We have made it to the last month before our departure and it seems to have taken a long time getting here. Anne has just retired so we can work on the last things together. In this post we wanted to share some of our experiences in preparing for this journey.
Once we made the decision to become nomadic as a way of life we thought we had cleared the biggest hurdle – and perhaps we had. However if you’re considering this type of lifestyle change be prepared for a myriad of paperwork and logistics. We are very detailed orientated and strive to account for every circumstance to the best of our ability. Even being so detailed and organized, we have found the emotional aspects and required logistics of our preparation quite daunting (but it’s been great fun at the same time).
One of the first and perhaps the most important consideration is the emotional commitment. If you have a partner are they on the same wavelength? Will you be able to maintain your relationship being together 24/7 and facing the challenges that will certainly arise? Are you prepared to commit to the idea that your home is wherever you happen to be at the time? Are you prepared to leave behind everything you have ever known including your comfortable routines and habits? How will your relationships with family and friends be affected?
Our 20 year old son is in University and we will be far away from him. Our beloved feline family member, Vince, has been with us for 9 years and we rescued him when he was a kitten. How do we deal with letting go? This is all a process and we constantly evaluate it but we have faith in the decisions we make and will let things unfold as they must.
We have spent a couple years going through all our “stuff”. We have decided to sell our house but this is one area that is somewhat out of our control. The market in rural Nova Scotia is very slow and it has been on the market for over a year now. We really do not want to rent it out and deal with the commitments that brings. Hopefully we will not have to sell it at a ridiculously low price, so we continue to prepare for the various outcomes and we’ll deal with it at the time.
We have sold one of our two vehicles, the last one will go next month and we have been working on weeding our possessions down to fit into a 5 x 10 foot storage locker. This has been quite a process and in the beginning held some emotional discomfort. It is now surprisingly easy, and liberating, to decide what to let go of. It is amazing, as what meant something to us 2 years ago doesn’t have the same attachment today. This storage locker will now become our transition area when coming to Canada to change destinations. Another really liberating aspect of this is that our son only has to deal with a 5 x 10 area of well labeled bins if anything happens to us!
Obviously a major consideration is your financial situation. As we have been discovering there are hundreds of examples where people successfully live full time on the road on a very modest budget. So perhaps a more practical question to ask yourself is can you afford the type of travel that you envision? Are you ready for couch-surfing, hostels and a full time life of budget travel? Can you afford hotels every night, restaurant eating and expensive flights? Most likely the answer is somewhere in between. In our case we will be much closer to the budget travel end of the spectrum. We also have to consider the fact that all of our funds are in Canadian dollars which at this time are about 0.75 US dollars so this means our funds won’t go nearly as far in countries where the US dollar is the main currency driver.
Accommodation images courtesy Pixabay
Health is another important concern. Fortunately neither of us have major issues to contend with, however Anne does have a strong gluten intolerance and serious allergies. I have had off and on issues with kidney stones which can be exceedingly painful but other than preventative eating habits there isn’t a whole lot that can be done. We are confident a lifestyle change will improve both our mental and physical health. We do have good medical coverage here in Canada but we will require health and travel insurance once we leave. In looking through the many providers we have decided that World Nomads seems to have the right mix of value, cost and advantages that we will be looking for.
PAPERWORK AND MORE PAPERWORK
The next consideration is what to do when you don’t have a permanent residence. Canada Post wasn’t able to provide us with an address without a physical residence and none of our families’ addresses were feasible for this. An address is required for passports, banks, taxes, insurance, drivers licenses and many more essential services. We also needed a place to receive and process our mail, as Anne looks after a couple of family members’ personal affairs and our son still needs a current address while he is in university. It soon became clear to us that this normally not thought of aspect of life required a tremendous amount of paperwork and consumption of time to organize. We then found a private service catering to travelers who not only gave us a residential address, but can go through your mail with you from a distance, open and scan anything you want, and forward mail to anywhere we ask. It was just what we needed!
After months of writing letters, many phone calls, online applications, and creating lists to not forget anyone, we are near the finish line. We will also be cancelling service with our cell phone provider and have no permanent phone number, which is part of every address change. We used our old cell phone number and plan to use our same SIM card each time we return to Canada. Fortunately an email address can connect us to most everything and everybody and we did not need to change that.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU
Now that you have gotten through all of that, you will have to purchase travel gear. What kind of luggage do you want or need? Are you able to fit everything into a carry-on backpack or can you accept the added cost and inconvenience of checked luggage? What kind of clothes do you want or need? What electronics are you going to use while you are on the road? These last few items are some of the final preparations we are going through.
There is a lot of excellent information and advice out there from the travel blogging community as well as many excellent forums. There are some obvious and general pearls of wisdom that most everyone agrees on. But at the end of the day much of it will depend on your own travel style and personal interests. One thing we haven’t seen anyone say however is that they wished they had taken more stuff – pack as light and little as you can is the starting point. If you “think it might come in handy” don’t bother carrying it with you every day. So yes, take the time to read through the excellent ideas out there but keep in mind the context of the author(s) as their taste, style, interests, or budget may be quite different from your own.
We are heading off soon, carrying lightweight rolling duffle backpacks, with open minds and hearts, knowing that we have done everything right to close our current way of life so we can recreate ourselves as a new life unfolds. Thanks for following along with us.