Friday, December 9, 2016

It's Like Living In National Geographic

By Melody Schafer - YouTube Vlogger

We are originally from Ohio but moved to Southwest Florida 7 years ago. It still feels like we are living in National Geographic with all the AMAZING wildlife in nature. Seeing an alligator cross the road is not so uncommon as one would think.

We were not bird watchers when we first moved to Florida but we soon became one with the variety of beautiful birds and of course other wildlife. We also started a YouTube channel called Living Free Forever, ,  to share the amazing experiences we have had here in Florida with our family as well as our future plans of travel.

There is so much more diversity in nature and wildlife here in Southwest Florida than we ever could have imagined. We hope if you have not had a chance to visit Florida that you will do it one day. It is definitely a wonderful destination.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Get Rid Of ALL Your Stuff BEFORE Moving!!!

By Melody Schafer - YouTube Vlogger Subscribe

No matter if you plan on studying abroad, traveling the world, or just moving to another state....downsizing should be one of your first steps. Decluttering and getting rid of most of your stuff will make your life so much easier for the next stage you have planned in your life.

The more you travel or the more you move, the more you will see that all that STUFF is just getting in your way and not as important as you once thought it was. You either have to pack it, store it and also have to PAY to have it moved and/or stored. It's just not worth having STUFF.

I can see why minimalism or becoming a minimalist is becoming so trendy these days. Younger people see how their parents are bogged down but STUFF and are afraid to travel or move because it is just too much work to even think about because what will they do with all their belongings? Many younger people are thinking ahead and want to live "light" so they can have more freedom to do what they want, such as travel.

This video gives you a little insight on my thoughts on this topic. Free yourself! Declutter! Downsize! Minimalize!

Monday, November 28, 2016


By Melody Schafer

Ric & I are YouTube vloggers, own our own business, homeschool our son while our daughter attends college.

We believe in following our dreams and goals. We enjoyed living in the country in Ohio for 10 years then we decided to downsize and move to Florida for a little sunshine. We have now been here in Southwest Florida in Sarasota County for 7 years and ready for our next adventure. We have absolutely LOVED Florida and we may be back one day.

What is this next adventure? Downsize MORE! and travel the world carrying only one carry-on each. Where we will end up? We are not exactly sure. We do have family in Spain so that will be one of our destinations. We are going with the flow or "Swaying With The Palm Trees" as my father used to say.

We believe in living life to the fullest and when our time is up in this world we don't want any regrets.

Watch this video for full details of our plans. We will be vlogging our planning stages along with our travels. We would love to have you join us on our journey on YouTube Channel at

What To Look For When Buying Land

By Melody Schafer

What to look for when buying land

1. How much are taxes with just land? How much will taxes be after you build the house you are planning on building?
2. How many acres do you need to build a house?
3. How big or small of a house can you build?
4. If you want to build a workshop first...does city code allow you to do that? If so, can you have a bathroom, shower, toilet so you can live in it while you are building house?
5. Can you target practice? 4 wheel? Hunt? How much land do you need to do any of these things you would like to do?
6. What can and can't you do on that land? Can you sell things like produce from your garden? Woodworking? Xmas trees? Commericial/residential?
7. Think ahead in case you want to change your mind as to what you want to do on that property. You may think at first you may only want it for residential but later wish you could sell something off the land and work from home.
8. Can you park your RV? Can you camp out on your land if you don't have a house on it?
9. Can you build a tiny house? What size? Get all the details and codes.
10. Can you build bon fires?
11. Can you have city water and well water? Or do you have to cap off your well water if you tie into the city water?
12. Can you have dogs? Chickens? Other type of animals?
13. Is this a gated piece of property? Monthly cost?
14. Other rules you didn't think about?
15. Does it  have sewer, gas & city water? If not, if it comes down your street is it mandatory for you to plug in? If so? Cost?
16. What is being built nearby? Will the cost of your property increase? Decrease?
17. Is there fracking? Will they be going under your land?
18. Can you dig for oil? Gas? and sell it?
19. Can you collect rain water if out west?
20. Ask lots of questions BEFORE you buy.
Owner financing?
Farmer's Credit Bureau loans?
21. Is there a lien on the property?
22. Talk to neighbors or locals in the area at the bar, grocery store of what they know about area and about the land you may want to buy.
23, What is the closest emergency roome? Hospital? Doctors?
24. Demographics? Statistics? Crime?

There are so many more questions you can ask before buying land. Grab your notebook and start taking notes. The more you research, the better off you will be. Good luck with your hunt for land!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The People We Meet In Our Lives

By Melody Schafer

When I was 15 years old I took a trip with my family to Spain to visit relatives. I found myself on the Rock of Gibraltar resting after a long walk, having a conversation with a woman in her late 20s who was from an eastern European country…I don’t remember which. She stopped speaking in the middle of what I thought was such a lovely time, talking about the beauty that surrounded us.

She leaned forward and almost in a whisper asked me what I thought about my president. I thought that was a strange thing to ask me, being I was just a kid and no one was around to listen. I felt like my answer would be a secret revealed to her.

