Fifty Something Retired Couple from Gig Harbor Washington USA. I was a marketing professional and my husband was a Mechanical Engineer. We raised two boys built and remodeled houses and worked hard. I retired four years ago and he retired 18 months ago. We decided we were ready for something completely different. We sold our house and cars and most everything we owned and now are spending our Fabulous Fifties traveling the world.
Where can our readers find your blog?
What can our readers find on your blog?
My Fab Fifties Life is primarily about Travel but it also covers many topics for middle-aged women to inspire and encourage and embrace this wonderful time of our lives. Now is the time to be happy.
When did you start your blog and why?
I began the blog shortly before retiring from my career in marketing, as therapy for myself mostly. I love to write and it makes me feel good. That was more than four years ago and now it’s part of my life everyday. I hope it provides readers inspiration to be the best you can be at any age.
How difficult or easy is it to run a blog whilst living the nomad life? Any challenges?
I have learned to write the majority of my blogs on my iphone! That way I can blog anywhere any time. I have a “web guy” back home, and when something goes wrong I will pay him to help me, but I have learned to be pretty savvy and technical through troubleshooting and through advice from other bloggers as well.
Where was home prior to you starting the nomad life? and do you still go back? how often? how easy is it to return home whilst roaming the world?
We lived in Gig Harbor Washington USA and most of our family is in that area. We have been out of the USA for nine months so far and have not gone back yet, but we plan to next spring for a couple months before heading out again. We have been lucky to have both of our grown sons spend some time with us abroad and also my Mother in Law. We don’t know how long the nomad life will appeal to us, nor do we know where we will settle when the time comes to once again put down roots. Here is a blog I wrote about our final days in our house before we sold it. (The Last Summer)
How would you describe the term nomad life in your own words?
For us being a nomad is not having a permanent home. Our home is the world. We enjoy staying in each place anywhere from two-five weeks. We prefer the later as that gives us time to really feel a part of the community. We primarily stay in Airbnb’s but have also rented a campervan, stayed in hotels and on a boat. Here is a blog I wrote about Airbnb’s
When did you start the nomad lifestyle and why? also how long have you been living this lifestyle? How long do you see your self doing this?
We left the USA on November 29, 2016 so its nine months this week. We always tell people as long as we are having fun we will continue. When it stops being fun, then we are done.
What are some of the pro’s and cons of being a nomad?
Well mainly you carry everything you own – we pretty much follow the sun so don’t need multi seasonal things. We have honed our gear significantly as time goes along. We carry with us kitchen knives, can opener, a cutting board and collapsible colander. This helps a lot when we arrive in an Airbnb that may not have a well equipped kitchen. It’s always a surprise to see what each kitchen and each accommodation will be like.
The pros certainly outweigh the cons or we wouldn’t be here. We are incredibly relaxed. And although we are constantly looking ahead several months for where we need to travel next, it’s never stressful. We have a daily budget and we find it pretty easy to stick to it. We don’t look at our life as a vacation – this is just our life – so we don’t do a lot of eating out or touristy kinds of things. This is how we stay on budget.
The main con would be being away from family and friends. Five people I know have died since we left and my father was diagnosed with Alzeheimers. We also have missed weddings and birthdays and holidays with people we love. Here is a blog I wrote about packing and clothing
What types of places do you stay in when travelling (for example do you stay in countries for a long time or just short stays) etc do you rent or use hostels etc..
As I mentioned above we prefer to stay about a month in each place but sometimes it’s shorter and sometimes longer. For example we visited Bulgaria for a month and spent two weeks in Tarnovo and Two weeks in Sozopol and four days in Sofia. We are just finishing a month in Portugal where we spent one week in Lisbon and three weeks in Algarve. In all of these places we stayed in Airbnb’s which is our preferred way. While we were in New Zealand we lived for four weeks in a campervan touring both the South and North Island. Here is a blog I wrote about our camper van in New Zealand
The big question everyone wants to know (how do you earn an income to travel full time)
We live on our retirement and since we sold our house and cars we have no added expenses back home. We have a $200 a day budget that covers all transportation including airfare, lodging, food and everything else. In most countries it is not hard to stay in that budget. We don’t go out to fancy dinners or do tours. We just have fun cheaply. Here is a blog I wrote on our budget and data tracking.
