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How Did We Start Our Roving Retirement
My husband Mike (56) and I, Diana (63), started our roving retirement in the middle of 2019 when we sold our home in Silicon Valley, California. We came to this lifestyle in a few different ways. Way back around 2009, we had the opportunity to move to Nice, France. Mike always wanted to live abroad but I just couldn’t uproot our kids and myself at that time. So we made a pact: when we retired and sold the house, we would go live in Europe, probably France since we both speak some French.
Fast forward to the summer of 2018, when Mike says out of the blue, “I think we have enough money to retire.” Frankly, the reality of what he was saying kind of freaked me out. I knew he had been reading all kinds of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) stuff before his announcement and he knew that I didn’t want to scrimp in Europe. But it was time to discuss what we thought our budget for living in Europe would be.
For years, I had been working as a software development manager and using my salary to pay our house bills. Mike had been working in software sales and saving boatloads of money. We both agreed that we would wait until our kids graduated from college in May 2019 before selling the house. At the same time, one of our sons suggested that we take a big trip after graduation. We had always travelled with our kids and frankly, they have been all over the world. Our first idea, was to take them to Australia. We had been there on our honeymoon and we really loved it. They liked the idea, so Mike started the travel planning
Our Roving Retirement Begins
Probably the most memorable part of that summer was the day Mike came out to the backyard and said, ‘you know, if we are starting in Australia and then heading to Europe, why don’t we just keep going west.’ This is how Our Big Trip was born. Since we both want to see everything in the world and we both have FOMO, the graduation trip turned into going to all of the places we had always wanted to see.
In order to have something to do in our early retirement, we decided to start a blog https://www.livingchapter2.com. So, from that time on, we started writing articles, but our web site and the first blog post came out the week before we left our home. As a result, the early articles were about what it’s like to sell our home and everything in it and live out of two suitcases. At the same time, we were moving Mike’s parents out of their home of 60 years and getting them settled in an assisted living facility, so I was pretty busy in the 9 months before we punched out.
Unfortunately, Our Big Trip ended after 40+ flights and 4.5 months when I fell and broke my leg in Zimbabwe. After surgery and a few months in the US recuperating, we were ready to move on. It is much more compelling to keep looking for new experiences when you don’t have a home base.
So after a month in lovely Playa del Carmen, we headed to Nice via Mexico City. Nice was our choice since late in 2019, we applied for a French residence visa, which we got with a little help from a friend in the area. We arrived in France in March of 2020 and after a lovely week in Nice, we spent the next two months on lockdown in Perpignan, France. While we didn’t actually care about returning to the US, Mike’s parents needed our help, so we returned to the US as soon as we could. We spent the summer of 2020 in a timeshare in Scottsdale, Arizona because my surgery needed to be redone. Then we headed back to France and after about five weeks, we found ourselves on lockdown again but this time in Nice (way better than Perpignan).
Our Future Travel Plans
Since our return to the US in early December 2020 we have been in California, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii (got our vaccine, yeah) and Arizona. Next week, we are happily heading back to Europe for about 3 months. I can say unequivocally that we don’t have to worry about money and our traveling lifestyle with a mix of hotels, timeshares, and Airbnb’s costing us less than keeping our house in California would have.
Ultimately, we love what we are doing because we relish: the interesting and the new. Being FIREd nomads allows us to pursue these new experiences wherever they are without the burden of returning to or maintaining a home base. We can do it all at whatever pace we please.
While our traveling lifestyle might be somewhat cost effective, travel planning takes a ton of time because, like most nomads, we have to figure out where we are sleeping every single night. In addition, most of our adventures require a rental car, which are getting harder to come by. We currently have firm plans out about 3 months and tentative plans for the next 9 months or so.
Our other big challenge is medical care and getting our medications. We now have a GP and a few orthopaedists for me in Arizona. We picked Arizona because we think when we get tired of traveling so much, we might settle in Scottsdale for part of the year. Also, our biggest single cost is our medical insurance policy that provides 9 months of US coverage and unlimited international coverage including pre-existing conditions. Considering my medical history, I’m not taking any chances.
Is a Roving Retirement Lifestyle For You?
Our advice is like Nike: “Just do it.” If you are interested in this lifestyle, put your stuff in storage and give it a try. My security comes from knowing that I can create one or more new homes whenever I want. There is so much that we want to see in the world and until we have grandkids, we will visit beautiful places and live where it is warm and interesting until we decide to do something different.
It has been more than two years since Mike and Diana Goble started their roving retirement lifestyle. To prevent brain rot, they have been writing one or more blog posts a week for the last two years to inform and entertain. Their hope is that what they write about and how they say it will be informative and resonate with others. You can reach them anywhere in the world through their blog https://www.livingchapter2.com. Happy travels.
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