50 Hikes 50 States Project--Delaware

50 Hikes 50 States Project--Delaware

Interesting pockets of nature and people exist all over the U.S that we often don't hear about in depth. Delaware, an odd-shaped state on the east coast of the US, is one of those places. We ventured there on our 50 Hikes 50 States Project during our weekend in Washington, DC. Hurricane Isaias threatened to blow us away if we veered off track by more than five hours.

After hiking in Maryland and starting our day off with Dutch babies and apple pancakes at the original Original Pancake House in Bethesda, we were on a mission to get in and get out of Delaware so we wouldn't get blown away or trapped.

Corn fields and Soybeans Give Way to Marshes

Our drive from Maryland to Delaware surprised us the most. We had no idea how rural and agricultural that area was, and we indulged in several roadside produce stands along the way. Corn fields and soybeans decorated the landscape as we made our way to the town of Lewes, Delaware to hike in Cape Henlopen State Park.

Apparently, the area doesn't see many hikers. The ranger at the front gate, where we paid $10 to park, looked at us kinda funny when we mentioned we wanted to hike around the Gordon Pond Wildlife Area, declaring, "That's three miles, ya know?"

Most of the people parking at the pond dragged their beach gear to the Atlantic to enjoy the good weather that would soon turn stormy. My daughter saw the opportunity to tan and relax (or NOT hike), and followed them to the beach. We sprayed bug repellent, donned our hats, and found the trail head.

Whiskey on the Beach

Whiskey Beach! Some interpretation told the story. Whether bootleggers had smuggled whiskey or Army soldiers discovered a safe haven for drinking and fun-ning, the area's reputation named its beach. Also standing stationary were a set of tall towers used during World War II to spy submarines and other foreign naval craft along the US shores.

The pond behind provided a watery defense; for us, it supplied a gorgeous marsh to stretch our legs and find a piece of a nature. On the trail we traveled in 90 degree heat and 95 percent humidity. Gratefully, an ocean breeze kept us cooler, although not cool by any means. Bicyclists cruised past, some with radios blaring 70s southern rock or Grateful Dead odes to Jerry Garcia.

Pines and oaks supplied occasional shade and osprey, egrets, and herons kept our minds off the dripping heat. We made it to the top off the pond at which a decision point presented itself. Should we walk back the way whence we came, or walk two miles along the beach in the sand?

Two Worlds Collide

Beach!

The first 1/2 mile of the beach welcomed families and beachcombers, surfers and swimmers. The surf ripped high, a foreshadower of the pending hurricane. No one seemed worried at all. They wore masks as they passed others on the beach and kept their distance among groups.

As we continued down the beach, we started to see 4-wheel drive vehicles parked on the sand. People of all ages tumbled out of the trucks, beach chairs and fishing rods in hand. They cast their lines into the surf, placing their poles in either make-shift PVC pipes stuck in the sand or fancy made-to-order specially-constructed fishing pole holders. From fancy to makeshift, it didn't seem to matter how much money the fisher people had spent on gear. No one was catching anything.

Except maybe Covid. Not one mask. Not a bit of social distancing. Trucks slammed up next to each other trying to grab the littlest bit of fishing heaven. And lots of political flags flying next to American flags and POW-MIA flags.

We walked along the beach, dancing under fishing lines above us, donning our masks as we came within six feet of folks tending their fishing lines.

Yup, we felt like fish out of water.

After another mile, we left the fishing/trucking zone, to once again come across the swim/surf/lay in the sand section. People donned masks when walking back and forth to the water and they kept their distance from each other's groups.

Two worlds definitely collided next to each other on the beach. It's still one country, though.

Blue Crab and Caprese Salad

Being in the land of the blue crab, we couldn't resist a late lunch at a crab place in nearby Rehobeth Beach. Service was slow, but friendly, and employees occasionally wore masks. We kept ours on, except when eating, and enjoyed the outdoor patio where the closest table was ten feet away. My daughter ate a scallop risotto, I had a caprese salad, and my husband loved his blue crab burger.

