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homesick

Next Destination: Freedom of Choice

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Next Destination: Freedom of Choice

So, what the heck are we doin’ out here? We have spent six months in South East Asia and are getting questions like, "Are you ever going to move on?" and "Where to next?"

Well, what we are really doing out here is getting PUMPED! We have big news: We are flying home y’all!

t-minus 10 days from boarding a plane and heading home!

OW OWWW! We couldn’t be more excited!

Our big day is rapidly approaching. Ironically, it also marks one year (to the day) since we hopped on our first flight leaving the Continental US on our #nuventures. We had already been road tripping four months at that point, but it was our first leg flying over sea water and banking out into the world.

We were no longer able to just drive the 24 hours home if we wanted. Terror and excitement had a good ol’ time wrastlin’ inside of me.

One year later on November 2, we will be boarding a flight from Thailand back to the States with  drastically different visions, goals and dreams than what we originally set out with.

Right now, we are at the end of a two month rental agreement in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

What are we doing staying two months in one spot? Shouldn’t we be going balls to the walls seeing every temple,  jungle, monkey and elephant we can in the countries we haven’t set foot in yet? We still have loads to do!

Pai, Thailand

Pai, Thailand

Well, our goals have changed.

After 15 months out in the world, our #nuventures have been stretching, growing and aiming for something new: Sustaining a lifestyle of freedom by working while we travel.

A year ago, I would never have anticipated the story I’m about to share with you. We have been evolving over each season we have found ourselves in.

Come on, sit down. Let’s have a chat and I’ll tell you about it.

SEASON 1: TRAVEL TIL EVERY LAST PENNY IS SPENT

We slid into the front seats of our Honda Accord at 9:16 am on June 26, 2014. We slammed the doors shut and looked at each other. We both took a deep breath. This was it.

Adam started the car and we rolled out. When we turned the corner onto Red Rock Ave, we both glanced in the rear view mirror to look one last time. Leaving our freshly painted hilltop cottage for our renter, we only had one thought in mind. We were embarking on our dream.

Our dream of leaving everything; our jobs, our home, our friends and family, temporarily. We were setting out to travel the world. We intended to be gone for two years (I secretly hoped I could survive six months).

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

We were excited to be free and to let the wind carry us to every corner of the world.

Our motivation came from seeing little, diapered babes on our horizon after a series of events. We both felt the pull from deep down. Our response may shock you, but we bolted in the other direction. Adam and I both felt our hearts yelling “Go, go, go! We gotta travel now or never!”

We only expected to return to the States when every last penny in our “travel fund” had been spent or we were pregnant (no, no baby Nubern, yet). We even planned ahead for when we would return without jobs. We have six months worth of “emergency funds” set aside just in case.

Well, our endurance failed us only a few months in.

SEASON 2: traveling is not our only passion

Let’s sprint ahead to month seven or eight in New Zealand.

We were doing one of two things constantly. We were either driving cross country in our camper/minivan Bernie or humping our packs up the Southern Alps for hours, days and weeks at a time.

Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand

We were mastering new physical feats by kicking our tails into major shape. However, our minds were on vacay and were roaming freely.

On these journeys into New Zealand’s backcountry, we constantly dreamed. We dreamed of the future. We dreamed up new ideas; new business ventures, how to make passive income, how to make more time for family, writing a book, and so many more ideas we were just pocketing away.

With each new idea stuffed away, our pockets started bulging. The seams holding them all in were growing thin. Finally, it became painful. We couldn’t suppress and tuck away any longer. We had to do something about these ideas!

We realized we were starving other pieces of who we are. Our imagination and creativity were getting fidgity and were itching to be used!

It was perfect timing, too. Our feet, calves and tails were exhausted, but our minds and hands were ready to get dirty and work towards something. Anything!

SEASON 3: Dipped our toes in TO TRAVEL & WORK

Whew. This feels so good to say out loud and finally confess. Traveling is not our only passion. We have so many other curiosities we want to question and explore.

Turns out, we can only handle straight travel for a few months. We had too many ideas. We saw so much potential in ourselves. There was so much to do!