Keep in mind this was before the Internet and cable TV, so unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer for her…other than a blank stare. She caught me off guard. My biggest worry at the time was making sure I got all my homework done since we were visiting during the school year and I was missing school.

I wasn’t really aware of what was going on in the world and did not understand anything about politics. I consider myself an easy going person who does not like conflict. I always try to do what I believe to be good and right. I love people no matter who they are or where they are from, unless of course they are trying to physically hurt me. I always considered myself to be an open-minded and accepting individual.

I did not realize some people outside the United States thought the President of The United States of America represented the thoughts of all people in my country and that whatever policies were in place or whatever the government was doing, represented all people here in the United States.

So I was honest and told her I did not know what I thought about the president. He was not even a thought to me at that age. She asked more questions and was shocked by my answers and told me she apologized for thinking ill of all Americans. She thought all Americans thought the same way. I don’t even remember what the questions were after all these years, but that conversation made a HUGE impact on that woman and on myself.  I believe she learned not to judge a group of people by one person in that group and I learned that there was a world of people out there who had different opinions other than my own.

Later that week, we took a ferry across the Mediterranean Sea to visit Morocco for the day. On that boat ride, I met several young people from different countries. Thankfully, we were able to communicate using English, Spanish and some hand gestures trying to explain what we were trying to say. It appeared we all had preconceived notions what people from the other country were like. We all learned that we could all get along, even if the leaders of our countries did not. We were not each other’s enemies. We had a wonderful time together and learned a bit about each other.

This is when I really understood the power of travel and how important it can be in an education beyond books. Meeting people in person, face to face, can change your life and how you perceive it. A total stranger can be the catalyst of something you do in the future that may be the most important thing you do in your life. You just never know.

We meet people in our lives who are in it for a short time or for a long time.  Sometimes the experiences we have with the people we meet can be good and sometimes not so good. Either way, we learn from our experience with these people.

Everything and everyone in our lives happens for a reason. We may not always know what that reason is, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is we can grow and change for the better because of the people we meet.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Achieve HUGE Goals With Baby Steps

By Melody Schafer YouTuber @

We all have dreams and goals. We sit with our thoughts in the clouds, thinkings what could be "one day" or "should have been". We feel euphoric when we let ourselves dream of traveling to beautiful places with white sandy beaches or climbing the peaks of kilimanjaro instead of sitting in a cubicle dialing phones, entering data, standing on a factory floor or stuck in a brick and mortar business once thought to be "the dream".

We may have spent years in a university to get that degree that would guarantee a secure life with a mortgage, car payment, credit card bills, spouse, children and a dog in the suburbs....we were told that would make us happy...that is what we were "supposed" to do.

We never dared to allow those whimsical dreams to be anything more than that...UNTIL..."one day" we realize...IT'S NOW OR NEVER. How can we even think about something as crazy as selling off ALL our belongings and traveling the world. What would people say? What would our family think of us? Would doing something so outrageous be a financial mistake? Is it better to just keep our heads down and work hard and save until we retire at 67-70 years old and THEN try to follow those dreams with maybe partially clogged arteries, high blood pressure from living a life that we didn't order or arthritis so painful we can barely climb out of a car...let alone climb a mountain? Are we even guaranteed a life until that age?

Each person needs to decide for themselves if they want to say HELL WITH IT and GO FOR IT. Of course a little financial planning would be a good idea but a dream all starts with one small baby step. If you are a responsible person you most likely will want to have some type of plan.

Get yourself a notebook. Start researching your dreams. We will use traveling the world as an example, but your dream is yours and can be ANYTHING you want it to be. Your dream or final goal may not turn out exactly how you might be a bit might be BETTER. You will never know unless you start with that first baby step.

Something as simple as purchasing that notebook from the dollar store is your first baby step. Putting pictures up on your wall as to where in the world you want to go might be a 2nd baby step. Finding out about each  country and the exact town, street, hotel or airbnb accomodations might be your 3rd step. This alone can take some time. Work on your dreams on a daily basis.

If you plan on solely living off an online income while traveling then finding how to earn online will be a project in itself. Finding online business opportunities and jobs is not that difficult. There are many, but you need to find something you are passionate about. If you arre passionate about traveling you may want to blog about your travels or even in our case blogging about preparing for our world travel. Vlogging on YouTube is a wonderful platform to meet many wonderful people around the world who are already living your dream. They may have many tips and ideas to help you get on your way. Watch their videos, ask questions, follow through with whatever you plan on doing. Don't keep your dreams up in the cloud...even if that dream is a few years away.

Deciding on downsizing or completely selling off everything is something you need to think about. Is this something you even want to do? The more you own, the more money you need to house your belongings either in an apartment, condo, house or even storage unit. The larger home or storage location, the more you need to work to pay to house those things. Having less can can be a feeling of total freedom. There are many YouTube videos on how to declutter, how to downsize, how to become a minimalist. You don't have to become a minimalist of course, but one can learn a lot from just keeping our minds open to a new way of living.