We stopped at another produce stand on our way out of town to our hotel to get homemade, Amish ice cream. It topped off a strange day filled with great birdlife, a good hike, interesting social behavior and average food. I'd like to go back to Rebohoth Beach, though, and enjoy it in the wintertime. I bet the beach combing along the shore would be amazing.

Next stop, Virginia, where we learned about outdoor recreation camps used as exhibitions.

What You Need to Know about This Hike (click for interactive map)


50 Hikes 50 States Project--Maryland

50 Hikes 50 States Project--Maryland

Sometimes hiking is like life. You just have to go with the flow and enjoy the unexpected things that come your way. This was the case on our 50 Hikes 50 States Project when we got to Maryland. For this trip, my husband, daughter and I flew into Dulles to start our three-state hiking weekend.

I was excited for Maryland. I had researched several hikes and picked out the Billy Goat Trail in the C&O National Historic Park. It looked exciting and one that my daughter would love. Bouldering, climbing on the side of a hill, and good views over the Potomac River ensured a fun and challenging time.

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Sometimes, You Have to Modify

My husband's cousin and new wife were going to meet us at the trail head to hike with us. We'd be able to combine a good hike and some social time with family while at the same time knocking out another state on our hiking project. It was a win-win-win.

The trouble started on our approach into Dulles. Our Southwest pilot announced we were on our final approach. We zipped up the computers, closed our tray tables, and passed over our trash....and just as we were about to touch down, we didn't. The nose of the place jutted upward, and we aborted our landing.

Then circled. For an hour. The pilot never explained why, but by the time we landed, we were an hour late. Then rain started to fall. By the time we met our family at the park, things were muddy and slippery, and daylight would soon fade away.

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No Billy Goat for Us

So we made lemonade out of our lemons, grabbed three umbrellas for the five of us, and started walking the C&O Canal Towpath (next time, we'll also do the Four Locks Walking Tour.) Sadly, the visitors center had closed, but we did learn through the well-place interpretation about the history of the canal and structure of the various buildings. We meandered along the canal, enjoying the light rain, and catching up on family gossip.

I knew the Billy Goat Trail would have to be another day's adventure.

As we continued along the trail, I saw a sign for the Great Falls. My expectations were quite low. Great Falls? of what? where? We were walking along the Potomac River (which we couldn't see from the canal), and I couldn't imagine how any waterfalls might be at all interesting. I expected a trickle.

Boy was I wrong.

Surprise on the Potomac

We approached the first set of falls and immediately snapped pictures and stated how beautiful we found the river. Rust and granite colored boulders diverted water into fast moving chutes. Bright green ferns shadowed pools.

We kept walking along the elevated boardwalk, and could hear the roar of something.

Roar?

Like life, the thoughts of "what's up ahead" propelled us along the hike to Olmstead Island and to an overlook of the Great Falls of the Potomac. Wow! Who knew???

In front of us spanned a very wide swath of the river tumbling with rapids and dotted with daredevil kayaks shooting them in gallant fashion. We watched the adventurists scale the boulder walls of the river porting their kayaks, dropping them at the top of the falls, and hoop-hollering their way down the water slides to get out of the kayaks and portage themselves again to the top.

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We stood there for almost in hour in the light rain, visiting with each other and catching the kayaking antics. What a thrill! My daughter even declared she wanted to start kayaking and get involved in a fun sport!

It was also fun to link the namesake of the island, Frederick Olmsted (architect of New York's Central Park) to Denver's history and his creation of several parks in Denver.

Covered Bridges and Canal Boats

Hunger started to yell, so we headed back to our trail head, checked out a covered bridge, and viewed one of the original canal boats. After seeing the Potomac, the reasons to built the C&O Canal started to make lots more sense. Of course industry wanted an easier way to move its goods than by shooting the rapids of a wild river, which, I'm sure, was much more wild at the time the canal was built!

