2 Years Nomadic – Finding Our Purpose

And it is in this realization, that we have found purpose.  It took us 2 years of the most diverse experiences we could muster, to find our direction, to figure out what it is that we REALLY want to do with our lives.  


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


The passing of October has made us realize that it was October 2017 when we got on a one way flight to Costa Rica to start our journey.  I have to say, that it’s truly hard to believe that it was 2 years ago already.  We have officially been nomads for 2 whole years.

On one hand, it seems like the time passed by so quickly, yet we literally fit, what could be called “a lifetime” of experiences, into that time.  The things we saw and did, are impossible to quantify.  It has literally been 2 years of new sights being seen, new places being discovered, new people being met, a new language being spoken.  It has been 2 FULL ON years.  Every day a new adventure, every day a new possibility.

We have mostly tried to float on the breeze, to have our schedule so open, that literally we can follow any opportunity that comes our way.  I would say, for the most part, this breeze has carried us to only good places.  However, there has been hurdles along the way, emotional barriers that we had to break through, things we had to deal with within ourselves.

Like the time we were seriously considering leaving a 6 month commitment that we were only half way through, because we were being driven crazy by many different things that I won’t get into here.  We REALLY wanted to leave, but we also realized that with this lifestyle, also comes a way to literally RUN AWAY from your problems.  You have no attachments to anything, no reason why you can’t just pick up and go at any moments notice.

However, it also made us realize that running away is never going to solve anything.  With running away, you don’t grow and learn.  PLUS running away from commitments is bad for your integrity.  At least that is what we believe.  I kept thinking, and actually speaking to Chris aloud, that “I feel like somehow, someway, we will be rewarded for finishing this commitment.”  My gut was telling me something, it was saying to stick with it.  It was saying that we needed to FINISH the job.

I really did feel like somehow we would be rewarded for sticking it out.  It wasn’t necessarily a monetary reward that I was expecting, it was just something. Some feeling that I had, was telling us to press on.  Chris felt it too.  We both agreed that we needed to keep going, which helped.  I can’t imagine how much more stressful a situation like that one we found ourselves in would be if we had opposing viewpoints on the matter.

And in the end, we were rewarded.  We were rewarded tangibly in ways as well, but most important, we were rewarded emotionally.  We came away from that experience KNOWING what we can deal with.  KNOWING how resistant we are.  KNOWING that we are stronger than we thought.  It is this last part that is the most important.

I’ve realized recently that so many of us avoid things and run away from them.  It’s human nature.  But until you actually push through that barrier, to hang in there a little longer, to stick it out that tiny bit more, you never really know what you are capable of.

This reminds me of a quote by James Dyson, the inventor of the Dyson line of products, that I heard on a podcast last year.  His few words were really impactful to me, and they went something like this:

“When you are starting anything, you have to work twice as hard.  You inevitably will get tired, but then so will everyone else.  The trick is to push past the point where everyone else quits, just keep taking steps in the one direction.  If you do that, success is literally just around the corner.”

This resonated with me on a very deep level, and I have since applied it to a few different areas of my life.  The point, I believe is that as humans, we don’t tend to want to push ourselves.  Many of us have found ourselves in a ‘comfortable rut’.  We want to change our lives, but we are making good money, we are happy in our community, we are comfortable in our houses, we like our schedule, we like our bad habits.  The list goes on.  It seems, that the list of reasons to not change too much, far outweighs the list that does.  But does it?

Pushing through and finishing our commitment, made us realize what we are capable of.  In fact, this whole 2 year experience has reshaped our views of not only the world, but those of ourselves as well.  We now know what it is that we want to continue doing, how it is that we want to contribute to the planet.

For a while it felt like we literally were floating on a breeze.  Like, what good were we?  What were we doing that was benefiting humanity and the planet?  I felt a little bit useless to be honest.  I felt like I was a plague on the planet, always taking but never giving back.

But all that changed when we were given the opportunity to share our knowledge of permaculture techniques while working at a Botanical Garden on the island of Nevis.  We arrived at the garden being quite surprised that they didn’t have a composting system in place to feed and fertilize the garden.  They were using all synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and burning all of their deadfall and organic material.  The soil throughout was devoid of nutrients, and desperately needed an organic lift.

Of course, it didn’t take long before we were building that compost, to show the owner how beneficial it could be.  We taught her employees all about the process, and we opened their eyes up to a whole new world of possibilities.  By collecting seaweed and any other organic refuse that came off the land, we were able to create a rich dark soil, full of nutrients and beneficial properties for the soil.  We also worked very hard physically every day, which took some getting used to after a year and a half of relative laziness.  I mean we weren’t grossly out of shape, but we definitely had become stagnant.

This experience provided us with an opportunity to not only use our bodies, but also our minds.  We both felt better in so many ways.  Because of this experience, our eyes became open to the possibilities that exist around the world, just like this one.  We have realized that although WE know all of this stuff, composting, building soil, gardening in general, that many don’t. And we now realize that people are actually HUNGRY for this information.

While collecting seaweed at the beach, to put it in our compost, we were always approached by a local wanting to know what we were doing.  They had heard that seaweed was good for the garden, but didn’t know how to integrate it and put it to good use.  So we would take the time to explain to them how they could do it in their own yards.

We have no idea if any of them ever did.  But maybe.  It’s impossible to say how that information travelled, but we are grateful that we spread the knowledge.  Hoping, at any chance we got, to help others understand that it is us that can heal the soil and the earth.  In fact, it is up to us.

If this past two years has provided us with anything, it is the clarity that comes with taking time away from distractions.  By freeing our minds from the pressing concerns of everyday life that we had back in our old lives,  we were able to focus on what was important to us, and we now solely focus only on what IS important to us.

We created a space for ourselves to breathe.  We created a space for growth and expansion, a space to push back our barriers, to prove to ourselves what we were capable of.  For that, we are both very grateful.

Right now, we find ourselves back where we left from, our home country of Canada.  We have been here since the end of August.  We hadn’t “planned” to stay this long, but as opportunities kept arising, our leaving date has been pushed back.

Recently we signed up for an online platform called Workaway.  The reasonable yearly membership gives you access to a network of people around the world that both want to volunteer on projects in foreign countries, and foreign countries that are looking for volunteers.  This platform brings it all together into one tight little bundle.

After only glancing over the postings that are available, I became really excited about the fact that many people are looking for others to help them learn permaculture.  They need strong bodies and capable hands to help them heal the land so that they can build gardens and live more sustainably.  It has made me realize that our skills are valuable all over the world.

And it is in this realization, that we have found purpose.  It took us 2 years of the most diverse experiences we could muster, to find our direction, to figure out what it is that we REALLY want to do with our lives.

Through Workaway, we have found a platform that will incorporate all of our loves; travelling to foreign lands, living like locals, using our bodies, spreading our knowledge, working for the benefit of the earth.  Honestly, we can’t wait to get back out there into the world again and get started!  But for now, we will sit tight in Canada, accomplish what we need to accomplish here, then, when the time is right, we will head off again to find a new adventure!


Being a Digital Nomad! 

It’s been a while since I updated my readers on the status of our ‘Digital Nomad’ life.  We now have 3 Etsy shops where we are individually selling our different creations.

I have split my products into 2 different shops, one is mostly clothing, and the other is home decor.

Chris has started a shop that incorporates many of his cartoon drawings.  The drawings are then sold on stickers, downloadable clip art, posters, pillows, cutting boards and more.  Check his shop out here.

