In thinking about what being “one part gypsy” means to me, I feel drawn to creatives and independent thinkers who spend their life on the road or have otherwise embarked on soul-calling journeys, and the lessons, surprises, joys and life-changing realizations that have come as a result. Through sharing these stories, it is my hope to inspire all of us how to think outside the confines of our own box and rethink the 9-5 conveyor belt culture.
Last month I introduced Allison Kunath, and today I’m so excited to share the dreamy life of my sweet friend Anelise Salvo. I met Anelise nearly 4 years ago in Palm Springs when both attended Designer Vaca, a retreat held at the Ace Hotel for female graphic and web designers to learn, grow and connect. Immediately drawn to her sunny and laid back demeanor, it came as no surprise to learn she was from sunny and laid back Santa Barbara! We’ve stayed in touch ever since and I’m in constant admiration of her genuine kindness, open heart and sense of adventure, not to mention her killer design sense.
But it was a few years ago as we were talking about all things work + biz, both us looking to get out from behind the computer screen more, that she told me about her and her husband’s plan to move to Tahoe that I knew she was seriously on to something. It was the most brilliant move, and since then I’ve seen her bloom into an enviable world traveling mama, spending half the year in Tahoe and the off season doing the stuff of dreams like sailing around Europe and road tripping across New Zealand with her most adorable family. A very cool example how to have the best of both a rooted home and life on the road, her story, below!
Name: Anelise Salvo
Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
Current Location: I am currently in our rented VW van in the South Island of New Zealand with my whole world and travel buddies; my husband Tyler and babe Costa (9 months). We have been living in the van for about 5 weeks and basically living our days through the navigational beacon that is the CamperMate app. It has so much amazing information (in case you are thinking of doing the same trip!) that has helped us choose where we are going to sleep, park, shower and pee, ha. All the essentials. We are nearing the end of our trip at which point we will be going to Santa Barbara for a few weeks to see family and then back to Tahoe to start our summer season! My husband is part owner of Tahoe Sailing Charters so we spend mid-April through October dwelling in North Lake Tahoe and the rest of the year we travel about. We choose a new place in the world we want to explore and then go there. We also spend a lot of time in Santa Barbara and Seattle visiting family since we basically are homebodies in Tahoe during the summer.
What brought you to where we find you today?
We were living in a tiny bungalow in downtown Santa Barbara; my husband was working 7 days a week and I was in the second year of starting my location-independent business so I was never not working. We were tired and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. We had at that point gone through our first devastating miscarriage and it felt like life was just shitting all over us. We didn’t know what to do, but we knew we couldn’t sustain life as it was and we saw our future in Santa Barbara looking super tough and not filled with the things we loved – mainly traveling. We had a “come to Jesus” moment and realized that our priority in life was family, travel, freedom, work less, do better work and work for ourselves. Once we made that conscious declaration in the living room of our casita, I swear the universe heard us and said, “I got this”. We got a phone call within a week with a business opportunity that at first scared me and rubbed me the wrong way – my immediate response (no joke, it was instant) was “No, no, I’m not moving to Tahoe, what would I do there. I mean it snows, right? There is no ocean. No. No.” Then we started to unpack what this opportunity would give us. We would be able to be seasonal dwellers in Tahoe (and for the record, Tahoe is the most magical place that I feel so honored to call home) for the summer months, Tyler would be partner so he would be working for 6 months of the year part time and earning more than he currently was in Santa Barbara. Once we analyzed the prospect laid out in front of us it was clear that this was the move we had been dreaming of. A year of negotiations later we moved to Tahoe City and started our seasonal dwelling. This is our second year living this way and we pinch ourselves daily because it is so good; we love it and feel so incredibly grateful to have this lifestyle. We both cherish our freedom in work and our daily life and hold that up as a non-negotiable. We get to spend our days doing things we are passionate about and raise our family together as full time parents.
What parts of your lifestyle are traditional? Which parts are not?
I think the only traditional parts of our lifestyle is we live in a condo for part of the year and we sport the mini-van, ha. The rest is non-traditional, but I think that how we customized our days to fit our life goals is becoming more and more common which I get so excited about! I love seeing families breaking the norm and creating a lifestyle that feeds their family’s soul and brings them joy.
How do you afford life on the go?
I work year-round from wherever we find ourselves and now that we have a baby in tow my limitations for work-load have shifted so I am constantly making tweaks to make my work and life compatible so one doesn’t overtake the other. My husband works from April – October and earns his full salary in those months.
What sacrifices have you had to make for this lifestyle?
We live far away from our families and that is the hardest part, especially now that we have a baby. But we have created such an amazing community of friends in Tahoe that feel like family and we make it our top priority to visit family whenever we can.
Any advice for others wanting to do the same?
Choose your career based on the lifestyle you want. We wanted freedom in our day-to-day and boy do we have it. Sometimes it’s almost too much that we need to set schedules or else things slip through the cracks because there is no one telling us to do X or make sure deadlines are met. I would also say it’s so possible! Whatever you want your lifestyle to look like, it is possible, it’s just a matter of MAKING it happen!
What is the most important item you travel with? My laptop + external hard drive.
Tell us a high and low moment from your adventure so far.
The high has been our flexibility and freedom to go and do whatever we want, when we want. I love that I got to spend my pregnancy in Italy eating pasta and gelato everyday (and yes I totally recommend it) and I love that we are able to take our son to new places, into new cultures and meet new types of people every day. It’s such a gift that I hope one day he will appreciate. The low from our current adventure so far is non of us are sleeping because we are sharing a bed in the van and the normal “just let him cry it out” doesn’t really fly when you are parked next to a dozen other campers 🙂
Any logistical tips you can share?
1. Housing in your main residence. We are currently renters in Tahoe and through a property managment company have ski-leased our house for the months we are away from Tahoe so we have someone else paying our rent and we will have a house to come back to when we return in April. I would highly suggest hiring a property managment company to do all the correspondence with the renters – it’s been such a dream situation. We just staged our house for renters and haven’t thought about it since October. Genius.
2. Internet. Since I rely almost 100% on fast internet I have found the best way to guarantee I have unlimited access to internet when we are traveling is to pay for an international plan through my US carrier. I have purchased plans, hot spots, and routers in other countries, but something always seemed to fail. A part of me hates to be so reliant on the internet, I wish I could say I just unplugged and soaked it all in, but ultimately I chose to be location-independent with this career and that is just one of requirements of the job I’ve learned.
3. If you plan on living in a van with your baby, consider the sleeping situation. We did not expect him to crawl when he did so our plan for the crib in the van didn’t work. Ultimately, we all suffered through so many consecutive rough nights of sleep.
4. Take it all in as a learning experience and one big experiment. Nothing goes as planned, but that is the best part of it all! We like to think that this lifestyle is teaching our son to be flexible, adaptable, interested in new experiences and different types of people. That right there makes all the inconveniences and challenges worth it.
Best travel tip for traveling with a babe?
Don’t be ridged in your scheduling or expectations. Have a plan but know that it probably won’t go the way you envision it and that is okay! Being able to bend when you need to makes traveling so much easier on all involved.
I travel for the … cultural exposure and expansion of mine and my families perspective on the world.
Where can we find you online?
Website // anelisesalvodesignco.com
Pinterest // @AneliseSalvo
Facebook // facebook.com/anelisesalvodesignco