It’s been a fascinating journey this far just because each day we kind of wake up and it’s, it’s going to be a different day than every day we’ve had in the past.
If we’re really pursuing life, and living and living the life that we want, this will never going to be easy
Clint Bush 0:51
Hi everyone and welcome to We Will Wander a podcast about nomadic families working and living around the world. I’m your host, Clint Bush and twice a month I will ask full time traveling parents the what, how and why I’m working full time while living and traveling around the world with kids. On today’s episode, choosing the lifestyle.
We decided to travel full time back in 2017. One of the justifications we made to ourselves as well as to our friends and family was that by choosing this lifestyle, we are hopefully gaining control over our schedule and time spent together as a family. We didn’t expect that many of the same struggles we had back home and Seattle. We’re going to follow us during our travels. My guests today just started their travels about five months ago and are experiencing some of the same transitions and challenges we went through and continue to go through still.
My name is Wayne Saucier, and I’m part of a digital nomad family. I work as a independent software developer,
And I’m Anna, I work as an online entrepreneur. We have two little kids, four year old boy and an almost two year old girl. We took off in June, we left California. So we’ve been on the road, quote, unquote. For one and a half months.
Clint Bush 2:08
I met Wayne and Anna at the family adventure summit in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in November 2018. At the time, we had just started traveling internationally following a four month road trip around the US. The catalyst for our travels was that same conference a year prior and penticton BC, Canada. And just like us, Wayne and I were inspired by the other families that they met in San Miguel de and they at the family adventure summit.
The beginning of our realization of that we wanted to live this life was at family adventure summit last year 2018. We kind of knew that we wanted to do something like this, but thought it would be years in the future when our kids got older. And so we went to this conference and met families who were doing it and had been doing it was little kids and making it work and it was there and we said okay, We’re going to set a date. And we’re going to do this and we’re going to make this happen. So it was really inspirational for us.
Clint Bush 3:07
And can you give me an example of what your life was like before you guys started traveling?
Yeah. So we had the kids in full day childcare for two days a week away, you would work in a full time.
Clint Bush 3:22
And and I’m assuming that you were working part time during those days that the kids were in daycare.
Yeah, I worked the day the kids are in daycare, and we’re still working a lot of evenings. And then I would work sometimes all day Saturday, because we had both ways free childcare. It would be dad day.
And then I worked. I worked Sunday. As I as, I would take the kids to childcare on Tuesdays and Thursdays and so that would be a shorter work day for me.
Clint Bush 3:50
When we were deciding to leave our home and start traveling. One of the things we wanted to get better control of was our daily schedules. But we soon realized though that once we were on the road is that that Control schedule was not going to come easy and honestly something that we and many other families traveling full time constantly deal with, for Wayne and Anna, this was especially hard as their kids were really young. I asked how that transition was when they started traveling and what an average week look like for them now they don’t have childcare and that the kids were with them all the time.
Well which week of the 4 and a half months?
Yeah, I think I think it’s, it’s impossible to define, like an average work week. And it’s been a fascinating journey this far. Just because each day we kind of wake up and it’s, it’s going to be a different day than every day we’ve had in the past in terms of scheduling works gives in the family time. You know, all the all the commitments that we have to make. And I would say that the the four and a half months that we’ve been on the road has been very much a learning process for us and like how do we make this work? First nine weeks. We’re in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. And I feel like we got lucky in that we found a babysitter almost right away that we really loved, that the kids really loved and that that worked out really well. It probably he has to for many hours, 40 hours a week, had just kind of skeptical about it week by week. And then in so we had some degree of stability in Mexico. And then we were we’re traveling for like 10 days and then and then we landed on Bali, and didn’t really didn’t really have any structured childcare for simply seven weeks.
Yeah, when other families so used to teen who helped out here and there, but it wasn’t regular.
And I think what we really learned was like this, you know, this is an is not a sustainable approach. We well on the one hand, we don’t want full time, institutional style childcare. We also need, you know, childcare that we can rely on. And we can just kind of make it up as we go along.