Chris also does custom pet portraits and any other commissioned artwork.  He is a very diverse artist and can draw in many different styles.

Our art continues to be a priority as we grow and build these online platforms.  Again, it is something that we have really created time for, as in our old life we didn’t have as much opportunity to find time for creativity.


Travel Plans

As is our norm now-a-days, we don’t have any specific travel plans, but our current plan is to go to Morocco in January.  There are many Workaway opporunities there and it offers us a new experience and a new culture.

The pull to head back down south, to our friends and familiar landscapes is very strong, but we both know that once we get there, we may disappear into the jungles of Costa Rica or Guatemala, and never come out.  Heading somewhere totally different will help to quench our thirst to experience new and different places as much as we can.

All the pieces are not in place to make this happen just yet, but we are in full manifestation mode, and know that things will fall into place as they should if we try not to control our future too much.


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Canmore, Alberta Canada 

Travelling Plans: Our plan is to stay in this area until Christmas or New Years.  Details of our next destination are yet to be confirmed.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

Friends and Family Heal the Soul

We have caught up with much of our families, seen a few friends, adjusted to the North American ways again, and are feeling better than ever about this life we have chosen.


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


SURPRISE!

Saturday, September 14th marked the completion of something that I have been working on for roughly 8 months now.  I held a successful SURPRISE 50th Wedding Anniversary party for my parents, in the mountain town that I grew up in, Canmore, Alberta, Canada.

When I first came up with this idea, I just felt that this was an important anniversary for them, and it deserved to be celebrated.  Because I knew that we had plans to be back in my hometown this summer,  I knew that I needed to make this happen.

My initial thoughts of a small and intimate celebration, amongst their usual friends in Canmore, somehow became something so large, that I was inviting friends and family members from across Canada.  At first I thought that I would just reach out to people,  just to let them know, at the very least, that they had this milestone anniversary coming.  I didn’t actually expect people to respond so positively, but over time, and as more and more people started saying yes, I could feel something really special building.

People were really excited about coming! I soon realized that, not only my parents, but, I was going to see so many faces that I hadn’t seen in YEARS (in some cases……17 years!!)  As more and more people got on board, I became not only excited about the surprise itself, I just became excited about the entire event and the simple thrill of getting people together.

Every existing and living person in my Dad’s family convened in one place for the first time in decades!  I don’t think we had ALL been in one place since I was 16!  There was always somebody away travelling, or simply just too busy to make a trip to see the rest for previous gatherings, but this time everybody made it!

So much happiness!

The amount of happiness and pure joy coming from the participants of this gathering was astounding and I realized that we ALL needed this party.  It was just SO GOOD to see everybody, for old and new friends to meet, for everyone to get together, to remember the good times, and to get caught up and reconnect.  It felt to me like a good ol’ fashioned happy gathering, of which I remember many from my childhood.  It felt to me like everybody just needed a reason to celebrate something, to revel in joy and happiness, to get away from all of the sad news for once.

This party turned out to be not only for my parents, but for all of us.  For those of us who need to remember how good it feels to be surrounded by people that are important to us.  For those of us who may always feel like we are just too busy to go to these sorts of gatherings.  For those of us who feel like it’s just been too long, and maybe we are almost too embarrassed to get in contact again.

I was able to do this because I had the time to do it!

When the excitement died down from the party, and after I had a couple of days to reflect on things, it dawned on me that the only reason that I was able to host this party, and pull it off so flawlessly, is because I had the time and energy to do it.  I wasn’t distracted by building a career, or by working to pay the large debt load that I was carrying back before I cut my ties to society in 2017.  I wasn’t distracted by trying to run businesses, deal with my household, or the fact that I was too far away to possibly be able to do something like this.  In the past, I only had time for short visits to Canmore, 5 days max normally.  My life was on the West Coast of Canada, a 14 hour (on a good day) drive to get home.  I had businesses, a garden, animals, and any other manner of reasons of why I was too busy to get away for longer.

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Found the time for a nice hike to Grassi Lakes with friends and family the day after the party. 

In my old life, I might have been too exhausted to organize something of this magnitude, I simply would not have had the time.  The pressures of life may have been too overwhelming to have even CONSIDERED attempting such a feat.

So many people congratulated me on my ability to put this party together, to seamlessly invite so many people, and take care of so many details.  I have now realized that I was able to organize this party as well as I did ONLY because I have radically changed my life.  BECAUSE I pulled myself away from the hamster wheel that I was on,  I am now able to focus on the things that make me happy, and bring joy and fulfillment to my life.  And of course, as it does, my joy and happiness, is now reverberating out to those that are around me, and they too can partake in those parts of my life that I am happy and passionate about.

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This is the view from my parents kitchen.  This was just as the snow started to fly.  

Family Time

After the party,  we drove home with Chris’ mom, staying both at her house and going to Saskatoon to visit Chris’ Grandma and Aunt, for about a week.  Along the way, we also saw another 2 sets of Aunt’s and Uncles of his, and it was so great to say hi and check in with them all again.  Chris’ mom lives outside of Daysland, a town in central Alberta with a population of 824 people.  It is just one of hundreds of small towns like it, that are scattered throughout the prairies of Canada.  There is usually one small main street with quaint shops lining its sides, plus just a handful of other streets surrounding it, where the main population lives.  Daysland is no different than the rest, as it also serves the farmers that live out in the countryside, away from town limits, and seemingly, the rest of society itself.

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Chris’ Aunt Denise has a pet steer named Simon!  He is a sweetie! 
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Typical flat landscape of Central Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Fields stretch on for miles in every direction! 

This is where Chris’ mom lives, about a 15 minute drive outside of town, amongst a small grouping of trees that block out the winds that sweep the perfectly flat prairies.  She spoiled us rotten with incredible produce from her garden, and her continuous baking and cooking.  We had some lovely moments on the back deck, just sitting together in the bright, warm, prairie sun.  The 9 or so kittens that she currently has, didn’t hurt our stay either, and neither did the fact that because it was way out in the prairies, it was vast and oh so quiet.

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The lovely view from Chris’ Moms back deck!  A truly quiet and tranquil spot.  

Finding old friends.

Chris and I found ourselves in Old’s, Alberta this past week where we were housesitting for a few days.  We were taking care of a dog for two high school friends of mine that, after 15+ years of not seeing each other, found a romantic connection, and are now getting married.

Although I had seen Jess a few times in recent years, usually only for quick interactions, I hadn’t seen Paul since shortly after high school.  We spent a whole day and night with them before they left on their trip, and in no time at all,  the three of us were sharing memories from those days gone by, unlocking times and events that had occurred, pulling them deep from our memories.  It was almost like a time machine, the more time we spent together, the more we remembered, and the more we connected with our shared histories.  Somehow we were all being re-introduced to each other, our discussions fell into easy rhythm, and we realized that although we hadn’t seen each other in years, we all still enjoyed each others company, and it was clear why we were all friends in high school to begin with.

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Good friends reunite!  (Photo courtesy of Jessica Lee)

We took care of their lovely dog Zita and their rabbit Bun Bun.  Jess had left us her vehicle, so we were able to get around more than we usually would be able to, so we took advantage of it and drove to other communities to visit my cousin in Sylvan Lake one day, and Chris’ sister in Rocky Mountain House, on another.  It was such a beautiful time of year to drive around as the leaves on the trees here have now mostly turned an incredible bright yellow, but you can also catch glimpses of bushes with bold oranges and drastic reds scattered amongst them.  As we drove through the landscape, the wash of colours passing our windows was sometimes breathtaking.  I had forgotten just how amazing that fall and its drastic seasonal shift is, and it’s been wonderful to again witness such a stunning time of year.

