Wait! You’re doing what?
Why are you doing this?
Hey news flash folks! Life is short!
We all have people in our lives who were healthy, then they got sick, and then they were gone. You can’t help take for granted that the people you live or work with will be around forever.
The fact is, you just don’t know what life will throw at you.
I worked in Ottawa, and generally had to commute in to town. Total travel time (driving, walking, train) was about 1 hour 15 minutes. Yikes! That’s a lot of mileage, wear and tear, and gas on the car. Sorry, but that’s just dumb.
Taylor and Mackenzie would get home from school around 3:30pm. Abby around 4:15pm. By the time Gina and I got home around 6pm or so, the kids had already been in front of YouTube for a couple hours.
We decided we wanted stop spending time in traffic and start spending more of it with the kids while they were still at home.
Gina and I have been thinking about this for a long while now.
Living your life with the people you love is what matters.
Where are you going to live?
Accommodations while on the road is a big moving part of this whole adventure. For that, we’ve been relying on house sitting. Actually its more like “pet sitting”.
In a nutshell, we stay at people’s houses and take care of their pets (dogs, cats, fish, etc.) while they’re out of town. All for free. Weird, right? No actually its pretty awesome, and absolutely perfect for what we’re doing.
Just think of it this way. If you have a couple dogs and want (or need) to leave town for a week or two, it’ll cost you about $1000 to put your pooches in a kennel. Not only that, but your pets would surely be stressed out spending that time in a strange and noisy place.
OR you can have a super-cool family stay with your pets so they can stay in their home. They get to stay in their own beds, take walks in their own neighbourhoods, and get plenty of attention from three pet-loving kids.
It helps out the home-owner save money and be sure their pets are taken care of, and helps us out with free accommodation while traveling. Win-win.
In about 3 months, we completed seven house-sitting gigs. All with 5-star reviews. BOOM!
Where are you going to go?
The idea is to show the kids more of the world. So we plan out where we want to go about six to twelve months out. Last year our first big milestone was to go skiing in British Columbia. We lined up a 4-month lease for a three-bedroom apartment starting in December 2019.
We basically had to make our way to the west coast in three months. We listed the places we all wanted to visit and lined them up on a calendar and searched for house sits for those dates.
I wanted to go to Washington, D.C. so we found a house sit in Maryland only an hour away. That made for a couple fun road trips. Mackenzie wanted to go to Chicago because she was a fan of Chicago Fire, so we found a nice house site in Evanston, IL just 30 minutes away.
Now its pretty rare that we can line up house sits back-to-back where we leave one in the morning, and arrive at the next one later that same day. That just doesn’t happen.
So to fill in those gaps, we do stay in hotels or otherwise rent out a few AirBnB stays. Considering our budget no longer includes a mortgage payment, property taxes, heat, hydro, or house insurance payments, it becomes pretty easy to justify 10 days worth of hotel stays.
What about school?
We’ve pulled the kids out of school. Mackenzie is in junior high while Taylor is in high-school. Mackenzie has always had good grades so we enrolled both of them in online high-school courses through TV Ontario ILC. The kids earn credits toward their Ontario high-school diploma.
At first we were home-schooling Taylor and Mackenzie, but it proved to be too hard. They were used to following guidance of a teacher, and it was just too hard for them to suddenly deal with us as teachers instead of parents. They weren’t big on listening. : )
Turns out they preferred a more structured schedule with structured assignments and deadlines, which was fine by us. Now they’re in online courses and we act as helpers whenever they need some assistance with they material. Yes they have online access to a teacher, but Gina and I can give instant help.
As for Abby, she’s still in grade-school, so Gina is taking point with helping her maintain her studies using Ontario study guides that follow the regular curriculum.
Are you coming back?
Right now, we don’t know. That’s a hard one to answer. Right now, we’d say “No Way”. We’ve been home owners for 16 years. If you had asked me two years ago if I was happy owning a house, I would have said Yes. Now, all I can think of is how much I’d hate to be “stuck” in one place like that.
Quite honestly, we’re having too much fun. Its actually fun moving from place to place, discovering new things.
We might “settle down” temporarily when Taylor gets closer to college, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
How long are you going to be gone?
Don’t know. The point isn’t about coming back. Its about heading out and enjoying travel. As they say, half the fun is getting there.
I am proud of you Dennis! you’re such a great Dad. I wish you nothing but the very best for you and your family 🙂