Episode 81 – Two Year Status Report

This month marks 2 years since I started blogging our adventures. Time sure does fly!

Since moving out of Mississauga and taking on our new nomadic lifestyle we’ve “lived” (stays of a full month or longer) in Collingwood Ontario, Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Davenport Florida, Tucson Arizona, and San Antonio Texas, taken trips to France and Scotland, and spent a month cruising up the west coast of South America.

We honestly haven’t missed owning a permanent home, and only occasionally feel guilty (as opposed to incredibly lucky) that we are away from snow and cold while our kids and grandkids are stuck in it.

We’re still in decent health. 24/7 close proximity hasn’t resulted in either of us trying to kill the other. We’ve seen new places, tried new foods, cooked in lots of different kitchens, and met interesting people. We’ve walked in cities and hiked in deserts, visited soaring stone cathedrals and more modest adobe missions, shopped in urban malls and rural markets, cruised the Seine and the Pacific, been entertained by classical musicians, bagpipers, and Mariachi bands. Our list of places we’d like to see and things we’d like to do continues to get longer, even as items are crossed off.

We were out of the country during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic and, while we would have preferred to “shelter in place” where we were, we ended up cutting our winter away short by 6 weeks due to concerns about potential Canada/U.S. border closures.

Finding a place to stay on short notice when it was not possible to stay with family was somewhat stressful; my usual modus operandi is to plan months in advance, not days. We were very lucky that the owner of the condo we had booked for the end of April was able to allow us in earlier, although it was only because she was a front-line hospital worker who could no longer take her planned time off, so it was not truly a mutually positive situation. We were even luckier to find an AirBNB flat close to our kids for the interim period. Ted found that accommodation during our car ride home, while I drove. Technology is a godsend for nomads!

When I started this blog, I promised that I would share whether our planned budget had worked. Back in Episode 3, our ten-year financial plan, we estimated an annual cost for accommodation – wherever in the world we were – one extra “vacation”, food, vehicle maintenance/fuel, travel costs to our destinations, clothing, insurance, and entertainment (restaurants, event/entry tickets).

Now that we’ve completed 2 full years of what we hope will continue to be our new lifestyle, it’s time to see how actuals compared with predictions. It turns out that in our first 2 years we have overspent that original estimate by about $10K annually. In analyzing where those extra costs lay, part of the difference certainly had to do with the exchange rate we paid on the Canadian dollar. Accommodation and food in the U.S. over 4-5 months each year were more expensive than we had anticipated. A second factor has been “doubling up” on accommodation costs when we are on extended vacations. For example, our rented condo in Arizona sat empty – and paid for – for a month while we cruised in South America. We also doubled up 6 weeks when we came back from Texas to Canada due to the pandemic. The biggest factor, though, has been that we’ve simply done everything our hearts desired, within our means as opposed to within the planned budget. We absolutely COULD have lived within the original plan, but why just “live” when you can SKI? (Spend the Kids’ Inheritance). Aside to our kids, in case they read this episode: don’t worry, be happy. We are!

How will we move forward? A lot depends on outside factors, like how countries will treat tourism in the aftermath of the Coronavirus. We’re erring on the side of caution and have cancelled this winter’s grandiose plans for touring Europe – or rather deferred them for a year until November of 2021. While we’ll be in Canada for an 18 month stretch, we’re not planning to permanently settle down in one place yet, unless we have no other option.

Stay tuned…..

The local birds have no travel restrictions. We’re jealous.

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