On what was supposed to be our second last night housesitting and taking care of the animals for Jess and Paul, disaster struck.  Every house sitters worst nightmare played out in front of us and their dog became suddenly very ill.  After seeming fine in the morning, going on a long walk and eating her regular meal, by 7:00 that night she was definitely not fine.  It started with throwing up blood, then diarrhea, and things went from bad to worse really quickly.

I won’t fill in all the details of the roughly 4 hours from then, only to say that sadly, just as the Emergency Veterinarian arrived, Zita took her last breath and her heart stopped.

Words can’t describe our feelings of such an event happening on our watch.  I didn’t truly believe that she was as sick as she was until the inevitable happened. I just kept thinking that the Vet was going to arrive, and everything would be sorted out.  I replay the day over and over in my head, wondering if she ate something she shouldn’t have on the walk, wondering if I let her stick her nose in a bush just a little too long for her to find poison, or something like that. But these are all questions that will never be answered, and I gently remind myself that she was also an old dog.  She likely died simply of old age, and we just happened to be the ones there to witness the passing.

I am sad for my friends who have lost their family member, without getting to say goodbye.   I can’t imagine how it feels to leave your house in one way, then returning to find it has changed beyond what you could have ever imagined.  The fact that they are dear friends to me, makes it much harder as well.  I feel their sadness, and wish that I could somehow rewind the clock, to pick a different ending for their holiday.

In this life that we have chosen, we have learned that it’s not just physical possessions that we let go of, it’s also feelings and emotions that we attach to places, people and animals that we are introduced to along the way.  Through our housesitting, we have now become friends with quite a few different animals that we have cared for, and each time we leave them, we have to say goodbye and let them go.  Sometimes it’s easier than other times, but it is generally just sad.  We emotionally prepare ourselves for these events though, as we always know that we will be leaving at some point, and can ration our sadness out over time.  But with Zita, it didn’t work that way.  We’ve also had to let Zita go, of course, but with her it was oh so different.  Letting go of our emotions attached to this event will take longer than usual, but in time we will all heal from this tragedy.

Zita was such a kind and gentle soul, and such a good girl.  We are both very thankful to have had the chance to meet her and spend the precious time that we did have with her.  My thoughts go out to Paul and Jess as they navigate their new world without such an amazing dog in their lives.

Rest in Peace Zita.

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RIP Zita

Despite our sadness for what transpired recently, our first month back in Canada has been really wonderful.  We have caught up with much of our families, seen a few friends, adjusted to the North American ways again, and are feeling better than ever about this life we have chosen.  If nothing else, it has provided us with time.  Past visits were harried and exhausting affairs, trying to see all and do all in only a few days.  But now we feel like we really do have the energy to spend the time doing only what is important to us, like visiting friends and family, and that is the most freeing feeling in the world .


Where Are We Now?

We returned back to Canmore, Alberta, my hometown, just a couple days ago, and have started a new housesitting job.  We are taking care of an adorable little dog that looks to have part Weiner, Daschund and Doberman in him.  His name is Napolean, and the name just suits him great!  He loves to snuggle and, I have to say, is keeping me nice and toasty in the evenings when we are sitting on the couch.  The SNOW has started to fly here, and we find ourselves pretty much cold ALL THE TIME. 2 years in the tropics has softened us up much more than we could have imagined!

Originally we had thought that we would only stay here until the end of October, but Chris is starting a guest tattoo spot in a very busy tattoo shop in Banff on October 1st, so we have decided that it may make sense to stay for a while.  Which can only mean that it will get MUCH colder than this before we fly out of here again!

 

In the News!

Click this link to check out an article that was written about us in Canmore’s local paper!

New Milestone!

September 20th marked the 2 year anniversary of the day that we left the town where we were living on the West Coast of Canada.  (Read that post here.) While these last couple years have flown by in some respects, it has also felt like we have both lived a lifetime in them.  When we left Powell River, it was impossible to predict where we would go and how it would all play out.  And knowing what we know now, we could have never guessed any of it.  It has been a journey of literally just putting one foot in front of the other, and living each day as it comes.  We have done very little planning in advance, and we have really enjoyed watching the chips fall where ever they may.  I know it is cliché, but we feel that the universe is guiding us, and the more we can let go of what we think we should be doing next, and resist the urge to plan, the more things fall into place perfectly all around us.


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Canmore, Alberta Canada 

Travelling Plans: Our plan is to stay here until Christmas or New Years.  Details of our next destination are yet to be confirmed.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

 

 

Adios Guatemala, Hello Canada!

In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


The time came to say farewell to our beloved Guatemala last week.  We originally arrived there in July 2018, on a whim (read that post here), and instantly fell in love with the country.  Since then, we had been in and out of the country, sometimes staying for our allotted visa time of 3 months, sometimes spending a couple weeks at a time.  But each and every time we have been there, we have found more and more reasons to love it.

On August 8th of this year, we touched down again in Guatemala and were instantly overcome with how much we missed and loved the country.

In an essence, we felt like we had returned home.

We had left some stuff there before we headed off to the Caribbean. Originally, we were going to meet my parents in the Virgin Islands for two weeks of fun to celebrate my Mom’s 70th birthday. We flew there on a one way ticket, intent on finding a new opportunity once we got there.

We had grand plans of finding work on a sail boat, or of getting a housesitting job somewhere in the Caribbean. It was the ultimate leap of faith. With no plans what so ever, we opened ourselves up to a wealth of possibilities. Little did we know what was waiting for us on the other side.

Three days into arriving to the Virgin Islands, a housesitting notification came up through our housesitting platform, to sit on an island just to the south east of us. (Read about that here.). It was a no brainer, so we applied, and it turned out to be a much bigger commitment than we had envisioned, but one that we eagerly accepted with vigour.  We ended up working at a Botanical Garden, and the experience is definitely one for the books, though I have yet to formulate the words that will fittingly describe it.

Knowing that we wanted to head back to Canada once our gig at the garden was over, meant that we first had to return to Guatemala to collect our belongings that we had left almost 7 months earlier.  On one hand, the lesson learned was to never leave our things behind, because collecting them means a lot of time and money spent getting to them, but on the other hand, we are so happy to have had the excuse to go back there again, and we really didn’t realize just how much we genuinely loved the country, until we made that return trip.

For us, it really is the complete package.  The scenery is to die for and there is an unbelievable amount of diversity in the landscape. From huge active billowing volcanoes, meandering rivers, spectacular lakes, mountains, valleys, waterfalls, mayan ruins, beachside towns to Caribbean ports……..the list goes on and on.  For such a small country, it is pretty astounding!

The food is also wonderful.  The Guatemalans have flavours all their own, not too spicy, but super flavourful!  We have never been disappointed by anything that we have tried.  The markets teem with produce that is both HUGE and delicious, and just being here, you can feel the connection that the people still have to the land.  They are excellent gardeners and farmers, planting crops on every square inch of arable space, from the flat to the vertical, if they can plant it, they will!   We have seen yards that are right next to the streets, with stalks of corn planted right to the sidewalk.  There are rarely manicured lawns, the spaces are much too valuable, and used for much better reasons than to just look good.  But in the end, they look amazing!  The greenery throughout the country is awe-inspiring, and no town or city is left without trees and parks and places for people to get away from it all.

