With news all over the world suggesting no international travel for the next 12 months, I can only imagine what everyone is thinking.
“When this is over I am out of here!”
“I want to see the world!”
“I am going to be nomadic!”
“I will be the next Travel With Bender nomadic travel family!”
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Well, good. Despite all my warnings family nomadic travel remains to this day one of the greatest adventures of my life and if you want to do it then I am here to help you start planning.
This article was originally written during the frantic preparation of 2014 before we set off on the second part of our nomadic journey, which lasted for another 3 years, after the initial 2.
It isn’t so easy for most people to get up and leave. Especially at the moment. Before Corona, there were a dozen different reasons you wanted to start on a long-term dream adventure with your family. You may want to build an intimate bond that hasn’t been there, or perhaps you might want to see this amazing world that you’ve only experienced vicariously through TV, movies, books and the Internet. Or maybe now with Corona you’re sick of being stuck at home all year and are ready to quit the rat race and actually live!
Whatever your reason, there are numerous ways to make it possible. Whether you’re frugally saving money during this year of corona for the year you travel, working in different capacities around the world, or having a location-independent income stream. Whichever way you plan to do it, this post is NOT about how you will survive financially, but about how to confront and overcome the single greatest and most intimidating challenge of all. Taking the first step out of your front door.
December 2011 I doubted my doubts and decided to give nomadic travel a try. I was thinking that if we left 10 months later, in September 2012, it would be a sufficient amount of time for me to prepare. In February 2012 a lovely lady asked if she could rent our house in April, which I agreed to. It set in motion a frantic fast-tracked plan to get organized and depart Australia with less than 3 months up our sleeve.
In 2014, I found myself in a somewhat similar cocoon. I knew I would be “home” for about 4 months, however, as usual, I left things to the last minute and ran out of precious time.
As I got ready during those frantic 4 months I thought I could share the practical keys I discovered, so you will feel more than ready to embark on your own epic family nomad journey.
1. Book Ticket For Your Nomad Journey
I work so much better with a deadline. When we thought about going in September we were very slow getting things together. When we found a tenant who wanted the house in a relatively short timeframe, we really started moving fast. So book your one-way ticket today (so many great deals!) and start working towards that date. The sooner the better too. If you need some visual inspiration, write the date in large print on a piece of paper and stick it to your fridge. It will be an invaluable reminder and inspiration that each day you’re one step closer to realizing your travel dream.
2. Rent House / Sell House
Lots of people opt to sell their house to travel the world. We decided renting would work better for us. I simply wrote one Facebook status to my friends and family mentioning we would be looking to rent out our house and people started asking.
The first time in 2012 we found friends of friends to rent our property. In 2014 I found a friend of mine, who wants to move at the end of March. I didn’t want to leave until the middle of April so I head to my parents’ house for a few weeks before jetting off.
I rented my house fully furnished, however, in the past, the tenants only needed a few items. All of my personal items and the items they didn’t need were placed in the garage with clear instructions that they could only use half the garage in the rental agreement. It was packed like a perfect jigsaw puzzle and it was almost disheartening to see that the collective contents of our 4-bedroom house could fit into half a garage.
To e honest I am so glad I kept it all. It certainly made re-entry back into “regular” life that much easier. Despite the 8 years of dust I had to sift through.
Even with friends, we ensured all rental contracts were legal and above board. We took out landlord’s insurance for extra peace of mind and it worked beautifully, during the 8 years I was gone. In fact, to this day a friend of mine still rents my house and takes good care of it.
3. Stop Mail
Two months prior to leaving, each time I received a letter via snail mail I called the sender to change our address. Where possible I made everything paperless – all notices would be sent by email: bank statements, utilities, and updates from our sponsor children.
For anything that could not be emailed we opened a PO Box. Our PO Box service automatically scans the front of incoming letters and gives me the opportunity to scan the contents, trash it or file for later for a relatively low fee. A handy email notification is received each time a new postal item is received so I can securely read it online. This is a crucial key to making long-term travel possible in a world that still uses snail mail.
4. Close Accounts
Don’t forget to close accounts – gas, electricity, water, Internet, phone lines, and mobile contracts. It’s amazing how many utilities there are attached to a house and how much money you start putting back in your pocket when these are not part of your everyday life.
5. Sell The Car
Depending on the amount of time you are leaving for, you may want to lend your car to a friend or sell it. I decided to sell both my cars and started the process a few months prior to departure. My second car sold just 2 weeks before I departed, which was excellent timing. We used carsales.com.au (Australia) but online car classifieds websites are easy to find.
I canceled my car insurance and contacted my provider to adjust my home and contents insurance. Because I had tenants in the house the contents insurance went up slightly. However, I have since been selling off many items and now the insurance has gone down by more than AUD$200 per year.
Also, look into landlord’s insurance if you are renting your property. In Australia, I chose EBM, which is about $200 per year – a low price for peace of mind.
You may also want to look into travel insurance. I love Safety Wing and their policies can be booked for up to 12 months. The process is quick and painless and fully online. Our first year cost roughly AUD$1700 for the 4 of us. I made 3 claims ranging from stolen phones to fractured arms and missed flights. Totally worth it.
One thing I failed to do before I left was to sort out my banking. Do your research and find out the fees for overseas ATM withdrawals, and check the conversion fees for currency exchange. Get a few extra credit cards for emergencies. I only had one card when I left and often it would be suspended because of our frequent country hopping. This caused some interesting challenges, especially when my wallet was stolen. Keep a few extra credit/debit cards in a secure place (not the wallet that you use each day).
8. Your Stuff
Packing for a long trip can be hard work. I packed my bags, then my best friend repacked it.
After I completed packing I put the rest away in my garage for storage. The first time we left we thought we might be going for 6 months, but we didn’t come back for 1.5 years. My 3-year-old daughter’s clothing was sitting in the garage and rendered completely useless when she returned as a 5-year-old.
When I returned all of my clothing made its way to the charity clothing bin as I also didn’t need them.
Be clear with what you have and what you will need on your return. Give away items that are not going to be used again. Sell items that you can live without. Facebook has great groups such as Pay It Forward where people will come collect unwanted items. Check out Gumtree (Australia) or Craigslist to make some extra cash on your unneeded bits and pieces.
Lend DVDs or books to family members. Make sure the fridge, washing machine and dryer doors stay open if you are keeping them, mold is not your friend.
Some folks love structure and planning, others enjoy spontaneity. When we decided to leave I planned the first 4 months to a tee – flights, accommodation, and transport. After a while, I felt much more comfortable with choosing destinations at the last minute.
You have so much to do before you first leave so take a little pressure off and prepare the next step of the journey later. Book the first flight, find your initial accommodation and then take that first month to relax and figure out where you want to go next, and for how long.
Also, you might like to consider researching ways to make money on the road. I happen to know a great blog is a good way to bring in cash to keep the wanderlust going. I’m a professional travel blogger and in 2016 my blog made more than $150,000! Check out how to make your blog here.
10. How To Eat The Elephant?
You probably would have heard that well-known saying. The answer is one bite at a time. It can seem a little overwhelming at first, the sheer number of tasks to accomplish and the logistics of making it all happen. So try creating a spreadsheet, which keeps track of your tasks and progress. I did this in preparation for leaving in 2012. It greatly helped to see what my tasks were and their priority, plus. It felt great to know we were on track and it helped to reduce the stress along the way.
These are the 10 steps that helped kickstart my family nomad journey and I hope they help you too. Get on the computer tonight, book that ticket and get ready as you prepare to make your biggest step – getting out the front door and into a fantastical world of adventure… As soon as Corona is over.
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