I woke up one glorious morning a few years back with an epiphany. We were in New Smyrna Beach, Florida enjoying our seaside vacation rental when I turned to my wife, Donna, and began describing my idea for world travel. Having been long-term travelers for years, I was growing concerned about the cost of housing, especially with my insatiable desire for the oceanfront properties. I thought there must be a market out there for mature, dependable people like us to house sit. I was right and my wife was intrigued.
The first Google search turned up ModernDayNomads.com and similar websites. To my surprise it was like jumping into a vat of Jujubes. The opportunities seemed limitless, as did the locations and situations. My first connection to a housesitting gig came via a Facebook post by Modern-Day Nomads for Hawaii! We were still on the road, somewhere, I don’t remember. What I do remember is that the homeowners forgot about the time difference and called us three hours prior to what we had agreed. We told them that we had our laptop and we’ll find some place to set up and Skype. Within 20 minutes we were video chatting. They were cool people and thought the same as us. Three days later, we got an email saying they chose us! After letting the news settle in, the reality of the timing and the length of the stay (6 months) intimidated me. We sadly declined.
A month or so later, now at home, I saw another interesting post on Modern-Day Nomads: “Wanted, housesitter for 10 weeks in Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean.” I excitedly contacted the homeowner and, just like that, we were set to leave September 15th and stay until the end of November. But then I remembered, my niece’s wedding was September 27th! Donna said, “You backed out of the Hawaii gig, but we’re not letting this one go.” So, she went to Bonaire ahead of me and I stayed for the wedding. Crisis averted.
Bonaire is part of the ABC islands, which includes Aruba and is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. Boasting nearly a 100 dive sites accessible from the shore, I can see why this place is popular with divers. Indeed, our first look underwater took our breath away. We saw brilliant corals, colorful fish, eels, octopus and crab. We even followed a large sea turtle underwater as it searched for food. We had so many life-altering experiences, I could write a book. We made close friends with the neighbors, the dog and interacted with the people of the island as much as we could. We even picked up a little Papiamento, the native language in this part of the Caribbean. Much of the island is rugged and undeveloped. This allowed for plenty of exploration of historic sites, uncharted caves and even finding our own private spot on the ocean to spend an afternoon.
Thanks to Modern-Day Nomads and our Bonaire experience, we are now pretty much full-time nomads. We’re currently in Sonoma County (housesitting), enjoying some fine wines and planning our next trip, this time to either Turkey or Mexico.
To learn what we’ve learned and to read more about our travels, check out our Digital Nomads: Secrets to Living Life in the World blog.
Pasa un bon dia,
Tony & Donna