July 30, 2017

The Crazy Plan

The updated life plan.

Scott, the kids and I loved RV’ing around the U.S.  I describe it as epic.  We plan to do it again when the kids are a bit older.  The next time we’ll hit the Pacific northwest, the southeastern corner and spend WAY more time in Moab.  We’ll also be more focused on U.S. history.

Now that I quit my job and we are no longer burden by a steady source of income and all of the desirable benefits of a conventional lifestyle, so many possibilities are on the table.  What to do?

I’m kidding, of course.  I wouldn’t have made the decision I did without knowing how I was going to set us up for success.  I’ve said I was crazy, not stupid.

Kids First

Under my mom’s supervision, I am going to start homeschooling Evie this fall.  It’s pre-K.  I hope I don’t screw it up too badly.  We’ve already started workbooks for reading, writing, and numbers.  We have 15+ pen pals and are surely in the top 5% of snail mail senders in the U.S.  We conduct science experiments, often in the kitchen, 3-4 times a week.  I’m tracking of all that on a new website I started called S.T.E.A.M. Daily (the A is for arts which I believe to be an underappreciated contributor to any solid STEM curriculum) and/or big littlehandsbigbrains.com and/or ScienceForKids.Club.  {We bought all 3 domains and we’re trying to figure out which one we like best.  They all point to the same web site.  If you have an opinion on which you like best, please share it.  I could use the help.)

Jack is invited to participate in almost everything as long as he’s not interrupting.  It’s hit or miss.  He’s 2… I have to manage my expectations.

To date, the schedule has been flexible but it’s about to become a little more systematic.  In my ideal world, the mornings will be spent structured investigations and afternoons will be wide open for play and independent backyard exploring.


We will be living in Maine at the invitation of my Mom.  This works on many levels.

  • My mom and the kids have a close relationship.  She enjoys having us around {most of the time}.  (Let’s be honest, even with the patience of a saint, there must be times when she gets a little frustrated… that’s completely normal.)
  • I have always felt disappointed that I couldn’t be around to help more since my dad passed.  There’s a lot to do when maintaining a house and much of the time it falls on my brother.  Or my mom.  More than once I’ve caught her on a ladder doing something unexpected.  She’s Maine strong.  Now we’ll have all fall to help her (not that she needs it, but because we want to do it).
  • Scott spends most of his time now focused on the business.  While he was able to run it from the road, that was hard.  He struggled to gain momentum.  Now he’s dialed in and trying 3 or 4 ways to demonstrate his value to potential clients.  It seems to be working… which is critical to the 6-month vision of our plan.
  • We’re reasonably close to some of our VIPs that deserve more of our attention: Nate, Grandpa Mike and Grammie Denise.  Nate spent an awesome 2 weeks with us.  We had so much fun we called up his mom and asked if we could have 2 more.  Grandpa Mike is retiring so he’ll be available all fall.  We’re going to double down on the investment of time spent together.
  • Maine is spectacular in the summer, fall and early winter.  There’s plenty to keep us adventuring.

Post-Christmas 2017

After Christmas, we’re going to do what we do best: outside the U.S.  The great debate right now is where to start.  Scott wants to go to Mexico. Evie and I are losing what little Spanish we had.  Living there would fix that.  I want to go to Thailand and work our way slowly through Asia. (Of course, I do… exotic is my hallmark.)

We’ll be modern day explorers, Anthony Bourdain style (minus the gross stuff he puts in his mouth and the crew of people that make sure everything goes well).

Officially adopting the professional title “digital nomads”, we will continue to grow Scott’s company.  It’s really really important that this piece works…  I like to be able to feed the kids.

Last but not least, I am going to continue writing the blog.  Surely there will be all sorts of interesting situations to keep us laughing.


Several times I’ve been on the receiving end of 1 important question from exceptional friends who are less-than-impressed with this crazy plan.  Those closest to me know I prefer straight-up honesty to veiled cordiality so it generally goes a little something like this, “Did you win the damn lottery or what?  How the hell are you affording this? And, oh by the way, have you lost your @$%@$#%$  mind?”  It’s not meant to be a feel good ‘atta-boy’.  They’re concerned we’re tanking our future.

Here’s the deal.  No, we didn’t win the lottery.  No, we don’t have a trust fund.  No, I’m not an irrational idealist who thinks that the universe will show up with bag o’ money.

We have several sources of small income that, together, is enough to make us think we can pull this off.  Those sources are Scott’s advertising agency, his off-roading website, and modest investments which Scott plays with at the direction of a trusted third party.  We are… diversified.

Additionally, we are cheap bastards.

We do not buy things.  Shopping is done only when something is needed and nothing more.  (Now that we’re not in the RV, I avoid Walmart and Target to keep this in check.)  I do not spend more than $20 for any 1 piece of clothing and the kids’ wardrobes are almost entirely hand-me-downs.  That’s why Evie is often in boy clothes and her grandparents and Uncle Todd and Aunt Kerry buy her dresses for Christmas and birthdays.

We prefer free or cheap experiences but will invest in ‘expensive’ if it’s worth it to us (i.e. that time we took the fancy train to Machu Picchu).

We’ll be taking advantage of arbitrage.  If you’ve been outside the U.S. (and parts of Europe) you know how delightful it is to see your money go much further overseas.  The first time I went to farmer’s market in Turkey and came away with what would be $100 USD and it cost the equivalent of $3.56, I realized how useful currency conversion can be.

In Conclusion

Our plan may seem bat shit crazy.  I get it.  That doesn’t hurt my feelings.  Alternatively, this turn of events may seem brave.  I hope so.  Or possibly, the impression is: illogical, wired wrong, misguided, we have reached escape velocity, I am leading my authentic life or we somehow managed to stumble our way into The Flow.   Not to worry, I’ve thought all of that too.  Encouraging words are always appreciated.  While constructive criticism is usually well received, in this one specific case, I’m not open to it.  The decision has been made.  We’re taking our shot.

Maine life:

The obligatory hold-up.  Every train we’ve been on in the past year has been robbed.  The kids think this is what is supposed to happen… like the “tip” is just part of the cost of the ride.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens the next time we get on the Downeaster to Boston.

I made Nate stand front and center to take the oath of the junior sheriff.  He was a good sport.  #EvilStepMother

Helping “her” Leo.



Traci Warren