How To Travel Like A Gypsy: Video Update Where Is Annie And Family

If you have ever thought about hitting the road or taking a vacation for a week or two you know how hard it can be to just travel with the bare essentials.

You always bring too much and have to leave some things behind because there just isn’t enough room in your bags.

Add three kids to the mix, inventory and stock for a travelling home based sleeping mask business and the fact that you don’t have a home anymore to live in.  AND…………



The result is a laundry list of some pretty unique problems. We have to bring as little as possible while still keeping the things we need with us for up to 3 months at any given time. Every once in a while, we head to our storage unit outside of Boston Massachusetts to switch out our things. Clothes for summer or winter, different toys or board games, misc. items we don’t need all year round. It’s a pain, but somehow we manage and it all works out.

I never thought I could live like this considering the life we used to live. But you’ll be amazed what you can do when you put your mind to it.


In case you are new hear and don’t know our story, here’s a recap of our situation. It’s very, very, very condensed…..

After losing our jobs in California and being unemployed for a couple of years, we left our home in search of jobs on the east coast in August of 2010. We ended up staying in Montreal for almost a year where we decided to forget looking for jobs, invent our own and try to create a lifestyle that lets us travel with our three kids while growing our online businesses.

Well, it’s summer now and we left Montreal to see my husband’s family for the summer.  After summer who knows. France? Costa Rica? A full time job somewhere?

Stick around to find out what happens and how we handle long term unemployment and get a rare chance to rebuild our life from typical suburban family to adventurous vagabond family all while trying to keep a home business afloat, start 2 new internet businesses and raise 3 kids on the road.

p.s. If you have any comments, I would love to hear them. Even if it’s just to say HI.


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About the Author

Annie André was born in Thailand to a Thai mother and French Canadian father. She knew from an early age that she was meant to experience the world first hand. By the time she was 23, she had visited over 20 countries including a 3 year stint in Japan. Currently she lives in the south of France with her husband Blake and three children who attend French schools.

Jk Allen

Hi Annie

First off, if you ever come to Colorado, in particularly Denver, please let me know. I’d love to meet you guys.

Sorry to hear about your job losses…with a family of 3 also, I can’t imagine how challenging things must be for you guys. But your attitude is truly inspiring and I hope that if I would ever fall under such an event that I could hold as strong as you and your family are.

I was so touched by this. Your story is so intriguing. I wish you the best of luck and I’m hoping that if there’s anything I can do to help with anything (I know you didn’t ask for help!!!) just let me know how!

Thanks for sharing this!
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    Annie Andre

    that is extraordinarily generous of you. And if we do make it to the Denver area, i would love love love to meet you and the family. I know you are a die hard family man like i am a die hard family woman.

    I’m sometimes amazed at our story too. It sometimes feels like a dream to be honest. It’s so amazing how much we took for granted before. Now, we live day to day and although it’s a bit stressful, i somehow feel exhilarated at the thought of rebuilding our lives.

    We’re just writing our new life story as we go. I have no idea how it will all end. But i think it will have a happy ending.

Graham Lutz

Sounds familiar! I spent all of 2009 looking for a job – then decided to actually do want I wanted and become a doctor. We just had our third child in April, and I am working towards creating an online income that will pay my way through medical school.

I don’t really have the option of doing it any other way!

Philipp Knoll

Hey Annie,

I think I already told you that out fifth kid is on its way and I don’t have a “real” job (as in being employed). Guess what – it works out anyway! it always does as long as you keep going.

Directionally challenged – laughed out loud at this comment!

It is nice to see you on video and i’m, too, hoping to see more of those in the future. Perhaps we’ll be in one together when you take your trip to Europe. The 5 of you and the 7 of use should make a great picture!

Whatever you do, just remember not to apply for any job at any place. Period! I’ve seen so many friends being happy about their independent life just to go back to a 9-5 job. The reason was always FEAR.

– Philipp
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    Annie Andre

    YAY Phillip,
    My European Connection. That would be a sight with all the kids together.

    I agree with you that FEAR is a huge hurdle to overcome. This video was scary. I put it off for months because i could never find the right topic.

    Then i went and did something crazy. i picked the scariest time to do my v-log.

    After a 14 trip when i was exhausted, no makeup, frizzy crazy hair and i’m wearing my husbands old t-shirt. Now any video i do in the future will seam easy in comparison.

    I’m so glad i conected with you. It’s like minded people like you that help keep me going. I hope that i also inspire others to go for there dreams, passions and live life more deliberately.