What I think wasn’t working for us is, when we don’t have consistent childcare, we’re, we’re juggling back and forth. So if one of us is working, and one of us is with the kids, and which ends up giving us very little time, all together, and no time, it’s just mine and I have one on one. And that’s not I actually don’t believe in balance. I like to think of it as a counterbalance, but then it never counter balances back to us as a family and us as a couple. When we’re trying to do that.
Clint Bush 6:58
We return we’ll talk about which is easier for Anna and Wayne before or after traveling and we’ll dive into location independence after the break
Before the break and it was talking about the challenges of schedule a two little kids in tow I was curious what she and Wayne thought about before and after traveling and which was easier
I don’t know it’s hard to compare it because
I will say this and then and then I’ll maybe play Anna strike it from the record if we need to whenever like, like we’ve had some rough spots over the last bit or whatever like weeks and just just we get we get, you know, worn down was quite working and trading shifts, moment dead duty. And
it the kids get overwhelmed by transition.
Yeah. And so that You know, that’s that’s hard for all of us. And but, you know, the moments where we felt more down and kind of second guessing, you know a lot of what we’re doing. It brings us know peace to the picture us returning to Southern California and really adopting that lifestyle. Because it was, it was kind of the same except everything was murderously expensive and so we were just double the time we had this been working in our lives would be approximately the same.
Clint Bush 8:33
Honestly, we felt the pressure back home and Seattle also, even beyond the keeping up with the Joneses mentality. cities like San Diego and Seattle are getting more and more expensive to live in Astrid and I both felt like we were drowning, even though we were both working too well paying careers, that feeling combined and not spending much time as a family were critical keys in our decision to leave. So like when in in the thought of going back states at this point is a little stressful. I do want to touch on something else. So one minute Understanding that we and a lot of other full time traveling families here is that this lifestyle is easy, and it’s just extended vacation. That just doesn’t seem to be the case, we have found that it’s worked to do this lifestyle. Not only is it work adjusting to new contexts, but also working on our family relationships. Maybe it was easier to push some of that aside when we were back home. But now that we’re in the same house every day, all day, we have to address each other more honestly and directly. All that in play, though, we chose this lifestyle. we’re privileged enough to do it now. And for that, we’re grateful. And no matter how much work it is, we still want to do it and keep trying to make it work. I brought this up Wayne and Anna and they felt the same
you know, I feel like we are on the right path. And it just requires a bit of fine tuning.
Like somebody else had said to me one time is we don’t choose this length because it’s easier we choose it because of the life we want. And we think we can assume that with if if we’re really Pursuing life and living and living the life that we want, that this will never going to be easy. There’s always going to be challenges because we’re always pushing ourselves further. So the more we can embrace that, you know, life is not going to get easier. But it is, like you said, How can we constantly figure out how to make it work in a way that works for our family.
And it’s always been a, I guess, a long term objective of ours to like, not ever have our kids in full time institutional childcare. And that’s, that’s one of the main objectives of our digital nomad aspirations is that living in Southeast Asia and South America and other low cost places means that we don’t, we don’t have to have our kids in full time institutional childcare, and we get we do in and We get to work a little bit less than we otherwise would have to it when we lived, for example in San Diego, which is a hugely expensive place to live.
Clint Bush 11:11
This of course is the promise of being a digital nomad, the ability to travel and work around the world on less income and more freedom. And while we’ve touched on what it’s like to be a family in the digital nomad world, there are similar logistics with all digital nomads and regards to work. Things like WiFi, co working spaces and time zones are challenges all digital nomads have to overcome. As Wayne mentioned at the top of the show, he’s a software engineer similar to me. Unlike me, though, where I work full time for a company as an employee, when in a both have been independent workers for a while now.
We’ve well we’ve been location independent for 13 plus years now.
