October 31, 2012

Yup, Still Alive - Fort Lauderdale Edition.

Hey Friends! Sorry for the absence, we arrived here almost 5 weeks ago (5 weeks?!?!) and life kinda got away from us before I had a chance to process what was going on around me... never mind write it down for the blog. Anyways, I seem to have acclimatized myself to life here a bit, and hopefully I'm back in the saddle!

When I last left off, we were still getting ready to go. We had some great going away parties...

And we (well, maybe just me...) were doing some last minute shopping, and skyping our lovelies...

We spent our last night at home at my mom's house. It actually just turned into a packing explosion. We came down here carry-on only.


 I'll let that sink in for a second while you contemplate my crazy level. (I'll post more about what we packed, and how it's working for us soon!) But, before we left, it looked like this:

Next Stop: Waterworld. 

As we flew over the everglades and into this city that would become our new home for now, all I could see was water. There are canals and bayous and ocean and lakes and canals and rivers and pools. Even the air is wet. I'm pretty sure that alligators live everywhere - but now I feel like i've moved into their habitat, not the other way around.

We arranged a ride to our crew house and got picked up at the airport. It was the first of a series of "OMG. This is my life now" moments. When you don't have your own car or home, you end up getting rides everywhere and staying in odd accommodations. It's a strange combination of becoming more independent and more reliant on strangers.

We walked into a giant house, with slight travel-hangovers from the long day and say a scene that looks  something like this:

It's a giant house, it's boisterous, busy and full of people who all know each other. I've never travelled and stayed in any kind of hostel or crew accommodations before (married young!)...so this was all new for me - and to be honest quite overwhelming. We snuck up to our cozy private room to get settled.

Before going back down to the main section of this house, which houses between 18 - 32 people...

It's crazy here! 
But as it turns out - 
I love it. 

Living with lots of people is really fun (most of the time). We make 'family dinner' about once a week, and we're all working towards similar goals (for the most part). There's always someone putting on a movie, or going out to a pub, or making dinner. My new crewhouse family helps me out lots. We work together and we hang out together. They know where to get the best tacos and what agencies to sign up for (more on job gettin' later). They lend me interview clothes, and the girls all get overdressed and go out to ladies night on Wednesdays. There's an amazing sense of camaraderie that, having never really played on teams, I haven't quite experience before. It's so fun.

We got ourselves some bikes, and started checking out Fort Lauderdale. Our strange new home.

More to come soon, thanks for your patience and thanks for all the support we've gotten already!

High Five!

September 21, 2012

We're on our way!

Early morning flight, stop over in Dallas and we're in our way... So excited to finally be going!

Yep. That is ALL OF OUR LUGGAGE {we're both wearing small backpacks in this pic}. We're travelling carry on only - and I'm stressed already that I've brought waay too much stuff! It's going to be an adventure.

Ps. We're having a debate on the value of upgrading to first/business class. I vote it's worth about $100/hour of flight time. {So a 2hr flight is worth it of its a $200 upgrade.} Buuuut... I haven't quite shifted my mindset to someone with no job! What do you think??

September 20, 2012

Long Term Travel Insurance for Albertans

The mixture of being Canadian residents and full-time employees with additional health insurance has afforded us the luxury of never really thinking about our health in terms of money. Everything has always been free. We pay nominal fees for some prescriptions and travel immunizations, but not much.

To be honest, I can't even really relate to having to pay for healthcare. You have to pay if you get hit by a car? You have to pay to have a baby in a hospital? This doesn't make any sense to me. I'll keep my politics to myself, but my views are based on my experiences with this system of healthcare.

Venturing out into the world, we had to consider our health coverage internationally. We're both certified SCUBA divers and plan on continuing to dive - so that was a concern as well. Luckily, through the power of the interwebs, most of the research was already done for me.

Yeay to blog friends! Yeay to being lazy!

Steph over at 20 Years Hence, wrote an amazingly detailed post Better Safe than Sorry about her experience with Canadian, American, and International health insurance. I won't even try to recap what she has to say, because most of my posts are rambling diatribes about drinking too much, not information packed learning experiences.

Point is: I agree with all of it, and have had many of the same experiences looking into insurance.

There are only a few differences we have as Albertans. AHCIP requires that you be in Alberta for 183 days out of 12 months to maintain coverage. Since we will be gone for longer than that, we can call to extend it out. But even that will only bring us up to 12 months of coverage for AHCIP basics {this is free coverage that all Albertans get}. If we lose this coverage, we will have to insure all of our coverage independently, and not just the additional insurance that we would get with most plans.

