San Francisco Bay Area with Michelle



On Wednesday 3/9 I got on Amtrak in the morning and got off I the afternoon at Berkeley, in the San Francisco area! My friend and Spanish student, Michelle, picked me up! We went out to dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant which was very tasty and also got some groceries. We caught up a little.
Thursday morning after Michelle left for work, I went exploring in a natural area near her house. It was about an hour to hike to the top, but then on the way down I got lost! I ended up in another neighborhood, so when my phone got back into service range, I google mapped how to get back and I made it! The views at the top were gorgeous, though!

Later, I did some work that afternoon, and made dinner and we hung out that evening.

Friday I was feeling under the weather (allergies again) and had another work day. That evening we went out for Happy Hour at a nice tavern near her house with some of her coworkers, which was fun! Duck fat fries, chicken skewers, drinks, and empanadas!

Saturday morning Michelle and I went to the YMCA for her first ever powerlifting session. Spreading the love of powerlifting (especially among women) is so awesome! We kicked some ass at the gym (even getting cheered on by fellow gym goers) and then we showered and headed over to the Chabot Space & Science Center. We checked it out, watched a planetarium show, and saw the telescopes outside. The telescopes were probably the most impressive part. We got tasty burgers and fries that evening and watched a movie at home! Nice and relaxing.

At Chabot Space & Science Center

At Chabot Space & Science Center


Sunday, we went for a walk at Deer Island preserve. It wasn’t too rainy, so we were able to get out for a while, which was great. That afternoon, we met up with friends and went over to Dillon Beach to walk around the beach which was nice. 

Monday morning we went to the YMCA to lift more weights! Then we got Jamba Juice smoothies, yum! That afternoon, we took the ferry over to San Francisco “the city” and walked around the California Museum of Science. It was pretty amazing- the aquarium, planetarium (the show was amazing!), and the rainforest. A butterfly landed on me, which was cool! That evening we met up with one of Michelle’s friends and Alejandro and had drinks at sunset at the top of the Mark hotel which was super fancy! Then we went to another restaurant for dinner and sangria, and barely made it back to the ferry for the last ferry of the night!
View from the ferry

On the ferry with Michelle

Top of the Mark Hotel

Happy Hour
At the aquarium


Tuesday was a work day for me at home but Tuesday night we met up with Kate and her friend Amber at a brewery, and early Wednesday morning I took a $28 bus from Oakland down to Los Angeles!
Kate, me, Michelle & Amber- dinner and drinks! Or in my case, a brownie and ice cream

How I Support Myself While Traveling



Recently while on my 5 week trip through California and Seattle, I’ve been asked how I support myself while traveling. Am I using up vacation time? Nope, I work fully virtually so I am able to travel anytime and work then go out when my work is done.
 
Last night I met up with some friends at Hot Pot in Bellevue, WA for a delicious dinner and some board games
It all started at Camp Nerd Fitness 2014, the first ever CNF. There were people from all around the world there with one thing in common- they wanted to level up their lives. I met some entrepreneurs and others that work fully virtually. I never even knew that was possible! I also met some people that were nomadic- purposefully homeless and travel constantly. I knew immediately that was what I wanted.

However, with my lifestyle at the time, that was just not possible. My main income was from a 9-5 M-F office job, and I also had my own pet sitting business. Taking weekends or holidays off was very difficult and had to be planned far in advance. Also, Andrew and I had 3 dogs. It’s a lot harder/more expensive to travel with dogs or arrange for their care while you travel. At this point, you can either make excuses or you can make changes. What is the most important to you?

When we moved out to CO from MD in October 2015, I transitioned over to working virtually. At first, it was just my business teaching virtual Spanish conversation lessons and working as a virtual assistant for a small business, both of which I had been doing part time for several months in preparation for the move. The more people I met, the more interest there was in having me work as a part-time virtual assistant for several small businesses. In CO, I met my good friend Jessie, and we decided to start a virtual assistant business to make things official. As time went on, I picked up more Spanish students and more virtual assistant jobs/hours. 

