Tammy Perry

Tammy Perry: Rolling with the punches in Guatemala

April 30, 2014 | ,

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!

Tammy Perry is an eLearning specialist from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. She is an avid motorcyclist, photographer and traveler. Tammy has also been a technology instructor for over 20 years, helping others learn the software that she works with every day. Educated in Computer Programming, Photography, Graphic Design, Journalism, Television Production and Technical Writing, Tammy has combined her passions and developed instructional design skills while creating engaging eLearning courses.

The first part of Tammy’s interview is from January, when she was just about to leave for Guatemala. Read to the end to find out how things have been going since then!

Tell us a little bit about your current lifestyle.

I’m in transition, as I just finished my job yesterday! I was working full-time at the Medical School at Memorial University, building eLearning courses for physicians’ continuing medical education.

I live in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, and I commuted, sometimes for an hour in traffic, each day.

I own a home and rent out the basement apartment.

What does your Nomadtopia look like? What led to this vision for your life?

My vision for my Nomadtopia originated back when I was 23 and backpacked around the East Coast of Australia. I was completely comfortable traveling spontaneously and when I found great temporary work, I enjoyed staying still for a few months at a time.

Now I am 47 and my kids have moved on except for my youngest, who is 12 years old and hunkered down in Newfoundland with his wonderful dad. Part of my Nomadtopia is highly dependent on Skype for distance parenting!

I have identified travel, freedom and spontaneity as being tied directly to my health and well-being. After a bout with severe depression a few years ago, I decided to change my life to be healthy and happy!

My Nomadtopia has no daily commutes in cars, it gives me authority over the work I do, and the ability to travel to see family without having to get a pre-approved, limited vacation.

My Nomadtopia has me spending time in warmer climates, living simply and minimalistically, clearing away the clutter and living more free from “stuff”.

I am also a motorcyclist and have dreams of traveling the world on two wheels.

My Nomadtopia is setting an example for my children and my family, showing them that yes, you can live without mortgages and day jobs, if that is what makes you happy.

Even though I will be living simply, I don’t intend to lack any income and will have a thriving business that brings in lots of money and allows me to invest in ways that help the world become a better place. 🙂

When you think about your Nomadtopia, what are you most excited about? Most nervous/scared about?

I am most excited about being in a warmer climate! I am nervous about getting enough work.

How soon do you plan to be living your Nomadtopia?

Tomorrow. 🙂 I am getting in my car and driving for three days to get to my hometown to visit my family before boarding a plane to Guatemala with my 18-year-old daughter.

I will be consulting with an eLearning company there and then we shall see what happens from there.

What’s the biggest challenge in making your Nomadtopia a reality? How will you overcome that challenge?

My biggest challenge at this very moment is selling my house. I had a buyer right up until YESTERDAY when he pulled out at the last minute.

So… I leave tomorrow without the house sold and no cash in my pocket. Ouch. However, I have set the ball rolling to rent it out until I secure another buyer. This has certainly caused me the most stress and pain so far in this whole journey!

What advice do you have for others who want to create their own Nomadtopia?

“A goal is a dream with a date.” —Tammy Perry

Set a date and do it come hell or high water, at least by that date or sooner.

Just for fun: Would you rather spend one month in a place you’ve been to before, or 24 hours somewhere new?

Somewhere new! New environments stimulate so much creativity and growth.

How have your first few months in Guatemala been?

When the deal on my house fell through just two days before I left, I had to move on to Plan B: I asked my wonderful basement apartment tenants to move upstairs to my flat in the house, and, for a break in the rent, take over the process of renting out the basement for me.

They were happy to oblige and have successfully rented the basement apartment. The house is now going back on the open market, with hopes that a buyer is interested in the investment, so my tenants won’t have to move!

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

I am still in the lovely village of Jaibalito on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, but the work I originally came here for has still not materialized. The company has made good on their promise to pay the rent at my Casa, and my bill at the local coffee shop, until the end of April, so I have used that time to look for more work.

In true serendipitous fashion, I met up, online, with an instructional designer who needed my help with a number of projects, and we’ve just started working together. This is very good, because without the house sale, I have had very little cash flow, and need the income.

Tammy and her daughter at the Mayan ruins at Iximche

Tammy and her daughter at the Mayan ruins at Iximche

My daughter is thoroughly enjoying her time here before launching into college life back home. She has befriended the local baker, and he lets her use his kitchen to bake (one of her favourite pastimes). They have been exchanging recipes, and she even sold some of her pretzel bites at the local market.


Tammy and Carlton

Tammy and Carlton

I’m also enjoying myself. On one of my first days here, I met Carlton, a friend of a friend who is a motorcyclist like I am (and also a knowledgeable guide on the area). We have become very close friends since, and a romance has developed!

Thanks for sharing your story, Tammy!

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