Selling Out to the American Dream

Yes, we’re still alive! I know….it has been over 3 months since our last post which is the longest we’ve ever dropped off the blogging grid. We left Thailand and headed back to the States on Feb 7 and we’ve since been settling back into life in America. After our month in Asia (that was actually supposed to be 4-6 months) turned into a total mess, we were just kind of burnt out and needed a detox from travel and blogging.

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In case you need some refreshing, we were supposed to head to Thailand right after Christmas for a few months, followed by another few months in Bali with our friends Whitney and Robert. But when our visas for Thailand were denied, we had to scramble around and make new plans which left us losing money on flights we already purchased. We decided to re-route to Malaysia for a few days to spend New Years Eve in Kuala Lumpur, and then headed straight to Bali without much of a plan or place to stay.


After a few days in Bali, we realized that although beautiful, it wasn’t the ideal place for us to stay long term. So we decided to leave Bali.


We took a chance on getting the 30 days on arrival visa in Thailand and booked a flight to Chiang Mai. We were so relieved when we made it back to our favorite little city in the world. We moved right into a nice serviced apartment in the city center, got a motorbike for the month, and got to enjoy the beautiful January weather in the north of Thailand. And then, Charlie and I became so sick that we ended up in bed for the first week and never completely felt ourselves again until about two weeks later. So, we pretty much had two weeks to show our friends around the little place we called home for two years. The last two weeks turned out to be really nice, but we did have to spend a large portion of our time catching up on work.

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We did manage to celebrate Whitney’s 30th at this beautiful spot overlooking the reservoir in Chiang Mai.

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After the stressing and scrambling around for the month of January, we were really exhausted and happy to be going back home for a bit with no travel planned for a while. We just needed a break. Oh, and there is also one minor detail I forgot to mention…

We bought a house! Actually, we bought a house in Florida while we were in Thailand. Who does that?!? So that may have been why we were a little excited to get home and stay a while. We totally sold out to the America Dream….or maybe not? So why on earth did we buy a house? Are we done with traveling the world? Let me explain…


We were never looking to buy a house, but Charlie (as many of you know) is always looking for a “deal”. Three days before we left the States for Malaysia, a house on 4.5 acres with a 1 acre spring-fed pond came up on Zillow. Charlie immediately saw something in this house and had to go see it. We looked at it on Christmas Eve and before we knew it, we were making an offer. As we were in the Tampa airport about to board our flight, we received an email from the owner’s that they had accepted our offer. What was even better, the previous owners were travelers like us, they had already sailed around the world, and they were selling this to move into an RV full time to travel. So the house came fully furnished. They left everything behind, including the tractor (that’s really what sold Charlie ;-)All we needed were our tooth brushes to move in, which was excellent since we had sold everything we owned 2.5 years ago!

So is this it for us? Absolutely not. We’ve been home not even 3 months and we already have the itch to go again. Its been a nice change of pace just sitting still, unpacking our bags and being domestic for a while, but we still have so much we want to see. And the great thing about this place is that our only bills are electricity and internet and the internet is a hotspot we can take anywhere with us. We can still pick up and leave for a few months and we might even take advantage of Trusted House Sitters as a home owner now.

The plan is to keep it as a home base for about two years and then flip it, and for the price we bought it for it should be a great investment.

In the meantime, we are working on a number of projects to get the house and property into shape. We decided it was the perfect location for a backyard wedding in November 😉 See the progression of the work we’ve done on the pond since we’ve been home!

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Crazy, isn’t it? We are looking at motorhomes and hoping to get away this summer for some smaller trips throughout the US, and of course we will begin planning an epic honeymoon for the end of the year.



Commenting area

  1. John E Farabaugh May 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm · · Reply

    Very cool. Glad to hear you are not giving up the traveling. Chase told us about the house. Sounds nice. Congrats to you and Charlie on getting engaged. As I have traveled all over the US, I can tell you there are so many nice places to see. Look into Canada as well.


    • Charlie and Brittany May 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm · · Reply

      Thanks! Yes, we’d love to visit Canada too! So much to see in North America. We are ready to get back out on the road. Hopefully this summer!

  2. Glad to see you guys back online. Enjoy the time off. Any plan to visit Vietnam ? HCMC should be a nice place to hang out for digital nomad. JT

    • Charlie and Brittany May 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm · · Reply

      Thanks JT! We still haven’t made it to Vietnam but we would love to get there one day. When we get back to Asia, its definitely on our list.

  3. Hello Charlie and Brittany:
    Wow, it is amazing to me how similar our journeys have been for the last 3 years. From getting rid of all my stuff in Florida 3 years ago, and leaving America and falling in love with Chiang Mai, and being a trader while traveling (that’s how I found you guys in the first place), and giving that up, and starting a new business, and then winding up back in Florida, it is remarkable. I can definitely relate to the feeling of wanting to leave everything behind in America, but being drawn back here again and again. I am in South Florida now and am settling back in and finding myself getting all new stuff to live here. I am back here because none of the businesses I thought I would be doing in Thailand worked out. And I didn’t want to be retired or buy a bar or coffee-shop.
    I will also not be giving up the traveling, and will be taking a ‘short’ trip to Chiang Mai this summer, going there for 2 months starting in July. Now that I have lived overseas, I don’t plan on ever giving that up, just balancing the responsibilities of having a business here and keeping that going while trying to travel all over. And spending time with the friends I made over on the other side of the world. But I cannot seem to shake the USA. I guess the best thing would be to make the best of both worlds, since both worlds have lots to offer.
    Well, anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I am not the only one being an ex-pat back in the USA!
    Take care, Dean

    • Charlie and Brittany May 10, 2016 at 6:55 pm · · Reply

      Wow that is so crazy how similar! You are totally right. We were just talking about missing Chiang Mai as well. We are thinking about heading back in Jan for a month or so when the weather is good. We definitely have the itch to go again, but I don’t want to give up on a place to keep my “stuff” either. But I’m with you, a balance of being in the US and being away is the most ideal situation. Maybe we’ll catch up with you in Florida some time! Thanks for the message 🙂

  4. Patrick Mills May 12, 2016 at 10:30 am · · Reply

    Wow, the money you had to spend to get back to the USA is unbelieveable, we are trying to get back to California, we have already figured out we can’t afford to buy anything decent. Now we are looking for a place to rent, but the prices are so high we just don’t know if we will have much of a chance. 20-30 miles out of the city is where we are going to end up & everyday we will have to deal with commute traffic. We will have to buy a car, get health insurance, car insurance & more, un like you we are in are 60’s. Unless we can find someone that will rent a room & bath to us, we won’t be able to afford to live there any longer. We miss are friends, but we may only be able to visit every year for a couple of months. Patrick

    • Charlie and Brittany May 16, 2016 at 12:17 pm · · Reply

      It really is crazy and once you’ve been away, it makes it harder to come home and dish out that kind of money. But, on the flip side, its nice to be “home” for a while. Definitely a trade off! Good luck to you!

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