Welcome! We’re Garrett and Claudia. We used to live in a big house with lots of debt. Now, we have a small or “tiny” 500 sqft house and no debt. So, we’re able to live our dream: travel the world. Keep checking this travel log for updates of our first adventure and follow us on Instagram.
Day 22: Heading to Mobile
Since we can’t get mail or packages at the campground, we have to make special arrangements for both. Fortunately, Amazon packages can be delivered to lockers at Whole Foods, so we went to Mobile to explore and get Garrett’s new laptop battery.
Day 21: Chilly, again!
At least it’s warm in the sun. I had some calls today with clients, so we used some of the day to work. In the evening, we enjoyed dinner with everyone at the campground. What a nice way to get everyone together!
Day 20: Oh, it’s chilly!
We’re taking advantage of the cold today. After a walk around the campground, it was time to tackle work for the biz. We haven’t had any problems yet working along the way, which is great news for a couple of digital nomads.
Day 19: Beach day
It’s in the 70s here at the Gulf. Wow! I’m loving this weather, this location, this everything.
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It might look like we’re in FL or CA, but we aren’t. We’re in Alabama and it’s in the 70s. ☀️ . . . #gulfshores #gulfshoresalabama #beach #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #vanlife #vanlifewannabe #camping #campinggear #nationalparks #stateparks #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #housesitting #hiking #livingmybestlife
Day 18: Beautiful weather, cheap laundry, and work to get ahead on
We’re making it a point to get ahead on as much as possible so that we can maximize the daylight hours.
After sleeping in a bit and some laundry, we spent the afternoon working on the biz. We have one big goal for 2019, so between that and trying to maximize the day, efficiency is the priority.
Day 17: Heading to the Gulf
It’s cold. Despite being as far south as we are, it’s still January and it’s still cold. And rainy. So, we went to the Escapees RV Club’s Rainbow Plantation.
Many folks stopped us while we were setting up to comment on our rig. Most everyone around us is retired with a motorhome, so our tiny teardrop is a sight to see.
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We’re near the Gulf. We weren’t supposed to be here, but the beautiful weather and friendly folks make me so glad we are. ❤️ . . . #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #vanlife #vanlifewannabe #camping #campinggear #nationalparks #stateparks #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #housesitting #hiking #livingmybestlife #alabama #escapees #escapeesrvclub #xscapers
Once we set up, we went to the ice cream social and played trivia. I could get used to this.
Day 16: Space Camp
We did not attend as kids, but we found out today that there is an adult program in the summers. What luck! We are already planning a return visit.
The space center is awesome. I highly recommend that everyone visit a space center at some point. I never tire of seeing the exhibits or hearing about the space program. What a time it must have been to be alive in the 60s. Scary, but exhilarating.
Day 15: Lost in space
Today, we landed in Huntsville at Space Camp. Yes, THE Space Camp you remember from commercials. We wanted to visit the space center in Alabama and by sheer luck, we found ourselves at the clean, cheap campground in the grounds of the space center. Highly recommend!
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We’re at Space Camp! All my childhood dreams are coming true. 😂 . . . #alabama #huntsvillealabama #spacecenter #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #vanlife #vanlifewannabe #camping #campinggear #nationalparks #stateparks #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #housesitting #hiking #livingmybestlife
Day 14: To the next adventure…
It’s our last day at this house sit, so we cleaned, spent time with bunnies, and got our stuff around.
After consulting the weather and shutdown status of the national parks we wanted to visit, i.e. Mammoth Cave and Hot Springs, we decided to visit them on the return voyage. It’s rainy and cool as well, so we’re also interested in more mild temperatures.
So, we decided to head to Alabama!
Day 13: Happy New Year!
We were slow getting around this morning. Catching up on sleep after all the insomnia in 2018 has been my top priority. Today was no exception.
We spent hours with the bunnies, enjoying coffee. We’re staying faithful to our kettlebell regiment — week 3 now!
In the afternoon, we went to the biggest, most elaborate hotel I’ve ever seen. Check it out on Instagram.