The mayan culture is something to behold!  We are constantly in awe of the Mayan women in particular, who walk the streets in their traditional garb.  There is no specific fashion sense really, and nobody could really care less what another person is wearing.  There is just an overall sense that everyone is doing the best that they can, and that is just good enough.  There are still many active Mayan dialects, and we have been witness to them being spoken, realizing that what we are hearing was certainly NOT Spanish.

But at the end of it all, it is the people of Guatemala that make this country as special as it is.  For a country that is (what the ‘first world’ would call) poor, the people are just so happy and down to earth and you feel just amazing being amongst them.  Even the ones way back in the jungles, with hardly pennies, rather quetzales, to rub together, they are found laughing and joking, always smiling, non judging and mostly just curious.  They welcome you with huge smiles and eyes that sparkle.  They announce ‘buenas dias’ when they see you, and you can rarely pass even one on a sidewalk without at least a good day, or a ‘hola’ as you pass.  They sit on their stoops in the evening, saying hello to all who pass, local or foreigner, it does not matter to them.  We are all people, and we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  This is the Guatemalan way, and for this, we are so grateful.

But now, here we sit, almost one week back in Canada.  Coming back to my home town of Canmore, Alberta, Canada, to help my parents downsize so that they can sell their house, plus renew our driver’s licenses, has meant a significant upset in our nice and neat routine.  All of a sudden we are COLD!  What the hell?  Isn’t it supposed to be SUMMER up here!?  We have hardly bared our skin all week, and for that we definitely miss the tropics!

We are surrounded by ridiculous and excessive wealth everywhere we look.  A whole society of people that have everything they could ever want in the world.  People who can afford most luxuries, not many wanting for much.  With such excess, one would think that everyone would be happy, that life would be perfect, that they would be over the moon to say hello to everyone that they pass.  With such excess, I would expect more happiness and laughter from people on the streets.  I would expect smiling and happy people everywhere I turn.

But, unfortunately, this is not the case.  Since being back I have said hello to numerous people that I have walked by, and they don’t even so much look at me, let alone say hello back.  People walk the streets with serious looks on their faces, seemingly rushing from one place to the next, barely a moment to sit back and enjoy the moment. This is a very different reality to the one that we have experienced for the last couple years.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be back, but I have to say that the location of where I get to come back to, largely contributes to my happiness in doing so.  You see, I grew up in another sort of paradise.  Not really a tropical paradise, but a paradise none the less.

Massive Rocky Mountains jut up into the startling blue sky.  The air is cool and crisp, but oh so clean and fresh.  A beautiful turquoise river meanders down past my parents house, and we get the privilege of sitting next to it whenever we choose. I am always grateful that I had the chance to grow up in such a beautiful place.

We get to stay in a house that doesn’t need many things to be repaired, plumbing that is usually guaranteed to work, lights that work really well, and electricity that rarely get’s shut off, and only if there is a major reason for doing so.  We get to have long hot showers again, and sleep in a super comfy bed.  We are eating some awesome food, drinking tap water, and working out in a gym.  Life up here is different, for sure, but there are many pluses that we also appreciate as well.

We will be here for the next couple months, continuing to adjust to this very different world that we now find ourselves in.  It’s strange, yet familiar, and as usual, we will make the best of it and do what we can while we are here.  We will do some hiking and fun stuff in the area, of course,  helping my parents to downsize, and doing a few odd jobs that we promised some friends.  The time will go quickly, as it does, and soon we will be heading south again, back to the warmth of Central America.


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Canmore, Alberta Canada 

Travelling Plans: Our plan is to stay here for 2 months, then head south again.  Details of where and when are yet to be confirmed.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

Our Nomadic Kitchen

I can’t say enough about how much we have enjoyed having Our Nomadic Kitchen! 


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


Back when we were getting rid of all of our stuff, selling our house, and closing down our previous lives, we were given an amazing piece of advice by a friend of mine.  She had seen an article, somewhere on facebook, and she shared the article with me.  It was a post suggesting that if you want to be a full time traveller, you should consider taking a kitchen kit along with you.

It was not something that we had considered at that point, but it made so much sense!  How often do you get to an Air BnB or Hostel and the utensils are inadequate.  You can’t find something to take hot items out of the oven, the knives are ridiculously dull, the carrot peeler is piece of garbage.  It’s so true!  It literally happens ALL OF THE TIME!

Are you a foodie?

Well, if you are a foodie like us, and you love to cook your own food, I encourage you to consider creating a small kitchen kit that you can take around with you.  We use EVERY item in our kit on a regular basis, and we have even gone so far as to saying that, besides our electronics, it is our most valued possession!

Although, in the article, there were suggestions of what she would bring in her kitchen kit, we have tailored her list to our needs, PLUS we have also found unique items to add to it along the way.

I can’t say enough about how much we have enjoyed having Our Nomadic Kitchen!  It has saved our bacon so many times, and it’s just nice to know that we have what we need, and can really prepare a meal anywhere and have the right tools for the job.

I know this isn’t everyones cup of tea.  Many travellers like to travel with only the maximum amount to fill carryon bags, but it’s safe to say that we all travel differently, and we all have our own priorities.  My partner and I travel really slow!  We prefer to stay in most places that we go for long terms, 1 month minimum, if possible, and because we aren’t moving around too much, more luggage works for us.  We find that Our Nomadic Kitchen is a necessary and important trade off for our comfort on the road.

Check out what is in Our Nomadic Kitchen!

Our Daily Adventure Kit:

This sub-kit travels around with us in our day pack once we reach our destination.  This part of our kit gives us the tools we need to reduce waste in the world when we are eating out.

Kitchen Kit #2

Included in this is:

3 Pieces of Bee’s Wrap – These pieces of fabric are coated in beeswax, which means you can fold them around food, and they will stick to themselves, keeping your food contained.  We use these for non-liquid leftovers, to wrap breads and other snacks for picnics etc.

Cheese Bag – The brown bag you see is actually designed for cheese making, which it also has been used for, however, we use it more for getting items from the market, washing vegetables, and using it as a giant tea bag for making large batches of teas.

Metal Straws – Of course we are now all familiar with the destruction that straws cause in our world.  Many places we travel already don’t serve straws with drinks, which is great, but we are also happy to tell them ‘no straw’ when we order a drink, so we can instead us our metal straws.  Every little bit helps!  These are easily cleanable by simply pouring water down them immediately after use.

Recycled Plastic Cutlery – This cutlery is stored with the straws in the fabric pouch that you see.  Of course, these too are used in place of single use plastic forks, knives and spoons whenever we can.  A cute story about the pouch; We had been hauling around our cutlery and straws in our backpack with just an elastic holding them in place.  As you can imagine, we were concerned about the bacteria in our backpacks with pulling these out and using them all the time, so we decided to look for a little bag that could hold our items for us.  A day later we were in a restaurant in Guatemala when I saw a sign that they were selling locally grown and roasted coffee.  We decided to buy a pound, only afterwards realizing that the beautiful hand woven bag that it came in, would be PERFECT for our utensils!