Do you have any tips for people that want to start the nomad way of living? Can you recommend any particular countries to start with? Or what countries you started with and how you found them.
This way of life is certainly not for everyone. If you are the kind of traveler that only wants to stay in a Hilton in the middle of Paris then this is not for you. You really need to have a sense of adventure and be flexible. To make it last you need to be able to stay on budget. You need to be fearless about new cultures, new foods and new language. We started in Thailand and spent three months throughout SE Asia. We did this because of the Schengen and were saving our Schengen days for summer. Here is a blog I wrote about Schengen planning
What types of things do people need to plan prior to starting the nomad life? (back up money, health insurance, visas, etc….) How did you plan the nomad life?
We took nearly three years to plan since this included preparing to and then selling our house, purging our belongings and retiring from our jobs. We purchased emergency travel insurance and have back up credit cards for our back up credit cards. We keep meticulous records using spread-sheets on our travels, budget and every piece of data you can imagine. Our spread sheets include details like when payments are due, when and how visas need to be applied for and how much each is as well as details such as how many miles we have walked. We brought extra passport photos with us for visas. We also carry a little mini office kit with envelopes, post it notes, paper clips etc. You need to be pretty organized to keep track. We regular do what we call “Day Off” and spend time catching up on computer work, spread sheets and advance planning. Here is a blog I wrote about days off and other stuff.
Have you had any scary or funny experiences whilst travelling? We have been pretty lucky but our first month my husband was bitten by a dog in Thailand and for the next six months we had to find a hospital so he could complete his tetanus booster series. We also got caught in a flood in a taxi trying to get to our Airbnb in Hua Hin Thailand. The roads were flooded and the taxi could not get through. We actually got out of the cab with our bags and were going to slosh through the flood to try and get to our accommodations. But then a man told the driver another possible route so we got back in and indeed did finally arrive. The flood lasted for two more days then it cleared and was beautiful. During the two days we couldn’t get to a grocery store so we ate for from the 7-11. Here is a blog I wrote about the dog bite
How many countries approx have you lived the nomad life in? Did you encounter any visas or immigration issues?
We have been in eleven countries so far. We always study and know what to expect with visas and entrance into each country and we have had no issues. In Thailand after 30 days we left and went to Cambodia for a week, then went back to Thailand on a new visa for another three weeks. It really depends on the country. Since the Schengen countries only allow 90 days in any 180 days for all Schengen countries we had to carefully plan this.
As a full time nomad (what is your back up plan) if the money or work runs low?
We head back to the USA. We will eventually either buy a home in the USA or we will continue the nomad life. It’s possible we could buy a small home and travel part of the year. We don’t know at this point.
What factors do you consider prior to travelling to a country for the nomad life?
At first it was just places we hadn’t seen yet. But now we are trying to make an effort to go to more out of the way places that haven’t yet become big touristy places. We like the idea of not contributing to over touristed places. For instance our month in Bulgaria was awesome. Why don’t more people travel there? I loved it! Our month in Portugal was also great – it’s just now starting to become a big destination. Our month in Seychelle Island was amazing. We did not meet another American – in fact we only met visitors from France and nowhere else.
Have you encountered any issues with adjusting to local customs or the culture whilst you have been travelling? what about language barriers has this been an issue anywhere?
The Seychelle Islands were very surprising because the access to fresh food was difficult. Everything is shipped in and it is very expensive. Lettuce $10! So we really learned to improvise. I sure did miss fresh produce though. In Laos they sold some really bizarre things at the market – bats and rats and dog. That was a bit crazy but we really try not to judge. We have found most countries people speak a little bit of English and are always willing to try. Sometimes it involves pointing and playing charades but you can always communicate. Here is a blog I wrote about the strange items at the market in Laos.