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We’re at a hotel with an indoor river, boat ride, water park, rock climbing wall, and more. Wow! 😮 . I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to travel. ❤️ . Happy New Year! 🥳 . . . #tennessee #nashville #gaylordopryland #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #housesitting
In the evening, we went for dinner and dessert with about friend from personal finance. The evening flew by. Before we knew it, we were closing down the last restaurant we visited. How fun!
Day 12: A new year, a new city…Music City, to be precise
It’s New Year’s Eve! Today, we spent hours hanging out with a couple of bunnies. I love rabbits!
We also had lunch with friends in Nashville at San Antonio Taco Co, which was delicious. It’s great to be part of the personal finance community and hanging out with so many like-minded people.
After getting caught in a severe thunderstorm, we took our drenched selves back to the house to change. We decided to stick close by and ended up getting dinner at Party Fowl. I ordered the Nashville hot chicken, which proved to be the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Hahaha! Seriously, it’s hot.
Day 11: From one house sit to the next
Today, we spent hours cleaning and doing laundry because my motto is to leave something better than I found out. The homeowners we were sitting for had a lovely home (and a dog that sheds a lot). We set aside time to ensure we could vacuum both floors. Nothing more frustrating than coming home to a dirty house when you’ve had a lovely vacation.
On our way to our next house sit in Nashville, we stopped and had dinner with friends at their gorgeous home — they have exactly the type of house and location we want in the future, if only it were farther south. Ha!
Day 10: Prepping to say goodbye (and hello!)
Our last day housesitting in KY is tomorrow. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the doggo because it’s been fun playing with her.
Something interesting that’s come up in our conversations is the reality that we’re living someone else’s routine, so in a way we get to share their experiences and see the world from another way.
Also, we get new ideas for our future home. Eventually, we will relocate somewhere warm, either in the US or abroad. What we’ve gleaned thus far from a short time on the road is that kitchens matter more than we could imagine.
Day 9: Busy bees today…
I couldn’t sleep last night. I don’t know what my problem has been this year, but I’ve struggled with sleep and that does weird things to one’s brain.
Cups of tea and one cold brew later, I was ready to go. Thank goodness, because I had four client calls today. Busy day as everyone is trying to wrap up before the new year.
Garrett has been working to push three new websites through that our team has been working on. These are looking awesome. So pumped!
In the midst of the day, we took a walk with the doggo we are sitting and played with her a bunch in the yard with a ball tossed. I love dogs!
Tomorrow, we have a quick orientation for our next house sit and then we return to start cleaning and packing since we leave Sunday.
Day 8: Rain, rain, go away!
Waking up to some calls this morning for the biz couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. Forecast called for rain all day, so it was nice to tackle work for clients and some admin tasks as well.
In the evening, we enjoyed our treat from Maker’s Mark while a thunderstorm shocked and delighted us both. Glad to see it is still warm enough in December for a thunderstorm.
Having the last week or so as mostly downtime has been great for clarity and rejuvenation. We stagnated in Pennsylvania this last year as we struggled we lots of things happening, good and bad. And with all these big changes over the last four years, it’s nice to be able to travel and do work we enjoy for people we love. If this last is representative of the rest of 2019, I’ll be happy.
Day 7: To Maker’s Mark, a must-do tour for bourbon enthusiasts
When Garrett told me last night that he bought tickets for a 2.5 hour tour of Maker’s Mark, set to begin at 9:30 AM, I gave him the side-eye. I knew how much he wanted to go, so I got up early (happily!) for the long drive to the distillery.
Maker’s Mark Immersion Tour proved to be one of the best tours we’ve ever done. Start to finish, they make guests feel welcome. Free bourbon-flavored coffee in the visitors center. Expert-led tour with Lee who knows everything about the company and its whisky. Lee is one of the folks responsible for the production of Private Select — so yeah, he’s a supertaster you should meet when you visit.
