was via chat anyways, so there really wouldn’t be a big difference! We drove from Atlanta to Alberta, Canada. It was a 40-hour drive! Somehow with 4 kids in the van, we still loved it. We stayed with family along the way and a few hotels here and there. I would even make progress in my code from the passenger seat along the interstate. It was a success, I even found that my focus was better without the office distractions and I was happier – credit goes to the fulfillment I found traveling and spending more time with my family. Working on the road (literally) worked for me. Until “management” buckled down and counted with a need-to-see-butts-in-chairs mentality.
So, in 2018 I found a role with a fully distributed agency that believed in remote work. In the interview process, I mentioned wanting to travel and work as a digital nomad and they were supportive from the get-go. Within 2 months of starting, we’d sold nearly everything we owned including a car and the house! We drove off in the van along the same route as 2016 to visit family in Canada, but this time we didn’t head back right away. We ended up selling our van and leaving the country for a while. We fly to Australia (with a stop in Fiji along the way) and New Zealand as a house-sitting pet-sitting family. We’d stop in at home again for the summer to catch up with family and friends before heading off to Europe in 2019 for more housesitting. As we travel we get familiar with what the area has to offer and learn what we can about the location, culture, and history. We build it into our homeschool efforts (some call it roadschooling or worldschooling). I’ve found that as we slow travel, we are able to enjoy places we go in different ways.
When covid hit in 2020, we abandoned our planned route and came home to wait things out. We rented a place down the road from our old house. I ended up changing roles again during the pandemic (still 100% remote) and the house we rented was sold before our lease was even up! So we decided to hit the road again in 2021. This time we bought a truck and fifth-wheel trailer RV to tour our own continent. This felt much easier since crossing any border was tricky and felt out of our control. We pulled out from Georgia up to the Pacific Northwest on a grand tour of the states. We’ve been to Maine down to Florida and across the South into California and back! We started feeling somewhat isolated from long-term friends and want to give our kids a bit more community, so we’re going to settle down back in Georgia for a spell, but I’m sure we’ll keep traveling like it’s our job.
Follow along on some of the transition to nomad life on my travel blog at nomaderwhere.com or follow photos on Instagram.