I’ve long believed that it’s just easier and often smarter to align everything in your life into one cohesive plan. Where I live ties into what I write, which ties back into the type of activities we end up doing, and so on. I wrote Mother Tongue because I wanted to learn those languages, to visit those countries, and in some way I did those things so I could write about them too (maybe Beijing in the winter was overkill). I could never be someone who lived one life and wrote about another. For me it all has to align.
This spring, we’re moving to Colorado to pursue a totally different path. That much I know. The real question though is what happens to the rest of our life? I have struggled with health issues over the past year (mostly pregnancy induced – but I am off to the cardiologist tomorrow to address my high blood pressure, something that decided to stick around after Tallulah’s birth) but now that I mostly have my body back I want to use it. I want to get in extremely good shape and do all those things I’ve been unable to invest in while living out of a backpack: mountain biking, skiing (Nordic and downhill), trail running, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding.
Some travelers dream of returning home to indulge in high thread count sheets and drinkable tap water – but all I want is gear and to be outside. I like to think of it as my travel bug has been elevated to the next level. It’s not enough to just visit or to exist in a place, I have to create some kind of adventure, to make a little mission for myself that’s both challenging and rewarding.
This past summer put us over the edge but I think it all started when we decided to bike across Europe with a baby and a toddler a few years ago. We tasted, lived, breathed France as we slowly biked our way through vineyards and castles. It was slow travel mixed with the raw energy of sleeping on the ground, earning your miles with sweat and buzzing with the joy of travel and the bliss of a good workout. I got addicted.
However, realistically, as much as camping for three months is fun, it’s a physical grind and we’ll definitely need a home base to keep it fun. So instead of giving up travel, I’m seeing my life as something of a hybrid. Summers will be spent outdoors and camping, largely living out of the VW Westfalia we bought this year. Just exploring all the amazing goodness of mountain life. The worst parts of fall and spring – those rainy, windy, muddy bits – we’ll jet off somewhere else, perhaps just as rainy, windy and muddy, but at least it’ll be new. My short list right now is Iceland, Nova Scotia, Japan, Peru, Ecuador, New Zealand, and Egypt.
In the winter we’ll ski. And undoubtedly shovel a lot of snow.
To accomplish all of this we’re going to live in a small house (we’ve had lots of practice at small living) with most of our expendable income going towards gear and travel. We’ll homeschool the kids to side step the whole 10-day maximum sick leave policy in Colorado. Plus, I think it’s better to do a little school every day, all year round, rather than cram in full days for part of the year. Let’s enjoy this one short ride through our children’s childhood, shall we?
Anyway, this has brought me to the question: what about this blog? I have a good sense of how my life with my family will roll out but what about creatively? What kind of projects do I want to do going forward?
So I started thinking about what I would be gaining in Colorado:
- Super high speed internet (compared to Mexico at least)
- The ability to receive packages and to ship things (from my house and for cheap)
- Permanent storage space (in my home)
- US phone lines (without transferring through Skype)
- US mailing address (without fees from a scanning service)
These might seem like small things, but while the digital nomad lifestyle has worked out wonderfully for us, it has been limiting in certain respects. For the first time in going on 9 years we’d be able to use the infrastructure that most Americans take for granted.
I looked at that list and instantly thought: magazine. I know, that’s probably not what you were thinking, but I’ve wanted to move into the publishing side for a while now (I did that with Cultures & Cuisines – although my pregnancy interrupted that online venture, but we were doing really well as far as the response went).
A print magazine. I could get them printed and delivered straight to my house. So many logistical issues are solved by simply being in the US. I wouldn’t even want to tackle it anywhere else.
We could handle phone calls about subscriptions without dealing with wonky Skype or international fees.
We could have an office, with a real address, with a team of people who were lived in the local community.
We could have an account with the post office, handle returns and manage the entire process in-house and for less than outsourcing it. We could bootstrap it.
For years I lived out of my backpack, then a suitcase, then became a semi-nomad expat, buying and selling my household goods in each new city. It’s possible to do a lot of different kinds of work that way – and certainly most creative work can be done with nothing more than a laptop – but it feels like an absolute luxury to go back to the physical world. To create something you hold in your hand.
The crazy thing is that we have the makings of a small publishing house already – my husband is an artist / illustrator / graphic designer and I am a writer. I won’t be covering the process here, on Almost Fearless, this space will remain dedicated to the same travel and adventure content as always, but I am toying with the idea of writing a series about it on We Create, the creative community I started. I don’t know, would you want to read a behind-the-scenes look at creating a print magazine from scratch?
I have more to write about this, but that’s the first step of it. The latest reinvention. A little daunting, yes. Exciting? Hells. Yes.
It’s that time of year – the Building a Thriving Blog course is opening for new registrations and is offering early bird pricing before December 1st. This is forever access, so as you grow, you keep getting new and updated content year after year.