EXIT 45 TRAVELS
– Peta & Jonas –
A Midlife Fulltime Travel Couple
Who Are We?
Jonas and I met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia. We both worked full time (Peta in the Education Department as a Head of Middle School, and Jonas initially in the steel industry and later with his own business in the aquarium industry). Both of our jobs were demanding which allowed little time for overseas travel, especially longer-term travels.
The many hours researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and the cool things others were doing got us dreaming of the day we could enjoy a lot more travel ourselves.
Jonas has always had a keen interest in photography and videography which fits in perfectly with a travelling lifestyle. Even early on, he longed to travel and see more of the world. After a year of backpacking, mainly in Australia, New Zealand and Asia in the early 90’s, the travel bug had set in for good.
Jonas has lived and worked in Sweden, Norway and Australia. He has held various managerial positions in sales and marketing in as wide a spectrum as the telecom, consulting, advertising, IT, steel and aquarium industries. Apart from travelling and photography, other keen interests include fish-keeping, golf, scuba-diving, snorkelling, fishing, movie watching, eating, drinking and share trading.
Peta has had a career in education since her graduation from university in the mid 1990’s. She started out as a Health and Physical Education teacher and then moved into numerous management positions until she reached the position of Head of Middle School in a school on the Gold Coast. Peta has taught in government, private and Catholic schools in Australia, and also for 5 years in Tokyo, Japan.
During her international teaching placement, she discovered her love for travel and spent all of her annual leave travelling the world. Upon her return to Australia, the opportunity for travel was reduced, but her passion still burned brightly. Peta also enjoys reading, golf, snorkelling, horse riding, learning new skills, good food and a tasty beverage.
Why We Decided to Travel Fulltime
How We Did It
It took some planning, sacrifice, and intentional steps to change our lifestyle. But realising our dreams far outweighed the sacrifices we had to make. It is attainable. It’s not something that has to happen only after you have enough money. Will you ever?
Over the previous years, Peta had been following the minimalism movement and had slowly been selling off unused / unwanted ‘stuff’. We financed all airfares for the first year, just by selling down household items we no longer needed. It’s easier to do without than you might think. We would rather have an experience than things we have to take care of.
We now have very few belongings— just a few boxes at Peta’s mums house and a couple at Jonas’ dads boatshed. We have very little to worry about in a material sense, and it’s very freeing. We found a balance that works for us, and it lets us live our dream.
The next 6 months were busily spent organising leave from work, deciding what to keep and store in mum’s garage, and what to sell off and give away. Everything went extremely smoothly and amazingly well despite our tight timeframe. By the time the weekend came for us to leave our house, we packed up our few remaining belongings for storage, loaded them onto a small pickup van and headed north to finalise the plans for our departure only a month later.
Why We Continue To Do It
How We Do It
Since our decision to start travelling fulltime, so many people have told us “you’re so brave”, “you’re so lucky” or wishfully stated that we are “living the dream” – but virtually anyone can do this. It is achievable but does involve a few sacrifices and a lot of planning.
Needless to say, we have had to make some definite sacrifices leading up to starting this adventure i.e. selling a successful business and resigning from a great career. The biggest sacrifice is being away from family and friends for extended periods of time. Although we may have less face-to-face contact time, with many, we now actually have more contact (online) i.e. Messenger and Skype calls. Occasionally, we need to compromise on everyday comforts to travel light and within budget, but we never compromise on our safety.
Where We Travel
Contrary to the “you guys must have won the lottery theory”, unfortunately, we do have to stick to a budget to be able to continue doing what we do long term. Some destinations cost more and others cost less. We may spend more in Europe than our monthly budget dictates but this is balanced out by time spent in cheaper destinations like South America and Asia.
Our initial annualized monthly budget was $3500 AUD and we thought, and now know, that this is very doable. That amount includes all air travel, transportation including motorbike rentals, accommodation, food, entertainment, activities, and full comprehensive travel insurance. Incredibly, this budget can drop to under AUD$2000 / USD$2500 per month in certain parts of the world without sacrificing comfort.
So far, we have predominantly booked accommodation through Airbnb and in hotels through booking.com. Our rooms have air-conditioning with queen size beds (as a minimum) and a private bathroom. We book hotels in central locations within walking distance to restaurants, shops and entertainment. A pool with shaded deck chairs is opted for when available, especially in warmer climates. We enjoy good food at local restaurants and even better drinks everywhere possible.
Backpack or Suitcase?
Why We Started A Blog
During our travels, Jonas trades shares and works with his photography for several hours each day and I do most of the planning i.e. where to stay, accommodation, how to get from A to B etc. Even though this kept me busy, I was still feeling under-stimulated.
When we initially talked about travelling, we discussed the idea of starting a travel blog and even a travel vlog. This discussion has popped up many times over the course of the last 2.5 years but we always thought there were so many others out there doing it that we didn’t have anything more to offer. However, throughout our travels, people have asked us regularly about our travels, how we do it, advice on particular destinations, equipment, tech gear etc.
As we are not (any longer) young backpackers or digital nomads, nor have we reached traditional retirement age, we realised that there may be an opportunity to cover a niche not necessarily covered by other bloggers. And if things go well, any extra cash we may eventually earn through it won’t hurt either.
Why is the Blog Named Exit45 Travels?
This is a question we have been asked many times and the answer is quite simple…..
- Exit 45 was the number of the exit we took on the M1 highway when driving to get home.
- Jonas had 45 fish tanks in his aquarium business.
- 45 is the mean of our ages when we started our travel adventures.
Our goal with this travel blog is to take you along on our journey. To educate, entertain, encourage and enrich you with the knowledge that a great lifestyle is out there once you’re able to break through the pre-conceived notions of what life is “supposed” to be like. It has never been easier to start living a life of freedom, flexibility, travel and adventure.
Thanks so much for visiting our website!
Peta and Jonas – Exit45 Travels