    I’ll keep you posted on our Progress with moving to France. I’m in contact with a couple people living in the south of France now and I’m looking for an affordable furnished place to live in the next week or two.

      Philipp Knoll

      I’m pretty sure you inspire others as well! It is only the minority of readers that actually leave a comment. The rest hopefully appreciates the content and hopefully returns.

      We just returned from Italy but Stephanie (my wife) would like to get going again right away.

      Just do it (with a little planning and some thoughts ;) ) is the best strategy. Otherwise you never get to it. I experienced this many times as well.

      Looking forward to your updates!
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John Falchetto

Hi Annie,

First off, congrats on your vblog. You really are good at it and I hope this isn’t your last.

You are an inspiration in the way you take all this in your stride and don’t let setbacks affect you.
Everyone can be great when they are in their comfort zone but you are truly outside of yours and still manage with a lot of elegance.

I am sure you will find a happy end to this journey, your spirit is simply awesome.

A bientot
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    Annie Andre

    John thanks,
    it’s either do or die right? IT’s been so humbling and i’m know how cheesy this sounds but everything happens for a reason. I am excited at the thought of rebuilding our lives.

    Thanks for the warm affections. I am confident we will end up on our feet and welcome change now. I used to dread change. But life is exciting again.

Annie Andre

Welcome Graham,
Nice to meet you. WOOT, Dr. That’s amazing and a third child too. WOW.

I love hearing stories of others who overcome adversity by looking outside the box. I think it’s great that you decided to become a doctor after spending almost a year looking for a job.

Tell me if you feel the same, but, I feel grateful that we lost our jobs and were forced to move and reboot our lives.

It has forced us to examine our lives and it’s as if we get to rebuild it the way we want to. Had we not been laid off, maybe we would have continued to live our picturesque suburban life until retirement age and then begin enjoying our lives. EEEEEEK. I might blow out my knees then and be bed ridden. Why do so many people wait. SIGH! I Digress.


    Wow, your post makes mine look felebe. More power to you!


Wow, I had no idea about your story. It’s great that you took something so negative and turned it into something positive like this. You’re at a point now where you can build your life into whatever you want it to be (which is the positive I guess :)).

Great choice of music by the way! :)
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Eugene,
    It’s been quite an adventure and yes, rebuilding our lives is our main goal.

    Even though I wake up wondering what we are going to do in a few months, i at least wake up excited and the thought of making things happen. Going for dreams, turning our passions into reality is wildly exhilarating. Even if we don’t achieve all our dreams and goals, we’ll at least have a blast as we die trying.

    Now if only i could get this internet thing to work. I think i need a little more elbow grease…


      haha. That internet thing is a pesky one isn’t it?

      At least you can take comfort in knowing that you probably feel more alive doing what you are doing than most people ever will. And you get to experience it as a family, and probably instill a no-fear approach to life to your kids.

      Good luck with everything! I’ll be following :)
      Eugene recently posted..Going Above and Beyond…a Thank YouMy Profile



You are definitely an inspiration to make it happen. I will be doing as you do, soon enough. It is a life best lived when living like a gypsy.

I imagine the reactions from family could have been tough, especially with the kids and all that. Howd you manage with that?!
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    Annie Andre

    My family is polite but every once in a while i catch a glimpse of what they really think. I pretend not to see it. it’s just too hard to explain. it’s like trying to convert a christian to Judaism or vice verse. You just don’t even try.

    I really hope we can totally transform our lives. It would be great to succeed. But if we fail, i’m good too because, i’m having a blast just trying.


    Haha. I woke up down today. You’ve cehered me up!


I think what you are doing and how you are living is great. Your kids will have so many awesome stories to tell when they get older. They may not always appreciate it now but they will. What do you do for your kids in terms of schooling? I would be very curious to hear about that. My sister home schools one child, and the other goes to a public school. It is so interesting to hear the difference and also see the difference in personalities between the two kids. Good luck with your travels. I vote Costa Rica. I love it there and the kiddo’s could learn some Spanish. A great language to have under their belts. Safe Travels!
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Meg,
    thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I am literally floored at the amount of support i’ve been getting.

    As far as my kids, i home school them. It’s really really hard. I’ll have to homeschool them next year if we are not in one fixed place. There are correspondence schools they can take online too which is an option too.

    I’m working on a post about homeschooling because a couple people have asked me about this. I’m no expert but i’m fast becoming one..

Christian Hollingsworth

What I love about your family Annie, is that you’re doing things together. It doesn’t matter what “outward” and external situations might occur – you’re all still happy and healthy and that’s what matters to you.