Kitcen Kit #5

In the following photos you will see a variety of items. Let me explain them to you below:

Collapsible Funnel – The blue thing in the top left corner above is a funnel that collapses almost flat.  This is a very light weight item, that takes up barely any room!  We use it to transfer liquids into bottles, and sometimes to filter out liquids from solids.  Plus it is silicone, so it is heat resistant! There are many uses for funnels in the kitchen!

Silicone Pot Holders – How many times has your cooking been in the oven and you are scrambling around trying to find something to take your oven tray out with?  The red items at the top are silicone pot holders.  You simply put your thumb in one side, and your other fingers in the other (like you would a puppet), and their heat resistance means that you can grab any hot item from the oven, or use them to take hot lids off pots etc.

Leatherman Multi-Tool – This tool has many different things on it.  We use it as a small knife to take with us to picnics, and it has many different little tools on it that have come in handy for numerous little projects both in the kitchen and around the house.  If you were to have one item from this whole kit, the Leatherman would likely be the most bang for your buck, and should be every travellers companion.  This also travels with us in our day pack when we arrive to our destinations.

Mini Mortar and Pestle – We found this beautiful little mortar and pestle at an artisan market in Palenque, Mexico.  When Chris saw it, he knew that we needed to have it!  In Central America the spices are sold whole in the markets.  You can shop in the grocery stores for bottles of spices, but the ones in the markets are local and fresh!  This little mortar and pestle allows us to crush the delicious fresh spices that we come across, which add so much delicious flavour to our food.

Silicone Tongs – These are great for so many reasons as well!  Because they are silicone, they are again heat resistant, and can be used to remove hot items from the oven, mix up salads, transfer food from pan to plate and so much more!

Knife Sharpener – The red item at the bottom is a portable knife sharpener.  It not only keeps our knife sharp, but we sometimes sharpen the knives where we are staying as well!

Muddler – Of course, there are so many fresh herbs and spices growing all over the world.  It is wonderful to pick fresh mint and then muddle it into a lovely drink……like a Mojito! We actually bought this at the Bacardi Distillery while we were in Puerto Rico!

Small Shred Grater – This grater is fantastic and is used for so many things.  It actually stands up into a pyramid, and you can use it to grate cheese, spices, vegetables and so much more!  The reason it is dyed orange right now is because Chris has been grating fresh tumeric on it!  It also works fabulously for fresh ginger!

Costa Rican Coffee Sock – These socks are how Costa Ricans traditionally make their coffee.  They simply place the ground coffee in the sock, hold it over a mug, and pour boiling water through it.  We have 3 of these and we use them for both coffee and teas.  They are a fantastic item and can be used over and over and over again!  Plus, we NEVER have to look for a coffee maker, or be frustrated when we don’t have one that works!  All we need is boiling water, and we are golden!

Cork Screw/Bottle Opener – This item is actually excessive as we have a wine bottle opener on our Leatherman.  Plus Chris can open bottle tops with his ring!  So, one day this will likely be purged or passed on to a fellow traveller.

Kitchen Kit #3
Not pictured:  1 good quality vegetable peeler!

Folding Serving Spoon – The spoon at the top actually folds in half, making it marginally smaller.  It’s uses are obvious and it is surprising how few places have soup ladles or large serving spoons.

Silicon Pastry Brush –  Again the silicone means that we can use this in high heat situations.  This is a glamorous item in our kit, but we use it a lot to mostly brush sauces onto things in the oven.

Can Opener – I will admit that this item is not used a lot, since we primarily try and cook foods from scratch, and don’t buy much in the way of canned food. However, we still do once in a while, and this makes opening them a dream.  Again, can openers, like vegetable peelers are often in poor working order in most kitchens on the road.

Spatulas – It is probably redundant to have 2 spatulas, but one is great for large bowls and pots, and one is great for taking with us on a picnic to get sauces and dips out of their containers.  For the size and weight of having 2, we really aren’t that worried about it.

Global Chef Knife – I can’t express enough how nice it is to have a knife that really cuts, and that we can rely on!  Every traveller knows of the crap knives that are in many kitchens around the world.  It’s like the managers keep them dull on purpose so nobody cuts themselves!  Many people have asked how we are able to travel with it, but all of these items go in our checked bags, and we haven’t had any trouble yet!  (Knocking on wood here!!!)

First Aid Scissors – Thankfully we haven’t had to use these for first aid just yet! (More knocking….) But they can cut through pennies, so they have come in handy for many different things both in the kitchen and around the house, like cutting rope, wires and who knows what else!

Stove Lighter – We found this handy lighter holder in Costa Rica, and have only seen one other one since!  Check out the pic below to see how awesome this device is!  You put one regular large lighter into it (remove the child safety if there is one), then you push from the bottom and it provides an easy way to light stoves (kind of like our Bar B Que lighters in North America, but reusable forever!) This has been invaluable in so many kitchens where we have been travelling.  Most stoves are gas, and they are normally flanked by a tiny box of wooden matches.  These are a pain in the butt to use compared to this beauty!  We LOVE our lighter!

Not pictured:

Vegetable Peeler: We have a really great vegetable peeler that we can always rely on to do the job.  Again, this is an item in most kitchens that barely works and is frustrating to use at best!  Knowing that we have a good one makes our cooking experience so much better!

Kitchen Kit #4
Just so easy!  When you close it, you push up on the part where the spring is, and viola, you have flame!

Kitchen Kit #9

Food Storage Bag Clips– These clips come in handy for so many things.  We used to have more of the plastic ones on the left, but when we started losing them, we resorted to buying just standard binder clips from the office supply store.  These keep your bags fresh and your food good, especially in damp and humid climates!

Not Pictured

Zip Loc Bags – When we left Canada, we left with about 6 large zip loc bags. We always wash our bags and dry them out to re-use them, but over time, even they disintegrate.  When we had family visiting us in January, we had them bring a few more for us.  Although we don’t like using plastic, they are necessary for storing liquid food if there are no containers, plus they protect any bottles of liquid that we happen to be travelling with.  They are great for storing food for picnics, and come in handy for storing things like coffee, rice, lentils and other dry goods.

Kitchen kit #8

Whenever possible, we try and build a small clothes line for hanging our coffee socks and ziploc bags so that they can dry properly.  These small clothes pin clips are available in most stores where you travel, or you can bring a small selection of them with you, plus a small piece of string, to make one where ever you go!

All of these items fit with ample room into one of our packing cubes.  The cube pictured measures 14″x10″x3″ and weighs 3-4 pounds.

 

There is still lots of room in it to add items as we see them, but as minimalists, we try really hard to make sure that each item we buy is necessary in our lives, before purchasing it.

What kitchen tools are we missing from our kit?

Although we are pretty happy with our kit, there are a couple items that we would love to add to it, just to make our lives that much easier. We have been on the hunt for a small cutting board that will fit right into the kit.  We are looking for something small and light weight, for those times where we need to cut something while we are away from the kitchen.  Cutting boards, however, are usually found in most kitchens and hostels as a bare minimum, so this would be a luxury item for sure.

We also are regretful that we didn’t keep our flat potato and veggie masher that we had in Canada.  It functions as both a masher and a whisk, and when we head back to Canada this summer, it is definitely on our list to buy!

Are you ready to put together YOUR nomadic kitchen?

As stated above, I can’t say enough how important this kit is to us, and how much we use these items.  We LOVE to cook and are constantly trying new foods and coming up with new ideas of what to cook.  Making your life easier in the kitchen means that you will eat out less, and eat fresher, healthier and more invigorating food.  So what are you waiting for?  Get started on putting your Nomadic Kitchen together today!

