This is where we begin again. Back where we started, on a stretch of wild, neglected beach on the Swahili coast of Tanzania. Slow travel. Redefining the concept of working remotely, juggling laptops and backpacks. Seeking expansion.
I should be royally pissed off at Africa. We moved here for the first time in 2008. It was actually the second time around for Shaun. He was born in Tanganyika-now-Tanzania and had one of those idyllic, expat childhoods cavorting around an enormous chunk of fertile farmland on the western slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Escaping the cold Rocky Mountain winters, we were determined that this was it. We were headed to our piece of paradise. We sold our home and most everything else, practically pushed our barely adult daughters out of the way, and went to Live in Africa, rose-tinted glasses firmly planted on our noses. But after five years of a glorious but financially frustrating life in Tanzania, we decided to go back to Canada to re-group. Our money had slowly eroded down to a tiny nub by the surprising cost of living and doing business, coupled with the global financial meltdown. We desperately needed a steady double income again. And I swear Africa was pushing us out, urging us to leave because we had to deal with what I called the 3 Ms:
Malaria: Not a problem for five years and two previous visits. But one month before I was scheduled to return to Canada, wham.
Melanoma: I discovered a small mole on my shoulder a few months after I returned to Canada, but thankfully it’s all okay now. I just have to pay more attention now when living in the tropics. It’s been an adjustment embracing my pale skin.
After three years we packed up and shipped out again to Tanzania, although this time it was different. Less stuff to sell or store. No guilt over leaving our daughters. Okay, not as much. And we felt more prepared. We knew better the rules of engagement in Africa. This is just an extended visit to see family and friends, after all. A freer perspective.
What can I say? We missed Tanzania terribly when we left. The landscape, the ocean, the people, our family and friends. It gets under your skin. Africa is extreme and you either love it or you hate it. We love it, so we needed to make this our first stop.
We’re just a couple of late boomers who still feel young enough and who decided not to settle for the status quo. I don’t know where we’ll end up, and how this experiment in remote working and living in countries with lower living costs will go. But so far it’s working well. We’ve been here for four months now, with another month to go before we leave for Cambodia. We’ll play it as it comes and see how long we’ll stay and where we’ll go after that. This is our new world order, and I’m curious to see what you think.