World Nomads and Bon Voyage are two companies that provide international insurance. After some comparisons, World Nomads looked more like the insurance that we would need, as it included more extended diving and 'adventure travel' coverage.

However, we had two more factors to consider:
{1} We wanted to add onto our current AHCIP coverage, not double it up
{2} If we do end up working soon, many boats will include medical insurance as a part of their package, and we don't want to pay for something that could be offered for free!

We went to check out AMA Travel Insurance options, and they provide some shorter term extended coverage. This is what we went with in the end. We bought insurance until December, which is 71 travel days and cost us $486 for both of us. Not the cheapest, but it's what works best for us.

**Side Note: All of these policies are health insurance that we carry on top of a personal life insurance policy that we pay monthly. Look how grown up we are! Multiple levels of insurance!**

When our AMA coverage runs out, we'll most likely purchase the World Nomads package if we still need it. What about you fellow travellers? Did you purchase any insurance? Have you had any experiences making claims worldwide?

If you have any specific questions about Alberta/Travel insurance - let me know!

September 19, 2012

Do Not Lose your Safety Deposit Box Keys.

As I write this, I have a countdown clock open and ticking down in front of me. 40 hours until departure. We've been busy having drinks with friends, and fussing about our packing list - as expected.

Buut... every plan has kinks doesn't it?

Here's ours: I lost the keys to our safety deposit box. Yep. With all this moving around and packing, they're gone. I do not suggest this.

Turns out that the bank can't just please let you into the box, even if you ask. You must pay. You must book a locksmith - who usually books out up to a week in advance. But if you beg and plead and let them know you are moving out of the country at the end of the week!! you can get in. For $200 we had a lovely visit with Wayne the locksmith who literally DRILLED our box open today.

Less that one day to go and we're chasing our tails and running all over town in cars we're borrowing from friends and family while trying to solve problems that shouldn't even exist.

Silver lining: we got to move our box to a bank branch thats more convenient to us now. 39.5 Hours. Losing my bananas.

Have a good day and don't lose your stuff! ha ha...

September 18, 2012

We Don't Have JOBS!!

Yep, You are looking at a bunch of unemployed vagabonds for the time being!!

My last day of work was Friday, and it feels soooo weird to not be at work today. No matter - I scheduled us some massages to 'ease our pain'.

[Budget Note: Yep, I knoooow we're supposed to be cheap when we have no jobs and we're planning on travelling. But seriously, we booked with students at a massage school - so it's cheap! And we're helping someone get an education. Who doesn't believe in education?? Exactly.]

We had one last run to the storage locker yesterday, and have some banking and shopping to do to get our last minute packing done... I'll get a money post up in a bit now that we have a solid handle on our pre-adventure finances...

Have a great day - 3 more sleeps to Florida!

September 16, 2012

Van Sold, Party Had

Hey Friends!

Holy crap - countdown is almost done! 4 days until departure for us...crazy. All of our last-minute stuff is almost done, except packing of course. We sold our van (Yeay, another $1000!), so now we officially own nothing that doesn't fit into a backpack. (Or a small storage locker)

We went out with some friends to celebrate our going away, had some beer at a German pub called WURST. If you're in Calgary, it's a great place - the basement is a Beer Hall. I already love beer, now I love halls. They play games like 'Stein-Holden' where you have to hold a one litre mug of beer out in front of you. Last one standing wins beer...

We both lost. Also this happens every weekend:

It's been a surprisingly emotional week saying all of our goodbyes. I guess we've been so excited, and a touch anxious about the details of our adventures, that we haven't really thought about saying our farewells.... So, while everyone we talk to asks us if we are going to miss the people at home we never really thought about the fact that they might miss us. Quite unsettling.

But, the world is small and technology is fast and amazing. Everyone has our skype/facetime/email/facebook/twitter/blog information to contact anytime. Now it's up to us to try to stay in touch as well.

Countdown is on, we're nursing some mild hangovers today and spending all of our time with family and friends...


September 10, 2012

Eye can see!

Soo... after I blasted out my blog to my friends and family here, my mom helpfully pointed out that there are things on the Champagne List that are done and you haven't blogged about them! Thanks Mama.

Anyways, remember the Champagne List? It's a list of things that we'll drink Champagne to celebrate as we get closer and closer to our departure date. And on the list... DANA GETS EYE SURGERY. I'm quite blind, and I don't want to have to deal with contacts and glasses and eye exams while I'm out and about in the world, so here we go. My last day with glasses:

I signed myself up for a consult, asked my brother (who got it done last year) how it goes, and put my name down for surgery. After about a billion people poking and prodding at my eyeballs, getting a million different drop that did weird shit to my eyes and vision... the doctors spoke. Implantable lenses it would be for me. With some very generous help from my Mom (full disclosure: 100%), I can now see!