It wasn’t like working virtually and being able to travel fell into my lap. I worked really hard for this lifestyle so that I would be able to travel and when I am not traveling, to work from home. I love my work but it is definitely still work. I had 4 jobs in MD- my pet sitting business, my job as a commercial site plan reviewer with the local government, my virtual assistant work for a small business, and my Spanish business. I was literally almost never home except to sleep, barely spent any time with the dogs or Andrew, and seriously stayed up late to write lesson plans for my Spanish business and do my virtual assistant work. My weekends were almost entirely consumed by my pet sitting business. There were days and weeks where I left the house around 4 or 5 am, went to Crossfit, went pet sitting, went to my office job, did pet sitting after work, and didn't get home until 9 or 10 pm having worked all day. I’m not complaining, but I just want to illustrate how hard I had to work in order to make this transition to the lifestyle I have now. I could have sought another commercial site plan reviewer position out in CO, I could have moved my pet sitting business to CO (goodness knows it’s a super dog friendly area), or I could have given up when I was barely making enough to pay the bills and didn’t know how I would pay next month’s bills. Instead, I choose to work hard, be open minded and optimistic, and know that in this moment, I have everything I need. I am not too good for any work, even if it is just 2 hours a week. I could have easily taken an office job and had plenty of extra money, but I would rather barely have enough and have the freedom to work from home and travel then I would have lots more money. When people hear that I teach Spanish online and work as a virtual assistant for several small businesses, they ask “So what do you do for work?” No, that is what I do for work.

There are definitely some hardships that come with travel. Mostly, I miss Andrew and the dogs. When I am home in CO, I’m home with the dogs almost all day except when I am at Crossfit or occasionally in the evenings. I take them for hour long dog walks almost every day, and on the weekends we usually go hiking. Travel puts a strain on our relationship, but Andrew and I do our best. I am lucky that he supports me and understands that travel is a huge part of who I am and that I worked very hard to get to where I am now. Hopefully soon he will be able to join me on some of my trips. I also miss my local friends in CO- no drama, active, and easy going. I miss my Crossfit box and friends there, plus my regular training. I miss volunteering with the crazy kids in Homework Helpers. 

I really do love to travel. I love adventures, seeing new things, and meeting new people. It would not be hard for me to sell the few possessions I have left in CO and pack up in a backpack and just live nomadically. However, the time is just not right for that now. Perhaps once our dogs live out their natural lives, maybe then will be the time. Until then, I will keep traveling as often as I financially can and still maintain a healthy relationship with Andrew. I choose to spend my money on experiences instead of things. I keep my bills low, don’t own much (literally, I live in a furnished basement apartment and don’t own any furniture or even have a stove/oven), and travel!
A week ago I was in LA and hiked to the Hollywood sign with friends!

Having the ability to travel like I do requires sacrifices and hard work, but I love it. 

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Palmdale, CA with Lena & Xavier



From 2/29/16-3/2/16 I was in Palmdale, California visiting my old Maryland roommates. They were so awesome to let me live with them for over a year, up until we moved out to CO in October 2015. 
Xavier, me & Lena!

They are from Palmdale and were back in town for a wedding and some family time.
I took Amtrak from San Luis Obispo to Palmdale and arrived Monday afternoon. Xavier was kind enough to pick me up from the Amtrak station. Unfortunately my bus was 30 minutes late! It must have been due to traffic. All the other times I have taken Amtrak it either came in on time or early. 

That afternoon we had some tasty Mexican food- pozole (pig feet and hominy tomato based soup) and Mexican bread pudding. Both were new to me and both were tasty. The pig feet took a little getting used to but had very little flavor, it was just the texture that took some getting used to. That night, we hung out with their family and friends who came to visit since Lena and Xavier were only in town for a few days. It was really nice catching up with them. We got to see them over Christmas when they were in Denver briefly. Seeing them twice since we moved was not bad at all! I’ll probably see them again in May when I plan to go back to MD for a few weeks.

Tuesday morning we got up early and went for a run at a nearby trail. It was good to get out and exercise even though the pollen was kicking my butt. After that Lena made eggs and tomatoes with avocado for breakfast, and I sliced up some fruit. Later that morning we drove to the musical road in Lancaster, which is a section of road that plays music if you drive at just the right speed. Afterwards, we went to Apollo Park and walked around. There was a nice pond and lots of ducks and geese. Then we got Jack in the Box (my first time) of an Oreo shake and curly fries, and snuck it in to the movie. We saw the Revenant, which was pretty good and interesting. I actually had no idea what it was about because we just have Netflix at home and so I never see regular commercials.
Apollo Park

Afterwards, I was pretty tired and not feeling that great from the pollen, so I took a nap. That evening, Lena was getting her nails done with the bridal party for the wedding Friday, so Xavier and I went out for Mexican seafood. I got shrimp ceviche which is raw shrimp “cooked” in citrus jucies, with pico de gallo. It is served with tostadas. It worked out well that Lena was gone because she doesn’t like seafood or horchata. Afterwards we went to the Mexican grocery store and walked around and got some horchata (rice milk drink with cinnamon).
Ceviche

I still wasn’t feeling that great, so after hanging out for a little while with Xavier, I went to bed early, which was nice.

Wednesday morning they dropped me off before their morning run at the Amtrak station, and I headed up to San Francisco.

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