I wasn’t really though and I started seeing the clients. So that changed fairly recently I I started doing work where I was seeing clients One on One, helping them navigate fertility struggles or also using natural methods of family planning. So that was kind of part of my changes in journey over the last couple years, I was doing one on one face to face and might call it the time zones specific or time zone critical kind of work. And and then just having two little kids that wasn’t working anymore to have scheduled meetings with people and so my inward really changed to a lot more online membership sites and more entrepreneurial projects where I could move my my vision and my life’s work forward without one on one meetings.
Clint Bush 12:49
And I can you describe that transition moving away from client direct work?
Yeah, it was pretty interesting, because as I was pregnant with our youngest I was was excited about expanding my work and actually invested in a website and and growing the team and doing all this stuff or kind of taking I knew I wanted to go bigger, but I was, I guess, erroneously taking what I was doing at the time and trying to make it bigger. So then I found myself with a four year No, and he was two year old, and a newborn and taking the newborn to meetings, and I had found some office space but the chiropractor and I kept trying to push forward going bigger, with my current setup with what I was already doing, and then starting to realize that you know what, this is not going to work and so I had to step back and realize, okay, how can I How can I do this in a different way, we just gonna have to scrap the old way of what I was doing with my word and Just figure out a new way. And that was I heard about the concept of membership sites and started going down a different road of running a membership site and I hosted virtual summit. So I guess I used to kind of call myself an online entrepreneur. Now, it just certain different projects, all on hoping to the My is my life’s work forward
Clint Bush 14:30
pivoting and adapting is essential, not only in business, but working while traveling. Anna talked about moving away from time dependent work, and that’s the goal for many of us. However, client meetings and distributed teams still require our attention from time to time. And those cases, time zones can be a tricky thing to deal with. Having been part of a distributed team before I’m used to working with folks on the other side of the world. When it came time for me to be that person. There was some adjustment needed. Now I love being upset of my team, although it does mean I’m working some weird hours. For women in their time zone experiences have been mixed
the opposite side of the world as most of our work, we really like that, I think. So why don’t you think about that? Yeah,
I’m actually loving this time zone. I essentially work with three clients who are on the west coast, the United States. And I’m also a morning person. So I like getting up early, having a couple hours of overlap with the people I work with to schedule meetings or you know, have work sessions, but then have the rest of the day to myself to do the elephant to work in family and it was like, please, without this constant threat in the back of my mind that Oh, my phone’s gonna ring or I’m going to get an email that I had to deal with right away. Because on the side of the planet, that’s never going to happen in the afternoon, or evening here. So I’m not I also recommend That, you know, not everybody’s in, has that type of relationship with their clients. My, my client relationships all go back over a decade. And they’re just they’re real strong relationships. And we’ve reached the point in our relationship where, where this, you know, this degree of openness is not much of an obstacle.
My biggest ones are the biggest struggles with time zone is with the membership site. The community is a huge aspect of it. And so as people are having conversations within our community, I don’t get to those conversations until the opposite time of the day and they can converse a lot together, but I feel that I’ve missed just being in the middle of a conversation there sometimes. I also have a small team, I’m working on building, building that team and so there there is a little bit of A struggle there that things only happen when you ask a question and things happen 12 hours later, it is more of a struggle to, to keep things moving. And he can be a good thing and it forces you to really think through the Have I given all the information that could possibly be needed in order to hand this off. And it’s it’s forced me to as well to have to write up systems to write things up to make sure that there are things that people can follow. So, you know, in a sense, it’s a good thing that makes you put those things in place that sometimes never get done because you just keep going back and forth with little questions, you know, chatting on slack or whatever rather than actually putting process in place.
Clint Bush 17:49
When we return, we’ll talk about the endless search for good WiFi as well as some of the gear Wayne and Anna like to travel with after the break.
Before the break we talked about making this lifestyle work for our families. Part of that is being able to work. And one major condition to that is the ability to find internet. We don’t have reliable connection, it can really add to the stress. So travel.