Something funny? They filmed my eye surgery. I'm not posting it here because its just freaky weird medical stuff, and really - we are that kind of friends yet...

{Okay, fine - since you asked. Actually I'm too lazy to upload my video, so here is my brother's if you really need to see it. You've been warned.}

Have a good day - enjoy seeing the world around you in whatever way you can :)


Ps. I got my eye surgery done at Gimble Eye Centre in Calgary, Alberta. I highly recommend it for anyone looking into the same thing. They were great with everything and I have better than 20/20 vision now! Despite our awesome Canadian heath care system (not being facetious) You still have to pay $$ for this unless you have cataracts or something. It's not cheap so have your mom pay for it if you can..

September 6, 2012

We're Moving Friends!

Hi Friends and Family... 

Guess What?

In about 2 weeks. Holy Crap.

Welcome to the blog. I wrote it to tell you a bit about the crazy decisions we were making to sell our stuff, move away and add a splash of adventure to our lives! Take a look around if you want, here's our first post which explains a little about what we're doing and why...

Keeping in touch with our family and friends from home is super important to us... so I'll try to keep this blog updated with where we are and what we're up to as we go. In return, please comment, email, facebook, Skype, FaceTime or message us as much as you want!

We love you all - so buy us a beer before we're gone :)


ps. for our regular bloggy friends.... telling our friends and family is another check of the champagne list!

Road Trip: Portland

Hey Friends! We're back with more of our Pacific NW Road trip.... and it's Portland Time! We added Portland to the trip because we heard (a) The Beer is Good and (b) It's like Seattle, but weirder. I'm here to tell you... both are true!

Where we stayed: 
AirBnB! This was our first experience staying with an airbnb host... and it was great. It was cheap ($50/night) and close to Hawthorne (trendy area filled with food and shops). The house was weird, but I figured we were just getting in the spirit. Also, our awesome hosts gave us some great food recommendations...

What we ate:
What didn't we eat? Ha... I'm going to YOLO my way to obesity while travelling. Anyways, we mostly just ate to justify all of the beer we were drinking.

Full Sail Brewery ~ We sold our house here!! This was the first of many brewery tours, and gave us a great reason for celebration.... Juliano votes LTD5, Dana loves the Amber. Yum.

Hair of the Dog Brewery ~ Another awesome microbrewery, with 5 extra points for the name. Juliano's favourite by far. Also... two the plates of JUST MEAT that we ate for lunch were beyond delicious...

Awesome Oddities
I know that everyone says the Portland is weird, and Portlandia rings true... well my friends: They are right. Portland is a crazy, awesome, hilarious place to be. Somewhere in amongst the face tattoos and the organic street food - we fell in love. 

Here's some awesome moments courtesy of Juliano's camera addiction!

August 8, 2012

Road Trip: The Drive

Hey Bloggy Friends,

{I hope all my Canadian Blog Friends had a great long weekend!}

Remember that time I said we were going on a road trip? And then I told you we sold our house while on a road trip? Except I never really told you anything ABOUT the road trip? Yup, it's because I'm a crappy blogger. As it turns out, keeping a travel blog about preparing to travel comes a lot easier to me than a blogging about actually traveling. Strange.

Anyways...We did it. We went on a road trip! The first leg of our journey was from Calgary down to Sandpoint, ID for one night. It was a gorgeous drive through the foothills and into Rocky Mountains. Turns out I might not hate road trips as much as I was expecting to... {so cynical, Dana}. Here are some fun facts about our trip:

3350 Km driven

6 Face tattoos spotted

5 Nights in AirBnB homes

3 Nights with friends

2 Professional sports games attended

1 Sorta hitchhiker

Waaay too much beer sampled...

On the way there...
USA border security confiscated a bag of oranges we had in the car. Sad, because I was hungry later. The cheap motel we rolled into late that night was 50s themed. It was hilariously amazing.

On the way home...
TMI: I'm a horrible road trip partner because I probably have to stop for a pee every 2 hours or so. On the way home, while enjoying the gorgeous drive down the Coquihalla Highway, I forced Juliano to pull over at a rest stop for a 'break'. While slowing down to pull over - we passed a speed trap {moral of that story: my tiny bladder saved us a massive ticket!}. At the rest stop, a teenaged guy approached us and this happened:

Guy: Umm... excuse me? Are you guys by any chance driving to Calgary?

