I spend all of my daydreaming power trying to come up with a way to really change my life (and M’s, of course). Try to get us out of the work-to-live live-to-work trap and be able to travel and not be homeless. I’ve had so many ideas, even compromises. Here sums it up:
- Travel nursing. I thought at first this would be perfect, but after preparing for a while, I realized that while allowing us to travel, I’d still be working long shifts at a job I don’t like and paying ridiculous childcare prices for the privilege of doing what I don’t want to do. Any extra money earned would be gone to childcare, plus sightseeing and tourist-ing in the USA is very costly. So are groceries and gas and other costs of living in major US cities. Plus the thought of upending our lives every three months, starting all over with childcare and job and everything felt like asking too much for too little.
- Compromising- maintain the current life, but do it in a city I like better, closer to work, and put my daughter in a free charter school that is somewhat closer than regular school to my ideal of unschooling. Essentially, living the same life we are now, with my kid in a facility all day while I work, and trying to pay the bills and pay off debt by working more and seeing her less.
These ideas are more appealing to me than my life now, but their drawbacks almost don’t merit the change in lifestyle. So what to do? I have two options from where I sit at this point:
- Teach English in a country that offers good pay and benefits, less than a 36 hour work week, and a lower cost of living (and much lower cost for childcare). South Korea is a very safe and stable place to teach a year-long contract. All you need is citizenship in an English-speaking country (as well as to be a native-speaker), and sometimes a TEFL certificate (obtainable for a small fee online or as part of your work program). There is a large expat community there, so we would not be alone and would have resources. Housing is provided, but groceries and childcare are way more affordable than here and I could pay off some debt and afford to travel home for visits on holidays. I’d work about 6 hours a day and get to be with my daughter all afternoons/evenings, government holidays, weekends, and paid vacations.
- Move to Nepal and try to find a job. I have no idea how difficult this might be but certainly I could live off of whatever I made. The cost of living there is pennies. I have family and friends there and speak the language. It feels like a second home. The problem is that I have no guarantee of a job there and would have to impose upon my family and friends until I found one. I will check out the situation when I’m there in October though. The other problem is that I probably wouldn’t make enough money to pay of debts or travel around a lot.
The biggest thing I need to do? Jump. Take my daughter and just do it. I know this is not the life I want to model for her. A life full of addiction to purchases, and screens, and distractions. A life where you try to squeeze adventure and relaxation into mini-vacations when really the clock is just ticking the whole time, until you have to re-enter a life full of mind-numbing routine.
My biggest obstacle is really my fear. I’m comfortable in my misery. I’m afraid to take a chance. Really, I shouldn’t be. My daughter is the perfect age to adapt to change. I have the perfect career (nursing) to fall back on should things really not work out and I have to come back to my old life. And I have the desire, boy do I have it, to live completely differently.