PS. I would LOVE to hear stories about your Nomadic Kitchen! Comment below if you, or someone you know does this as well! Or tell me all about the one that you make after reading this post!

Nomadic Kitchen


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Nevis Island, St. Kitts & Nevis

Travelling Plans: On August 5th we will start our long journey back to Canada to visit family and friends for a couple months.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

The Comfort of the Known

It is only in those opportunities where we do something different, or outside of our norm that we have the chance to grow and change. 


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


As I lay in bed last night, in a moment of some unrest, I had a thought run through my mind, for some reason, about what I would say if the first person that we housesat for in Costa Rica, asked us to do it again.

As stated, Costa Rica, was the first place that we travelled to upon starting this journey.  We had a housesitting job on an incredible 12 km stretch of uninterrupted, sunset facing, perfect beach, for 2 months. We then got a job managing a cabina rental, 2 houses down for another 2.5 months.  We spent enough time there to really get a feel for the neighbourhood.  We had a routine, we had a lifestyle that we had created for ourselves.

The warmth that I got when I thought of doing that, was immediate.  I thought to myself, sure we could do that. Wouldn’t that be nice, heading back to a place we already know.  I didn’t think too much more about it, then drifted off to sleep.

Today, Chris and I were on our usual perch after our day of work at the garden, drinking coffee, hanging out with the Dog and cats, and watching the sunset, when I mentioned that thought.  His immediate reaction was that he would go back just for a visit, but not to stay.

Huh, I thought.  In my mind, I was just starting to formulate a discussion point.  I was going to ask why he wouldn’t want to live there again, and then I caught myself.  I realized in that instant that I was being pulled back to that place somehow.  Something about that place had its grip on me.  What was it, what was making me want to go back?  Of course, being the over analyzer that I am, I was now determined to figure out what.

After pondering it for a few minutes, I realized that I was being pulled back by the familiarity.  Not only is it a beautiful place, and really, why wouldn’t I want to go back? I was being pulled back by the ‘knowing’ of what to expect.  We would know the veggie truck guy, the neighbours, and the neighbourhood.  We would know everything about the place!

How nice would that be?

How EASY would that be?

How convenient that would be?

BUT WAIT JUST A MINUTE!!!

How mundane would that be?

How BORING would that be?

How same old, same old would that be?

For gods sake!

Thank GOD I caught myself!

Immediately after realizing that I was thinking this way, Chris and I got into a conversation about what would seem to be, comfort zones.  We started philosophically trying to figure out EXACTLY what does generally pull us humans back to places and situations that we are familiar and comfortable with?  And while my focus for this deep dive is on travelling to the same places, this theory could also pertain to returning to your favourite restaurants, to camping in the same campgrounds, to repeating holiday destinations, to shopping in stores that we know, or getting our haircut by hairdressers that we trust.  The list could literally go on and on.

Is it laziness?

Are we too lazy to want to learn new things, make new friends, figure out all the ins and outs of a new place?  Maybe we are tired, and we need to rest?  Going somewhere familiar is less work, and easier.  Going somewhere familiar requires less thinking.

Is it to feel safe?

Do we just feel safer going somewhere where we know everything?  Maybe there is a personal security on some level with staying in known territory that makes you feel safe.  Maybe we are scared that a new place won’t offer the same security that we have had previously.

Is it fear of uncertainty?

Do we continue to go back to familiar places because we are scared of what we don’t know?  “What if the new place I go is terrible?” you may ask yourself.  What if we get robbed in the new place?  What if people aren’t nice in the new place?  What if we don’t make friends in the new place?

IS it for the love of the place?

Do you want to go back just because it is beautiful and you love it and miss it?  Or is it because you have friends there and you want to see them again?

There are many different reasons for wanting to return to the same place, but the straight up fact is, that if you constantly “go back”, you will get stuck.  You will stay in a familiar routine of travelling from point A to point B to always stay in the same places, and all of a sudden, there you are, back on the mundane circuit of life.  Back into some sort of routine, a routine that does not challenge you, a routine that allows your brain to almost just turn off because your body just knows what to do.

Comfort Zone Quote

For us, going back to places where we have already been, means that we are taking time away from exploring a NEW place.   We really do want to see as much as we possibly can of this planet in our lives, and by wasting time in familiar places, we take away from that potential.

But beyond just wanting to SEE new places, we also need to consider that no matter what “be all, end all” places we think we have seen, there is always MORE out there!  There is ALWAYS the potential for a better place.  And while I don’t think the ultimate goal is to find THE BEST place (because let’s just face it, EVERY place has it’s own awesomeness of some sort) the goal is to EXPERIENCE as much as possible.

I think it is within the familiar, that we lose the chance to have an interesting experience.  When we constantly repeat our experiences, we don’t grow.  We don’t change as human beings, we don’t learn anything new, we don’t try to broaden our understanding of things, we just exist.  Our brains get stuck in that place, and life begins to be a big blur of sameness, one day passing in front of the other, blending into each other. Weeks, months and years can go by, and you may hardly have noticed.  You will not have those breaks, those experiences, those stories about when you learnt something new, or that time you saw the coolest waterfall that you had ever seen, for example.

When your life is so steeped in routine, that you know exactly what you will be doing each day, you know exactly where you will go for holidays each year, or you know exactly what night you eat pizza on every week, it is in dangerous territory.  This sort of life is not challenging yourself.  You are unconsciously not opening yourself up to new opportunities in order to change your perspective.  You stop learning new things, your stop reaching for higher potentials. A life like this is stagnant.

It is only in those opportunities where we do something different, or outside of our norm that we have the chance to grow and change.  It can be meeting a new person, or seeing a new place.  Maybe we are trying a new flavour, or smelling a new flower.  THIS is when we open ourselves up to learning something new, to perhaps realizing a new way of thinking.  It is in those opportunities when your life gets a little lift, when a smile might cross your face, and when you will feel the most ALIVE!

Comfort Zone


In less than a month, we are, however, heading back to a lot of familiar territory, but just for some VISITS!  First, we head back to Flores, Guatemala, where we lived on and off for almost 5 months last year.  We need to do this because we left some things there, before flying to the Caribbean, and we need to pick them up from our friend who has graciously been keeping them for us.

But we REALLY are excited to head back to Flores.  We made some great friends there when we lived there, and we really want to check back in with everyone, just to see what’s up.  There is definitely the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing what to expect, knowing who we will see, knowing where we can eat, knowing what the costs are, etc,   so we are happy that we have this ‘excuse’ to return, as it will give us the chance to see everyone, and to feed our little familiarity needs.  Plus we are going to get tons of hugs, which will be awesome!

After that, we are headed back to Canada, and to my hometown of Canmore for likely a couple of months.  (More hugs!)  We will be doing some work there, visiting family, filing our taxes (eek!), and helping my parents to start downsizing some of their stuff so that they can sell their house.  As far as familiarity goes, well you know the old saying “There is no place like home.” I will admit that I am excited to cross that Canadian border, to re enter my home country, to be in a place where I pretty much know exactly what is going on!  No more guessing how to do anything, no more wondering what is around every corner.  Even I am happy to have a break from the constance of new experiences………once in a while!

