It’s A Strange Time To Have No Home

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We moved out of our home at the beginning of 2020 to embark on a sabbatical year of nomadic travel. With no house or car, we set out to travel the world.

Then the pandemic hit.

This is an update on how we’re managing to #StayHome without a home.


It’s a strange time to have no home. At the beginning of 2020, my wife, Laci, and I set out on a sabbatical year of nomadic travel. We moved out of our house in San Antonio, Texas. No house, no car. We set out with nothing but our backpacks. We were finally going to get to visit all the places in the world that I’d never been, that I’d wanted to go to for so many years.

We don’t have a home, we don’t have a car, and we also didn’t know where we were going to live after the sabbatical year. We weren’t necessarily planning to move back to Texas. Part of the point of this trip—this journey—was to explore different places in the world and see where we liked and where we might end up wanting to live.

Then, of course, the pandemic hit. It was gradual and then all of a sudden. Kind of like a tsunami that’s just beyond the horizon. It doesn’t really seem like anything at first. You can kind of see something coming really far away, but everything seems normal where you’re standing… until it hits.

We were doing meetups as we traveled from city to city. At the very beginning of March, I decided we’re going to put into place a no-handshakes policy. People thought that was kind of crazy at the time, but I’m paying attention to stuff happening in other countries around the world and starting to exercise caution. Pretty quickly, it was evident that this is coming to the U.S. It’s not here yet, but it is coming. I decided to cancel our meetup in early March (which also seemed overly cautious to a lot of people at the time).

Looking back, I’m glad I canceled that meetup. It’s obvious I made the right decision. We’ve been social distancing, staying at home, for well over a month now—even before it was required by the government. But it was still very challenging given that we don’t have a home to do the whole #StayHome thing. As soon as we could, we started looking for longer-term accommodations. We now have that. We’ve found a place we can stay for the next couple of months at least.

We’re going to continue to stay in place with the exception of going outside to get some exercise and Vitamin D to help boost that immune system. I realize, in some countries, you’re not even allowed to go outside, which is really unfortunate. Here in the United States, we still can. I’m definitely taking advantage of that while still continuing to practice social distancing and staying more than six feet away from people.

I’m still running. I had actually signed up for a marathon that was going to be at the end of May. It’s since been canceled, but I’m continuing to train anyway.

The nice thing about running, unlike other sports, is you can run the 26.2 miles on your own if you need to. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, so I’m either going to train hardcore (or work on something hardcore), or I’m just going to be apathetic and lazy and play Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch all day.

So I’m sticking to my training and feeling really good about it. I feel physically fit. I’m doing some drawing, some writing, and some journaling for myself. All things considered, we’re doing okay.

Laci is also doing well. She’s more extroverted than I am, so she’s doing a lot more video calls with people and things like that. She’s reading lots of books, embroidering.

Where it’s a little challenging is finances. Some of you may know, we shared last year that Laci had some pretty serious health issues, which wiped us out financially. A lot of you helped with our medical bills and her thousand-dollar-a-day treatment that went on for a long time. The only way we were able to do this sabbatical year—it’s not like we had a year’s worth of expenses saved up—is because I would continue taking a salary from my business, seanwes.

I’d been training my right hand guy, Dan, throughout 2019 to run the business during my sabbatical year. We planned out all of our promotions in 2020. He’s been running all of those campaigns and everything was going to be just fine. We’d have enough money, and I’d be able to go on my sabbatical year.

Our most important promotion of the year was slated for March.

We were running a campaign our annual membership, seanwes membership, which is kind of like Netflix for business training (community, office hours, etc.). We help you build your own business, and go from working a job (or maybe you just got let go from a job) to making your own business. We teach you go to get your own clients, price your services, sell digital products, and things like that.

This promotion was planned back in 2019, and we turned it on at the very beginning of March before the pandemic hit the U.S. As luck would have it, right in the middle of March when we’re at the conclusion of our promotion… panic breaks out. Nobody’s spending money. Everyone’s freaking out. It’s unfortunate, because seanwes membership is the perfect compliment to a situation where you’re staying at home, you need ways to make extra money, you need to reinvent yourself and invest in your career,you have nothing but time and an internet connection, you feel lonely and you need community.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. This promotion we were relying on for revenue to get us through the summer performed only 14% as well as last year. Absolutely horrible. So while it’s not like we have a restaurant—obviously, restaurant businesses were hit terribly hard by the pandemic—the timing of the pandemic during our promotion caused our business to get hit really hard.

