Using Points & Miles While Homeless In This Phase Of Life – Chapter 1
A new chapter of life means my wife and I are using points & miles while homeless right now. I say “homeless” because don’t technically live anywhere right now. If we didn’t have points & miles to use at present, I would definitely be stressed.
This is chapter 1 in what likely will be numerous posts in the future as we figure out the next part of life, where it takes us, and what happens along the way.
What’s Happening With Us?
To recap: I grew up in the US and met my wife while she was living in the US. After getting married, we agreed to move back to Brazil, where she grew up. Her lifelong dream had been to become a veterinarian. Vet school in the US is insanely expensive. We moved back to Brazil, lived with her mom for 5 years, and my wife just graduated last month.
The awesome part is that we are debt free, no student loans. My wife’s degree also meets the educational requirements for working / getting a veterinary license in the US, Canada, EU, and more. The problem is that she can’t work in the US or elsewhere until she passes the licensing test for foreign vets, which is not at all easy. All things considered, the paperwork, written exam, and practical exam will cost about $20,000! That’s US Dollars.
Obviously, she doesn’t want to take the exam until she’s really ready. How does she get ready? She needs some experience working with vets in English. She learned all the medicines and tools etc. in Portuguese. She knows how to be a veterinarian; she just needs to learn some lingo to get ready for the exam.
That brings us to the present: my wife got called for her dream internship. Starting September 1, she will be an intern at a wildlife rehabilitation center that helps injured animals and then releases them back into the wild when they’re ready. They even have student housing. It’s unpaid, but it will be the best step forward for her career.
When you hear “student housing” you probably assume I can’t stay there. That’s correct.
In fact, I won’t even be in the US while she’s there.
Because I’ve been working and living outside the US for the last 5 years, I have been exempt from the bulk of US taxes. My plan is to remain outside the US for the rest of the year, in order to remain exempt for 2021. That means I won’t owe thousands of dollars of personal income taxes for this year. Since I work online, I can continue working from wherever, my wife can do her internship, and then we will meet up around Christmas or the end of the year…somewhere. It’s not financially smart for me to remain in the US, thus owing thousands of dollars in taxes, when I can’t even sleep where my wife is staying anyway. So I’ll bounce around outside the country.
That’s why I say we are using points & miles while homeless, since we technically don’t have a home right now.
Where Are We Now?
We passed through the US for 5 days recently. We flew up to the US with as much stuff as we could bring on our LATAM flight (read my review here) and put it in storage near my parents’ house. We went to Denver for the meet-up for the Miles To Memories Diamond Patreon group, and now we are in Mexico.
Since my wife needs to be back in the US for her internship on September 1, we have 2+ weeks together to travel for a bit. We really have no idea what’s coming next and are just making it up as we go during this trip. Beaches, scuba diving, and enjoying time together are the only real plans before splitting up for a few months.
And After We Split Up For A Few Months?
What happens after my wife goes to her internship is still to be determined. I need to make those plans, which will obviously include visiting countries I haven’t visited yet. A good friend of mine messaged me saying his wife told him to meet up with me in “one of those countries people can’t pronounce”.
I’ll be able to use points & miles for free flights to get my wife where she needs to be plus get myself to the places I will visit solo. Luckily, a lot of the places I want to visit have a low cost of living, such as Western Africa and Central Asia. My money will go far on meals and daily spend for transportation, etc. And I can work, supporting both of us while my wife is making her dreams a reality.
Obviously, there are a lot of positives. My wife will strengthen her career aspects toward a career that earns good money. She will be happy with the work she is doing. The future will be better for us.
I will get to see some new places, save a bunch of money by not owing a year’s worth of income taxes, and visit some places solo that my wife isn’t interested in visiting on joint trips.
We are also lucky that we don’t have kids, which would make this impossible. We don’t have any pets, since our dog died last year. And our stuff is in storage near supportive parents who will pass by to check on it every so often.
The fact I earn dollars for my work is also a huge plus.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that there are negatives to this. We’ll spend several months apart during a time that my wife will likely be stressed and exhausted. Support via FaceTime isn’t quite the same.
Travel uncertainties make my trip more complex than it would’ve been 2 years ago. What if I get COVID and have to quarantine in a foreign country? Getting malaria in Tanzania sucked, and I have no desire to spend more time in a foreign hospital. Plus there are the ever-changing rules of what documents you need for visiting various countries. That makes planning more than 2 weeks in advance almost useless, so planning can’t be done in bulk.
Vision For The Next 2.5 Weeks
My wife and I have about 2.5 more weeks together. During this time, we are currently in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. We are debating whether to go to another part of Mexico that we’ve never been to or go to Belize next. Now that Canada is open, do we want to go there to see some National Parks and some friends that we haven’t seen in 5 years? Everything is happening on the fly, planned only a few days in advance. But we don’t plan to leave North America during these 2.5 weeks together.
My wife and I are fortunate to be able to put together something like this. People outside this hobby can’t comprehend that we aren’t stressed by what’s happening right now. Those who don’t use points and miles don’t understand how we could be OK with the uncertainty and booking things on the fly. Probably even some people within this hobby see this as being outside their comfort zone. For us, we’ve accepted it, and it works for our current situation. We are lucky in many ways, and being able to use points & miles while homeless in this season of our lives will save us incredible sums of money. In fact, we wouldn’t even consider trying to do this if we had to pay cash for anything.
I will provide updates along the way. I’m sure everything won’t be perfect, but it will definitely be interesting.