My girlfriend left the other day to spend three weeks in Italy and Hungary. I have to say, I’m more than a little jealous. I spent three years basically up and travelling whenever I felt like it, but currently we’re too busy at work for me to slip away. But the thought of sitting around a patio, nibbling on a wood-oven pizza and sipping a beer sure sounds appealing right now.
As people may remember, Luciana and I moved out to Hamilton, Ontario last year to spend a year working in the new office. It’s been a great experience, and it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone we’ve spent time with over the last year, but the plan was always just to spend a year out here, and that’s coming to a close. I lived in Ontario for two years when I was younger, and decided then that the west coast was where I wanted to end up, at least eventually. In addition, Luciana has a job waiting for her in Vancouver, something she’s excited about.
I’ve actually been struggling a little bit with figuring out what to do when we get to BC. I’ve been passively watching real estate in Canada for 10 years, waiting for an opportunity to buy a place. Part of the appeal is just having somewhere permanent to hang a hat. But there’s also the financial part of it as well: I’ve been renting for years, and while comparing renting to buying is never an easy comparison, it’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that many of my friends’ net worth has gone up by $200,000+ in that period due to a combination of the principal in their houses and the increase in asset value. Now of course, if the real estate market crashes, that could be wiped out pretty quick. But even the naysayers don’t expect a drop of anymore than 20% of so outside of the core places like Vancouver and Toronto. And if the US is any example, prices slowly came back up over five years or so.
Even if real estate takes a hit, mostly because of a Canadian recession, will housing purchases stop? I know several Canadians who took advantage of cheap prices in the states to buy houses there after their crash. I think it stands to reason that even if the Canadian economy and the subsequent housing crash happens, that it will likely just be a good opportunity for foreign investors to snag up real estate.
The other aspect which is hard for me to factor in is all the travel I do. Even if you renting makes sense in one financial comparison, leaving an apartment empty for two, three or four months a year while we’re travelling doesn’t make any financial sense. At least with a house we could try to rent it out for that period to recoup the money, but there’s no apartment I know of where it’s ok to re-rent it out (not legally anyways). Luciana actually owns an apartment in Brazil, and since their seasons are reversed it sure would be nice eventually to have a place in Canada for the summers, and one in Brazil for the winters (their summer).
I also can’t ignore the fact that I’m starting to feel burnt out. This last year has been great for business, but I haven’t had a real vacation since mid last year and I’m feeling pretty beat. As most business owners know, it’s a lot of hard work; I’ve been doing startups and small businesses since I was 23, and I just can’t put in the long hours like I used to.
Thankfully though, when Luciana and I head west I’ll have an opportunity to unwind a bit. We’re leaving sometime at the end of June or early July (depending on when the furniture is picked up), and driving through the US. Unlike our trip last year, which we were forced to do in four days due to time constraints, we are planning on spending two full weeks driving across. That means most of our days should involve no more than four hours driving on average, which will be a nice change. In terms of sites, we plan on stopping in Chicago for a day and a half, The Field of Dreams in Iowa, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Portland, Cannon Beach, Seattle, and then back to BC. We’re not in any huge rush, so we may change the schedule as we drive, but we should end up back in BC sometime around July 15th or 16th.
Once Luciana starts her new job, we won’t have many opportunities to do any travel until the following year. So I’ll likely do a one or two week solo trip in September. I have yet to see the Great Wall of China, and it’s one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, so I have been debating going there for a quick escape. Luciana has already been, so it might be best for me to head on over and see it so the next trip her and I do can be something we both haven’t seen (i.e. Petra).
So while the Migratory Nerd hasn’t really done any migrating recently, in the next three or four months I should have more updates as we travel across the country, once again. I’m definitely looking forward to doing a bit of camping in Yellowstone. One thing I really miss when I’m out in Ontario are the mountains, and it’ll be nice to see them again.