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Guess where we went today? Garrett was one happy bourbon enthusiast. Excellent tour provided by Maker’s Mark, which I consider a must see if you’re into bourbon. . . . #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #vanlife #vanlifewannabe #camping #campinggear #nationalparks #stateparks #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #housesitting #hiking #livingmybestlife #workfromanywhere #follow #goals #goalgetter #makeithappen #kentucky #makersmark
Along the tour, we spent time with employees who were happy to oblige visitors as they went about their days. When it came time to fill our own barrels and put our names on them, they were happy to make the experience extra special.
Tasting was tons of fun. Lee shared a lot of his experiences as a taster. Maker’s Mark bottles when the whisky tastes right and since it takes an average of 6 years to make, that’s a lot of tasting to do. Ha!
Our tour included gifts of wax-dipped tumblers. Wow! Totally unexpected and super cool.
If you’re in the area, you have to go.
Now, it’s time to get to work. Evenings spent working are how we make this all possible. 🙂
Day 6: Return to Saunders Springs (almost)
I woke up way early today and couldn’t get back to sleep immediately. Eventually, I fell asleep on the couch next to the dog. When she needed to go out to pee, she put her paw on my face to wake me up, which I thought was cute even though I was tired. We need to figure out a way to track progress on goals. I’d rather not have another app with reminders.
We spent a few hours filling out thank you cards for he biz while reflecting on what we’re grateful for. I’m so grateful to have worked with so many wonderful people!
After a late lunch, we headed to Saunders again, but found it was closed. Lots of stuff has been closed since we arrived in KY. Pro tip: Always call ahead to see if the place you want to go is open because we have found some attractions are closed due to the government shutdown while other attractions and even restaurants are closed during school breaks.
Day 5: Doing the tough stuff
We decided to get a head start on our 2019 goals. What’s great about house sitting around the holidays is that there aren’t any distractions. No excuses. Nothing is happening. Other than what the house and pets need, the rest of the day is largely open for thinking, learning, relaxing, exploring, or whatever else you want to do. So, we are lifting kettlebells and hiking today. I’ll do a bit of yoga to stretch. If we want to make improvements, we have to do the tough stuff to start fostering immutable habits.
When it comes to the biz, I have a chance to get ahead this week on 2019. I have a few loose ends to tie up, agreements and whatnot. Also, I had to do something difficult today, but necessary.
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I can’t think of a more perfect metaphor for the slow climb this last year has been than this uphill hike today. 🤣 . . . . . . #travel #travelblogger #travelblog #travelblogging #teardroptrailer #teardropcamper #vanlife #vanlifewannabe #camping #campinggear #nationalparks #stateparks #digitalnomads #locationindependent #debtfree #debtfreeliving #ontheroad #housesitting #hiking #livingmybestlife #kentucky #saunderssprings
After we came back from our hike, we hung out and cooked a ham while I took an hour to tackle some work. I’m enjoying working in the evenings after an afternoon in the woods.
Day 4: Checking out the area & an honest conversation on Festivus
House sitting is an adventure all unto its own. We’re enjoying a lovely spot in a rural area not too far from town, maybe 15 minutes for all the creature comforts. We’re caring for a rare breed of dog who is just a bundle of energy and tons of fun to play with.
There is a distillery nearby where we tried tons of spirits, including whiskey and tequila. Sipping, sitting, and chatting with staff and patrons alike, we enjoyed a warm space on a rainy day. If you’re in or near Radcliff, stop by Boundary Oak.
After our visit, we came back to the house to play with the pup, water plants, and clean.
And we had an honest conversation. It was Festivus, after all. Haha!
We have a new thing we want to launch, but it’s not ready. We’ll do it this year, but there isn’t any real rush. After four years filled with major life changes, a slower pace is welcome.
In line with the desire for a slower pace, we also decided to set achievable goals rather than stretch goals. I say achievable because we’ve inconsistently applied ourselves to all these things…
– 2019 goal: hike daily
– 2019 goal: lift kettlebells 3x/weekly
– 2019 goal: spend $100/week on self-care, like yoga classes or therapeutic massage
– 2019 goal: learn banjo and fiddle
– 2019 goal: invest half of what we make in our brokerage
Garrett’s word for 2019 is freedom. I love his confidence!