So that’s difficult. That’s challenging.

I haven’t done one of these updates in a while because there are just a bunch of things I don’t know. I don’t know where we’re going to live in a couple of months. I don’t know what the world’s going to look like. I don’t know what the business looks like. I don’t know what my sabbatical looks like. Am I going to need to stop my sabbatical and come back to work? Because our revenue projections are no longer reliable. At the very least, I had to cut back on a lot of expenses, and rearrange a bunch of things, just to be able to continue paying salaries.

One of the casualties of all of this is the seanwes podcast. This is the podcast I’ve been doing since 2013. We’ve got like 400 or 500 episodes and have been doing it for many, many years. When I set out on this sabbatical, there were always two options: I could put the podcast on pause for a year (and then come back). But I thought it would be nicer if we kept it going and kept it “warm”, so to speak. So I had Ben, my cohost, and Dan, my right-hand guy, continue to record the podcast on a weekly basis in my absence. Now, it’s not something I talk about often, because it’s boring and uninteresting, but I do pay Ben, my cohost, to record the podcast. For many, many years, I’ve paid him. When he initially joined the show, he wasn’t paid because he just wanted to do it. He enjoyed doing it (and still does). But I wanted to let him know I appreciated him and respected his time, so I paid him.

As far as the business expenses are concerned, the amount I pay Ben to record the podcast is nontrivial. When I looked at things, it was clear we had to cut expenses. It was a really hard decision, but I decided we’d have to hit pause on having Ben and Dan continue to record podcast episodes.

So that creates yet another unknown: I don’t know what the future of the podcast looks like. I mean, I’ll still record mini-episodes like this on occasion, but I don’t know at what frequency—and I hate saying that, because I like consistency. I like doing things on a weekly cadence. But I’m also trying to stay true to my sabbatical and not create obligations for myself. At the same time, I’m wondering if I’m even going to be able to keep doing this sabbatical.

Everything’s just up in the air. There’s a lot of uncertainty, and so I’ve hesitated making this update because, what am I going to do? Come on and record an update to say, “I don’t know a bunch of things, and I’m uncertain…”? But that’s the reality of it, and I think a lot of you are feeling that way as well in many different regards.

So I decided to record this anyway and let you know you’re not alone. This is affecting all of us and it’s a challenging time.

I’m thinking of you and I want the best for you. I want to help you. If there’s anything I can do, reach out: send me a message, send me a DM, send me an audio message, a video, an email.

Just let me know. I’m here to help. I’m here for you, and I wish you the best.

My Crazy AirBnb Story

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We’re traveling the world for a year-long sabbatical, so that means staying in a lot of AirBnbs.

Most of the time, we’ve had a great experience with AirBnb. But when it’s bad, it’s… bad.

I found myself in a last minute situation where I needed to book a room on short notice. There weren’t many options in the area I needed.

The place I booked had no reviews. I thought that was okay because it was a new listing and didn’t think too much of it. Big mistake.

The place was a disaster! Absolutely disgusting and sticky everywhere. As I write this, I realize I didn’t even mention the blood stains in the video.

The last tenant had trashed the place, stolen stuff, and left with the keys! The hosts told me to, “Punch him in the face if he comes back.”

It was late. I was starving. I contemplated making dinner, but when I saw the “silverware provided”, I NOPE’d out of there fast.

AirBnb almost wouldn’t give me my money back except that I LUCKILY happened to take a few photos.

I talk about how to protect yourself from potentially losing your money in a bad AirBnb situation.

How My Wife Flies FREE With Me – Southwest Companion Pass

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5 years ago, if you had told me I’d take a year off and travel the world with no house or car, I wouldn’t believe you. If you’d told me I’d do it without having to pay for any flights, I’d say you’re crazy.

But that’s exactly what we’re doing:

We have the next 6 months of flights booked and we didn’t spend money on any of them. How?

The Southwest Companion Pass.

“Travel Hacking” is what they call it. By strategically using points you earn from using your credit card, you can get some pretty incredible perks.

The Companion Pass allows anyone you designate to fly with you for free. That means even when I book flights using points, my wife flies with me for free.

In this video, I explain how to qualify for the Companion Pass, tips for earning points faster, and how I book flights without spending any money.

