the long post of sabbatical practicalities
just because it might be interesting (or inspiring!), here's how we're currently* making our nomadic sabbatical work for us:
where we're staying:
* Airbnbs! this one is a no brainer for us, as a family with a twelve year old who needs his privacy. bonus points for places with washer/ dryers. good wifi is a must (except when we're "on vacation" from the working sabbatical life - and even then, we like our internet).
* buying an RV. we looked into this (ok, mostly me, since M is not interested at all in RVing). conclusion: it definitely isn't for us at this time.
* staying in one location and renting for a year (this is what a lot of people do on sabbatical): nope.
* staying in hotel (suite)s: mostly too expensive, also not home-y. that said, we may need to do this in some areas, or even stay in one room hotel rooms, which is ok for a few nights, but not long term. definitely doable on our long travel stretches, when we're only staying overnight.
* hostels? yeah, no. although they can be quite nice in some places, and in other places (like when we were in the Andes last year) they're the only options. they're not awful, just usually not for us. we're not backpackers.
what we brought with us:
* everyone has at least one carryon suitcase of clothes and a backpack/bag for personal items. M has an extra suitcase. R has a reusable shopping bag of personal items, and I have a dufflebag of cold weather clothes. there are a few random duffle sized bags with electronics and stuff (like the bag of all the extra Nima capsules I brought with us), bathroom stuff, a big cooler filled with food and then a medium plastic tub with kitchen stuff. oh, and I put my shoes and some other random things in yet another small bag.
* this all fits in our station wagon! we were planning on bringing a guitar, but it did not fit and we had to drive to the storage unit one last time with it on my lap. by that point in the day, we were too tired to try to make it work. I think at some point, a musical instrument of some sort will join us, maybe something smaller like a ukulele or a mandolin.
* because as we go, some of the stuff with us will get consolidated (or be used up) while we travel. I wanted to use my huge shampoo while I still had it (it smells so good), but when it runs out, I'm going to buy smaller bottles and then we may not need the second box of bathroom stuff. our cooler weather stuff isn't useful now, but it will be starting in Oct or Nov. and then we may be able to leave it behind in California (and have my MIL mail it to us after we move back to NJ).
* I am super glad we did not try to fit all of this in a Mini Cooper. even the biggest Mini Cooper. there was a point last Friday when I thought for sure we might have to drop everything and go trade the station wagon in for a mini van, but we made it work! I was very impressed.
* having kitchen stuff is sometimes redundant, depending on the Airbnb we're at, but it's better to have it if we need it (because I can't always eat out because of having celiac). so I can't foresee getting rid of much of that.
what we're doing for food:
* as someone with celiac, and (perimenopausal induced) acid reflux this is a super important issue. when I'm searching for Airbnbs, I also check the "find me gluten free" app to make sure I can eat somewhere nearby. we've also got food with us and prefer to stay in airbnbs with kitchens. grocery stores can usually net me something ok, in the event that there's no where safe to eat.
* I'm using my Nima sensor a lot.
* not having celiac, eat everything.
(sigh. I wish.)
* right now, R wants be able to go back to his school next year, so we'll be doing one of the many accredited online schools in order for him to reintegrate easily. he's also doing bar mitzvah prep with his dad. (I must kvell more about this later, since it makes my heart swell a billion sizes.)
* skies the limit! anything from unschooling to online school seems totally and utterly doable on the road. if we were doing a more typical sabbatical, we could have enrolled R in school somewhere else, too. but we're not doing that this time. maybe next sabbatical, who knows.
mail/ mailing address/ amazon prime:
* we got a virtual mailbox in NJ through one of the many online sites. (I'm not in love with it enough to recommend it yet. I think they're all about the same, and mostly annoying, but you need one if you're doing the travel around thing, so get one.)
* my MIL is letting us mail packages and things to her. she's awesome.
(if we hadn't needed a NJ address for insurance/ registration/ licenses, we could have just used her address entirely, but we can't so we didn't.)
* amazon prime is entirely off my radar right now, but if we were desperate to get something, they have lockers where we could pick things up. but mostly, we're in a limited space (everything needs to fit in our station wagon) so really, what am I going to buy?
* ok, I lied. I'm totally still looking at stuff on amazon. I'd like to get a smaller purse (for times when I don't need my massive, can fit everything into it, purse) and I've been wishing I had some kind of crafty, hand on hobby with me, like needlepoint or rock painting.
* we're using Lyft when M has the car. Friday we went to the movies (to see Ant Man and the Wasp again! fun!).
* we haven't needed to get a wifi hotspot (or unlimited data) yet, but it's on my radar that we may need to because we definitely use more data while we're traveling. right now, it's still manageable. but we'll see if we can stay in good wifi areas.
* we brought our Roku with us so we can watch our own things easily. most airbnbs have some sort of streaming device but this way we're already logged in and ready to go.
* we also brought the xbox. everyone has their own laptop (even me!), phone and kindle. R and I both have iPads as well, but I think we may consolidate to one before the end of this trip, because R's iPad - my old iPad mini - is on it's last legs.)
* we're still working out some of the kinks of the semi-nomadic life. but mostly, it's smooth sailing!
* one week in! I know, what?!?!? doesn't it seem like yesterday I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if he'd even get sabbatical? it does to me!