Yeah, I think I at least don’t appreciate or undervalue the importance of it. When you know when you’re there and it’s constantly cutting out and you don’t have great internet, it really handicaps us a lot. And I think more than we realized,
Clint Bush 18:38
recently we were seeing in Italy in the countryside, our place was absolutely beautiful. And for all intensive purposes, it was perfect. However, because we were out in the countryside, we had really spotty internet connections both through WiFi and through our cell phones. So when we know we have to work, now we tend to choose cities to stay Wayne also talks about staying in the city. What it’s like to be in Chiang Mai, Thailand,
you know, I guess incidental to our need for constant reliable Wi Fi. We also prefer cities for destinations just because we like what cities offer or other things to do. And so I think overall, we’re likely to, to travel to places that generally have has have good Wi Fi anyway. And that we’re just we’re not like remote resort, remote beach type people, we like being in this city. And that’s, that’s probably where we’ll stay for the most part. Here, I have to say or I just reiterate that in my experience that you know, this past week has been mixed in that as we as we come to, you know, navigate and City and learn about it and get to know it. One of the big things is finding places to work. In the generally when we start I like to stick with like Starbucks and ironically McDonald’s because they’re kind of known quantities and I can get in a good work session without generally without having to lose a lot of time. messing with the wildfire is trying to figure out how to make it work. here though, I struggled a bit like both at Starbucks and McDonald’s. It’s kind of a pain to get online. You have to have a receipt your time limited. And then you get a plug into passport number and a local phone number, like every time and you know, that has kind of taken me by surprise, but I’ve experienced this at at least four different coffee shops at this point they will McDonald’s and Starbucks. Were getting online in into you know the first 20 plus years. It’s a work session. So that’s all part of the digital nomad and puzzle
as well, every country ensures that I have Alice and he works really common here and that you buy something and you get a code for a certain amount of time. That seems to be the norm. What do you think there is? I suspect that because of the high level of digital nomads that has been put in place, so people aren’t camping out we’re also close to university so that might be the case we’re going to let it happen coffee shops near University.
Yeah, they might be fighting with the university kids who plot out all the log and like watch YouTube, yes, fear and go with three hours at a time.
Clint Bush 21:51
As digital nomadism becomes more and more popular. It’s imperative that we become more responsible about how and what we consume while traveling and staying in locations that includes internet, someone wants told me that using public or free Wi Fi to do work means that someone else is bearing the burden for us making money. coffee shops are a great way to do some work and get some consumer internet being where our consumption is important. When had an interesting perspective on this
I’d like to say that I’m pretty conscientious about that. I prefer like mom and pop shops, but I’m also cognizant of the burden that I might be putting on, on on you know, mom and pop shops by just sitting and working, you know, for a long time. So and conscientious and in a lot of different ways, you know, mostly being respectful and you know, buying their food and wine or coffee, not not saying you know, any longer than I actually have to, and also having a bit of a bias towards like Starbucks and McDonald’s, you know, the big large public corporations Or their position to bear that, for that I might post by camping out working for a long time. I wrote a blog entry on this a while back about just because, you know, I’ve been working in coffee shops almost exclusively for least eight years now maybe six years. And so I’ve seen a ton of other people, you know, working and being in coffee shops. And the way I describe it is like a lot of people are not really intimate with the footprint that they’re leaving. And they’re making while they’re in a public place like a coffee shop. And then that footprint of course, is measured in many ways. You know, how much electricity you’re consuming, how much bandwidth you’re consuming, how much table space you’re consuming noise even how much noise you’re making, you know, if you’re if you’re if you’re making loud footballs. And you know, the economic footprint of you bye Went to dollar coffee and then they stay for five hours and you’re camped out at the prime below table you know and using electricity and all that sort of thing so I’m just I’m always conscious of that footprint wherever I go not just you know, not just in coffee shops but in life in general. And I think that’s a useful way to look at it to try and be conscientious as you travel.
