We have recently realized we feel stuck where we are.
We know we are insanely lucky to have our house in Desert Hot Springs, but maybe we don’t really like where it is. Or maybe we will never like being in the same place too long.
We have both always been dreamers, even long before we knew each other. We always pushed against the grain and as a result, we spent most of our lives trying to achieve something that we aren’t really interested in.
The thing is, we had never met anyone quite like each other before. So, in the past, when we had big dreams and unconventional plans, we thought that meant we were just being unrealistic. We spent a lot of our lives quietly thinking that being exceptional in any way was for special people only.
So, we went on struggling to follow a path that was prescribed to someone else. For Emily it was college and grad school and for Alex it was a career. But, here we are 37 and 38 and still changing careers! What is wrong with us?
We just have a different concept of what success looks like to us. You see, we found each other just two years ago. And when we found each other, we found the missing piece.
We both finally have someone we can talk to about our unconventional hopes and dreams and they actually understand! You see, usually when we talked to people about our ideas, they would say something like, “Wow, that would be great but…” and then immediately start listing reasons why they couldn’t do it, or why we shouldn’t risk it.
When Alex and I speak about these things, we say, “Wow, that would be great. Let’s do it!”.
People like us are often deemed unstable and irresponsible, or criticized for never being satisfied with what we have. We’ve been 100% guilty of thinking the same thing about us and others like us.
We have tried to chase that “stability” that everyone is after. But, we felt like we were spending every waking moment away from each other so that we could work toward some intangible sense of security that we weren’t ever feeling. We were so terrified that we were behind at adulting and we would never catch up. But, at the end of the day, we were scrambling to be able to remain in a home that we barely spent any time in so that we could maybe retire someday and maybe then we would see each other once in a while.
A lot of things, and a lot of conversations happened in between. But, now we are finally realizing that we don’t crave stability because we have our version of it. Our stability is each other. We have spent the past year learning to work together and loving it. We don’t want to go off in two different directions every day. We were out of town for a month in January and never missed home at all because we were with each other. We didn’t miss those four walls in the desert. We may not need these four walls in the desert.
What we do need is a life that affords us freedom and allows us to be creative. We do not do well standing still or limiting ourselves. But, for now, we are lucky to have those walls because it means we get to take some time to figure it out.
Plain and simple, we have wanderlust. We have a desire to see so much of what is out there. We do have a list of criteria that we want in a home. For instance, we know we want to be closer to the coast. In California, where we live, that means dollar signs that are so far away we can’t even read them!
In Mexico, or Costa Rica, that means we could actually afford a home close to the coast. And if we find a much cheaper, desirable place, we can still be digital nomads of sorts, and our money will go further.
So, we are considering the long term possibility of moving out of the country. And our short term goal is to spend some time finding out if it is even possible for us.
Yes, we know it sounds extreme and we know it is a great privilege to even be able to consider it. It won’t be immediate or easy. It may seem like a drastic idea to some, but that doesn’t mean it will be a rash decision. Right now, we are living off of savings as we build our new business as full-time content creators. So, we have to be very careful with our little doll-doll-dollars!
But, we are also done making excuses that there are things holding us back from doing this. The number one thing that we keep circling back to is our pets. We have a 19-year-old old Shitzu-Maltese and a 2-year-old cat. We were letting the fact that it will be hard to travel or move with animals stop us from considering it. It will all be hard, but we can figure it out. It may mean that we can’t take them certain places easily, but we never know. For instance, vet care and boarding in some places is much more affordable than it is here. And, for all we know, we may move in next to some really great people who would be willing to help us care for the animals while we travel.
Elvis, the dog, has moved twelve times with me already. He has also travelled with me around the US when he was a younger pup. He has never cared where he is as long as he is not alone. He’s old, almost blind, almost deaf, but healthy. George the cat has been with us to Texas and stayed with my sister for almost a month. She stays with Alex’s mom a lot when we are gone too. Again, she thrives as long as she is not alone. So, while it adds another obstacle, bringing the pets is just more hard work we will have to do to see if this works.
And, the main thing is, we will never know if we don’t try. Sure, we can stay here and wonder what it will be like, or we can try it a know!
What country will we plan for our first trial run?
So, our immediate goal is to make a short list of places that make sense for all of our criteria (in no particular order):
- Affordable cost of living compared to Southern California
- Affordable healthcare
- Coastal but also has more exciting areas to explore
- An international hub airport that is affordable to fly out of (but also affordable to get to in order to do this experiment in the first place)
- Ease of bringing pets
- Ability for American travelers to stay at least 1 month without an additional Visa
To begin our short list of countries, I started with the thing that seems like the biggest challenge right now – how easy is it to bring the pets and stay a month or so?
There are five countries that we are really interested in that make is pretty easy to bring pets right off the bat:
- Costa Rica
- Puerto Rico
If you consider all of the factors, the first three are the best to start with. (Note that this list began with only English-speaking countries because we were trying to make things easier on ourselves. But, honestly none of this is going to be easy and we aren’t afraid of hard work that could bring us closer to our idea of success. Looks like we will be learning some Spanish!)
While Thailand and Vietnam are easy to bring pets to and have a low cost once you arrive, getting there in the first place is going to take longer and be much more expensive. They also allow American visitors to stay for the least amount of time without applying for an additional visa. Thailand allows Americans to stay 60 days and Vietnam is 30 days.
Mexico, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico are relatively close to the US, and travel in and out is not a bank breaker. Mexico and Puerto Rico allow Americas to stay six months and Costa Rica allows for three months.
We do not have it all planned by any means, but we are ready to get serious about this experiment. And, if it isn’t for us, we really haven’t lost anything. We still have each other.
Hell, we bought some Dogecoin, so in ten years we will be millionaires anyway, right? Nothing in our life is without risk at this point! Lol.