Update on Our Adventures: Nomads Coming Full Circle

by Jason on February 1, 2013

Shelly and I have made significant changes to our routine since my last update. We’ve decided to put down some temporary roots for at least a few months. We’ve been camping in El Cajon, CA (east of San Diego) for about two months and will probably be here until at least summer… maybe longer.

The decision to stop traveling was made for a few reasons:

  1. Money. Frequent travel was expensive, especially toward the end. We racked up some debt over the last few months when traveling from clinic to clinic. Since debt is crippling to the nomad lifestyle, we’re focusing on knocking it out.
  2. Rest. Traveling long distances every week or so was a blast. It was also exhausting. We needed the physical and mental break.
  3. New hobbies. After being immersed in the running world for years, both of us needed a different outlet. Both of us reached a degree of proficiency with running where improvement would have required far more effort than we were willing to expend. We needed something new. Our new hobby- mma training! We’ve been working out at the San Diego Fight Club for several months. We take boxing, Muay Thai kickboxing, and jiu jitsu classes. It’s cool to be complete newbies once again. We’re enjoying the process of learning a completely new skill set. And fighting is more fun than I would have expected!
  4. Kids and school. As I mentioned in an earlier post, our kids were getting bored with homeschooling. We have since enrolled them in school. It’s been going well. They’re learning to assimilate to the classroom environment while being exposed to a wide range of kids… far greater than they normally experience in campgrounds.
  5. Jobs. As part of paying off our debt and rebuilding our savings, I’ve gotten a few part-time jobs. The first was a temporary job working as a driver’s helper for UPS. My current job is a materials handler at a lumber yard (I help load wood on trucks.) Both jobs have been good experiences. I’ve met quite a few people from the area and have learned a few new skills. In the near future, I’ll probably venture back into the classroom as a substitute teacher. I’m not willing to commit to a full-time teaching job… yet. :-) Shelly is doing some freelance online work but is looking for a job locally.

How long will we stay?

At this point, we don’t know. The allure of the open road is pretty strong, but we’re really enjoying our current situation. At this point I don’t think we’ll move out of our trailer… it’s nice having the option to move at a moment’s notice.

After going through a full cycle of leaving our regular jobs, traveling extensively, then resettling, some may have questions. Feel free to post them in the comments section; I’ll answer them all!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave February 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

One thing that drives me nuts about American politics (I’m Canadian) is the focus on sticking to your guns, and never changing opinions. God forbid you be labeled a waffler. This attitude is asinine. Failing to learn from previous mistakes, or not adjusting to changing circumstances just shows that you’re an idiot.

As exciting as your nomadic lifestyle has been, deciding to retrace towards a more ‘normal’ routine is neither a defeat, a rejection of your previous ideals, nor permanent. Finances will recover, kids will grow restless, and the open road will always be there. So long as you stick to your willingness to remain nimble and adaptable, I won’t slap you with the Waffle label!

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Jason February 1, 2013 at 9:59 am

Staying mostly below the radar has been interesting for that very reason. I get the vibe quite a few people saw our decision as a “throwing in the towel” sort of thing instead of an “adjusting course” action.

I think there’s also a tendency for Americans to also narrowly define themselves, then cannot escape that definition. Many people know us as barefoot runners or ultrarunners and were surprised when we decided to lay off running to focus on the mma stuff. We still run sometimes, but it’s not what we use to define our existence. It’s merely a hobby.

It’s the same deal with travel. We enjoyed it, but aren’t going to continue if we’re not thoroughly enjoying the process. Again, we’re not going to define ourselves by one element of our lifestyle.

And I do agree- that “I’m sticking to my guns no matter what” political ideology is annoying. Of course, it offers ample opportunity for antagonizing my opinionated Facebook friends. :-)

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John February 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Great points – both of you. In my experience, doing things that are outside of the norm, or ‘adventurous’, require a great deal of flexibility. You become the general of your own path, instead of a foot solider for someone else’s.

It’s a constant process of evaluation, change, appreciation, etc…

So glad you guys are enjoying it out there. :) Miss you both!

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Ken Bob Saxton February 1, 2013 at 11:08 am

Totally agree with Dave,
Tired of politicians who accuse anyone with a bit of flexibility of not standing the ground no matter what! Which, as Dave said, is just plain stupid. A speeding truck coming at me? You bet I’m going to get out of the way. Too much debt? I’m going to slow down on spending for a while. Can’t finish a marathon without crawling on my hands and knees for several more hours? It’s time to stop and rest.

One thing to stand by, is keep on having fun and enjoying life, no matter if you need to make some minor adjustments or even drastic changes.

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Damien Tougas February 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I don’t like this notion of “work”, “hobbies”, etc. It attaches a whole bunch of baggage to an activity that I think is not helpful. I have been starting to frame life as an endless stream of activities – some earn income, some don’t. Sometimes the activity may feel like a slog (i.e. work) and other times it may be a lot of fun.

One of the joys of having a life of freedom is having the freedom to do the activities you want, when you want, where you want, for as long as you want. The only reason someone would judge your decisions as “throwing in the towel” is if they are insecure and trying to justify their own decisions.

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date. Love following your journey and seeing where it leads.

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Jason February 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Damian- that’s a good point. My “work” doesn’t make sense to many people… I’m working for very little money doing pretty physical labor. It’s awesome, though. I’m doing the job because it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience. As long as that continues, I’ll stay there.

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