Although our cousins lived nearby in Virginia, they didn't have any local knowledge either on where to eat. We yelped up a nearby location, and stumbled into the Old Angler's Inn. We wondered if its hoity-toity ambiance would turn away our hiker bodies, but a pleasant outdoor seating situation invited us in for a lovely and affordable meal.

I dug into the lentil burger dotted with goat cheese and yogurt sauce. The battered fries rounded out this vegetarian meal and satisfied my need for a solid meal after a day of airplane snacks. Frogs croaked in the background as we continued to visit with family and round out our day.

The long day ended with virtual hugs. When our cousin heard we were staying in Bethesda for the night, he insisted we eat at the original Original Pancake House in the morning for breakfast. And that's where we started the next day as we queued up our Delaware hike. Follow along.

What You Need to Know about this Trail (Click for interactive map)


How to Get Rid of Your Stuff When Becoming a Nomad

How to Get Rid of Your Stuff When Becoming a Nomad

If you're like us, you're either thinking about taking on a nomadic lifestyle or you've made the decision to become nomads. We're knee-deep in the process to become nomadic, and we're in the disposal phase of our journey. Here are some tips for what to do to dispose of your things, and some insight into how it's gone for us.

As a reminder, we plan to completely empty our house, sell it, and leave the country with two carry-on bags and two backpacks. There will be no storage unit, but we will have a safe deposit box. Knowing what the end is in mind, we've systematically begun the great disposition of things.

Tip One: Keep the end in mind.

At One Year Before Departure

We've reviewed the items in our house, and we've created mental piles of what is going where. But first, we've asked our adult children to come to the house and take whatever they want. Whatever they want.

Tip Two: As soon as possible, ask our family and/or friends to come to your house to take whatever they want.

Act Like You're Dead

Honestly, we're approaching this task as if we were dead. Rather than force the dreaded task of asking our kids to clear out our estate, we're doing it while we are alive but as if we are dead. "Becoming dead" has allowed us to emotionally detach from items and get into disposition mode.

Before the kids came to the house, we each made piles of a few things we wanted each person to have. These items included some heirloom and genealogical things, and particular pieces of jewelry and ephemeral. When the kids arrived, we told them that we wanted them to have these items in particular. If they didn't want them, that was okay, but *they* had to throw them out when they left.

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The kids came through the house and took all the pretty things. Art, vases, jewelry, some collectibles, a few household items, and one of the TVs. Although these items could fetch good money at an estate sale, the challenge with art, especially, is finding the right buyer who wants to pay the actual value of a piece of art.

God love the art collectors and dealers who trade in this space!

For us, we'd rather give these items to our kids for them to enjoy (and for us to enjoy when we visit) then try to find picky art buyers who demand provenance and appraisals.

Although the kids took most of the best of the things in the house, there are still many pieces that appeal to collectors that will attract people to our home for the next step in our disposal process.

Now that our children have taken many pieces that have emotional attachments, we can focus on the rest of the house. Our goal is to get the most money we can get for our stuff with the fewest amount of personal interactions.

Six Months Before Departure

Tip three: Hire an estate seller.

Interview estate sellers. We have debated many ways to sell off the rest of our stuff, including the dreaded yard sales, craiglists, and Facebook marketplace listings. We've chosen not to hassle with these direct-to-consumer options. Often the buyers that come to your house through these venues are picky, cheap, and unreliable. (Yes, there are exceptions and I've sold a few things successfully through these venues.) But in general, because we have an entire household of goods which could be sold to hundreds of different buyers with varying levels of tastes and budgets, we've chosen to use an estate seller.

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Estate sellers come to your house, evaluate the entire lot of goods, then they tell you what percentage they'll take in cash from the total sale of all goods. They do all the marketing, staging, people managing, and selling. We will not even have to be in the house on the day(s) of the sale. For me, this is worth 40-50% of the sale, especially since they know the value of a half a bottle of Windex and a limited edition print from a local artist.

Repeatedly, the estate seller has told us not to dispose of anything. They can sell everything in our house. Whatever they don't sell, they're glad to find a junk hauler to take the rest. We haven't made the decision yet on the remainders; stay tuned.

