For those who are new to our site… for those who are confused… for those who still have a lot of questions… this post is the Big Fat WHY, WHEN and HOW we are doing what we’re doing post! (For the nearest and dearest who already know all this stuff… feel free to skip ahead).
YOU’RE DOING WHAT?
We’re going nomadic. We’re going to live like gypsies for a while… and travel LOTS – both locally and internationally. We’re leaving our nice (newly renovated) suburban house, we’ve turfed most of our stuff, we’ve downgraded the debt, taken the kids out of school… and we’re going to live life on our terms.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?
Well… we made the “Big Decision” during an Easter getaway in 2011. You can read about it here. It’s taken us a while to actually get to the point where we can leave… it’s been quite an intense process of purging, downscaling and getting our heads around the idea of truly Living Differently. We had the house to renovate… taxes to sort out and pay… debt to get rid of… and an entire household full of STUFF to significantly purge. But now it’s done… and we’re going. (Here’s a post I wrote a year ago… when things weren’t going so well and we were struggling to extract ourselves from debt).
WHEN ARE YOU GOING?
On the 1st of November – we’ll be out of our house. On the 14th November, we’ll be on a plane. We’re going to start our new nomadic lives with a 2 month road trip around the United States.
YOU SOLD YOUR HOUSE?
No. That was the initial plan – but then we realised that our house is actually a nice investment (since it’s mostly paid off and the rental income can easily manage to cover the bond repayments and other house expenses). So – we’re renting it… to Geeks! (You read that correctly – Geeks, not Greeks!). On the 1st of November, our house will officially become Dee-Twenty Geeking Venue.
We have kept the small cottage attached to the house. It’s current use is our movie room and Nick’s editing studio… and it will remain those things – plus provide temporary accommodation for us whenever we’re swooping through Joburg in the future.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU MOVE OUT YOUR HOME?
We’ll hang around Joburg for 2 weeks… partly in our tiny cottage, and we may spend a few days with some very dear friends. On the 14th, we fly to the United States. Our road-trip will take us in a large triangle… from Washington DC to Florida… to Chicago… to Ohio…. to New England… back to DC.
We’ll be back in Joburg on the 16th January – because on the 20th, we’ll be attending the premiere of Faan se Trein. After that – there’s a few places we can go. We want to spend a month down at the coast… or somewhere pretty (maybe even up in Hoedspruit – but the heat scares me!) – and then, Nick will be needed on set again (to shoot the next couple of films). These will either be shot in the Karoo again… or Cape Town… or both. We – as a family – will move to wherever the films are being shot. There is also a potential editing job that would require Nick to be in Germany for about 3 months (next year). Of course – we would ALL go together.
In a nutshell: we will follow the film work… and, in between films and sets… we will travel and explore the country / continent / world.
AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR WORK, HEATHER?
Me? Oh… I’ll continue with the blogging, the (slow process) of the book-writing, the art-making… and the Mad-Hatster’s Coffee Cabaret’s (2 coming up – one on the 18th October at “The Shed” coffee shop in Honeydew… and another on the 8th November at “Citizen Cafe” in Blairgowrie). I’m the Travelling-Artist, I guess.
And – of course – there’s the part where I facilitate learning experiences for the kids…
(And plot film ideas with my hubby…)
BUT WHERE WILL YOU ACTUALLY LIVE?
Mostly – we’d grab a short-term rentals in cheap, furnished apartments or homes (if we’re staying somewhere for a month or more… otherwise cheap, self-catering holiday places). We’ve whittled down our belongings to the bare minimum (apart from clothes… we have our laptops, cameras, art materials, kid’s learning goodies, and that’s about it!) 🙂
HOW CAN YOU AFFORD ALL THIS TRAVEL?
Choices. Choices. Choices. Let me be clear: we are not particularly wealthy. For most part, we’re a single-income family. I earn occasional money (the regularity of which is slowly improving)… and Nick earns a living as a filmmaker (although he also occasionally does some programming too).
We have made the choice to get our living expenses right down to the bare minimum. We have no credit card debt, gym fees, DSTV fees, etc. We pay cash for stuff (never buy on store cards and the like), we both use really old cell phones (on a really cheap monthly scheme), our (only) car is paid off, we don’t pay school fees (kid’s are homeschooled), we have an affordable medical aid plan (covers us for hospital)… and the rent of our home covers the bond repayments – plus all the extra expenses that the house incurs.
We aren’t particularly materialistic – so couldn’t be bothered about the latest fashions, latest brands, fancy cars, watches, flat-screen TV’s or what-not. Our weakness is restaurants (we eat out… a LOT) – and gadgets (laptops, camera lenses, iPads, etc – sadly aren’t cheap!).
It all boils down to choice. We sacrificed some things to make way for the things that mattered most to our family. It’s about living deliberately. Long-term travel really isn’t any more expensive than the bills that have to do with Regular-Suburban-Life. I guess we all need to choose where we invest our time and money.
WHY START WITH A ROAD TRIP TO THE STATES? SURELY THERE’S MORE BUDGET-FRIENDLY PLACES TO VISIT?
For sure! There are loads of more budget-friendly places to visit. The main reason is Disney World. Our kids have been begging us (for years) to take them to Disney World – and they’re at the perfect age to really appreciate it. Also – we have loads of friends in the States that we’d love to catch up with… we miss them! It’s been too long! AND – we wanted to go to a Northern Hemisphere country because the kids have never truly experienced SNOW… or snow sports… or a White Christmas! We’ll go somewhere else on our next international trip (we’d love to travel around Europe for a couple of months… in a camper!)….
WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL FOR THE KIDS?
We homeschool / unschool / road-school or world-school our kids. I don’t like pigeon-holing ourselves into one particular education “philosophy”. I don’t like boxing ourselves into systems of thinking. We do what works best for our kids (which isn’t necessarily going to be the best choice for everyone else’s kids). Learning is HUGELY important for our family. Of course, different people have different understandings of the word “learning”. For us, “learning” is not the same as “schooling”. I am deeply passionate about the former… and more than just a little bit disillusioned with the latter.
Earlier this year, we spent 6 weeks on the road. This is what “Road Schooling” looks like for our family.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE LIKE THIS?
- Because it has been our dream. It may not be YOUR dream… but it’s OUR dream.
- Because… when you read the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying…. and when you realise how short and precious life is… you can’t NOT live your dreams (or, at least, that has been our experience). Life is precious. Life is short. We do NOT want to waste it away on “plodding-along”… or “making-do”… or “getting-by”… or “surviving”. We don’t want to “survive”… we want to LIVE! We want to suck the marrow out of life and LIVE!
SO… WHAT NOW?
Well… mostly admin. Packing up and purging the last of our stuff… fixing the last little house issues… sorting out travel insurance… that kind of thing. Nick has been working like a mad-man so we’ll have sufficient spending money for 2 months (and he’ll also do a bit of work on the road too). To be honest – it hasn’t really sunk in yet. “We’re leaving on the 14th of November? Really? Surely not!”…
It all feels a bit odd… to be honest. It feels like someone else’s life – and not mine. Maybe that’s because we’ve been dreaming about this for SUCH a long time – that it just feels surreal now that it’s actually happening. Maybe it will all sink in only when I’m settled comfortably on the plane (?).
I’ll tell you when I finally snap back into reality.