In July we finally landed at our first house sit of the summer in Cabbagetown. After a month of driving and visiting friends and family in June and visiting more friends and family during the first week of July, we were glad to only have the company of, Cosmo, a very affectionate cat. We tried to hide for a few days before we let anyone know we were in the neighborhood. But as soon as we were spotted a party was planned. Cabbageheads don’t need much of an excuse for a party and our comings and goings are often enough.
At the end of our house-sit we packed up the van and headed to Greenville, SC to house-sit Buddy and Sofie. Unlike our Cabbagetown house sits which we mostly find through our friends or word of mouth, we found this house sit in Greenville through a subscription site called Trusted House Sitters (THS). We are trying to build up our references on THS this summer in case down the road we want to pursue house-sitting full or part-time abroad. Another reason to go to Greenville was that we are now residents of the city and had lined up a new doctor and needed checkups.
We have been residents of Florida for about 10 years but now since we no longer have a boat we don’t have an overwhelming reason to go there anymore – except to visit a few friends. In Greenville, we have lots of friends and family (Greg’s son, James, and daughter-in-law, Taylor). We will always return to Greenville. Our mail now goes to James and Taylor’s house. We have South Carolina driver’s licenses and even Ballena Blanca has official SC papers.
After a short stay with Buddy and Sofie, we packed up the van again and headed to Lake Keowee about an hour’s drive from Greenville. We arrived early for a family weekend with James and Taylor and Greg’s daughter, Jessica, son-in-law, Chris, and the grandson, Gabriel at Taylor’s family’s lake house. Greg and I spent one night alone in this lovely setting before everyone else started arriving over the next few days. There were lots of rides on the pontoon boat across the lake, food, presents (for the kids from our travels in Mexico), pool playing, swimming, beautiful sunsets, and good conversation.
Coincidentally the day the lake house fun ended our friends Dan and Lisa had reserved a campsite about 40 minutes away from the lake. We spent 2 nights camping with them and our friends David and Michelle before heading to our next house sit in Greenville with the lovely Lily Mae and Smokey Blue.
Our stay with Lily Mae and Smokey Blue ended just as another house sit started back in Cabbagetown. So we packed up again and drove back to Atlanta to sit with Cosmo again and his dog sister, Lucy, who had to stay at home this time.
And our total expenses for July were…
Here is the breakdown of categories…
Although not super low, our expenses are gradually returning to levels we can actually afford.
Only $14.75 of the Insurance/registration expense was for insurance. Due to moving to South Carolina, we got a better rate. Not that good but I guess we received some credit due to the change. The rest of the total, $360.61 was for our new driver’s licenses and van registration. Moving to South Carolina was strictly for convenience – it will most like be a more expensive state for us to have residency in.
The expense under repairs is for another part to repair our windshield wipers. While we were on the road leaving Mexico we discovered that the intermittent setting for the wipers no longer worked. The wipers only work on high and don’t automatically reseat themselves. You have to time turning the wipers off just right so they don’t stop in the middle of the windshield. In June we bought a new wiper motor and a new actuator. Neither item was a fix. So we took it to a Ford dealer. After 3 hours of trying to figure out the problem they finally told us that it was the wiper motor pigtail and would cost up to $700 for the repair. Wow! We told them we would continue to try to fix it ourselves. Fortunately, Ford didn’t charge us for the diagnosis. The pigtail cost $74.50. We haven’t attempted installing it yet but perhaps more driving in the rain will motivate us.
At $415.45 eating out was a bit over the top because it is so darned expensive to eat out in the United States. Also, we did a bit of treating with the kids.
Greg and I both purchased 6 month worth of contact lenses, $233.10.
We also did a bit of shopping for our upcoming trip to South America. We bought a backpack. I am keeping track of all these expenses in a separate report. The backpack (not the one shown below) cost $233.20.
To see all of our expense reports, click here.
If you are interested in reading other expense reports from nomads who really know how to live cheaply (less than $1000 a month) while still having a good time, check out the blog from our friends Mark, Liesbet, and Maya at Roaming About. They are currently traveling in Peru.
The Camping/Sleeping Report
Here are our camping/sleeping stats. All stays are free except where indicated.
6 – nights in friends’ houses
19 – nights house/pet sitting
4 – with family at a lake house
2 – nights camping with friends (friends paid and refuse any contribution)
Map and Miles
We drove 949 miles in June. Our cost for gas per mile was 30¢. Between July 1 and July 31, we burned about 57.1 gallons of fuel and drove a very disappointing 14.06 miles to the gallon.
This month we will really be gearing up for our trip to South America. We bought one backpack and learned how to roll clothes. We are making more lists of more things we need to buy. We have found a place to keep Ballena Blanca while we are gone.
Ecuador is having snap elections right now. In May the current president, Guillermo Lasso, dissolved the national assembly which brought forth the elections. Lasso is not vying for the position again but there are 8 different parties running candidates. One of those candidates was assassinated last week.
This is concerning. No place is entirely safe but political violence is worrisome. The first round of elections will take place in Ecuador on August 20. I hope that they go smoothly and democracy is the ultimate winner.
In the meantime, we are still sticking to our plan to go study Spanish somewhere for 6 months.
We are back in Cabbagetown at another house sit with Kofi, Elliott, and Bo. We will be in Atlanta until at least September 3.
And BTW – since we’ve been back in the southeast we have run into many people who I had no idea had been keeping up with the blog. Thank you! I really enjoy knowing that you are all out there following along. Seriously, I appreciate all of you.
*Click pics to enlarge, read captions, and view in a slide show.