Three-Six Months Out

In the meantime, although the estate seller wants all our goods, there are some people and places that I'm willing to do the extra work to be sure they get good donations. I want our stuff go to people who really need it or want it.

Yearbooks

Tip four: Don't look at your memorabilia.

For example, the yearbooks. My personal rule of thumb is don't spend time looking at stuff that is tough to dispose. You'll lose momentum and your gumption to get rid of things. (If you have a box of stuff in the basement you haven't looked at in years, don't open it!) But, alas, I got sucked into my yearbooks, and this is what happened.

Fortunately, I am a member of a Facebook group from the community where I went to middle school and junior high, and in that group are several friends I maintain a connection with. As I was going through the yearbooks, I found the places where they had signed my book. I posted a few of their messages to the Facebook group, and this action drew lots of comments from the collective class. This got the attention of the local library who then reached out and asked if they could have the yearbooks.

The next day I mailed them off. It cost me $3.33 via media mail and now the yearbooks are not only in a place I could see them again if I ever get the hankering, but they'll also benefit many other people. It's a win-win. I did this for my high school yearbooks as well.

Photo Albums and Photos

Tip five: Digitize and store your photos.

Whereas disposing of the yearbooks has been easy, disposing of the photo albums has not. Ultimately, I either scanned or photo'd all the pages/photos within the albums and put them into Google Photos. Because I have a Pixel phone, I get unlimited storage. I also moved all my other digital photos that are on drives and phones into this Photos account and gave my youngest daughter access to the account. She then perused all the hard-copy albums, snagging prints that she felt she wanted to keep in her keepsake box. When this process finished, we dumped every album into the garbage on a Sunday night. On Monday, the garbage man came and they're now gone. There was no time to change our minds.

China and Glassware

Tip six: No one wants your china.

I inherited a complete set of Noritake china and all of my Grandma's Depression Glass serving pieces along with the silver serving spoons and silver serving utensils. I gave the silver and a few of the Depression Glass items, which I shipped via Amtrak, to my sister across the country.

As for the remaining china pieces, no one in the family wants them. None of the china resale places want them, nor does Goodwill. Consignment shops don't want them either. I've even called pawn shops to see if they'd buy them for the gold on the rims. I've asked everywhere. Thus, they'll go in the estate sale. If they don't sell in the estate sale, I will donate them to a women's shelter to use as daily service ware.  Although the Noritake set is high quality and originally high value, there no longer is a market for it.

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Apparently none of the younger generation is asking for place settings at their weddings, and no one is having formal dinners anymore!

Plants

I have given all our plants away to folks in my local gardening club. I posted on Facebook that I had potted plants to give to new homes, put them on my porch, and people came and grabbed them.

Paints, Toxic Chemicals, Fertilizer, Compacts Discs, Computers

If these items don't sell in the estate sale, we will have to take them to a hazmat disposal place in Denver where we'll pay by the pound to dispose of these toxic, non-landfill friendly, items.

Pets

Prior to listing your house, you'll want to come up with a plan for your pets. If you will be traveling with your pets, find a temporary home for them during the selling of the house. For us, my step-mom will be taking our dog since he is too big to travel with us.

Mattresses

Whereas the headboards and footboards of our bed sets will sell in the estate sell, the actual mattresses will not. We will dispose of these in our large trash collection, which is once a month.

Clothing

We'll pack our suit cases with the clothing we want to take, and the rest will go in the estate sale or to the women's shelter with our china.

Departure Date to One Month Out

Once we've had the estate sale, we'll paint the interior of the house and replace the carpeting. We'll list the house as empty, and it should take about a month to sell. While it's listed, we have a Murphy bed in the basement where we'll sleep and stow the bed during the day. We'll sell the appliances with the house so that we can do laundry and cook while the house is in sell-mode.

My husband will still be working from his laptop during this time. Since his office will have been sold during the estate sale, if necessary, he'll work from a coffee shop or a library.

The Bikes

We'll ride our bikes up to the day we leave. Our bikes will be the one thing we sell on craigslist or Facebook marketplace. There is a great resale market for bikes in Denver, and selling them to the public is easy.

