857123_10201116548346843_818547125_o.jpg

Welcome.

Welcome to Unsettle Down, where change is the only constant and we won't settle for anything less than a life lived fully. 

International Living Feature: Slow Travel to See More

International Living Feature: Slow Travel to See More

Originally published by International Living.

The sun rises early in Florence. A small market bustles below our window, selling produce and salted meats from in and around Tuscany. The pasticceri fill the streets with the aroma of freshly baked bread. Our daughter is still snoozing in her new room. After our long journey yesterday, she may sleep until noon. 

That's fine, though. We haven’t plan anything for today. The city will come to us.

Last year my wife and I lived in San Diego with our new baby girl. We loved our California coastal home, but couldn't sustain our new family reality there. Once we discovered an AirBnB near Florence cost half our monthly rent, we got to thinking.

We decided to leave our little paradise behind. Since that decision, we've lived in twenty homes in fourteen different countries. No, we’re not running from the feds. We’re a full-time, slow-travel family. Some call us nomads, others call us crazy. Whatever we are, we’ve never been happier.

 Michelangelo's David at The Academia. 

Michelangelo's David at The Academia. 

Now, with what's left of our possessions in backpacks, we sit in our flat in Florence, drinking espresso, waiting for our baby to stir. We may catch the bus to San Marco Square then walk to Piazza del Duomo. Maybe this afternoon, we'll stop at The Academia to bask in the presence of Michelangelo's David.

Funny how life works.

To date, we've visited Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro, Austria, the UK, and the Czech Republic. That said, life moves at a more peaceful pace now, despite the constant change.

 Living like locals in our Florence flat. 

Living like locals in our Florence flat. 

It's because we travel slowly. We book at least a month’s stay at each location. It's easier for everyone this way, and the discounts are significant, too. We seek out affordable homes right outside the cities we visit, strategically situated near public transportation.

The savings surely help, but we can only swing this lifestyle because of our employment. We're lucky enough to have location-independent careers, and we were smart enough to take advantage. We both have jobs where we can work from anywhere, provided we have reliable internet. As a web developer and digital marketer with flexible hours, we’re able to telecommute from our rental flat, a cafe in Montepulciano, or anywhere else we choose.
 

We don't race to and from work anymore, saving for "someday" trips elsewhere. We can now live elsewhere. 
 Sunset on the Ponte Vecchio with Kailen and my wife, Chelsea, on our first day in Florence. 

Sunset on the Ponte Vecchio with Kailen and my wife, Chelsea, on our first day in Florence. 

Each time we find ourselves in a new city we set our alarms early the next morning. We don't plan anything, though. We just walk. We stroll down to the main piazza or walk the vias and vicolas until something strikes our fancy, or our daughter's. We wander, meander, and peruse. These days are usually our best.

This slow travel pace is fantastic for our wallets, family life, and creativity. It affords us the time to just live. We've slept in on weekends in Venice and enjoyed rainy days in Dublin, knowing we'll have enough time to sightsee.

And therein lies the difference between our old planned vacations and the slow travel we enjoy now. No more rushing between strictly scheduled activities. Instead of furiously checking off bucket list items, we're discovering new ones along the way.

 Stopping to ride the carousel, just because. 

Stopping to ride the carousel, just because. 

We've driven the Alps near Lake Como, breathed the crisp air atop the Dolomites, captained a boat in the Cinque Terre, dipped our toes in Tuscan hot springs, and enjoyed prosecco in Trento.

We have chosen not to escape, but to explore. Immersion in local culture is the goal. If we complete bucket list items, like tasting wine from centuries-old casks in Montepulciano, even better.

 Discovering new bucket list items at the San Miniato Church. 

Discovering new bucket list items at the San Miniato Church. 

The noonday sun now beats down on our balcony in Coverciano, just outside of Florence. We hear there's some rule about not waking a sleeping baby. We might break it today. We've got a new city to explore.

Or we could just let her sleep and start early tomorrow.

We've got time.

 Watching the sun set over another city we fell deeply in love with. 

Watching the sun set over another city we fell deeply in love with. 



Originally published by International Living.

New York Times: The New Nomads: Have Wifi, Will Travel

New York Times: The New Nomads: Have Wifi, Will Travel

Interview: The Dubrovnik Times

Interview: The Dubrovnik Times