Do you travel solo as a nomad? if so what are the pros and cons of this? Travel with my husband who is my best friend. We will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary in November (and we will be in Namibia on that day) Here is a blog about our life together.
Has been easy to make friends and socialise – whilst travelling around as a nomad? We made some new friends in New Zealand who invited us to their homes. That was very special. We also made friends in Seychelles and enjoyed visiting and learning about them as well.
Do you have any money saving tips for flights / accommodation? Any recommended sites to book on? We have learned that we get cheaper flights if we book legs individually. So we try all kinds of different combinations and see what we can get. We have also learned it doesn’t always pay to go with the cheapest. Using Airbnb is a great way to save money. We love Airbnb and have never had a bad experience. Certainly we have liked some places better than others but overall we are big fans of this system. We use Expedia for most things because it gives us a record and we can keep track – same with Airbnb.
Optional question – : (what equipment do you use for your blog or as part of your nomad lifestyle)
I do the majority of my blogging on my iphone. I have become pretty good at it! I also have a MacBook Air laptop and an ipad. My iphone is my camera and I am always amazed at the great photos it produces. I use Snapseed for editing or the edit function right on the phone.
What country are you in at present? how have you found the nomad life there? any recommendation for places to check out or places to hang out for nomads? (nomad communities)
I am writing this on my last night in Portugal. I really love this country – the weather and the food and the wine! Wow. I would like to come back and check it out in the winter season. We have been here for a month. Tomorrow we fly to Spain. Spain has been on our list for years because we want to hike the Camino de Santiago – 500 mile hike in Northern Spain. We begin that long awaited hike on September 1st. We will be in Spain until October 19th. We loved Lisbon and had some great dining experiences there. Lagos has been beautiful too and the beach here is great. I posted this blog today about our upcoming Camino de Santiago
What has been some of your top highlights from travelling?
We did two amazing hikes in New Zealand that I will never forget. A three day walk (with Glamping) on the Abel Tasman on the North Island and a one day mountain crossing on the Tongariro also on the North Island. Unbelievable. We also did a Mekong River cruise. This was actually an unusual thing for us to do a tour but we LOVED IT. We saw elephants and visited a Hmong village. So many great photos and sights. Hoi An Vietnam was definitely my favorite place in Vietnam and I hope to return there some day. So colorful. As I mentioned before we found Bulgaria such a beautiful surprise. The people were so friendly and they are really working on building tourism. There were tourists from Russia and Germany but very few from anywhere else. Here is one of my Bulgaria blogs
What is on your bucket list?
We are looking forward to several months on the continent of Africa. We have seen a few countries in Africa already (Tanzania, Ethiopia and we spent three weeks in Burkina Faso where our son was in the Peace Corp) but are so excited to visit Tunisia, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa from October through January. We then plan to spend a month in Sri Lanka and a month in the Maldives a month in Indonesia and a month in Australia. All of these countries have been on my bucket list for a very long time. I cannot wait! Here is one about when we were in Burkina Faso
How do you see the future of nomadism?
I think it is going to grow and I hope I am somewhat of a trailblazer. People keep telling me a should write a book. I don’t know about that but if our experience can help other people let go of baggage and just enjoy life more than that would make me really happy. I think people of many generations are now realizing how short life is, how we don’t need to be so obsessed with consumerism and how we should live our life more simply. As an American I wish all American’s would travel more. I think travel broadens minds and there are really a lot of Americans who need to see the world and understand how other people live. Travel is the great educator.
Has being a nomad taught you any life lessons? If so please elaborate.
The biggest lesson for me is that I don’t need STUFF. Why did I think I needed all that stuff? Dishes and knickknacks and furniture and clothes and shoes and STUFF. You learn pretty quickly how simple life can be when you let that all go. I ‘ve said many time to people that I became a much happier person when I stopped trying so hard and just was me. Present. Life is too short for all the drama. A blog about stuff
Please share ONE quote you love.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Elliot
On my website I always tell people its time to Go. Be. Fabulous!
To See More From My Fab Fifties Life check Out These links Below: