So what’s next?

family travel, homeschooling, Mexico, dogs

It’s difficult to believe we’ve been in Mexico six months already. Probably because we’ve spent most of that time hunched over our laptops in a work-induced haze or, in Scout’s case, going to school and winning pesos and snacks from other kids’ lunches at blackjack.

Our experience here at Lake Chapala has been pleasant and un-challenging. And that was our short-term goal. A bit of a break after our crazy-wonderful, budget-busting year in Europe and Turkey. An easy-to-navigate place where we could settle quickly, learn Spanish, write books, and focus on our e-book design/conversion business. Online friends called this area home, so we had a lot of advance intelligence, which eased our transition to Mexico.

Six months later, e-book designs are flying off the shelves, are Spanish is coming along, and it’s time to look ahead. Here’s what  we think the next 12 months holds for us, though we reserve the right to change our minds 45 more times.


Moving to another city in Mexico. Something slightly larger and more historical/cultural. Also my skin has put in a request for more humidity (it was 11% here today). Oaxaca, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Mérida, and Valladolid are just a few of the contenders.

Nebulous plan to replace our car with a van. Finding dog-friendly hotels in Mexico is tedious and expensive. I don’t want to live in a vehicle full-time (at the moment), but I’m desperate to free-camp while we’re in transit.

Flying Scout to BC for summer camp. The three of us will fly up together and spend a few days visiting Emma’s Gramps (yay!) before camp. Two weeks later she’ll fly back by herself. My stomach is in knots, although she is super-excited.

Visiting rellies in Cuba. Our Aussie relatives scored great jobs in Cuba about 7 years ago. We’ve been threatening to visit them for ages, and they might finally be moving back to Oz at the end of the year. We’d like to spend a few weeks with them before they leave. Having local guides for Cuba would be amazing, and these two always know the best places to eat.

Road-tripping through Belize and Guatemala. Snorkeling and diving in Belize sounds pretty good. Also we’d like to see for ourselves if Lake Atitlán and Antigua are everything they’re cracked up to be.

Ending up in Medellin, Colombia. We’ve read great things about Medellin from lots of people and are keen to check it out.


After all that we’ll probably continue south through Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

There’s been loose talk, usually with frosty Coronas in hand, of establishing a base somewhere, though that’s about as specific as things get. When my ears hear the word “base,” my traveling soul hears the word “grave,” but I’m trying to adjust to the idea. It helps to imagine chickens (in a terrier-proof compound), a kitchen garden over-planted with herbs and vegetables, orchids clinging to the trunks of fruit trees, and green space where Archie and Scout can frolic. And figs. Figs would be nice. As long as the operation doesn’t consume all our money, weigh us down with commitments, and ground us from travel (fat chance x 3), I’m open to it.

We love Mexico and are committed to learning the language. Last year I promised Scout that once she’s proficient in Spanish, we’d take her to first to the Galapagos Islands and then to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago. That would be interesting (and book-worthy) with Archie in tow, for sure. Just last night Scout told me again that she wants to move to Turkey, which I’d love, because if we based there, we could still camp around Europe when we felt like it.

So, South America or Europe/Turkey? Also, not to throw a wrench in the works, I just finished reading the blog of a friend who moved to India last week, so that’s got the wheels of my brain turning.

Anyway, these aren’t even demi-plans. More like little fireflies buzzing around in our dreamy travel brains. But we’ll see. Scout turned 12 last month, and I’m feeling pressure to squeeze in the whole world, since she’ll be grown and gone before we know it.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tracy April 9, 2013 at 9:49 am

Ahhh I like a family whose plans are as solid as ours are. Good luck deciding. They all sound equally wonderful … which I guess is half the problem!


2 Renee April 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Tracy, clearly we’re cut from the same cloth. 🙂


3 Lyndajo Thomas April 9, 2013 at 9:53 am

Happy Trails! Wherever they lead.


4 Renee April 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Cheers! 🙂


5 Paz April 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

I love love your demi-plans or thoughts of plans. I think you get an A for putting them down and moving forward with them.

I like the idea of Cuba. I think you should try to make that happen as you would have someone to help you get around and eat all the best food.

Do they like visitors? Maybe I need to put Cuba on our list. 🙂

Can’t wait to hear more.


6 Renee April 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Yes, I’m excited about Cuba. I hope we can make it happen. For me the toughest part is Archie. In fours years, he’s never been apart from us. I don’t know if can trust anyone to take good care of him. 🙁


7 Amy @worldschoolAdventures April 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

Well, what ever you do end up choosing please make sure it is somewhere really cool so we can come and visit you. It would also help if there were cheap flights from Vancouver. Hehehe.
Good luck in your decision process!


8 Renee April 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Thanks, Amy! You should definitely come visit us in Mexico. 🙂


9 Danielle April 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Sounds like our lives. . . .our children are much younger and I worry about life passing us by too. I hear you on the home base = grave thing. Thats how I feel but my husband likes the homebase and some days I like the homebase idea to. I just can’t imagine living in one place my entire life. . .I tell people I was born to live the Caravan/Nomad lifestyle. If I were born 150years ago I would so be a traveling saleswoman.


10 Renee April 9, 2013 at 2:49 pm


Thanks for commenting. You’re lucky your kids are young! I wish we’d started traveling years earlier with Scout. (Well, we did do various three-week trips to SE Asia & Central America when she was 3-5, and she’s got strong memories of those.) We made the leap to full-time traveling two years ago when she was 10, and I want to make the best of our time together before the kid heads off to university. And I honestly can’t decide if that means creating a base abroad, for depth, or seeing the whole damn planet!

I could never spend my whole life in one place either. I’m not knocking those who do, because everyone’s different, but personally I couldn’t do it. When my hubs & I applied for our Canadian permanent residency, we had to list all our addresses since we were 18. Between us we had about 40. Crazy!


11 Patti April 9, 2013 at 12:08 pm

So many choices! What to do? What to do? I look forward to seeing which way the wind blows you.


12 Renee April 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hehe, thanks Patti. Me too!


13 Renee April 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Thanks, Patti. You and me both! Where are you now? Are you at the inn or on the road?


14 Nicole April 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

They all sound like such great ideas!!! I too am curious about Medellin and Columbia in general so I look forward to hearing your take on it. And moving to Turkey would be my vote if deciding for myself where to relocate – though I haven’t spent time there, an affordable option overrun with culture relatively close to Europe would be amazing!! and the climate sounds divine! I currently live in Northern BC and am acutely aware that I am dying the slow death here…being half frozen and perpetually damp is not my idea of a good time! Love all your posts – thanks for sharing!!


15 Renee April 9, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thanks, Nicole! You’re up in Kitimat, right? Canadian winters are tough on the spirit. As for Turkey, we all love it there and could live there easily. For now, Mexico is wonderful and we’ve got no complaints, plus I really want Scout to get fluent in Spanish. She wants to focus on Turkish for her next language immersion, so lots of signs are pointing to Turkey. 🙂


16 Alice ~ Writer, traveller, boater, dreamer April 10, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I think the great thing about having a wandering soul is realising you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do and when… accepting that plans and destinations change, but your spirit to move with those changes doesn’t; is a great thing 🙂 Looking forward to watching your continuing adventure unfold…


17 Renee April 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Thank you, Alice. Sounds like you’re not unfamiliar with the wandering soul…


18 Catherine Forest April 11, 2013 at 6:35 am

Ha! Ha! When my ears hear the word “base,” my traveling soul hears the word “grave”!! Love that! We are considering Mexico as well for next year and I asked a friend who lived there a few years and she recommended San Miguel de Allende (an artist hotspot) or San Cristobal de las Casas. Your plans all sounds super exciting!


19 Renee April 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Catherine, I haven’t been to either San Miguel or San Cristobel, but I’ve heard great things about both towns. Have you been to Mexico before? We’re loving it.


20 Tom Medsger April 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

Hi, Renee, Mark, Scout, and Archie,

I kind of figured you’d be about ready to move on. Of the places you are considering, I can speak for Querétaro and Guanajuato, both vibrant, colonial college towns (meaning plenty of cultural activities and good inexpensive restaurants). I have friends who live in both places and I’ve visited both cities. Also, Merida merits an investigation. Why not go for a visit before you move? I have a friend who lives in Playa del Carmen, and I remember you saying, Renee, that you wanted to be closer to the sea. Another friend loves Colombia. So you’ve selected some good options.
It was such fun to visit with you in Querétaro! We saw just a fraction of that city.
Take care, cuidate, Tom


21 Renee April 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

Tom, we love you!!! Thanks for commenting, as always. Yes, we’ll try to visit everywhere first. Basically we’re having “so many places, so little time” problem. 🙂


22 Erin Kuhns April 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

You and your family (including Archie, of course) are such an inspiration! I’m so glad I found you and your blog.


23 Renee April 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Thanks, Erin! I appreciate that. Hey, I just checked out your blog. Your farm in Quebec looks beautiful, and I love, love, love the concept of doing 100 new things over the course of the year. Brilliant!


24 Lisa (in Ontario) June 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm

If you end up going to Belize, let me know and maybe we’ll try to meet you there at some point. It’s on our shortlist at the moment.


25 Renee June 14, 2013 at 8:02 pm

That would be absolutely wonderful! Do you have any interest in Mexico at all?


26 Lisa (in Ontario) June 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm

We love Mexico, but we’ve been quite a few times. Mind you, we did visit Dominica on our last tropical vacation, so maybe it would be okay to go back to Mexico again, now that we’ve mixed it up a bit. 🙂 I think the next plan is for me to finish my current work contract (in the early fall) and use the money I earn to take the family to Europe or possibly Turkey.

That assumes I keep my nose out of the internet and actually earn some money…


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