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May

2015

Inside a Traveler’s Walls: Michelle Tupy

INSIDE A TRAVELER'S WALLS

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Hola friends. Good morning. As you drink your coffee and settle in with another “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” post we are boarding a plane for the US. I have so much to say about my first time back in the US in seven months. I am feeling lots of emotions, a bit of anxiety and an overwhelming amount of excitement. Later this week I will find a quiet moment to post about how it all went. In the meantime I would like to share another story about a fabulous traveling family. What do you think? Is this a cool series? Do you have a question you would like me to add to the list? Are you tempted to take off on an adventure?

The least favourite part about our accommodation is the fact that we don’t have a kitchen ~ Michelle

I would like to introduce you to Michelle Tupy and her family. They are living in Peru, but have traveled all over in their Volkswagen Kombia. First, I have to say that I will never complain about my small sink, lack of hot water and non-existent dishwasher again. See that picture with the propane tank? Well, that is Michelle’s kitchen. I have always said this life is not easy, but it is worth it. This lady is making some big sacrifices to live their dream. I am inspired Michelle.

One of the first things I noticed about Michelle was that she goes through life with a worry free calmness that we could all learn so much from. I have never met her in real life, but I am guessing that this non materialistic approach is so healthy for her children. I sense that they have a house full of love, food, global education and creativity. Do children really need much more than that?

I had to laugh that her airbnb.com rental was only meant to be temporary, but they decided to stay. This has happened to us several times as well. I am madly in love with airbnb.com, they make it so much easier for families to travel more. If you have not checked them out then go do it now. Run!

Ok, I am going to stop typing and let you taste a little bite of the life of a traveling family. If you live in a temporary home and would like to be featured on the blog please PM me for details. Do you live on a sailboat, have a summer home at the beach, RV the US, motorbike Asia, live in a yurt… PM me. My readers would love to hear your story. Oh and this series is not just for families traveling with children. Are you a senior citizen off on the grand adventure of a lifetime? I want to hear from you. I know you are out there. Don’t make me list your name here.

Temporary living, regardless of how long you choose to do it for, can offer a wonderful eye-opening experience for all involved ~Michelle

Introduce us to the people you travel with? 
There are 4 of us in our little travelling family. Matt is the head of the household and a jack of all trades. Throughout his career he has been a soldier, hotel manager, musician and an English teacher. He loves to travel and would like to leave our current premises sooner rather than later. Michelle works as a content writer for small businesses and is working on a travel book about her family’s trip abroad. She has the same love of travel as Matt, which works out perfectly. Emilia is 10; she loves chocolate and playing games, especially Minecraft, and would one day like to be a singer. Matthew is 4; he loves zombies, playing the guitar and having fun with his toys and would like to be a chef when he grows up (undoubtedly this will change tomorrow).

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are currently staying in an apartment in Arequipa, Peru in a lovely suburb called Yanahuara. It is very central and means we can walk to most places we need.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We found our current accommodation on AirBNB. It was only meant to be a temporary stay but we have made it work for us. Having a wonderful balcony on top of the building gives us the feeling of space and the views are just wonderful especially of the nearby volcanoes.

What do you do to personalize your temporary residence upon arrival?
We aren’t really in a position to personalise it as much as we would like but we travel with an abundance of “stuff’ to fit in our Volkswagen Kombi that it takes about half an hour to make the space our own. Once the kids have pulled out their toys, it’s home to them.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Our favourite space is the balcony. We recently celebrated our daughter’s 10th birthday up there and we often sit up there on an evening and enjoy the view and the peacefulness of the city. The least favourite part about our accommodation is the fact that we don’t have a kitchen. We have our gas burner, which we travel with, set up on the rooftop which works out great. But it usually means two or three trips up to the roof when we are cooking as undoubtedly we have left something we need downstairs.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current location before you started living in it?
Definitely the kitchen – the advertisement on AirBNB stated it had a kitchen but we managed to make it work for the most part. Accommodation in Arequipa was much more expensive than we had initially anticipated so our temporary accommodation became our long-term space because of a general lack of options.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move?
We travel with a bunch of stuff but one of the first things we unload is the kettle. It means the first thing we can do when we stop is to make a much-needed cup of coffee – the rest of the stuff comes after the coffee!

