Brook Visser: U.S. to Uruguay to Andorra
October 10, 2013 | blogging challenge, Interviews, with kids
Each person’s unique vision of Nomadtopia is a reminder that there is no one way to create your ideal life, no right or wrong approach. Many people just like you—or in even more complicated circumstances—have made it happen, or are working to get there. Hearing others’ stories keeps us all inspired, and reminds us to dream big!
Brook Visser loves dark chocolate and is an Eating Psychology Coach who can help you deal with your relationship with food, and uncover your creativity. She’s a hooper, Pilates teacher, Zumba dancer, skier, and life breather. Put on your crown and save the world. Check out her artwork at BrookVisser.com.
How would you describe your current lifestyle?
My family and I live in Andorra (I’ll wait while you Google it). We are on our sixth year and we LOVE it. Since we have three kids, we will remain here until they are out of school (they are 9, 11 and 15) and then we might look elsewhere, but Andorra has so much that we love.
What was the first inspiration/motivation that led to your current lifestyle?
We had a few inspiration/motivation that led us to move out of the U.S.: We looked at our carbon footprint and decided it was time to downsize. We didn’t like the way our government was working (or NOT working). We wanted to be closer to our families. We wanted our kids to learn another language and to live in a place that was different from the U.S. And, finally, at 45, I had a stroke (!), and that got the ball rolling… There is no dress rehearsal.
After a year of recovery, we decided to auction our house, furniture, kids toys, lawn equipment, books, etc. and move to Uruguay. I just heard you say, I thought you lived in Andorra? You’re right, but first we moved to Uruguay. We lived in Punta del Este, on the beach and really enjoyed it. The kids liked the school and the people were really sweet. However, we were too far from our families and getting used to the reverse seasons was really hard. And I found out my husband doesn’t like sand, whodathunk?
How did you end up in Andorra?
We sat in our newly purchased house in Uruguay, and thought, if we are going to move again, we better do it now before we unpack everything. We looked at a map and considered the Canary Islands and Mallorca, and then I noticed this little tiny country called Andorra. We Googled it and decided it was THE ONE. We like that it is not an island, that we can hop in our car and drive anywhere in Europe, that it is small, has no army, it is a ski country, there is no industry so we have really clean air, and the weather is gorgeous. We have weather that is seasonal (which I adore) but lots of blue sky and it is very dry so it’s not ‘damp cold’ at all.
What do you miss most that you didn’t (or couldn’t) bring with you?
I don’t miss anything. My kids would say that one missing box with the Calvin and Hobbes book in it. Our mail works here, but it takes about three weeks to get anything from the U.S., so we don’t depend on our mail like we did in the U.S. We only write one check a month to our cleaning lady. All the rest is deducted from our account.
What is the most challenging aspect of this lifestyle? What’s the most satisfying?
I would say the most challenging aspect is my lack of language. Hardly any people speak English over here, yet there are more people learning it now than six years ago. Our kids speak fluent English, Spanish and Catalan (the national language) and my older daughter also speaks French. The most satisfying is that people are not on a rat race here .
I also enjoy the fact that our kids go to a Spanish public school where they have a three-course meal at lunch, and there is no school sport. After school each comu or parish has tons of sports they can play. My son swims, does karate, is in the ski club where he learns how to race every weekend and during the holidays. My daughters are involved with rhythm gymnastics where they practice three times a week and then compete. My oldest daughter is in the federal rhythmic gymnastics club where they compete in different countries. There is a sense of pride for the country and I like that.
What advice would you have for others who are hoping to do something similar?
It is a Grand Adventure. Be curious and try new foods and activities. Go small. Live in a smaller house, drive a smaller car, smaller everything. You’ll be surprised how much you don’t need. Start a new chapter and see where it leads you.
Just for fun: Would you rather spend one month in a place you’ve been to before, or 24 hours somewhere new?
I would rather spend 24 hours somewhere new. It is a big world out there.
Thanks for sharing your story, Brook!
Get the Top 10 Logistical Things You Need to do before becoming a nomad
(That Aren't What You Think)