When we decided to leave Flagstaff, Arizona and begin our year of travels, we thought we had it all figured out. B (my oldest son who doesn’t want me to use his name on the Internet) was set to head over to China and start teaching English. And C (my youngest who is jumping on the leave me off the Internet bandwagon) was safely ensconced at the University of Arizona.
My transition into nomading about has been anything but easy.
Our first month was spent with MIL helping her around the house. And as we drove to Los Angeles to put B on a plane, he decided he couldn’t go – after he was all checked in for the flight. Needless to say, there was a lot of drama. In then I trusted him to make the right decisions for him. The only problem is we didn’t really know what was next.
I was supposed to be headed to Mexico, but B didn’t want to go there to figure things out. So at the end of the month with my MIL, we headed to my mother’s to try and get some clarity. And sometime during a lot of discussions, B decided to go to Las Vegas and become a poker dealer.
For the next three weeks, I was nomading about Las Vegas, Nevada getting my son set up at dealer school. Luckily, after years of reporting for the World Series of Poker (WSOP), I knew the ins and outs of the town and the industry. While B was in school, I headed to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a month. It was just what I needed. Daily walks on the Malecon, stops at various taco bars and margaritas – just what I envisioned when I decided to become a digital nomad.
As B was finishing up school, he was hired to deal poker at the WSOP. The only problem was he had about a month of downtime. So, I flew back to Las Vegas, moved him out of his temporary living situation and headed back to my MILs. Soon after arriving, Way came home from China and we went and picked up C from UofA.
We spent a little more time in Descanso (my MILs home), stopped by Phoenix (my mother’s home) and then went back to Las Vegas to get B settled in for two months of long days inside the Rio dealing poker to players from around the world. The irony is not lost on me that the summer I decide NOT to work the WSOP, my son does. 🙂
From Vegas, Way, C and I flew to Milan and settled in Stresa near my family for a month. We were supposed to spend another month traveling through the rest of Italy, but C decided he was done traveling. So we packed our bags, bought last-minute, very-expensive tickets and headed back to Flagstaff for the last month of C’s summer vacation. Oh, and we picked up B along the way. We rented a cute house near downtown and that is where I am as I write this.
Now, as we prepare to move C back to U of A for his sophomore year, and support B as he decides on his next steps, Way and I are trying to piece together our fall. We know Way will head back to China to teach for three months in August, but he has to go through Worcester, Massachusetts for a stop at Clark University. Which means, once we drop C off, we only have a few days together.
What does this mean? I don’t entirely know yet. I sort of feel drawn to go back to Puerto Vallarta – Way has never been. We have been talking about finding a home base somewhere and I’ve been leaning towards Mexico. The boys aren’t too thrilled with that idea, though, so who knows. For now, we are keeping our options open.
I knew I began a lifestyle that was based on a “go with the flow” mentality, but I didn’t really expect so much uncertainty and change of plans.
Looking back, ideally, I would have stayed put through this summer and began this fall, but it is what it is. I will talk about this later, but I struggled to balance working and touristing with two people who were not working. (Autocorrect wants me to use touring, but I think touristing fits – even though it is not a word.)
I was also very emotional when we left Italy, as in I didn’t want to leave – EVER. This surprised me and I wasn’t quite prepared for it. I’m slightly afraid that I will go through a grieving process every time I leave a country.
At least here in Flagstaff, I don’t feel like I have to play tourist. I’ve already left it a few times, so that should be easy. I have also simplified the demands on my time. All that means, that I hope to spend some time writing about all of the great places I’ve been in the last few months and some of the lessons I learned along the way.
All of this to say, I have had some amazing experiences, but I have also struggled. It is not as picture perfect as I may make it out to be. I’m okay with giving you the illusion, though. But I also want to keep it real.
Writing is my therapy and boy, do I need all the help I can get. Stay tuned.