The Car

If we don't use the car on our Plan C option (where we can't leave the US due to Corona and we'll be road tripping for a while), we'll sell the car through Carvana. They'll pick the car up from us and sign it off in one easy transaction.

Whew, what are we forgetting? What are you having a tough time disposing of? What is causing you anxiety?

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See you on the trail,

Chris


Develop your Timeline to Depart for your Nomadic Lifestyle

Getting Ready to Leave on Your Nomadic Lifestyle

You've made the decision to become nomadic and to live a house-less lifestyle. Congrats! Now you need to develop your timeline to go from your stationary lifestyle to your nomadic one.

For us, we had to develop a timeline where we would sell our things, sell our house, sell our car, and then depart our address.

No matter whether you're in an apartment that you rent or you have a family home you've lived in for years, you must start with the end in mind.

For us, the end in mind is that we leave the country via an airplane, and the only possessions we have are the things we can carry in our one carry-on a piece and one backpack a piece.

This is how we put together our nomadic timeline.

Should We Keep the House?

Steve and I began the conversation with whether or not we wanted to keep our house. It's the house we raised our youngest daughter in and where finished out our careers. We knew that even if we wanted to keep a house, we knew that we didn't want to keep this house.

Then we considered if we didn't keep this house, would we want to continue to live in Denver? We returned to our criteria of where we want to live in the future, and we quickly decided that Denver didn't fit our criteria.

So we knew that we 1) didn't want our existing house and 2) didn't want to live in Denver.

Should We Keep the House and Rent It Out to Generate Revenue?

We reasoned out the decision about when we should sell the house. Now or later? Should we sell the house at our departure, or keep it to rent for a while as an investment property? Should we rent it out through a management company, and bank the rental income to supplement our nomadic finances?

After much debate, we decided to not keep and rent. We don't want the hassle of owning a home and the feeling of an albatross, even if it were well managed, around our neck. We want freedom and flexibility. Owning a home limits our ability to roam.

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We also decided to work with our financial planner to put the money we'd pocket from the sale of the house to work for us so that we could generate some revenue from the capital. In the future, if and when we buy our next residence, we'll have a bucket of money to spend on the next place we put down roots.

Disposing of your Household Items, Or, Will You Get a Storage Unit?

With the question of your house resolved, you'll need to consider how you'll dispose of all the things within the house. Getting rid of your stuff is very difficult. Here's how we're tackling this issue.

We have decided we don't want a storage unit. We don't want to be geographically bound to our stuff, and we don't like the idea of paying to store stuff. We have taken on the point of view that we have died, and all of our stuff needs to find new homes. We'd rather take on this task than have our kids do it later when our stuff becomes an "estate."

Knowing that we won't have a storage unit gives me a bit of anxiety, but I know it's the right thing to do. We asked our kids to come through the house to take anything they wanted. All the pretty things went first. A few heirloom type items went next. A couple of pieces of jewelry went last.

The Photos. The Photo Albums. The Framed Pictures.

Figuring out what to do with all the family photos might be the hardest part of disposing of the items.

We have digitized all of our photos and put them into Google Photo. I own a Google Pixel, so I get unlimited storage of photos. I've created the account in my daughter's name so that she has infinite access to family photos and memories. I then asked my daughter to go through over 20 photos albums, all which have been digitized, to pick out any hard-copy photos she wants to keep. We narrowed about 100 square feet down to less than one square foot. She'll keep these special photos in her keepsake box the size of a shoe box.

After clearing out the pretty and favorite things, what's left in the house is furniture, kitchen items, some art and collectibles, books, appliances, office supplies, garage stuff, and clothing.

I only buy shoes from REI because of their great return policy. Get a discount code now.

We have hired an estate sales company who will run an estate sale two weeks before we put the house on the market. They will sell everything that is left in the house including the half bottle of Windex under the sink. Any remaining items will be trashed or given to charity.