What do you miss most about having a permanent stationary location?
When you travel you can’t rely on things like the internet or hot water, something which many who have a permanent base can take for granted. Thankfully we have both of them in our current accommodation but that is not always the case.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their temporary bedrooms more comfortable?
Emilia carries three companions, Sweetums her teddy and her two puppies, Lollipop and Butterscotch. She also has a travel suitcase with her 3DS, books, Lego, pencils, etc. Matthew travels with Mickey Mouse and he also has a travel suitcase filled to the brim with Lego, toy zombies, his LeapPad, books and a selection of toy cars.

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place? 
We didn’t have to buy too many things for our current apartment – a couple of extra bowls and a sandwich maker which I picked up from an expat who was relocating back to America. The rest of the things we needed, we already had with us in our Kombi.

If you could only have one of the following in your temporary home which one would it be and why? space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
I love space but on our budget, it is a bit of a luxury. We need to have above average internet as I work online and need it for my job. If I wasn’t working, we wouldn’t need to rely on it so much so that takes major priority at present.

If you could compare your temporary home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
I think something adaptable like a blender – we have lived in all kinds of different accommodations from apartments in high-rise buildings, a 10 bedroom hostel, a one bedroom apartment and even a hotel room for a year. We just kind of slot in and work with whatever we have at the time.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family if you move often?
Traditions aren’t that important to us as a rule – we do celebrate the kids’ birthdays and of course we would be remiss not to do something for Christmas, although it is generally low-key without the fanfare and the Christmas dinner which usually accompanies such traditions. Things like Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc aren’t that important to us in the general scheme of life.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your temporary home or do you skip it all together?
We usually manage to have a Christmas tree and a few baubles around Christmas – I would hate to think how many Christmas trees we have purchased in the last 10 years alone.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
Not having to get involved with a high maintenance lifestyle – I am all for low-key with minimal maintenance and housework.

Many temporary home families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
For us, home is right where we are at the moment. Life is for living in the now not yearning for something that may or may not happen in the future. We don’t have a permanent home but it doesn’t mean that our life is less fulfilling than others. Everyone is different and we all have a choice – we choose to live this way but it may not suit everyone.

What makes you love the place you live?
Arequipa is such a lovely place to visit – it wasn’t our plan to stay as long as we have (we have been here for approximately 2 months) but we are looking forward to exploring the area and seeing what it has to offer. We are extremely grateful that we were able to find a comfortable, clean and affordable place to live.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of temporary living?
Not everything is going to be 100% to your liking – there is usually some aspect which you will have to get used to but that is all part and parcel of the territory. Temporary living, regardless of how long you choose to do it for, can offer a wonderful eye-opening experience for all involved.

Anything else you would like offer?
While we may not choose to do this temporary living lifestyle forever (or even if we do), it is our choice and we believe we are offering a great gift to both our children being able to explore and see the world. Currently in Arequipa, Peru we are looking to drive to Canada and possibly settle down somewhere. My husband likes the sound of B.C. and while we would never say never, we don’t like to plan too far ahead in case something awesome pops up instead.

Quotes to ponder:

Not having to get involved with a high maintenance lifestyle – I am all for low-key with minimal maintenance and housework.

For us, home is right where we are at the moment. Life is for living in the now not yearning for something that may or may not happen in the future. 

Ok, I must confess. I thought these temporary home stories would be really cool for you readers to enjoy, but I am getting so much out of them as well. Each day I learn from those who live a stationary life and those who travel. I thank you all for inspiring me to step outside of my comfort zone and learn from those who live differently.

Tomorrow I will be posting from Cambridge, Massachusetts!!! Bon voyage.

Besos,
Jessica

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