Following a dream can be a complete and total lifestyle change. What type of lifestyle do you want? What will make you happy? No one is stopping us from making changes in our life...only fear. If one makes a lifestyle change and they don't like it they can tweek it until they do like it. It rarely happens that a dream just happens over night and works out the first time. It takes a little work...OK...a LOT of work. It takes determination.

Yes, there will be MANY obstacles along the way. This is why we take baby steps. Keep inching forward and working around, over and through those obstacles until you get where you want to be. Once we reach a goal, we most likely will have a new goal and dream and that is OK. It's the journey that counts. This is why we must enjoy today and every day as we move forward with whtaever we are doing. There is no guarantee there is a tomorrow, so we must do what we feel is right and good, but also do it in a way that makes sense to us in the long run...because hopefully we do live to a ripe old age and when it's our time to leave this world we can say we had no regrets. We tried it all. We made some mistakes and maybe we did not accomplish all we wanted, but we can at least say we gave it our all.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rent or Sell Our Home While Traveling The World???

By Melody Schafer

Listen to the pros and cons of renting and selling our home in Southwest Florida. What would you do, if it were you?

Renting out, selling or just leaving a home empty is a very difficult decision to make  if one owns a home (without a mortgage), but wants to travel the world. If there is a mortgage on the home, I would think that decision would be much easier to make.

Those ae the 3 options I can think of. Keep the house empty while one leaves for a year or more to follow a dream of travel and pay for the maintenance such as getting the grass cut, making sure it is secure so as not to get broken into, pay for utilites that won't be used, but necessary to keep the property maintained and pay taxes and insurance on the property. I suppose if one is not on a tight budget, one might be able to afford to keep the house empty AND travel the world. That would be the IDEAL situation.

Another option would be to hire a management company to rent out the home, collect rent and make sure all is well. One would think that is the best option and it might be IF one can find an excellent management company. Of course if the owner of the home is on the other side of the world this is VERY IMPORTANT.

One needs to look at how much profit can be acquired after all expenses if renting the home out. Is it worth it? If the owner of the home gets lucky they will have a super management company who finds an awesome renter and all goes well. The worst that can happen is that a company that one thought was great turns out to be less than stellar and in addition finds a not so stellar renters that destroy the property. I suppose this is what insurance and deposits are for but still is a big decision.

I'm sure most experiences fall somewhere in the middle, but it's a decision one needs to think about carefully...are they willing to take a gamble? Some would say yes, take a chance...those are the people who become millionaires. Or does a person who prefers peace and tranquility and less stress over the possibility of riches take that chance in order o earn extra income? At this time, I don't have the answer. I've heard pros and cons to renting out property...anywhere from something like a story out of Nightmare on Elm Street to everything being just wonderful.

Of course selling the home is the 3rd option. Yes, it is easy enough to sell a home in a hot real estate market in Southwest Florida, but is that really the best option? One needs to consider where to invest that money? Is there a better investment right now than rental property? I am not an investor, so I don't know.

I have asked around and researched which would be the best option. I have talked to financial wizards, accountants, realtors, maintenance companies, people who have done all 3 and ALL of them had different answers. So I don't think there is a right answer for any one person. That answer can only be answered by the person in that particular situation. I only wish I knew what that answer was. I am sure it will come to us when the time comes.

Stay tuned to find out what decision will be made in our near future :)

Traveling The World & Finances

By Melody Schafer

If you haven't seen yesterday's video, please watch it first at so this video will make more sense to you.

In today's video I discuss things I'm needing to think about when traveling the world...such as finances. What credit card is best for a traveler? What bank should I use for my checking/savings account? How much cash should I carry in case the cards or ATMs don't work? Lots to think about. I'd love to hear what you think. Comment below.

Selling Everything To Travel The World


By Meody Schafer 

The first step towards any great dream or goal is to have a plan. We all have our own ways of planning and doing things, so find what works best for you. I personally love having a notebook to write in. Call me old fashion…pen and paper.

Writing out the type of lifestyle you would like to have can be quite the challenge…especially if you think there is no way and no how it can be achieved or if you are not even sure what you want but you know what you are doing is NOT what you dreamed of. Most dreams stay just dreams because the person can’t even imagine writing down such lofty goals. If one can’t even write that dream down on a piece of paper, then how could that dream ever be achieved?

We have nothing to lose by putting pen to paper. Write down the specifics on how you would like to see yourself living? Do you want to live out of a carry-on bag or backpack and travel the world? Would you like to own a cabin in the mountains with a woodstove and some chickens out back? Would you like to go back to college now that your kids are grown to do something you have always wanted to do?

Once you have decided what that dream is, deciding the first steps to achieve it will be the next thing to think about. Thankfully, the internet has made researching any topic possible. Just get started in your research and take those first steps and just see where it leads.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your dream is impossible or to grand…that you can’t do it…or that you should not. This is your life and when it’s all said and done, be sure you have no regrets.

My husband & I, along with our 2 children, believe in LIVING FREE FOREVER. We own our own businesses, homeschool our son while our daughter attends college.  We keep our lives as simple as possible, so we can feel free to do what matters most to us...spending time with our family, traveling & just enjoying life. We will also be discussing emergency or disaster preparedness which we find to be essential to every household's plan.
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