We have decided to get a safe deposit box for my wedding ring, which I don't like to travel with, a few other pieces of jewelry that I don't want to give my daughter yet (she'll be living in a dorm when we take off), some original paperwork such as marriage certificates, tax docs, divorce papers, and birth records. These items can be retrieved digitally from their counties of record, but this process can be complicated and expensive. We will find a safe deposit box near one of our children's homes where we are sure to visit in the future.

The Dog

If you're like us, our dog is a family member, and deciding what to do with him has been difficult.

What will you do about your pets? If you have a small pet, it may be able to come with you.

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We, on the other hand, have a Giant Schnauzer named Zeus. We have researched every option we can think of to have him travel with us. The problem is that he is too tall for the tallest kennel that will fit in cargo on the plane. We even looked into training him as a companion dog and getting a companion certification! Finally, we checked into taking the QE2 to Europe rather than flying. The QE2 takes dogs, but Zeus is also too big for their kennels. Thus, my step-mom is taking him and couldn't be happier. We can't wait to visit him.

Selling the House

If you've decided to sell your house, you'll have to decide if you want to sell it with all of your furniture in some sort of "staged" way for open houses or if you'll sell it empty.

We will sell the house empty.

After we've had the estate sale, we'll paint the interior of the house and spruce up the flooring. If the housing market is soft at the time we sell the house and buyers are becoming picky, we might pay to stage the house.

While the house is empty and for sale, but before we leave on our nomadic life, which we think could be about a month, we'll camp out in the basement. We have a Murphy bed where we can sleep and hide away when we have house showings. We'll eat in our kitchen and sell our appliances with the house so that we can still do laundry and use a refrigerator while we're in house-selling mode.

Where Will You Establish Residency?

Our youngest daughter will head off to college when we head out nomadically. At the time of the writing, we have no idea where she will end up. COVID makes the decision even more complicated. She has four themes to her choice; attend a school abroad, attend a private school in the US, attend a public school in the US, and attend a public school in Colorado. Depending on where she ends up will drive our decision for residency.

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If she ends up abroad or at a private college, we'll establish residency in Texas. It's the best place for us from a tax-based decision (we'll discuss this more, later.) If she picks a state school in another state, we'll establish residency in that state to help her get in-state tuition. If she picks a state school in Colorado, we'll keep our residency in Colorado so she can keep her in-state tuition status.

Selling the Car

Our nomadic start date is September 2021. Our daughter will head to college in August 2021. Our car registration expires in Colorado on August 31, 2021. Somehow we'll get her to school, pack up our carry-ons, and sell the car all at the same time. We will most likely sell the car through Carvana, which we have had great success with in the past. At that point, we'll hail a Lyft to the airport, put our carry-ons in its trunk, and officially be nomadic.

Getting on the road requires successful completion of many moving parts. So far we've had the kids take things, painted the exterior of the house, and refinished the hardwood floors. Next up is the working through of the college decision, which will drive residency solutions. Follow along!

How about you?

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See you on the trail,

Chris


How to Talk with Your Partner about Going Nomadic

How to Talk with Your Partner about Going Nomadic

Although I had known for at least ten years that I'd eventually live a nomadic lifestyle, my husband certainly had never thought about a real, full-time, nomadic life for more than a few minutes prior to meeting me.

In college, he had done his "road trip in a van" adventures and as a career sales person, he'd grown to love his mileage perks which he hacked for vacations and non-work travel. He had also had a job where he didn't own a home, traveling from worksite to worksite for 18 months. He had good nomad chops, but could he really go nomadic? Full time? For, like, possibly ever?

No Flinching Here. We Start With "When"

Fortunately, when I talked about my dream of living a nomadic lifestyle, he didn't flinch. He was curious. We started talking. We explored the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the issue. Who was easy. Steve and I.

Originally the conversation started as a plan to live abroad once our youngest daughter finishes high school. Serendipitously, her graduation date and his retirement date coincide. Although I was anxious to become nomadic sooner (read about my 4-month nomadic adventure to Latin America in 2019) and my finances allow for it, my parenting role does not. I feel the parental pull to maintain a home for our daughter until she leaves for college.