Claudia’s word for 2019 is awareness because self-care is a struggle.
Day 3: We went to Kentucky!
Garrett has an “I’ve made it” moment: waking up mid-week in a campground where there are few people and lots of quiet time. Despite being in the 40s and shivering, it was actually quite refreshing. We hadn’t gone very far, but it was far enough to start creating some necessary space between what was and what will be.
After packing up camp, we hopped in the car to head south to the house sit we booked for 10 days around Christmas. Trip was largely uneventful. Having a cooler in the car with snacks and sandwich supplies helps us curb any desire to eat fast food.
When we arrived at the house sit, the home owners greeted us warmly and took us on a tour/orientation of their home. We met their dog who we have the great pleasure of taking for walks and petting. Love pets!
Once the homeowners left, we put our things in our room and enjoyed a light dinner and tea while we planned the next day’s adventure.
Day 2: An exercise in patience
I had a couple of conference calls this morning and one in the evening, which were no problem. I hotspot my computer when I need it. Even with one bar of service, the calls were flawless. Great to be able to work with so many wonderful people.
Unfortunately, Garrett bricked his phone somehow. Having an iPhone 6 for several years now, this comes as no surprise. We managed to reset it, but it’s on its last legs.
Hiking around Delaware State Park was fun! There is a beach area around a lake, lots of kids play areas, swings, and a GREAT campground. We have power, heat, and showers with hot water. Did I mention heat? It’s nearly freezing in Ohio at this time of year, so loving that heat.
Once we decided to stay another night here, we ventured into town to grab some groceries. At this point, it was 3 PM and raining, so we decided to pop into a cafe to grab tea and catch up on email.
Day 1: We almost got stuck in PA. Again.
John and David of Debt Free Guys fame were on their way to our house. While I cleaned and finished laundry, Garrett tackled some van and teardrop camper maintenance so we could leave when they arrived.
Did you know the Debt Free Guys have a get out of credit card debt course coming out in January? They helped us pay off $16k in credit card debt in less than a year, so I bet they can help you, too. (Not an ad.)
Anyway, Garrett pulled the valve stem out of the tire because he has crazy old man strength — you know, like your grandpa probably has. Thankfully, there is a tire shop a mile or two near our house and they fixed our tire straight away. Apparently, the camper being pulled by the broken down barnacle barge that was the minivan for a second was a clue we needed the work done today.
If you couldn’t tell by our Instagram repost today, we made it to Ohio.
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We’re in Ohio now! 🥳 . . . #Repost @debtfreeguys with @get_repost ・・・ ☕️☕️ We just watched @twocuphouse_ take off on their four month, southern U.S. tour. Now we’re settling in to watch the actual Two Cup House and their two little kitties. 🐱 #RoadTrip #TrailerLife #Camping #DebtFreeTravel #LiveFabulouslyNotFabulouslyBroke #DebtFreeGuys #QueerMoney 🏳️🌈
Our first stop? Dinner with friends in Wooster.
Our second stop? Delaware State Park campground, outside of Columbus. Campground is open year round and has power and showers. Good way to ease into this new way of life.
I have a feeling that parking will be a recurring theme in this travel log.
Day 0: We almost got stuck in PA.
We decided to take the cats to the vet for one last checkup and to get shots they needed. Rookie move the day we’re supposed to leave.
Dr. Bartlet recommended a basic dental cleaning for Nerml, which I agreed to. I completely forgot what’s involved in getting a cat’s teeth cleaned. Rookie move number two.
Nerml came home from the vet still coming off the anesthesia. Also, she requires liquid antibiotics for ten days. Fortunately, our gracious house sitters, better know as the Debt Free Guys, said it would be no problem taking care of Nerml’s meds. Phew!
While Nerml was at the vet, we packed the van and the camper. Realizing we had too much unnecessary stuff, we left behind more stuff.
We decided to stay another night to get around and to keep an eye on Nerml. She is the world’s best cat after all — don’t want anything to happen to her in our haste to depart on this journey. Also, we had half a bottle of wine to finish. Thank you, Sharla!