by Valynne | Apr 30, 2013 | Caretaking / House and Pet Sitting, Simple Living, Travel |
When Paul and I tell people that we have been taking care of properties and pets across the US since 2009, the response is oftentimes an enthusiastic one, followed by lots of questions.
Sam, curious to know if I have any more carrots for him.
One of the most popular questions is “What are some of the pros and cons of this lifestyle?”. Listed below are a few of my typical responses. These usually lead to a more in depth conversation, and I am happy to elaborate here if any of you would like more specifics (you can leave your questions in the comments section and I will reply).
- We get to experience new places in a way that most tourists don’t (we live like locals, if only temporarily).
- We meet people from all walks of life and form beautiful friendships along the way.
- We get to care for and enjoy a variety of pets, knowing that they will be just fine when it is time for us to move on.
- Our living expenses are much less than that of the average homeowner/renter.
- The possibilities are endless and pondering our next locale is part of the fun.
- Caring for someone else’s loved ones and belongings is a huge responsibility. There will be stressors.
- Some places and people (and pets!) are harder to leave than others.
- Some people are harder to caretake, or sit for than others (we’ve learned to respectfully decline ridiculous requests).
- Setting up house in a different state every few months to a year comes with it’s own complications.
- Sometimes, there is “amazing opportunity” overlap and the decision making process can be tricky.
So, there they are, off the top of my head. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you share a similar lifestyle, and have something to add to the list or comment on, we would love to hear from you as well!
by Valynne | Apr 16, 2013 | Heath and Wellness, Photography, Travel, Writers and Readers, Writing |
Kimonos, Slippers, and Buddha Chocolates. Ahhh.
Paul and I wanted to do something different for our Birthdays this year, so we treated ourselves to two days and nights at ten thousand waves, a mountain spa in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A Warm (Toilet Seat!) Welcome
Perhaps I am easily impressed, but I was pretty much in heaven before we even left our room. The toilet included a heated seat and a bidet. Another first for me.
The Star Lounge
I loved this little section of our room. The ceiling was full of starlight that flickered through the night. I am going to see about having this installed in my Airstream one day (I don’t yet own one).
This guy kind of freaked me out at first, but he grew on me. We had our own little courtyard. We spent all of our waking hours out here or at the spa.
Seeing this pleased me greatly. My Dad used one of these as his main cooking source ~ probably still does. My favorite hibachi (shichirin in Japanese) meal was veggie shish kabobs with teriyaki sauce. We brought groceries with us (the restaurant doesn’t open until this fall) but having access to an outdoor oven didn’t even cross my mind. Next time.
Paul in a Kimono
I thought Paul wore this quite well. We left our western clothes in the suitcase as the kimonos were so comfortable. Paul surprised me with Natalie Goldberg‘s latest book, The True Secret of Writing, and I read almost all of it while we lounged. Ms. Goldberg lives in Santa Fe and will be at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse tonight. I plan on going and will most likely be blogging about my experience.
Another Cool Statue
This dragon statue lived next door. I am really feeling dragons lately. Not sure why.
Resting Along the Way to the Spa
We had a steep climb to the spa and thought this little outdoor couch was a great idea. The small hike wasn’t an issue for us, but there is a shuttle for those who could use it.
Koi, or Nishikigoi
I love the sound of running water and the koi ponds definitely added to the feeling of serenity throughout the spa.
We spent an entire day at this public bath and I was able to get a picture of it between waves of naked people. I told Paul I was going to title this blog post “Me and a Bunch of Naked Guys” but thought better of it. It was interesting to observe the difference between sexes when it comes to nudity. Guess who let it all hang out and who didn’t?
We treated ourselves to a private bath, as well. I love this picture of Paul, even if he is sunburnt (why he refuses to wear a hat I don’t know). Along with the private bath, we each had a theraputic massage and salt scrub. Thank you, Daniel and Dana!
This experience was so different for us. I wasn’t sure how Paul would handle sitting in one place and relaxing for two days straight. Come to find out, he really enjoyed himself and we are already making plans for our next little spa retreat.
My friend Sadie and I visited Ojo Caliente when she came out for a visit from Colorado, and I am looking forward to taking Paul there on our next spa adventure. Are you a spa person? If so, please share with us your favorite destinations.
by Valynne | Apr 3, 2013 | CC Contests!, Social Media Experiments, Writers and Readers |
I came across a mention of Marianne Cantwell’s new book, Be a Free Range Human – Escape the 9 to 5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills while perusing the facebook page of Barbara Winter. Per her suggestion, I contacted the book publisher and was sent a copy in exchange for sharing my thoughts here on our blog.
Escape the 9 – 5, Create a Life You Love, and Still Pay the Bills
Soon after receiving the book, I found myself working for someone else and struggling to find the time to actually read it. The irony was not lost on me. Paul makes this “location independent” stuff look easy, while I have struggled to earn a decent living on the move.
I am enjoying my new job at Estrella Del Norte Vineyard, but it is important to me that I find a way to support myself financially from wherever it is we wish to be (our sit here in New Mexico ends in October) without relying on an outside job.
I’ve been able to save us LOTS of money with Caretaking Couple; now it is time to make us some money. I want to be my version of a Free Range Human!
You may be wondering what free ranging even means. According to Marianne Cantwell, “Free ranging is about creating your ultimate life. Reaching your potential, building on that moment of magic you have to offer and creating a darn good income to boot. Freedom and fulfillment and a great income. No compromises.”
For me, free ranging means true location independence. For some people I know, it means walking away from jobs they hate and towards a lifestyle they love. This book will help you to clarify what free ranging means to you and encourage you to live accordingly if you aren’t already.
Be a Free Range Human is broken up into four parts. The first half will help you to decide what it is you want exactly and the second half shows you ways in which to put your plan into action. There are a lot of written exercises in this book, along with complimentary online resources. Do not ignore either ~ both are invaluable.
You will be given projects to work on, as well. Example: my current Play Project (i.e. a project that excites me) includes monetizing this blog with relevant affiliate links, setting up an e-Book shopping cart, and reaching out to potential sponsors. I am giving myself one week to finish this project, with the help of someone who can actually set it all up in a fraction of the time it takes me.
In this book, you will hear from others who are getting paid to do what makes them come alive. You will learn how to start a business for under $100 and how to set your salary. You will learn about branding and niches and how to get free press. You will be given advice on how to avoid “the beige army”, that group of scared but vocal people that try to talk you out of living your happiest life. Prepare to be inspired.
My copy of Be a Free Range Human is full of ink and plans and dreams, so you can’t borrow it. Two of my friends have purchased and are reading it at present, and I cannot wait to exchange ideas and epiphanies with them!
If you are interested in reading this book as well, please leave us a comment here on the blog. It can be about what free ranging means to you, or anything else you would like to discuss. I will have Paul draw a name next weekend (April 12th) and send a copy out to the winner. Book club, anyone?!