The fastest way to qualify is to take advantage of sign-up bonuses by getting both the personal and business Rapid Rewards cards. If you use my link to sign up, I’ll also get some bonus points, which will hep me qualify for my next Companion Pass:

I’ve already earned the Companion Pass twice without ever referring anyone, but I’m making this video to answer some of the questions I’ve received on social media.

Hope this helps, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments of the YouTube videoabout Southwest or the Companion Pass. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Trains, Podcasting, and a Meditation Garden

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I recorded not one, but THREE podcasts in a day! One was an interview of me for the Caleb Wojcik Show. The other was an interview for the seanwes podcast with Caleb Wojcik as a guest. Both the episode of me on Caleb’s show, and Caleb on my podcast, will publish on Friday.

The third podcast was completely unexpected. Calvin Rosser sent me a DM on Instagram asking if I was going to be in Encinitas any time soon and, little did he know, that’s exactly where I was went he sent the message! Sabbatical serendipity.

He ended up showing us a nearby meditation garden, and I recorded part of our conversation together. We talked about ridding oneself of guilt when not working. I think you’ll really enjoy the conversation (it publishes on Thursday).

We also moved out of our first AirBnb. We’re still in San Diego for another week though. Later in the vlog, we visit Coronado Island.

Running in San Diego

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San Diego has been absolutely gorgeous. The weather here is perfect for running. It’s remarkably warm for early February, but it’s a very pleasant, crisp warm with a cool breeze.

You actually want to go outside and run. I can’t get over it. It’s incredible. Leaving San Antonio really makes me realize how brutally humid it was there.

Before I ran during the day in San Antonio, I had to psyche myself up: “Okay! I’m ready to be miserable!”

Here, it’s just beautiful. All I want to do is go outside.

I’ve been enjoying running in San Diego. There are lots of parks, and running by the water is quite scenic.

San Diego Meetup

We had around a dozen people at the San Diego seanwes meetup. It was a lot of fun! We had some great conversations and got to see a couple of old friends too.

Visiting Family and Flying to California

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We got to spend a few days with family before flying to California.

I am the oldest of 13 kids. Eight of them still live at home.

During the days when I visit, I like to go on walks with my younger brother, Stephen. He’s eight years old and 12th in the lineup. We have some good conversations. He’s a smart kid.

I haven’t had much time to get to know Stephen. He was born after I had already moved out and gotten married. Not long after he was born, my family moved to Dallas, and we only get to visit a few times per year.

Stephen thinks the sabbatical idea is pretty cool, but he wishes I would just stay with him instead of travel so he can see me more often.

The Dallas meetup went well. It was great to finally meet the editor of my first book in person. Blake, you’re awesome.

We’re just getting settled into our place here in San Diego. I’ll share more about that in the coming days. I’ll also talk about some of the travel hacking we’re doing at some point (credit card points and things), as well as our backpacks and how we’re packing.

You Need Less Than You Think

We took a bus from the airport to our AirBnb in San Diego. Everything we had was in the packs on our backs.

Walking down the street, I felt light with freedom. We can do anything and go anywhere! Granted, we still had sizable packs on our backs, but their anti-gravity load dispersal systems meant we hardly noticed the weight.

It doesn’t even matter if we forgot something. There are stores no matter where you go. You can always pick something up if you need to. You really don’t need as much as you think.

We’ve only been out of our home state one day, and already I’m feeling an immense sense of gratitude. I have no doubt solo travel brings its own treasures and rewards, but I feel so fortunate to share this journey with my wife.

Last year, I wasn’t sure if there would be a Laci in 2020. It’s such a gift to get to enjoy this sabbatical together.

We’re having so much fun and can’t wait to share more with you in the next vlog.

Hope to see you at the San Diego meetup tomorrow!

We moved out!

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We’re officially homeless—I mean, nomads!

I know we unplugged the internet modem, locked up the house, and dropped off the key with the property manager, but it still hasn’t hit me that we don’t live in the home in which we’ve been for four years.

Growing up in a military family, I’m no stranger to moving. I’ve moved plenty of times before. But this time is different.

It’s not like you just need to get used to the fact that there’s a new place to call home. It’s that there is no “home” to go back to!

I think it will be some weeks before it fully sinks in and I realize this isn’t just a trip from which we’ll soon return.

We don’t know where we’ll live after the sabbatical year. I feel an odd comfort not knowing. In the same sense, I feel an odd comfort not having a home. It represents pure possibility and freedom.

We’re free as a bird. Everything we need is in the pack on our backs. It feels… light—like we can go anywhere, because we can.