When Michael and I had talked about the possibility of me leaving my teaching job, and I fretted about what I’d do for income, Michael said, “We’ve got the AirBnB.” In February of 2020 we had finished converting our garage into a 500-square-foot apartment. Despite COVID, it had been successful beyond anything we could have imagined. We intended to use the income to pay down our mortgage. But my wise husband reminded me we didn’t have to do that right now. My sanity was more important than making extra mortgage payments.
I had also been a math tutor for 20+ years at this point, sometimes seeing as many as a dozen students in a week, sometimes as few as one or two, but always doing it and loving it. I had been tutoring two young men in New York State for years online using Zoom, long before the rest of the world had ever heard of such a thing. Within weeks of my resignation I had a few more students. By the end of the year, I was up to fifteen.
And then there was my decluttering class. In the past, I’d taught a class I called, “You Can’t Take It With You — And Your Kids Don’t Want It Either.” It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done–teaching empty nesters how to decide what’s meaningful and how to let go of the rest. I had dreams of taking it online, opening it up to a wider audience. So, as usual, ideas for what to do with my life were certainly not lacking.
Always drawn to a life of travel, the posts and articles about countries opening to digital nomads intrigued me. But I wasn’t quite a digital nomad. By the start of 2021, most of my students were online, but I had three students I was seeing in person. “I could ask to tutor them online for a couple weeks so we can go away,” I told Michael. “But I wouldn’t feel right forcing them to go on-line so we can leave the country.”
But my world shifted in a way I couldn’t have predicted. In the space of a couple weeks, one of my in-person students no longer needed my assistance. Another had a family member with COVID so we were forced to move to online tutoring. And the third was going to live out of state for a couple of weeks. “Can we do online tutoring?” his mother asked. The latter two situations were temporary, but it planted the seed. And so it was that, exactly one year after the Passion Planner told me my 2020 goal was location independence, there I was. So what does a couple who loves to travel do when both of them find themselves able to work from anywhere? They go anywhere else. . .