Me: Yep. Why? Is that your car over there getting towed?

Guy: Yeah, well... technically it's my mom's car getting towed. I was driving my girlfriend home to Kelowna.

Me: Ah ha ha.... that sucks. Hey - did you know that today is Mother's day?

Guy: Really? Shit. I don't have any cell reception here.

Me: You should call her.

Guy: Yeah, I know. Can I please get a ride with you? I can pay for gas or whatever.

Me: ha ha ha...I don't need your gas money. But I feel like this will be hilarious, so hop on in!

And that is how we picked up a sorta-hitch-hiker in BC and brought him all the way home. Turns out getting your mom's car towed on Mother's day is not really appreciated by your family - his dad was pissed. It was hilarious. Also he was quite polite and friendly {Canadians...} and complimented my taste in music {which made me feel young and trendy} - overall success on our part.

Some random notes about road tripping...

- I know the words to A LOT of songs. What a waste of brain space, I should be fluent in Portuguese by now.

- Trains are cool, bridges are awesome. Train bridges = super awesome

- Road side {and river-side!} picnics are the best

- I don't know anything about geography. Seriously, I'm lost about 90% of the time.

- Farmers Markets are cool in every city. And the food is always the best there.

- There is no chance in hell that I'll ever be able to translate USD-per-Gallon to Canadian-Cents-per-Liter for gas comparisons. You literally need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. I give up. But still:

Most expensive gas: 1.47/Liter in Vancouver, BC
Cheapest gas: 3.71/Gallon in Sandpoint, ID

- Cheap motels always have free breakfast and wifi. Fancy hotels make you pay for both. Why?

I know this post was a bit scattered, but I'll be back with more about Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Kelowna soon!


August 3, 2012


Holy Shit Friends. We've done it. We Booked a DATE.

Pause.  Rewind.  Review.

It was almost a year ago (Nov 2011) that we first had the discussion. We talked and talked and decided that maybe this Calgary life wasn't exactly what we were looking for right now. Maybe, we should take this double-income-no-kids moment in our life as an opportunity for something crazy instead of a stepping stone to the next inevitable 'phase' in life. We asked each other what our goals were if we were to give up the fairly awesome and successful existence that we had earned ourselves... these were our answers:

Dana: Adventure. I want to travel and see the world. 

Juliano: I want to be financial independent, debt free and ahead of the game. 

Those goals are not usually compatible. But we got some inspiration together, and we threw around a few ideas that might work. The Big Idea came up, and both of us thought "noo... that's crazy!". But soon, 'no...that's crazy' starts to turn into... 'what if...'  which turns into 'could we really?'

Friends, let me tell you - What Ifs can take over your life. Literally. What if we made money while we were traveling? What if we could travel indefinitely? Eventually... What Ifs turn into Could We Really?s. Could we really sell our house? Could we really move away from family? Could we really quit our jobs?

We just started answering YES to every question. YES, we could make money and travel at the same time. YES we could sell our house. YES we could move away. YES is a very powerful word, so it seems.

We began to secretly put a plan into place to move us closer to this goal. We saved money, and sold our stuff. We didn't buy or receive any Christmas gifts that year. We only told a few people about our 'crazy' plan.... and then we listed the house. And sold more stuff. And moved. And saved. And waited.

What started out as a silly idea between two people turned into and HUGE project that we felt was taking all of our time and effort. Now that we're close to the finish line, this plan has taken on momentum of it's own and is snowballing ahead of us, dragging us along for the adventure of lifetime.

We're excited, anxious, busy with so many details and a touch overwhelmed. But we really wanted to solidify the plan and make it a 'Real Thing' in our minds. So we bought our plane tickets! Yep.

We are now the proud (VERY PROUD!) owners of two one way tickets from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to the yachting capital of North America - Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. We leave...

September 22, 2012

Holy Shit. It's less than seven weeks away. We're moving this weekend to live in a condo with some friends, and we'll stay there until we leave. I still have to give notice at my work, decide on a packing list (yikes!), register for some courses, book a place to stay, organize our finances here (will share that with you!), finish a million detail of our lives here and about eleventy-million other things.

Let's get this party started!

Cheers, D & J

August 1, 2012

Storage and Stuff and Squirrels, Oh My!

  Despite getting rid of all of our stuff, we keep stashing it away into smaller and smaller compartments as we move locations. It's getting culled down, but we keep mini-hoarding without realizing it. Just one closet full of stuff --> Just one suitcase full of stuff --> Just one box full of stuff....  People are crazy, us included.

