This story is necessary to fully comprehend the starting point of my next post, "How We Went Full Digital Nomad in 2 weeks." We lived in an apartment in Jacksonville Beach for about five months, chugging along. I even got an in-person job across the street, and we were active go-ers to the local yoga and Spanish club. Then, one afternoon, we decided to leave the country, and, because of tax reasons (to be covered next post), we had exactly two weeks to cut all ties and move out.
Now, here is how we lived in Florida, after two rounds of digital nomadism under out belt. Our sincere intention was to make a home base and put down roots. We were both teaching online, so we needed at least a two bedroom to have separate teaching offices (which are, indeed, a tax write-off as well, as long as you don't use the rooms for anything outside your business purposes.) We really like to have at least two toilets, but settled for one as the price and location was quite nice. The very nice thing was that we had an extended-size patio, and were told that we could plant would we wanted in the dirt patch. This was a huge bonus for us, because we are going to start growing our own food: vegetables, herbs, and soon become experts in the practice of permaculture. We owned no furniture right off the bat other than a futon that my mom had donated along with some kitchen supplies, and a water filter which we love dearly. We were able to secure a truck from a recently deceased relative with nominal effort. Things were really going well. We realized we did need some furniture to create our teaching stations in our offices. We headed to local thrift shops to get pieces of furniture for less than $10 each, and ordered a floor futon to sleep in the extra washroom, so that our offices could be unitary in purpose.
We hung a curtain up so we could have both darkness and airflow. In general I really like floor-sleeping. Awhile back in Portland we tried out actual floor-sleeping, i,e. just some blankets on the carpet. To be completely honest, I slept great and had no pain in my back or body. But the effect was kind of a dopamine related thing. I would go to other people's houses and see their couches and bed and instantly have this rush. I would think "Holy cripes, that looks so luxurious and comfortable." I realized it's kind of silly to deny myself at least some kind of level of comfort. But, if you're looking for things to add to your dopamine detox list, besides fasting, floor-sleeping can definitely re-sensitize you, and I do believe most able-bodied people adjust within a few nights.
This is how we kept our living room. You can now maybe appreciate the phrase "messy minimalists." Daniel liked sitting in the floor chair but I honestly loathed it. The futon folded out and was nice for napping but not super well suited for sleeping. Note the many foam rollers - we were going to yoga five minutes away for 90 minutes every day, and that's something I truly miss when we go abroad. There is yoga abroad, of course, but it's either a bit more expensive or farther away unless you situate yourself purposefully. The teachers we've had in the states have just been immensely full of quality as well.
Now we have the not-so-minimal dining area. All of the trinkets I had found at my mom's house and took to the apartment, for the most part, promptly ended up right back where they started after 9 months. I really did love that dining set, which we got all 5 pieces for $40 at a thrift shop. However when we left we gave away some parts and others left at the curb.
Here is my dual-sided desk in my teaching office. Sometimes I would want to stand during teaching and would switch the standing desk with the sitting one. I would teach from one side and work on other business projects on the other. Teaching so many classes a day in super early times meant it was almost always a mess, especially when I started working my in-person job alongside it.
Lastly, it may not look like much, but these are our squash plants that started it all. So, we love to compost to the point where throwing away food scraps in a plastic trash bag just does not feel right. We were determined to compost in our apartment, Unlike in Portland, when we had no patio and actually composting under our kitchen sink (resulting in a dreadful fly infestation), we were actually able to compost outside. This was fantastic and we soon began sprouting some squash and other volunteers from the compost and filling up our dirt patch. However, despite what had been previously expressed to us, our rental manager approached us and informed us that our garden did not look nice and we were not able to grow whatever we wanted. We were right next to the office, so looks we of the utmost importance. She then mandated that we dig up our squash, which were just a few weeks from bearing fruit, so they could put cookie-cutter pesticide-laden plants in their wake. We were beyond heart-broken, and at this point were determined to leave the apartments and find a better way of life.
We did some research and decided we wanted to buy our own property and stop throwing away money to rental companies, in turn giving us the freedom to do what we wanted with the land. The other plus would be that our pup would have a nice yard and we would have to spend 2+ hours a day taking her out on walks. So I called up my sister, a realtor, and we began our branch-out!