Now, let’s take it back a step. Before we even left Colorado Springs, seeds of “another way” had been imprinted on our minds. Every night Adam would sit on the couch and research other bloggers traveling long term to learn their ways. While researching, Adam ran across “digital nomads.” Digital nomads are these crazies traveling the world while they work from their laptops.

At first we were amazed by these people living the real dream and making it happen. However, this concept didn’t fit our mold. We were so focused on the freedom from work, we filed the thought away and kept moving. However, the idea of working while you travel had been planted in our brains and kept nagging us on our tramps in New Zealand. Our dreams and thoughts continually flowed to one question: “How could we make it happen?”

We are on the journey to making it happen. It’s been a slow evolution through dipping our toes in and testing the waters.

FIRST, I started our trip working from the passenger seat

Blessing is the only word that can describe this part of the story. When I decided to leave my job in the Springs, I was invited to work three more months from my laptop on the road while my employer interviewed folks to fill my position. This was my first taste of working and traveling. We had to plan ahead for coffee shop time, but it was totally doable.

SECONd, NUVENTURE CPA was born

While my work was coming to an end, Adam’s was ramping up. He was already working as an accountant for a buddy that had started a new company. While we were in our first month of travel in Maine, a second client called, then a third was knocking on the door and boom: Nuventure CPA was born.

I remember driving through a canyon on our US roadtrip and turned to Adam seeing the dark grey walls flying behind him. “Why are you doing this?” I asked him. I was confused because we had saved up for five years for the freedom to not work and just travel. He was deviating from the plan. He simply replied, “Why not? If I’m going to try my own thing, this is the best time.”

There you have it. I can’t argue with that. Honestly, I have been blown away and admire Adam’s dedication, determination and innovation on his own journey of entrepreneurship.

THIRD, I finally threw myself out there, too

I took a bit longer to want to give the long-term work/travel lifestyle a full go. I foresaw the future of being stressed to the max working and hopefully juggling little ones. While in New Zealand, I was a free bird; no work, no deadlines, no commitments and… nothing to do (except hike). I loved it for the first few months, but like I said I started getting antsy. I was even hanging out in Burger King’s to get solid wifi to watch YouTube videos to learn how to knit. Turns out, I’m not going to be an etsy prodigy banking it from knitting.  Onward ho' to my next curiosity.

That's about as far as I can get! Ha! Purakaunui Bay, New Zealand

That's about as far as I can get! Ha! Purakaunui Bay, New Zealand

I saw potential for a travel company to improve their social media presence. I contemplated connecting with them for over a month. I finally went for it. I emailed them and was hired.

All of a sudden, Adam and I were both working part time and designating more WiFi time at Burger King (our second home in New Zealand). It didn’t take long for our excitement to be channeled into, “How do we make traveling while we work a sustainable lifestyle?”

From just dipping our toes in little by little, we started turning to the digital nomads we knew seeking their advice on how to solve our wifi problems, cloud storage solutions, sim card questions, and other frustrations we hadn’t thought about, yet. These digital nomads became inspiration for us. If they could do it, we had to give it a go, too.

SEASON 4: Revelation

Moving onto to South East Asia: Ubud, Bali to be exact.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

We were spending more and more time each day diving into our projects and other curiosities instead of solely exploring our new location.

However, we were maintaining our travel schedule of continuing on to a new place every few days. We just couldn’t throw the internal pressure and mentality of “We have to see everything we can! We are only in South East Asia once!”

We became frantic. We were spending hours and hours researching where to go next, what to do next and how to do it because that is what we were supposed to do: keep traveling, keep seeing. But, with diverting our priorities to different interests, we didn’t have much time to fully explore our current location.

Forking banana pancakes during breakfast one morning it hit me- BAM! Revelation! We were the ones causing our own frantic states.

We had changed our goals and priorities to now invest the time to make this lifestyle sustainable. However, we hadn’t adjusted our timeline to follow suit. What was causing us so much stress was our original two year timeline.

By working hard to build our skills from our laptops, we no longer needed the two year timeline. We were now pursuing a dream of travel being our forever lifestyle by making money as we go.