Also, it’s beautiful to hear and watch your video of the family support you have. I’m so grateful for all my family – and the support they give me. I know that if I was in a difficult situation, I’d have many to live with and find comfort in.

Family is the best!
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    Annie Andre

    Every time i read something from you ,i always think you are so wise. I’m sure you were a Confucius monk in a previous life. You definitely have an old soul.

    My family has been a huge help. What’s crazy is for a long time, we only saw them once every couple of years because we were living all the way in California and they were here on the east coast. So we’ve been getting reacquainted and it’s been great. I appreciate my family so much and feel so grateful.

    And yes Family is the best! Thanks Christian… for reminding me of this..

      Christian Hollingsworth

      A Confucius monk. That would sure be an interesting path to follow. Maybe I’ll finish up in my elderly years, in that same boat. ;)

      Whereabouts in California were you living before? I don’t think I quite remember. Was it down south, or bay area?

      All my family lives here in California – except for one family in Utah, one in Maryland and one in Washington. Other than that we’re ALL in California. Even external, distant relatives. Isn’t that crazy?! lol
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      Annie Andre

      We lived in the Bay Area. A small city called Belmont just 20 minutes south of San Francisco.

      I went to UC Santa Cruz over the hill and next to the beach. It’s right near Monterey where you just visited.

      I miss the weather so much..


Hey Annie,
As you know, I was a fan already. Now, more so. I love the idea: “Then i went and did something crazy. i picked the scariest time to do my v-log.”
Necessity is the Mother of invention. When all else fails, go for it! Minor setback, go for it again.
I keep mentioning a book I read, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.
The idea is similar to your story and Eugene’s and for that matter MINE.
Live a life that’s worth writing about. I can scarcely think that you and hubby will look back and think anything but, “We lived a story worth writing about.” In fact, from what I’ve read you (both) already have. This may be material for the second book:)
We could offer a place in Indiana, but we’re here temporarily…see you on the road!
Keep Living it LOUD!
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    Annie Andre

    LIVE A LIFE THAT’S WORTH WRITING ABOUT. This must be my new personal email signature. Who’s it by?

    I’m truly amazed at how many people like you understand and get “IT”. I honestly thought for a long time that people would think we were crazy for what we are doing. But what i am finding is that there are so many like minded people out there..
    Thanks for the support Rob. It’s so amazing and truly touches my heart.


      Hey Annie,
      That’s basically paraphrasing the idea behind the book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.
      Annie, about the craziness thing. Our family isn’t leaving anywhere. But, we are going. I’m sure your family is doing the same thing…going, experiencing, living.
      To the Andre family go, experience, and Live it LOUD!
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Hey Annie!
You are one bold, awesome, chick and momma! For some people (like myself) your adventure could easily be viewed as an enormous inconvenience, but I love the way you are approaching things. Your attitude is amazing and so inspiring.

I love that you’ve done a video post and let us in on the nitty griddy. Video posting is definitely something for you to continue doing. I felt like I got to meetcha, kinda. :)

Can’t wait to see what next for you all. I’m expecting great things! :)
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Marlee,
    so nice to see you in my neighbor-HOOD. It still is inconvenient. we have to do a lot of planning, creative packing but somehow it all just works out.

    Our one saving grace is, we always eat together as a family and every night we eat well. My whole family is a bunch of foodies.
    I love to cook, so we are always trying new recipes, my husband and i usually have wine or beer. good food and company can really compensate for a lot. So no matte how bad a day is or hard, we know we will sit down to an awesome 4 star meal with some wine and the family.


Annie I’m so sorry I’m late to this party!!

First of all, loved the vlog! Wonderful! It’s nice to put a face and voice behind all the DM’s we’ve had! Your camera man did a nice job.

Your attitude about it is wonderful! For some reason I did imagine you had an RV and traveling around like that.

What are the plans for the summer for the kids? I know parents are always trying to keep them busy.

“Chinese blogger: “Signing Off”

Annie Andre

LOL, no RV. We contemplated it but we opted for staying with family. It has been great to get reacquainted with the family.
It was fun to do the vlog and nerve wracking but i’m glad i did it. It was kind of therapeutic to do. I highly recommend it. I’m practicing for when you and i do our own podcast or vlogs. You know it will happen don’t you?

The summer with the kids. Hmmm. tennis, squash, kickboxing(that’s me, i love kick boxing). Good food, good wine (adults only), beer, swimming, bike riding. Need i say more?

