Last June, my sister, her husband and their three kids left Canada to travel across the Americas. Not across the United States, across North and Central Americas, the continents. They went from Québec, Canada all over to the West and down the US, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras… And as I’m writing these lines, they’re in Nicaragua.
This is an experience of a lifetime for sure! I do envy parts of their journey – cause it ain’t all easy – but I wanted to share one part of their preparation first. I won’t tell it all, I’m sure they’ll have plenty to share when they come back. However, as someone outside the project, I’ve seen this past year and a half as a very long path to living a dream – which does not mean it’s not at all worth it.
As I know many travelers read this blog and would maybe like to replicate something similar, here are three points to get prepared for.
A Travel is Not a Vacation
The first thing to get prepared for is to make sure you’re not seeing your travel as a getaway, as months or a year of vacations. It really is not. Such a travel, when confronted with your habits, culture, lifestyle, comfort, fears, faults, etc. is amazing but has nothing to do with a 2-week vacation on the beach!
What You Want to Do
My sister decided to leave in an RV for one year. But there are plenty of other methods to experience such a long travel. Simply search over the web to find others’ stories and see what’s more appealing to you. Some have traveled many countries by bike, boat, and even walking… Make it your own. You’ll need to feel like you’re living YOUR own dream when things get more difficult.
Selling the House or Renting It
If money is not a problem, renting it would probably be the best idea as you’ll still have it when you come back from your long travel.
One thing to consider though is the money you’ll need while you’re traveling. This is why my sister first thought they’d have to sell… and fast! The second point is the most important. Making the decision to sell is one thing, but it can be quite hard to sell it fast at the price you want! There are some opportunities to help you out with getting cash for your house quick (you can see more information here). But let me tell you one thing, this was the longest and hardest part of the preparation for my sister’s family. It might, therefore, be a good idea to look for a professional to assist you.
- Will you sell the furniture as well or put it in storage?
- If you sell it, what price? Where can you sell so much stuff?
- Which storage facility? What about the security? Property insurance?
- What about the insurance, the services, the maintenance contracts and all the other bills related to your house? You’ll need to contact each one of them.
I’m enumerating related points to the house, but the house itself has to be prepared. It may need to be repainted, some renovations might be necessary. If you’re lucky enough, nothing will break while you organize your trip, but chances are you will at one time have a surprise or two! 😉 You have to set the price for your home, organize visits, and make sure the house is cleaned every time. It can get very heavy at some points.
It’s as if all of your life is changing, but life still goes on.
Not to mention the emotions related to such a project. In my sister’s case, it was the home that saw her children grow up in. There were thousands of memories and good times in that place. In a certain way, you’re going through a period of mourning.
And while you do all this, you’ll also need to organize your itinerary, your passports, your vaccines, your kids’ schools, etc. All of this requires money, but you don’t necessarily have it when needed as your house is not sold yet…
All of this seems negative but it’s not. It’s realistic. It does not mean – again – that it’s not worth it. I believe that organization is one of the best keys to success and that’s the proof, once again. It a necessary evil so to speak.
I’m following their journey for sure and the pictures talk for themselves. My nephews will have such a heritage of this one year of traveling the world! I also never seen my sister and her husband so happy and united! If you’re curious to follow them as well, you can do so here.
Work Hard, Play Hard!
Selling a house in order to travel is not a simple house selling. It’s a house selling with many questions, doubts, stress, and money. You’ll need to be mentally ready for that. Or else, you will quit your dream before it even starts! I’ve seen my sister and my brother-in-law work very hard to make it happen. My sister broke in tears a couple times with the obstacles in the way. But they both took up the challenge and moved forward.
And they’re now in Nicaragua. That says it all, doesn’t it?