Yesterday, Beth and I made some big life decisions for our medium-term future. I’m going to take a regular position with a software company again, and we’ll settle down wherever that company is. We’ve tried a few different lifestyles over the past 18 months, but none of them are really working for us for one reason or another.
Moving to a new city each month, as we did during the “12 Cities, 1 Year” project, was a great way to experience new places. But I wasn’t in any one place long enough to develop new networks or clientele for my videography business.
Splitting my time between software contracting and videography, as I did while I was in Denver from January through August, gave me the flexibility to help care for Beth much better than would have been possible if I was working a full-time regular job. But that won’t cover the increased costs for health insurance that we’re going to have starting January 1, 2013. And I need to have major ear surgery on the left side, which is going to cost a lot of money out of pocket.
Obviously, traveling around the country staying mainly with family and friends, as we’ve done during our current three-month Fall 2012 tour of the East Coast, isn’t sustainable. We never thought it would be. This has been a nice way to see some people and places we wouldn’t otherwise see, but it’s only bought us some time to figure out what’s really next.
One possible “what’s next” was going to be long term housesitting as a way to keep expenses low while we build up some cash reserves again. But the housesitting opportunities that we’re finding are in places we really don’t want to live. Almost all of the long-term housesits are rural or semi-rural, and we don’t want to live in a place where we’re 30 minutes from town, especially with only one car. We really want to live in places where services are close-by. I want to be able to walk to the grocery story, the doctor’s office, a rec center, a park.
So starting this week, I’m updating my resume and starting the search for a regular full-time salaried position in the software test engineering field again. We are very flexible about location, though we’d prefer to live in Seattle, Albuquerque, Austin, or some other “real city” that interests us. I have a good network in this industry in the Denver area, and we’ll consider Denver again, but we prefer to see someplace new. Work environment is very important to me, and I want to find a job with an organization that’s small enough that I can make a difference, different enough that I can learn new things, and yet similar enough to things I’ve done in the past that I can leverage some of the many hard lessons I’ve learned over the past 24 years. Hopefully I can find a fun job like that somewhere in the US in the next couple months.
My videography business will, very sadly, have to go mostly onto the back burner. I will continue to develop it into something I can somehow take overseas with us when we move abroad in the future. But it has to go back to being a “nights and weekends” kind of thing for now. I’ve spent a lot of effort over the past two – almost three – years to build it into something to support us financially. But that hasn’t worked, for several reasons. And with our finances depleted from Beth’s cancer treatment and travel, we can’t afford for me to continue to lose money on it.
All this is a bit depressing, and it’s hard not to feel like we are taking several steps backward to the way our life was three or five or even ten years ago. We worked so hard and wanted so badly to make the digital nomad lifestyle work for us, but it hasn’t. At least not yet. We plan to try again in a few years, with a few of the variables tweaked – location, income sources, etc. Meanwhile, got any good job leads to send my way? :-)