Lil' Beaut parked in the red center of Australia

Saying Goodbye to more than just a year

As of December 31st, 2020 we have been nomads for 1,546 days. Over four years of moving, exploring, and living minimally. It is a constant act of saying goodbye to people, places, and things. But it is also a continual welcoming of the new.

Today was one of those goodbyes, this time to Lil’ Beaut, our home for the past fifteen months. After a few years of backpacking in South America coming to Australia and buying a bus (Lil’ Beaut) felt like a huge luxury. Having a home, even if on wheels, gave us space to expand and a place to live when we were far from any town.

We have seen some of the most beautiful beaches, camped in the outback, explored the wonders of the red center, and saw the many faces of Uluru. We even spent the pandemic of 2020 in the 118 sq feet of Lil’ Beaut. Most of all we have been able to experience Australia with Lil’ Beaut and meet so many wonderful people.

Lil' Beaut camping in New South Wales
Lil’ Beaut near the beginning of our journey

Goodbye to Lil’ Beaut

Just a few minutes ago we watched our bus drive away, now owned by a stranger. I admit to having a few tears seeing her disappear around the corner and out of our lives.

We sold Lil’ Beaut, our home, on Facebook. It was definitely a mix of emotions to see her drive away.

We pictured this moment a month ago when we discussed selling Lil’ Beaut. We saw the two of us standing beside the road with all of our belongings as our home drove away. Now our belongings make a bigger pile than just the two backpacks we started with in 2016. Trin joked that we might need a shopping cart to push our stuff around now that we were homeless again.

Not only were we saying goodbye to our home and mode of transportation this week we also need to say goodbye to a lot of the stuff we had accumulated. Our goal is to pare down to only what we can once again carry to be ready for our next adventure. Selling the bus was a huge piece of preparing for our next opportunity.

Lil' Beaut by a termite mound in Western Australia
Lil’ Beaut by a termite mound in Western Australia

Goodbye to 2020

In anticipation of selling Lil’ Beaut we found a house-sit in Sydney for the end of December. We used The House Sitters website which is specific to house-sits in Australia. During the holidays we had a home with three cats to care for and plants to water.

A few days before the housesit was to start, three cases of COVID were found in Sydney. The homeowners were headed to Western Australia, a state that has quickly closed its borders to any travelers from “hot spots.” The homeowner called us very concerned that she would not be able to go see her mom. She asked if we could come early if she moved up her flight. We agreed to come to the home whenever she needed us to. She moved her flight up a day earlier and made it to Perth in Western Australia just a few hours before Western Australia closed their border to anyone from the entire state of New South Wales.

We settled into the house and over the following days additional cases were found while thousands of residents of Sydney were tested. The cases never rose to more than nine new cases a day but the northern beaches were locked down (where the outbreak occurred) and all of Sydney was put on caution. We have stayed in the house as much as possible only going to the store for groceries and meeting with prospective buyers as requested by the Primer. On New Year’s eve, we stayed home and watched fireworks on TV as I suspect many across the globe did this year.

Fireworks in the Sydney Harbor by the Opera House
We were less than five miles from Sydney Harbor on New Year’s Eve. However, due to COVID restrictions, we watched the fireworks on TV like most everyone else in Sydney.
Photo by Damm Fridmar

Goodbye to stuff

At this housesit, we had the task of going through all our belongings and reducing the pile. Then we pack it all up and find it is still too much, so we unpack and find more things that we could donate or dispose of.

Our brand of minimalism is not for everyone, nor is it for every stage of our lives. It is the mode we have chosen to fit what we want to accomplish during these years of travel. We find that freedom from location is much easier when there is a freedom from things as well.

Fewer things are fewer things to worry about. We also couldn’t justify paying to put anything in storage that we wouldn’t be using for years. Yes, we do have a few things at my parent’s house, mainly bicycles that we hope to one day ride across the USA. That doesn’t mean that it is easy to get rid of things I’ve grown attached to. I’m even struggling with leaving behind the rocks I’ve picked up along the way – rocks! lol.

A sleeping bag, dry bag, tote bag, snorkel gear, and four backpacks in the corner at our house sit.
After weeding through all our belongings multiple times we still have too much stuff to carry. Our goal is to reduce this by another 30% by the time we move to our next location. Not pictured here is the large tote bag of food in the kitchen, most of which we intend to consume before our next move.

Goodbye to bad Relationships

Having a break from travel also gave me a chance to say goodbye to a business relationship that was not working. Trin and I have discussed breaking off our relationship with our property manager in North Carolina. Our investment properties at risk under the manager due to not taking care of water issues right away (in fact not at all – I arranged the fix from here in Australia).

I always dreaded calling in to talk to the manager and being constantly interrupted. It was time to find a manager who could have a normal adult conversation on the phone and one who was flexible enough to find solutions to issue. I hire managers for their expertise and want one who brings solutions to me for each issue, not just issues with a message of gloom and doom.