There is no place like home

And while I do know that we could be spending our time, instead, seeing something new, going home is an important part of this journey for us.  Checking in with our families, visiting the people that are important to us, and just touching base with our past, I think, is important to maintain a grounded global perspective.  It is very easy to have our perspectives narrowed by the places we are in, and while I do think it is important to learn about and experience different cultures, it is also important to remember where we are from, to remember our OWN culture.  Parts of it we may disagree with, parts of it we may love, but it is THAT place that helped shaped who we are as people.  It is our experiences in the places that we all grew up in, that have had a huge part in making all of us who we are today.

But, after that?  Who really knows.  We have some skeleton plans forming, but you know us!  We really don’t like to plan too much!  Some sort of interesting opportunity may pop up, and before you know it, we will be off on some sort of brand new adventure!


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Nevis Island, St. Kitts & Nevis

Travelling Plans: On August 5th we will start our long journey back to Canada to visit family and friends for a couple months.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

 

 

 

21 Months Later and Still Letting Go

I do think our pasts are important in shaping who we become, but we must sever the ties that do not serve us anymore.  We must cut the chords of our former selves, to allow ourselves to grow and move forward in this life.  


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


It’s been almost 21 months since we flew away from Canada, bound on a one way journey to Costa Rica. We spent 9 months before that ridding ourselves of all of our possessions, pairing down our lives, shedding years of collecting things, letting go of our pets, our beloved garden and the house that we called home.

In that time, I wrote in what I called “Jill’s Letting Go Diary”, which documented the process, physically and emotionally, of literally letting go of everything.  I last wrote under this heading in November 2017 , but since then we have definitely continued to let go of many aspects of our former selves.  It’s impossible to dive down and list all the things, as we have now been given so much time in this life to do some deep soul searching, contemplating and realizing of things that just don’t serve us anymore.  I’m talking about ways of feeling, old habits that needed to be broken, lies we told ourselves, stories that we made up in our heads.  The list literally could go on and on!

But today, I realized that there is still one major thing that I STILL haven’t let go of, and that is the last town that we were living in in Canada.  I lived in Powell River for 12 years, Chris for 4, and I had decided while there that it was the ultimate paradise.  By then, of course, I had travelled to many places around the world, 46 countries in total.  I felt that because I had seen so much, I knew how special Powell River was.  And, I digress, I still do think it is a pretty special place.  But I have to say, it is a small place, but a dot on the world map.  Although it is spectacular, and many of its residents truly do value what it is to be part of a community, it is not the be all, end all that I had decided it was.

Powell River has many different issues that are tackled by the residents on a daily basis, their lives are entwined with what is right in front of their faces.  Of course, this is the way it is with most people that live in their communities.  We all react to those things that are right in front of us.  We choose to be in those places, and to deal with those issues.  There are always bigger problems in the world, but it is that which is right in front of us, that always gets the most attention.

Today, as I was mind numbingly scrolling facebook, I noticed just how much of my news feed still has posts about Powell River on it.  Now, for a while I have been saying that I need to stop getting so wound up and involved in the politics of a place that I have no intention of returning to.  But, you know,  I didn’t really put two and two together that by actually seeing all the things on a day to day basis, that I WAS involved.  It’s like a soap opera on TV that I can’t seem to switch off.  It’s that addiction to drama, the need to keep tabs on others’ lives, the want to just see what happens with some particular project or another,  that has kept me stuck.  These issues literally have NO bearing on my life anymore, yet I am drawn to their outcomes, keen to find out every little detail.

OF COURSE, there are those people with whom I made special connections while living there.  Connections that go farther than just the place that we both lived.  These people are on the same page as me, and I feel like we are kindred spirits that will likely see each other down the road somewhere.  I will keep in touch with these people always, and will always want to stay up to date with who they are and what they are up to.

OF COURSE, I do love it when people update me about the plants that we sold or gave them.  They send pictures of their gardens, or mention us in comments about these sorts of things.  I know that the people who bought our house are taking care of our beautiful garden well, and that makes me feel good.

OF COURSE, I will always have fond memories of Powell River and the people that helped me to grow as an individual.  I grew immensely while living there, and I left a much different person than I was before I moved there.  But the time has come to cut the ties.  I will no longer follow business pages, the local news paper, the blueberry picking farm (oooohhh I miss those blueberries!!), or any other group that I was a part of in Powell River.  My ties to these things are holding me back from moving forward.  It’s like some long tether that keeps me looking back, always interested, always wondering.

It’s time to re-prioritize my time, to allow more space to focus on the issues that affect me in my current space and time.  It is time to get involved in the places where I am living, and figuring out what I can do on the ground HERE, not somewhere else where I have no input anymore.  We all only have so much space and time to put towards certain issues in this life, and it is up to us to decide what is important, what is not, and where we should be directing our energies.

I do think our pasts are important in shaping who we become, but we must sever the ties that do not serve us anymore.  We must cut the chords of our former selves, to allow ourselves to grow and move forward in this life.

You will always hold a special place in my heart Powell River, but it is now time to say goodbye.


An update on our current travels…….

For those that are following along, and are interested in what we are up to and where we are, here is a bit of a synopsis.

We have been working at the Botanical Garden on the island of Nevis since mid February.  We have gone full circle from leaving our 9-5 jobs in Canada, to seek out more freedom, to arriving right back to a 9-5 job (well 8-4 actually) here in paradise.  We absolutely love the garden, and have taken great pleasure in getting back to working with plants, as it is definitely something that we have missed since leaving our home and garden, but I won’t lie, the schedule has been HARD.  The time that we would spend on our art and our online shops before this ‘job’ almost vanished and we found ourselves scrambling morning and night to fit time in in order to keep some progress happening.

One day, after some sort of emotional breakdown from both of us, we suddenly realized that we were both overworked and extremely exhausted with trying to do too much.  We also had been raising 3 kittens and taking care of 2 dogs that kept escaping the yard to run around the neighbourhood to kill goats (plus they killed one of the kittens!), so our emotions were frazzled to say the least.

It has been a strange and interesting few months, and I won’t get into details, but many times we have felt like running as far away from this island as we possibly could.  However, we had committed to helping out the owner here until August, and that is just what we are going to do.

IMG_4417
The beautiful Oasis Restaurant at the Botanical Gardens of Nevis.

Call us crazy, many who have been here before us, probably would, but we have also had a huge realization that with this nomadic lifestyle comes the ultimate freedom of when you don’t like something, you just move on.  However, the always running away from things, also doesn’t help us to grow.  It is in the tackling of these issues and annoyances in life, when we can dig deep and learn the most about ourselves.  This stop on our journey has tried us beyond belief, and it’s impossible for me to explain the details, but through it all, we have both come out feeling wiser and stronger than we did when we arrived.  The serendipitous way that this place came onto our radar, meant that we had important things to learn here, and we have tried our hardest to open ourselves up to the learning, and to not be drug down emotionally by things that we have no control over.

Thankfully in June, the owner of the garden sent us off for a bit of a break to another property that she owns on another Caribbean Island called Anguilla.  I have to say that it was JUST what the doctor ordered.  White sand beaches and spectacular turquoise waters surround the island, and with it being the low season, we had most places almost all to ourselves.  The house where we were staying was located a stones throw from the beach, so after our allotted 4 hours of work (yes we still worked a bit!), we were free to do whatever we pleased.

anguilla photo 4
We were so happy to have made friends with BJ while in Anguilla.  He is the caretaker of the house that we stayed at, and he took the time to show us around a little bit.  This is the lookout down to Sandy Ground. 
anguilla photo 7
The fact that turquoise is my favourite colour, and lime green a close second, I couldn’t help but snap this beautiful quintessential Caribbean pic. 
anguilla photo 3
This is the beach that is close to our house where we were staying.  It’s called Shoal Bay, and you can see just how close the corals come to the shore, making it an awesome snorkeling spot for all levels!  