Selling all of our furniture was on the Champagne List. Well, we did that. Actually most of it went to a friend from my work who is setting up a new home (What's up, Jess!). But some things, and some furniture are too sentimental to leave behind or sell (family heirlooms, etc). So we got a storage locker. It's the smallest one we could find 5x8, and it's a bit out of town (cheaper!) - but it's still an expense we're carrying with us.

Money Disclosure: Our storage locker is costing us $92/month to keep while we're gone. We auto-pay it monthly and can manage it remotely while we're gone. After traveling for a while it may seem like a large expense, but for now it's worth it to us to keep the heirlooms and such safe.

And I think this brings us to the end of the story of our Stuff! Yeay!

July 30, 2012

What a Ride!

Hey Friends, guess what?

We got rid of our car! Yep, our much beloved VW Golf is gone. It took care of us for 4 years, and brought us to lots of amazing adventures. But, the lease was up the same day as our house possession.. so it was a busy day for us!

** financial disclosure: The Golf was leased for 4 years, and cost us $979 to return for some minor repairs and admin fees, ouch **

In the meantime - we’ve been driving our van. And while suuuper handy, it’s been a bit of a weird adjustment. Excuse me while I go all ‘first world problems’ on you here: Driving a nice car like the golf was quite reflective of our lifestyle and status in this city. Now, cruising around in a sketchy van - it’s a tactile adjustment and our first taste of ‘less possessions’. We knew it was going to happen, but having to let go of your ego in even the smallest of ways is an interesting shift in view. Just trying to be honest with you.

We’ve been staying with family in the ‘burbs for a couple of weeks, but next weekend we’re heading back downtown to stay with friends in an apartment. It’s going to be great to get our commute down to just a few minutes, but now we don’t want to deal with the expense of parking - so we’re selling the van (yeay money!) and signed up for an awesome new car sharing program to get us through the next couple of months!

Car2Go is a great program that we heard about on twitter (@danadebrito).We get to rent smart cars by the minute to use whenever/wherever we want! It’s all app based for finding the cars, parking and gas is all included, and it’s charged automatically to our credit cards. We signed up at an event so our registration was free (yeay free!) but I think it’s usually about $35/year.

Ps. I wasn't paid/sponsored by car2go in any way for this. It's just a sweet idea that I paid for with my own money.

Another check off our Champagne List! Cheers!

July 26, 2012


Hey Friends! 

Brief Interruption: I disappeared again for a bit - I guess 'the internets' spooked me out a bit. I started this blog using my full real name without thinking too much about it, and recently several casual acquaintances and friends have found out about the blog (not too hard really). It has always been my intention to let all of my family and friends know about the blog... but being 'outed' about the blog spooked me, and I was avoiding it for a while (can I get a woot-woot from the other avoiders out there?!) On the the fun stuff:

After the negotiations in the pub in Portland - we had to run off to an Office Depot…. 

But - You're dying to know if we made our millions selling the house! So, drum roll please….


After lawyer fees, real estate fees, negotiations with the buyer and all that jazz... That's how much we made selling our house. I know, don't spend it all an once, right? It was a hard process that we alluded to HERE and HERE and even HERE. And in the end we shared our excitement over selling HERE! That was a fun day. After all was said and done, we broke even - coming out just a squeak ahead!  

We sold our furniture. We donated our clothes to Goodwill. It's crazy how much stuff people accumulate when living in a set place for what they expect to be an indeterminate amount of time. We're still culling through it, scaling back and cutting down. The good news is that seeing your 'stuff' in boxes on the floor of your mom's basements sure adds perspective to their worth. It's simplicity time!! 

Cheers, until next time!

May 16, 2012

House Selling 101: Do it in a bar.

Okay friends, I know you all want to know about our trips, but we have WAY MORE EXCITING NEWS to share!

We sold our house!


Yep, the deal is already firm and possession is June 15. That is exactly 30 days from today. Or 722 hours... but who's counting? Money question: We'll end up breaking even.After nearly 3 months on the market, we're happy with that.

Here's the funny part for you - we got it all on video!  Juliano [the video nerd] was trying to film some beer tastings we were doing for his Portland video when I got the call from our realtor. So, through the magic of technology - I present you:

Selling a house while sampling beer in the middle of the day!

And that is our tale bloggy friends. I'll be rolling out our trip stuff and keeping you posted about the move - yikes! Meanwhile, out of town family will be staying with us this weekend and next... so we'll be busy!
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