It was time to leave.

I spent a few days researching as well as reaching out and talking to numerous new managers. We finally made the switch to the new management company. It is great to have a manager with people skills. One of the properties is being turned over so I asked them to take a look. They said the carpet was worn and could be cleaned but should eventually need to be replaced. They gave me a quote for all my options. Finally solutions, not just an email in the middle of the night saying the house is flooding but offering no path to a solution. Sometimes saying goodbye is necessary. I’m very happy to go into 2021 with people I like working with.

It is a pleasure to give my business to kind people. I also feel like it’s doing my part in encouraging kindness in the world. I’d been struggling with this relationship for some time, but if I’m honest the last straw was when COVID hit. I told my prior manager that I’m willing to work with any tenants struggling, payment plans or discounts depending on what they needed. She responded, “No, you should not do that.”

Note: If you live in the Phoenix area E & G Real Estate Service is truly the best property manager around. There have been issues at our properties, but none of them have been a hassle for Trin or I. E&G Real Estate has an expert team. They always send a few options. We just choose one and they do all the work. Most importantly they are kind, flexible, and always professional. During COVID they showed compassion and at the same time protected property owners. (This is not a sponsored link – just sharing a great find).

Sunset over a cattle field in Cambroon QLD, Australia
Watching the sunset in Cambroon QLD, Australia. Saying goodbye to a beautiful day, so many along the way.

Leaving behind the insanity

This year is marked by tragedy for many. Many are fearful and have played out their fears with hatred. The news is a thing that brings anxiety to many and isolation has only enhanced that anxiety and fear. It has been a year of goodbyes, some have said it to loved ones, some have said it to the way of life they were used to.

Some however have found the change of pace welcoming. Some have enjoyed not having a commute and spending more time with family. One of my friends even found new love.

One friend said that this year has been great for him so he could watch his one-year-old daughter grow. Another friend said this year has saved him all kinds of money from not going out all the time and at the same time deepened the friendships that he has. Numerous friends have said that they have actually had time this year to relax a little.

Before we left the USA a frantic pace became commonplace and being “busy” was a badge of honor. It was a pace that left no room to stop and consider, no room to meditate on good things. We were so busy with goals that they distracted us from the best things in life. The frantic need to make every moment productive was overwhelming.

Having been away from that pace since 2016 has been refreshing. I hope that as we all leave the insanity of 2020 behind, that we remember the good things and that we keep a sane pace of life. Because if we don’t fulfill our purpose what good are the goals.

Having said all these goodbyes we are ready for our next adventure.

What are you leaving behind in 2020?

11 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to more than just a year”

    1. I’m very excited for you and your next chapter as well!

      One of our upcoming posts will be all about the costs of traveling Australia. Feel free to ask any questions as you prepare for you trek. Since it might be a while till the border are open I should have time to get it out before we move on to New Zealand. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Great Post Bonnie!


    In 2021 I am Leaving behind stress.

    2020 brought on an abundance of work related stress for me and so many of my work colleagues and friends.

    Here is to caring ‘just enough’ about work, and caring more about ourselves, so we have the space to care more about the ones we love!

    Here is to a fantastic 2021 for everyone.


    PS – I only knew Little Beaut for a split second. I know you will not only miss her, but what she represents for the 12+ months you were with here.

    1. Hi Shaun,
      Stress is a great thing to leave behind, such a healthy thing to do. I’m so glad you got to meet Lil’ Beaut. It was sad to see her driving away but I can honestly say we are already feeling the freedom. Research for New Zealand begins!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. While you are sorry to see the Beast go, imagine the new adventures it will now have carrying new folk around this great Land.

    Travel well and gently.


    1. Hi Steve,
      The new owner was very excited and we are excited for him. I hope that it does as well for him as it did for us for a long time. I hope you are having a wonderful new year. Thank you for opening your home to us so that we could get her ready to sell.
      Bonnie & Trin

    1. Thank you! More to come. We most likely have a few months to wait before getting into New Zealand, but that will give me time to write about all the places I didn’t have a chance to write about yet. I hope you are safe and that these posts at least give a bit of a distraction during your lockdown.

  3. Hi Bonnie and Trin! Your adventure continues. I can relate to saying goodbye to Lil Beaut. Our 1-year nomad anniversary is in 2 days. Turns out it was easy and freeing to get rid of our home. It’s our car that will be the big problem…who could have expected that one? PS…In this past week’s video, I had a good laugh that Tim is carrying around rocks as well. What nomad carries ROCKS? Turns out 2 of you!!

  4. What a great post! 2020 was a year of . . . . . . . we all need to ponder what was good and what was bad. Change what we can and let go of what we can’t change.

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