The ideal retirement is of course different for everyone. Whether it is the chance to write full-time, travel, just chill out, dedicate yourself to community service or spend more time with your family, the options are as varied as the range of individuals. We know the main ingredients we are looking for: warmer weather, slower pace of life, travel, and an opportunity for us both to explore how we want to grow into the next stage of our lives. We have gone back and forth on how to accomplish this many times.
For almost two years years we thought we would move full time to Costa Rica as we really enjoyed our time spent there. We met very friendly and welcoming people, absolutely loved the biodiversity and range of ecosystems, and walked many miles of breathtaking beaches. However as we did more research and got closer to leaving we realized that we have a tremendous opportunity right in front of us and we have to see as much of this beautiful world as we can. We both also realized we need to recreate our lives. We may eventually settle in Costa Rica as a base, but we have some exploring to do!
But can we really afford to visit all of the places we would love to explore and experience? It seemed as if the only way we could financially afford this was by moving somewhere where we could significantly reduce our cost of living. However after reading so many inspiring stories of people who have made travel a full-time way of life on similar or smaller budgets we were motivated to sell everything and take on a nomadic lifestyle and let life unfold.
After a lot of research we realized that the concept of slow travel has a lot in common with our beliefs. The principles are straightforward: stay longer in one place, slow down, experience the local culture and community, reduce transportation and basically enjoy the experience of being in the moment wherever that happens to be. Green Global Travel has an excellent post that provides more perspectives on the benefits of slow travel. This approach to travel can be applied to a long weekend, a short vacation or in our case – extended travel.
On a total monthly budget of less than $4,000 (CAD) a month we will certainly need to be careful in our choice of transportation and accommodation as these will be our largest expenses. The recent slide of the Canadian Dollar against the US Dollar is adding to our challenge.
Long term rentals were our first thought but getting the best rates usually call for a lease of 1 year or more. This didn’t seem to work for us. On a practical note, many countries require that you leave after 3 months so right away we are facing additional costs and logistics. Besides the practical aspects we wanted more spontaneity and the opportunity to explore more broadly and be flexible. So perhaps a little too slow travel?
We plan to block our travels into roughly 3 month periods to reduce travel costs which also coincides nicely with the common visa period. We will look for local apartment rentals whenever possible. An approach we are going to incorporate into our nomadic lifestyle is house sitting. This is becoming increasingly popular and we now have memberships with two of the larger websites. In simple terms, the house sitters agree to look after the home owner’s pets and property to provide peace of mind while they are away. It can provide a wonderful opportunity to experience the local day to day life, meet new people and gain the satisfaction of helping them.
Our initial plan is to focus our travel on Central America, Europe and the Caribbean but we are open to whatever opportunities present themselves along the way. We are trying to prepare for all of the “what-ifs” that will inevitably come up but the last thing we want is to become tied to an itinerary. Like most people we have a bucket list however we want to make sure that we have the flexibility to follow our hearts and do what seems right for us at any given time.
We would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions you may have on our approach. Happy travelling!