Clint Bush 24:24
along with public Wi Fi there are other tools for keeping connected besides cell plans from back home Anna talks about the one critical piece of gear they like to use.
critical piece of gear specifically most recently, it’s been my five device. My for whatever reason my phone is not taking a SIM card well and these other countries and so I rely on to be to have a mobile connection. Putting a SIM card into a I guess a cheap mall, in
right away for hotspot device Yeah. And I’m sorry, I was gonna I forgot to mention earlier when we’re talking about Wi Fi, we’ve kind of decided that we’re just gonna we’re just going to buy another of those portable hotspot devices and get another SIM card because the data super cheap on a SIM card and I kind of threw my hands up in the air when I hit like my second Starbucks since we’ve been here and the Wi Fi instead the Starbucks was just so weak that I couldn’t I couldn’t I couldn’t work and so I think we’re going to we’re just going to travel or we’re going to travel with the portable hotspot devices and then just just buy you know local SIM cards wherever we go and use those as our may go to for internet connection.
Clint Bush 25:51
What cell service Steve with us and why do you use mobile hotspot instead of just data
Wayne uses Google by I don’t have mine is at&t which we haven’t had here and I was relying on just putting mobile SIM cards into my phone because I don’t really get it. Phone calls that the number isn’t as important for me so I didn’t really need to carry carry over my previous service. So I use WhatsApp to connect with people I need to know to have a connection. I was just going to use a local SIM card.
The separate hotspot is cheaper. Google Fi is I think $10 per gigabyte. And what we found is under $1 a gigabyte
Yeah, I didn’t get a SIM card here for like $7 for 250 gigabytes.
The other thing is, I have read in the internet at are there are some stories about Google canceling people’s by accounts because of excessive international data roaming. They know They, they, that’s apparently buried in the fine print. But it’s designed the the the model is designed for somebody who lives in the states and does some overseas traveling. And if they, if they see patterns in your data that you’re using a ton of data roaming, and you’re almost never going back to the States, I think you can get flagged. And so I’m, I’m, I’m a little nervous when I when I see my Google five number, it’ll jump over any given accounting cycle. And, you know, for 200 gigs for $7 US dollars, so I mean, that’s, it’s kind of a no brainer.
Clint Bush 27:38
One of the things I love talking to the travelers about is the gear they like to travel with. This is especially true for full time traveling families as there is a delicate balance between too much stuff and things you need to keep the family comfortable. During my conversation with Anna and Wayne. Besides laptops and a few tech items, they talked about traveling with some kitchen Central’s like towel specialists and even a coffee tumbler Anna had a great point, though, when it comes to figuring out what tools we need as a family as we visit new locations.
Yeah, the things we need to change how we live. I mean, here, it just seems like people don’t look at home. And so there’s very few utensils, there are very few tools. And so we can say, okay, we need much more tools in order to live the way that we’re used to, or we can say, okay, we’re going to change the way we live a little bit. And when we we can kind of done that here because it’s, it’s pretty inexpensive for us to go out and so we can make a decision like, okay, we’re not cooking dinner at all, which then we can strangle set of these like spices and it takes a lot more to put a dinner together. When we can just say okay, we’re going to shop for stuff for breakfast and lunch, but we’re going to take dinner completely off the table at all, and we’re just going to, you know, go out and get food out every night. Because we can do that and still be within our budget.
Clint Bush 29:04
Actually Astrid and I found this to be true with us too. Since our daily expenses are lower, we find were able to make choices that reduce our overall stresses, like not cooking as many meals which reduces the number of grocery trips and dishes to be washed. It also allows us more time with family or to squeeze in a work deadline, although we try to limit that as much as possible. The point is that we can be more intentional about those choices instead of momentum or necessity carrying us into those decisions, sometimes almost unconsciously. And that honestly is the point what we’re doing traveling full time. we’re choosing to do something for our family that allows us to be conscious and intentional about many of our decisions, whether it’s eating out for the day or planning the week instead of letting routine dictate our schedule. Also as main normally routine activities like buying groceries or going to the park, more intentional ones. That’s not to say routine is all bad. We’ve had to find daily routines again to keep us all sane. We’ve implemented schedules and breakfast routines, that Help us feel grounded. Also, it’s not to say that this couldn’t happen back home instead of halfway around the world, we’ve chosen this lifestyle to shake things up. And one thing we realize is that the lessons we’re learning about being a family, and being intentional can easily be true back home and Seattle, with some financial adjustments. Of course, this is an experience to see the world, but also grow and figure out who we are as individuals and as a family. That’s why we chose this lifestyle, but it will always be part of our values, regardless if we continue to travel or not. For Wayne and Anna their travel adventures started only months ago. And there are families that have been traveling for years, even decades. The one thing we all have in common is the desire to be more intentional about daily living. It’s clear and then we have made the choice to do just that. When I asked Anna and Wayne if they had some closing words based on our conversation, and a circle back to the idea of balance or counterbalance, and Wayne talked more about being location independent.