Now that I really think about it, traveling forever is not our true destination. Freedom of choice is our ultimate destination. Whether we want to travel forever, settle forever or have a constant mix, we have the freedom to make the decision for ourselves.

Ubud, Bali

Ubud, Bali

With all this said, our perspective on returning home had changed. We didn’t see ourselves settling down and needing to find jobs right away. When we head home to the States, we will continue doing what we are doing right now: working from our laptops on our current projects and thinking creatively on how to start new ideas.

SEASON 5: ALL IN

Sitting across from each other with our banana pancakes, we both looked at each other again and took a deep breath. This was it. We officially decided to scrap our “two year timeline.”

We're all in! Koh Tao, Thailand

We're all in! Koh Tao, Thailand

We were officially giving the “work and travel” lifestyle a full, concentrated effort.

As of today, Adam is working with several clients as a Certified Public Accountant as the owner of Nuventure CPA. I am currently writing a book, travel writing and managing social media communities.

To set these solid foundations, we are hunkered down in Chiang Mai, Thailand investing hard work and time on our projects until we return home.

SEASON 6: THIS IS HARD!

We are going to be honest with you. No, we aren’t covering our expenses, yet. We are on the way, though!

What we have learned along our journey, is why not? Why not give it a go? We have a curiosity in this type of lifestyle, so we have to try. We know we may discover that this is not what we expected or we don’t want this lifestyle or certain aspects that come along with it. That’s okay. For now, we have to explore our curiosity and see for ourselves.

What’s encouraging is Buddha says “It’s better to travel well than to arrive.” Now, we aren’t just traveling to new parts of the globe. We are on a journey seeking a new lifestyle and learning so much about new fields of work, new ideas, and ourselves.

We are in for a big challenge! It has been hard work. Every day we are walking into new scenarios we have never encountered before. Ey! I have never published a book before. How do you even do that? Just wait, soon, I will have some insight to provide.

The first print of the book It's actually a physical thing, not just a digital file in Word!

The first print of the book It's actually a physical thing, not just a digital file in Word!

We have quickly  come to admire and respect all small business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s a whole ‘nother ballgame when you strike out to do things on your own and by yourself. You can’t just swing by a co-workers desk to ask a quick question any more. On a positive, this has given us more incentive to network and reach out to the experts.

It seems like we have more frustrations than success right now. When we take a step back, we find ourselves excited to get up each day and eager to solve these obstacles and unknowns. We are excited to solve our frustrations because we see the bigger goal coming in the future: Freedom. We have a vision and are working toward it. That’s a cool place to be.

The big question: Is this it for #nuventures?

Hang En, Vietnam

Hang En, Vietnam

No way, Jose! We see returning to the States as another leg of our journey.

What makes this leg so much sweeter is reuniting with our family and friends in real time. It will be so nice to give bear hugs at the door and have conversations without the guaranteed, “Hello? Hello? Are you there? Yeah, I can hear you now. I don’t know what happened to the connection. Oh, no. Hello? Hello? Are you there?”

so, What’s next?

A glamping we will go! It’s camper van time, y’all!

We hope for a proper camper this time. A toilet and shower would be a great addition!

We hope for a proper camper this time. A toilet and shower would be a great addition!

We can’t wait to shout #homeiswhereyouparkit as we honk our horn and swing into your driveway! I can just imagine Betty Joe's annoyed look through her blinds from next door with our grand entrance.

Here is our tentative US road trip schedule:

  • 1st stop: Minnesota: Early November
  • 2nd stop: Georgia: Mid- November-December
  • 3rd stop: Colorado: January-mid February

Starting mid-February through April we are crossing the US on a road trip with our pals KimblesinBits. They left everything in Chicago to travel the world, too!

We are so PUMPED to see you on U.S. soil!

We are so PUMPED to see you on U.S. soil!

We are really looking forward to shooting the breeze and chatting with you around the kitchen table. We do miss a good ol' kitchen table. It's been a while!

We have no idea what it will be like coming home. We are preparing for a bit of culture shock.

Any words of wisdom as we RETURN to the U.S.?

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Homesick.

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Homesick.

Homesickness. The waves take over us often and pound us at different angles every time. Sometimes it lasts an hour, sometimes an afternoon or morning, or sometimes several days.

