Living an adventurous roving retirement

We really are blessed with the wonderful lifestyle that we enjoy. Travelling the world and seeing wondrous things are just part of our ‘normal’ roving retirement life.

On occasions we are able to write about some of the things we’ve done and have articles published in magazines. In November, we had another article published in International Living Magazine.

You can read the article in text form below or as a PDF via this link Living an adventurous roving retirement
We hope you enjoy it….

Text version

My wife Jacqueline and I are early retirees and epitomise the definition of roving retirees. This calendar year we have already spent time in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, England, Scotland, Cyprus and Dubai. Before the year is out we will also visit Macau, China, the U.S. and Mexico. This is not a once in a lifetime sojourn around the world – this is our “normal” life.

However, it wasn’t always like this. Rewind to 2013 and I was working in the plant nursery at a local hardware warehouse and Jacqueline was a dental nurse. We’d enjoyed overseas holidays to Europe and Asia over the previous years but longed for more freedom than a four-week annual break allowed. On holiday we had seen tourist buses with ‘older’ retirees and discussed many times that we didn’t want to wait until the official retirement age to
experience more of the world. We wanted to explore this wonderful world while we were still fit and able.

We started planning how this could be achieved, set a budget, and started saving for our own adult gap year. In October 2015 we set off on, what turned out to be, a life changing 12-month adventure. We lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand for five months, spent a week in Hong Kong and then crisscrossed our way through Europe during the Northern Hemisphere’s spring and summer for six glorious months. We returned to Chiang Mai for one final month on our way back to Australia and our ‘normal’ life.

This trip ignited a spark inside us and we knew this lifestyle was definitely something we wanted to continue. However, the thing that really sold us on the idea that this was viable was that we had over budgeted. Our full year’s travel expenses were around $32,000. We had spent about one-third less than our total living costs back home in Melbourne. Reducing our annual living costs and travelling the world fulltime would actually benefit our long-term retirement plans.

Six months after we returned home, we were on a flight to Malaysia with all of our possessions—one suitcase and a carry-on bag each. We had sold almost everything we owned except our home (which we rent out to provide some income for our travels).

All of our possessions for our travels

So what does a roving retirement look like? It can be whatever you want it to be but, as mentioned earlier, this year for us has been a cocktail of countries and experiences.

A two-day river cruise down the ‘mighty’ Mekong River from Northern Thailand to laidback Luang Prabang in Laos started our year. Awaking in the morning to the sight of local elephants bathing in the river on the opposite bank to our overnight riverside stay was a real highlight. As was arriving at a riverside Hmong village on the day of a festival in which the young men from nearby villages were battling out a soccer tournament on one of the most uneven football pitches I’d ever seen. The incessant ‘squealing’ of support from the female girls for each village indicated how serious this tournament was.

Next was something that is probably on everyone’s bucket list—the beauty and awe of the ancient Khmer Kingdom near Siem Reap. We had a wonderful few days wandering the jungle that is strewn with temple ruins. The early morning wake-up call to see the sunrise over the majestic Angkor Wat complex is something we will never forget. Phnom Penh and Cambodia’s recent tragic history had us thinking about man’s cruelty to other men with visits to the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.

The Bayon – one of the many temples near Siem Reap

The historical Portuguese city of Melacca in Malaysia made for an interesting few days before our four-hour bus ride to its nearby neighbour – Singapore. This shiny, modern metropolis has just been an airport stopover for us due to its expensive hotel prices. However, five fun days in a high-rise condo in the suburbs, courtesy of a housesitting gig, meant we had zero accommodation costs.

This has really been the key to our affordable roving lifestyle. We came across this by accident just prior to our gap year and it transformed how and where we travel. We get free accommodation in exchange for caring for people’s home and pets when they’re on holiday. As a result, we travel the world for less than $100 per day.

We love Spain and after doing a house sit in Valencia—one of our favourite Spanish cities—we spent a few weeks slowly working our way up the Catalan coast to Barcelona and Girona. The  Languedoc-Roussillon region in Southern France was our next destination – another of our favourite places. With beautiful, sun-soaked valleys and hills, fields of lavender, medieval towns and white, sandy beaches we are drawn to this region each summer.

The Medieval French city of Carcassonne

There are so many other things we’ve done this year—a cycling and river cruise along the Rhine River, enjoying the excellent and buzzing Edinburgh Fringe Festival, walking across the ‘green line’ that separates the Turkish North and Cypriot South in Nicosia, Cyprus. Celebrating my birthday with a 4WD desert safari in Dubai was yet another highlight as was marvelling at the amazing Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Enjoying a boat ride on the Dubai Creek

Who knows what new destinations and experiences await us in the future. That’s just one more reason we enjoy our roving retirement.

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