I think my biggest closing thing or the biggest thing that I had learned and continually trying to adopt is this idea of counterbalance. Because we can have, I think, especially as a mom, as a woman, this idea that of balance that everything has to be in balance at the same time, but I don’t believe it actually works. And we can be striving for something that’s impossible. But if we can look at more like a counterbalance, like when I’m in when I’m with the kids, I’m completely with the kids. And when I’m working, I’m completely working and I’m shutting off all distractions and only focusing on that. It really helps because then we’re not trying to constantly divide my mental attention and emotional energy between so many different things. And I’m definitely not perfect at it. But it’s I think it’s something that we can strive for that is actually possible.
Yeah, in general, and I’m a big advocate for the Location independence, both in terms of, you know, the way we work, but also in the way that we live our lives. We feel that you know, the world is too small to just live in one tiny corner of it for our whole lives. And so we’re big fans of this model of this lifestyle and would love to encourage it, you know, this many other people to at least contemplate it, consider it. You know, read up about it. You know, go to, you know, a conference like that family adventure summit, and you really decide if you know, the way you’re living today is the way you really want to live or is that just something that just kind of happened and you’re going through the motions.
Clint Bush 32:49
To end each episode I’m going to give my guests a chance to plug something that they’re part of or resource that they have found helpful. And as first plug is a conference we’ve mentioned a few times in the show the family Venture summit is Anna and I both said earlier, this conference was a key part of our decision to start traveling. The conversations and inspiration we gained from attending gave both our families the momentum to start planning and making the plunge.
And I would send anybody who is considering, especially if you haven’t started yet, considering this life and want to be connected with a community who can help you make it happen. It’s family adventure summit.com.
Clint Bush 33:29
Anna also wanted to plug her work that she’s been doing and women’s health, and Wayne talked about his upcoming project he’s launching to help folks become location independent.
Yeah, just for the work that I do, working to change, really the face of women’s health care, helping women and couples to get good quality help for natural family planning, and for good women’s health care. That’s not a band aid approach, but really digging into the underlying issues. That’s that’s my whole work. And if you want to learn more, you can go to annsaucier.com
Clint I do have I plan to start blogging, generate some online courses, and write an E book, and maybe eventually do some consulting and coaching. This can all be accessed at my website, six square foot office, which is six sf.io. The idea behind the six square foot office is that you know, in today’s modern work world you know, in many fields, you can create a lot of value with just a tiny little workspace, you know, with a laptop and a headset. And I intend to to, I feel very passionate about helping people achieve location independence like we have and to be able to work remotely and live the lives that they want to lead.
Clint Bush 35:14
Well, that’s the end of our show. Thank you so much for listening.
If you liked the show, or even if you didn’t, please leave a review on iTunes, anchor or wherever you listen to podcasts. It really helps others find the show and helps me know what you all think. I want to give a huge thanks to Wayne and associa I really enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to seeing and talking to them again. You can find episode notes and we will wander calm, and you can subscribe to the show on the iTunes Apple podcast directory wherever you find your podcasts. Finally, if you want to leave feedback or ask a question, go to our website. WeWillWander.com and click on ask a question. Thanks again to Anna and Wayne, and until next time
Thank you, clint. We’ll see you someplace else in the world.
Thank you Clint. Take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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