Discover more from Brent and Michael Are Going Places
When Nomad Travel Plans Go Sideways
Last month, Brent's father died, and our lives were thrown into chaos.
Recently, Brent’s 94-year-old father died after a long, slow decline. Fortunately, we managed to make it back to America before the end.
But as a result, our lives have been pretty crazy of late. His death upended all of our travel plans between now and the end of the year.
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge how lucky and privileged we are that we even have these problems — that we’re able to travel the way we do.
Plus, Brent’s dad’s death has also reminded us how lucky we are simply to be alive.
That being said, it has made our lives quite stressful and made planning the rest of our year very complicated.
Back in Bangkok, we had to book very expensive last-minute tickets back to our former home in Seattle. Then we had to make that very long trip — twenty-plus hours of flight time alone.
And coming back to Seattle at the height of the tourist season meant scrambling to find accommodations — and, of course, prices have been sky-high.
Thanks to a combination of friends and family, and deftly scouring online listings, we pieced together an affordable plan for our time back in the U.S.
Then two of our would-be housing-hosts came down with Covid. Because…life.
Here’s a list of all the places we’ve stayed since leaving Chiang Mai on July 3.
Bangkok airport hotel, two nights.
SeaTac hotel, one night.
House-sitting in Tacoma, nine nights.
Hotel in Tacoma, two nights.
Staying with friends in Puyallup, three nights.
Timeshare condo in Port Townsend Washington, seven nights.
Michael, seven nights visiting family and friends in Colorado; Brent seven nights visiting a friend in Oregon.
Staying with family in Seattle, five nights.
Staying with online friends in Tacoma, three nights.
Hotel in Vancouver, B.C., two nights
So in a six-week period, that’s eleven different places.
By contrast, as “slomads,” we usually stay in one place anywhere from one to three months at a time.
But that’s only half the story of how crazy things have been.
We also spent time with Brent’s dad Harry before he died.
We and other family members planned the subsequent funeral and reception.
Brent has been dealing with his father’s estate, acting as the executor of Harry’s will.
That led us to change our own wills, which meant more planning and visiting twice with our attorney.
We’ve also been meeting with our own financial planner.
Since we’re here so long, we’ve had to swap our rental car several times.
I also had to visit the doctor.
Brent had to try to repair — and ultimately replace — a malfunctioning laptop.
We decided to downsize our storage locker, which required a day of moving our belongings from one unit to another, plus five trips to Goodwill. (This may have been a bad idea, but it was a narrow window of opportunity, and it will now save us $400 a year.)
Plus, there’s the ongoing grief from the death of Brent’s dad.
Oh, and then there was the stress of the night we thought we’d poisoned and then blinded our friend’s dog.
Brent and I also had to make decisions about our future travel plans: whether not to return to Asia, where we’d been living, and resume our original itinerary.
After a bit of discussion, we realized neither of us wanted to make the long trek back to Asia this year. Since we were in the Pacific Northwest in July — usually the prettiest time of year — it also seemed foolish to not take advantage of that to enjoy the weather and to see friends and family.
But that meant more planning. And what were we going to do into the fall?
After considering a whole slew of options — Puerto Vallarta, driving across Canada, staying in Washington State’s San Juan Islands — we finally decided to:
Take a two-week cruise up to Alaska and back.
Get an apartment in Vancouver, Canada, for a month.
Then catch another cruise ship for 27 days from Vancouver to Australia, where I once lived, and where I’ve wanted to take Brent for many years.
Spend the rest of the year in Australia.
All in all, it’s been quite a scramble.
This update isn’t shared to elicit sympathy. Again, we’re privileged to have the problem of deciding where in the world we should travel.
But we’ve promised to always share the good and the bad of our lives as digital nomads.
This is some of the bad.
UPDATE: Since originally writing this, a third would-be housing-host of ours tested positive for Covid. That meant another sudden rejiggering of our schedule. We’re still waiting to see if this person tests negative so we can visit with them for a few days. Either way, it’s a bit more of the bad!