“Half Asian, Half French Canadian Vagabond,”signing off”



What an amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it. It has encouraged me to keep going no matter how crazy the things in life seem to get. I know that during this process your family and yourself will learn a lot from it and you will have some fun along the way. I am so glad you have decided to share your journey with the world. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Keep video blogging that was great!

    Annie Andre

    Thank You Frank,
    i get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers. I just finished reading one of your older blog posts, “how deep are your roots”. It made me really think about How and were we would replant our roots. I have no idea where that will be yet. It’s terrifying and exciting at the same time is all i can say. Ask me in a year. :)


Tanhks for sharing. What a pleasure to read!

Vitaly Tennant

Thanks for sharing your story Annie. You mentioned Costa Rica. It is a wonderful place that’s full of activities and just that whole “green” feel with wildlife everywhere. I know a lot of internet marketers live over there … and they love it! I actually have a lot of ties there if you are ever truly interested in making it a reality.
But this kind of reminds me of that family on Rise to the top blog that sold everything and moved later to become very successful, just gotta follow your passion wisely.
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    Annie Andre

    Hey Vitaly,
    I think you are talking about Adam Baker from Man VS. Debt…

    I Thanks for the encouragement. we’re still trying to make it a dream to live abroad as a family. I’ve done it before i had kids the challenge now it to do it as a family with no jobs.. Crossing my fingers..

    If we do decide to make it a go to Costa Rica, i might have to hit you up for some contacts. :)


that’s quite an interesting post annie
thank you :)


Hi Annie,

I did watch the video all the way through and enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks for sharing your story with us and me a bit earlier.

I also agree that no matter what your circumstances are right now, you still have your family and it sounds like you are have a great family at that. You will always have a place to stay as you travel around deciding what the next step is. In the meantime, glad you are updating us about your adventures. My hats off to you.

Have a blessed day and a fabulous week.

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    Annie Andre

    Thank you so much Adrienne,
    I can’t wait to see what happens to our lives. It’s a far cry from our old suburban life.

    Reading about your story and others with similar stories really are inspiring and i hope that i will inspire others to travel the road less traveled..

Kaarina Dillabough

How. Do . You. Do. It?

I am simply blown away (and late to the party too)

Your vlog is fabulous, and your adventure: awe-inspiring. Even more so when I went to your site. HOW do you manage to create those sleep masks on the road? And the little video you have on that site: superduper!

Wishing you cooler weather in Maryland, and “cool” adventures every day. Cheers! Kaarina
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    Annie Andre

    Hi Kaarina,

    Thank you.. It’s been a challenge to make the sleeping masks while travelling. I had to close my shop and had my online shop closed for a bit because i couldn’t keep up with the orders. But, somehow it all just works out when you are following your dreams and passions.

    Plus, i can make my masks in my sleep now. Hahah get it. In my sleep and i make sleeping masks. Oh my, bad humour. I really must get more sleep..

    Thanks for checking out the video. I really enjoyed making it. You should do more yourself… I think you have good stage presence. :)


Hey Annie,
It sounds like your crew is doing great. We miss you here in Montreal. I watched your video to the end :)
Have a wonderful trip and don’t forget to write now and then.


Diane etal.

    Annie Andre

    Oh i miss you and believe it or not Andre too. It’s been a crazy 3 weeks since we left Montreal. Non stop. I’m also selling a bunch of things that i have in storage at Blakes sisters house which is time consuming and taking up much of my time. But money is money right.

    We are planning on making a small video today or tomorrow to say hi to everyone. I actually feel a little HOMESICK? from Montreal. I’m missing it badly isn’t that crazy? I miss canada more than i miss Calirnia where i’ve lived for most of my adult life.. Oh well.. Home is where the heart is.

    Last night we were looking at video’s made while at your house. The one where catherine was playing with those two talking dogs you got for your wedding i think.. WHAHHHHHHHHHHH.

    love and kisses.



Hey Annie! Found your blog through a mutual friend Rob Ludlow. Love the video! It’s awesome to find you because we have a similar story but I won’t get into that now. Anyway thanks so much for the inspiration and I look forward to following your adventures:)
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    Annie Andre

    Rob emailed me yesterday and told me he was talking with you. Rob and i used to work together as you probably know. He’s my chicken guy. Anyway, i love rob. I was surprised and thrilled to hear he was trying to hit the road with the kids.

    Needless to say, i don’t have any face to face friends who are doing what we (you and our families) are doing. LOL, to each his own right??

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