Homesickness is sneaky, too. We find ourselves sad, irritated or in a funk and at first we don't know why. For the first few months on our #nuventures, I definitely knew when I was homesick. It was obvious because I would be balling my eyes out and blubbering, "I'm so sad! I miss home. I just want a shower!" Now, it comes in a different form where I find myself sulking around, unmotivated for the day ahead, or groggy from sleeping too long. I end up cleaning our room or reorganizing my things for the umpteenth time. How many times can I reorganize a backpack with 15 items in it?

It creeps up on Adam, too. He has spent a solid week sleeping every day all day long. In the seven years I have known Adam, I have only seen him cry three times. The most recent was when we were Facetiming family and talking about missing everyone back home. We really miss you guys!

I simply miss calling up a good friend and going for a hike. Or, randomly asking friends for a game of Settlers. How we miss Settlers! On a different level, I miss the feeling of being on autopilot. Out here, we are constantly researching, mapping and getting lost. No matter how many times we practice “controlling our attitudes,” getting lost is never this wanderlust dream we envisioned from our Pinterest pictures. It's so frustrating!

We were so frustrated with being lost in the endless maze of rice paddies! The farmers were even giving us funny looks. We finally gave up, hopped off the bike and stormed off in opposite directions. 

We were so frustrated with being lost in the endless maze of rice paddies! The farmers were even giving us funny looks. We finally gave up, hopped off the bike and stormed off in opposite directions. 

What I miss the absolute most (even more than dark chocolate) are the long hard laughs that come with being with good friends and family that know deeply. We are constantly on the move adjusting to new places, meeting new people, learning new cultures and are always on a first impression basis. Of course this is exciting and these aspects of traveling have us eager to keep going. However, sometimes we are human and just want the comfort of a good friend.

When we arrived in Vietnam, homesickness snuck up on us again and it took us days to realize the grip this subconscious feeling had on us. We were staying in our hotel room more than normal; not really interested in adventuring out. We thought it was because of the crazy humidity outside or the fact that Adam didn't have much control over his stomach. Either way, we felt a bit confined to the room and homesickness welled up again.

In our brainstorming sessions of figuring out the why’s of our unmotivated funk, we realized that every time we move to a new place we seem to be on this emotional roller coaster. We bounce back and forth from extremes of, “Wow! This is so exciting! I love it here! Let’s stay a while!” to “I’m sad and I don’t know why.” The reality is the constant changing and adjusting makes us emotional wrecks, ping ponging us back and forth between euphoric excitement to sadness and wanting the comfort of familiar.

In Lombok I caught myself in a bummer mood because we didn’t have any friends to call up to hang out. I channeled some Beverly Keasler and changed my attitude. Well, if I can’t have my family and friends here, I have to make new friends with those that are here. Finding friends became an adventure.

I miss being able to throw a party. I mean, look at all of these awesome decorations! What a tease!

I miss being able to throw a party. I mean, look at all of these awesome decorations! What a tease!

I may have channeled a little too much energy. We randomly saw a couple we had met previously in Bali. We pulled over for a quick chat and asked the couple to hang out later. I caught myself saying, “We are available tonight, or tomorrow all day, or tomorrow night, or the next night. Well, all week! Anytime! You just let us know!” After we left, I turned to Adam, “Did I sound desperate?” Without responding, Adam thew his hands up in the air with a yell, “We have friends!!!!”

if we are homesick, why don’t we just go home?

1. We do get "shots" of home.

Amazingly, we have gotten to meet up with some of our great friends and family while on the road. During the weeks prior to seeing our friends, the anticipation builds and we can't wait! Then, the time we do get to spend with them is so cherished and so great it fills us with a sense of home for several weeks after.

Look at all these fine folks from Georgia in NZ!

Look at all these fine folks from Georgia in NZ!

Three awesome days in Krabi, Thailand with Dan Fran and Ashley!

Three awesome days in Krabi, Thailand with Dan Fran and Ashley!