The beach we were on had some spectacular snorkelling right along the shore, and most afternoons we would don our bathing suits and snorkel gear, walk to the furthest point away, then drift on the natural current that ran along the shoreline, back to the house.  This was the highlight of our day, and it seemed like each day we saw more and more incredible sea life than the one before it.  On the last day we saw 3 Barracudas, 5 rays, 1 spotted eagle ray, a few puffer fish, some sort of spotted eel or sea snake, and numerous, NUMEROUS large schools of fish, and other sea life.  The coral is not in the best shape unfortunately, likely trashed by years of people anchoring their boats on it, plus getting thrashed by hurricanes can’t help, but we did see much of it growing back, which gives me great hope that the reefs are mending.

We spent 2 weeks there healing from our kind of over-worked and hectic lives here on Nevis, but returned here on July 3rd to finish off our stint for one more month.  We have arrived back with a refreshed view, and know that in a very short time, we will be off on a whole new adventure.

anguilla photo 2
First day on ‘our’ beach and feeling pretty good about ourselves! 
anguilla photo 8
High above the natural arch!  Photo courtesy of BJ Kirong

On August 5th we fly to the island of St. Martin, also in the Caribbean.  There we will spend 2 nights before we make our way back to Guatemala for a short visit.  In Guatemala, we will not only be checking in with the friends we have made in the last year, but will also be collecting our art supplies and Chris’ tattoo gear (plus some clothing), then we will start our journey back up to Canada to visit family and friends for a couple months.  It’s a loose plan, other than our flights, there aren’t any set dates and times, but we like it what way of course!  We expect to be back in Canada mid-August.

Thanks to everyone who follows us along on our journey.  I know I haven’t done the best job of keeping you up to date, but I try to allow the writing to come when it is meant to, and not force myself to write just for the sake of it.  It is in these moments that I feel like I actually have substance and thoughts that are worth sharing, and hopefully it comes through that way to my readers.

xoxoxo Jill


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Nevis Island, St. Kitts & Nevis

Travelling Plans: On August 5th we will start our long journey back to Canada to visit family and friends for a couple months.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)

Figuring it All Out!


In 2017 we packed up our life, and quit the 9-5 to head out into the world.  We came with no expectations, we only wanted to experience life.  Since we have left, we have packed more fun and adventure into our lives than we ever could have imagined.  Being on the road now for over a year, has brought with it the freedom to explore what it is that we want to do to create an income for ourselves, the time to pay attention to the things that are truly important to us, and the adventure to truly make life fun and interesting once again.  We left seeking an exciting life, and we have not been disappointed!  Join us as we explore as much of this big old world that we can!


I spent some long overdue time this morning cleaning out my wallet and other storage vessels of receipts, airline tickets, and other paper items that I have been lugging around and obviously don’t need anymore.

At first I was just taking glances of what was there and throwing it in a pile, but as I went through them, things started to catch my eye.

The first few I grabbed were ferry receipts from the time we finally had sold all of our things, and left our small, ferry access only, town in Canada (yes, I RARELY clean out my wallet!), they were from September 2017.  Next came the odd receipt from a restaurant in Costa Rica.  Then came the receipt for Chris’ cell phone that we had to purchase in Costa Rica, it’s 1 year guarantee had expired, plus I don’t think we would be going back there to get a new one anyways.

More receipts, more receipts, next was a few from Guatemala.  One that stood out to me was one of our water bills that we had to pay for the house we were renting in Guatemala.  It struck me as something that was significant.  Suddenly I realized that my wallet was a bit of a timeline of things we had done in the last 20 months,  a collage of not only things we experienced, but of things we had had to figure out.

Guatemala Water Bill
Guatemala Water Bill (This equals about $7/month!)

Each and every place we have travelled to, we have had to figure out the ins and outs of how to do things.  Whether it is getting a new sim card so that we can have a local phone number, to finding out how to pay our water bill, to learning that we need to have a LOCAL driver’s license (which is the case now) to legally be allowed to drive in a certain country.  Every place has it’s ins and outs, and every place has mysteries to solve.

I realized that these things were never something that we had worried about before we got to each place we went.  They were all things that just sort of popped up once we got to a place, and as people generally tend to do, we problem solved, and figured it all out as we went along.

I think, in general, people spend a lot, like a lot A LOT of time, worrying about the ‘what if’s’ or the ‘how to’s’.  I see post after post on some of the nomad forums that I am a part of with people asking tons of questions about a certain place that they are going to.  They want to know all the details about a place, before they even get there.  Of course, some things are legit, like whether or not you can bring in certain medications, or how complicated it is to bring a pet or an animal into a country.  But much of it is simple and mundane things that really aren’t that big of a deal, and will easily be figured out upon arrival.

How many of us get so stuck on the details, that we get frozen in place?  How many of us wonder so much about the little things, that the big thing is forgotten about entirely?  I think it’s important for each of us to realize that worrying about the little details, is impacting how we live our lives, and how we move forward in general.  This isn’t specific to travel, this can be about anything.

Anything that is worried about in the future, is taking away from our time now.  You are wasting your precious time here on Earth, and are thinking about something that you literally have no control over anyways.  EVERYTHING in the future is unpredictable.  ANYTHING can happen at any time!  Doesn’t it just make sense to live life in the moment, take in all that we can TODAY?  Is tomorrow a guarantee?  I don’t think so!

If you are stuck on some details about the future right now, I encourage you to take a step back.  Consider what is in your power in THIS MOMENT, take action on those things, and figure the rest out when it comes.

Living like this, has enriched my life beyond words.  Living like this makes me appreciate my day to day existence by making me more open and aware of my surroundings.  I have power in the knowing that I am making conscious decisions about how I want my life to look.  And I’m not talking about how it’s going to look in the future, I’m talking about the actions that I take each day, that will shape my future.

We will all get to where we are going, step by step, one day at a time.  Do the best you can in each moment, because, at the end of the day,  it is all that you really have control over anyways.

And of course, we will NEVER figure it ALL out!  So please, stop trying to:)

quote_if-you-are-depressed


Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!

Xoxoxo Happy Travels!


Current Location: Nevis Island, St. Kitts & Nevis

Travelling Plans: We have committed to being here until mid-August.  After that we plan to head back to Canada for a visit, before returning to Guatemala to host our art retreat.

To head back to the beginning of our journey, and the moment we decided to sell all of our possessions to travel the world, click here.

To see many travelling photos and to learn about where we are travelling, please follow our Facebook and Instagram accounts by clicking on the appropriate icon in the right hand column.

To learn about where I have previously traveled, visit my Countries Page.

To see all of my blog post headings on one page, (including all of the ones about letting our stuff go) head over to my Blog Post Menu.

To contribute to our Patreon account, please click here.

To learn about housesitting, please click here.

To email me directly, please do so anytime at jillamatt@me.com.

If you like my writing, and want to follow along on our journey, please put your email address in the right hand column to subscribe. That way all of my posts will go straight to your email inbox:)