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We set the date. Fall 2021.  We found our "When." But what would we be doing and where would we go?

Let's Live Abroad

As we started discussing the ideas of living abroad, we soon learned that several countries had cities that met our criteria. That criteria included:

Quickly, our live-abroad plan turned nomadic. Why not invest at least two years traveling to cities that met our criteria and make an adventure out of it? Our "Why" had been found.

The Nomadic Budget Question, or How?

The conversation turned to the "How" of the question. Steve and I openly talk about money between the two of us, and because we had come from divorces, we had decided when we first met to keep our money in our own accounts. We maintain our own budgets, we split expenses on household items, we each pay our own kids' expenses, and we share travel expenses.

We started to research how much we should budget for our retirement life as nomads, and we came to agreement about how much we would each contribute monthly (which we'll discuss in later posts.) Once we determined our budget, we looked at the lifestyle it would support, and committed to the plan. I was ready; Steve needed 18 more months before he felt comfortable.

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At the time we had this conversation, our departure date was about two years out. Simultaneously, we also actively got involved in the world of travel hacking by applying for credit cards that rewarded us with lots of airline miles. We began banking thousands of miles to reserve for future trips to help us buy down the expense of travel. Luckily we timed our credit-card project prior to the COVID shutdown of many of these sign-on bonuses. By discussing our finances, building a budget, and banking airline mileage, we fleshed out our "How."

Where Did We Want to Go?

These conversations lead us to the next big conversation about "Where." We knew that we wanted to depart the US on a flight paid for by mileage. In order to get seats with reward travel, we would have to book our flights almost 300 days prior to our departure. With a departure of September 2021, we would have to figure out the first part of our nomadic plan and book its first flight in October 2020.

Thus, in September 2019, we holed up in an Airbnb in the Colorado mountains to watch the aspens turn color and to draft out a rough itinerary. A friend had developed this amazing spread sheet of the world's temperatures, and we started working it. Since we have both traveled extensively (I've been to over 53 countries), we wanted our househunting trip to be about places we would like to live (see criteria above), not necessarily about seeing additional wonders of the world. We've seen many of them already.

We listed the countries and built a super rough itinerary. We know this itinerary will 100% change, but we wanted to create some infrastructure and direction to our logistics. And truly, we just wanted to understand where we would need to book our first flight.

Here's our itinerant idea.

Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Bolivia Colombia Belize Honduras Uruguay Australia New Zealand South Africa Japan Israel Italy Spain Portugal Mexico

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Yes, we know that this is not a straight line and we cross the equator a few times. But we organized this based on weather (we want to stay between 50-80 degrees), stay in each region for about 3 months, hopefully housesit many times, and discover the best of these areas. Thus, our "Where" was defined.

But What Would We Do in Our Nomadic Life?

Finally, we worked on the "What" question. What would we be doing as we traveled? This part of the conversation went on for quite awhile and continues to evolve. For me, I'll continue to write this blog, author books, and generally live a nomadic life writing when I want about whatever travel/nomad topic fits with our lifestyle.

Steve, on the other hand, has struggled with this question. Like me, he has worked his whole life and raised kids. I have gotten a jump on his retirement, settling into a schedule of hiking, writing, working out, cooking, parenting (for a bit longer), and making friends. He's struggling with this. Perhaps he'll create a consulting business, develop a love for surfing, or maybe even start a podcast. He doesn't know, and I'm confident he'll figure it out. So, "What" is pending.

What Are We Doing Now While We Prepare?

In the meantime, while Steve works, I've taken on two projects. One is my 50 Hikes 50 States Project, which coincidentally, allows us to gather more airline points, and also visiting other cities in the US we might want to retire to. If the international gig doesn't work out, if the world implodes from COVID, or we find we just want to be in the US, we're actively looking at different US cities (meeting the criteria above) in case we land back in the US for full-time living.

Needless to say, we have plans.

And they'll change.

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See you on the trail,

Chris