2. Reality.

When we are down, we are real with ourselves and think about life before traveling. We had highs and lows all the time. Going back home would be a comfort for a short time, but then everyone would go back to business as usual and we would be doing the same thing as we are doing now. We dreamed of this lifestyle for five years. Can our homesickness be solved by a FaceTime chat with our moms, dads and friends? Sometimes just going for a walk outside helps, too.

3. Pride.

When I tell Adam I am missing home, he immediately says, “Well, go home.” His response is out of a previous agreement we had prior to heading out on our #nuventures. We had prepared ourselves for a time when I may need to go home before Adam was ready. Our predictions turned out to be completely opposite than what we expected. Adam misses home and talks about home more than I do. However, in my moments of homesickness, my pride takes over. I see “going home” as giving up. We dreamed of being on the road traveling for two years. To not be able to push through the challenges is giving up in my eyes. So, I’m not just going to quit and go home. Maybe I’m too stubborn for my own good.

4. Scared.

We recently were in a museum in Hanoi and started to walk down the steps to leave. We were in a funk again. As we were heading down, Adam turned to me and said, “Should we just go home?” That one question sent us over the edge, and we spent the rest of the day planning how we were going to return home earlier than what we had originally planned. When we were really thinking about this option, I started getting scared. Wait, what will it be like going home? What will we do? Am I ready for the culture shock? Will we be able to just hop back in with our friends? This nomadic lifestyle has become normal for us, so going home will be a huge change and a shock to the system.

5. We see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After our "not-as-awesome-as-expected" Christmas last year in New Zealand, we decided for us the holidays are meant to be spent with family. We are going back to the states for the holidays this year and CANNOT WAIT! We are already dreaming of the huge bear hugs with everyone, the belly rolling laughter that comes with good quality time, Dominick’s delicious Italian food, pizza with real sauce instead of ketchup (this is real y'all), Zaxby’s, feta cheese or any cheese at all, greek salads, and American football!

what do we do when we are homesick, instead of booking a flight home?

Well, all of our solutions come from other travelers we have met along the way who have shared what they do.

1. Jo from England: bakes and calls home.

We are rarely somewhere with a kitchen let alone an oven, so instead of baking we call home. Our families will agree they see and talk to us way more now with us living across the world than when we lived in Colorado!

Climbing with Sam and Jo in Banff. 

Climbing with Sam and Jo in Banff. 

2. Johnny and Nikita from England: Watch movies based in London.

We never thought of this, but the next time we watched The Secret Life ofWalter Mitty for the 50 millionth time we realized it was so comforting to see familiar buildings and settings in the US.

I guess we didn't sound too desperate. They said yes!

I guess we didn't sound too desperate. They said yes!

3. Pascal from England: Calls her girlfriends.

So, now I intentionally plan dates with girlfriends back home and I think of them like coffee dates we would normally have. Just seeing their faces and hearing their voices for even a quick ten minutes makes a world of difference.

Peter and Pascal biking from the US to Mexico!

Peter and Pascal biking from the US to Mexico!

4. Karen from Chicago: texts her friends OFTEN.

I took this idea and have been trying to send funny, random stuff to friends through Viber or Facebook. It has helped me feel not so far away or out of the loop having small conversations bouncing back and forth with my good friends.

With Adam and Karen in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietman. We feel like we've known them forever!

With Adam and Karen in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietman. We feel like we've known them forever!

After hearing that everyone else experiences homesickness, it makes me realize it’s okay to feel homesick. Now, I try to accept the emotions and feelings, be okay with them and move toward connecting with home to feel better.

We are also transitioning from just straight traveling to working while we travel as “digital nomads.” We were recently interviewed by Mish and Rob from Making It Anywhere in their new book Travel While You Work: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Business from Anywhere! If you want to know how to make this lifestyle happen, follow these two! We read the other interviews from the other digital nomads. Everyone seems to spend a part of the year in the States, England or Canada and then they adventure out again. As we dream about our future and working to sustain our freedom of location, this may be a good plan of attack for us. We'll have the comfort of home for part of the year and then adventure out again to fill our nagging travel bug.

We are learning the emotional realities of living as unsettled nomads with lots of highs and lows and how to cope with the lows.

What do you do whenever you feel a ting of homesickness? Please leave a comment and share!

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