Here are answers to some questions that we get asked a lot.
Travel is expensive. Are you guys rich?
Travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. And, NO, we are definitely not rich. We did not plan well for retirement. We lost all our home equity and our self employment earnings were not much in the last few years.
We travel on a pretty tight budget. We use creative solutions like house sitting, airbnb–claim a $25 credit here, and long term stays to keep costs down.
Don't you ever get tired of moving around?
Not so far. We stay places for long stretches, months at a time. So, we don’t feel like we are always moving. If anything, we usually feel ready to move on when the time comes. Recently, we were offered a home base apartment with family. We do like having that base, but we were also pretty content without it.
Don't you miss your family and friends?
We have spent the last thirty something years missing some friends and family. As we move around we get to visit folks we have not gotten to see much when we were based in California. We house sat in Arizona for seven months and, during that time, we were able to make visits to friends in Los Angeles and San Diego. We also had two visits from our sons and one from Neil’s sister. It was really fun being able to be tourists with them while staying in our comfy house in Arizona.
How do you pay your bills while you are traveling?
Well, we don’t have many bills since we don’t have a mortgage, utility bills, car payments etc. That is one of the great things about being nomads. Our few expenses can easily be paid online. Our tiny amount of snail mail goes to the home of a family member. She screens our mail and keeps us posted via email when necessary.
We do our banking online. And we have Skype phone numbers so banks and businesses can keep in touch with us by dialing a real phone number.
What do you do about health insurance when you travel?
We have health insurance plans that cover us in the US. When we travel we buy travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, as well as trip cancellation and luggage loss.
What do you do with your car while you are away?
We have traveled with our Toyota Corolla, J.J. in the US, which was handy to have! We have left our car in the winter when we went to Costa Rica and Mexico. We also left it when we were in Oceana and South East Asia. Neil’s sister, her husband and their daughter all made use of our vehicle as an extra car while we were gone. We left J.J. with some good friends in California. We were happy to return there to pick the car up as we headed for the next US house sit. It all seems to work out well.
How do you store your belongings while you are on the road?
We sold almost everything we owned before we started traveling.
We shipped our winter clothes and a few items to our family, when we first set out to travel. The rest was in our trunk or roof bag as we drove cross country for our first house sit in Eastern Canada. Over the last few years we have been less interested in having belongings.
Recently, we furnished a small studio apartment in the home of a family member. We store a few things there in our room, though we don’t even have a real closet there! Shoes live in zippered bags under the bed. Warm clothes are in a duffel bag in the attic.
What was your favorite place to visit?
This is the hardest question to answer. For house sitting, we both loved being in Australia; the people, the long time there, and the different landscapes! Part of the great thing about being in Oz was learning we could go to Southeast Asia.
The beauty of Bali was totally enchanting to us. It is lush and green and full of interesting sights and sounds.
Thailand, especially the beaches, was also amazing. And we got to see and look after elephants. Then there was Costa Rica and all the beautiful iguanas and birds!
The temples and the blossoming trees in Tokyo…impossible question to answer!
Don't you get tired of being together for so much?
Yes and No! We were together a lot even before traveling together. We are more dependent on one another for company now, but we also take time to do things on our own, even if in the same room! The newness, the problems to solve, and the decisions to make keep us excited and positive and we bring that good feeling to our relationship.
Isn't hard learning to speak different foreign languages?
We have learned enough words in most places to order food, ask for help, buy some groceries and a few other things. In Tokyo the public transport had Japanese and English announcements! We are fortunate that people speak English all over the world, but not everyone in a village can or wishes to try. So, we do our best to learn a few words.
We have found people very accommodating when we make an effort. Bad grammar can still get a message across in Spanish. In Indonesia it is all about smiling and saying “good” or “delicious”.It definitely requires a sense of adventure, a language APP on your phone and some body language!
How do you pack for continuous travel?
We are still refining this, but we are learning that we can get by with very little clothing. We either have access to laundry equipment, a laundry down the street or a place to wash things by hand. Our biggest challenge is fitting in all the computer and electronic gear and our fins, snorkels and masks.
We learned early on that a large suitcase is bound to be over the weight limit, so we each have a day pack (like this one) and a medium sized suitcase (we rely on TravelPro). If we buy something new we leave something old behind.
We only pack comfortable walking shoes that can get wet and something to wear indoors. Of course, a cooler climate means boots and socks, beanies and layers. We don’t bring anything very fancy to wear!
We always bring a small kitchen kit with a good knife, a peeler, knife sharpener, Swiss army knife and a few other items, depending on the place where we are headed. We sometimes bring our French Press for coffee.
How do you find the best airfare prices?
We use websites that search for best airfares, like airfarewatchdog, Skyscanner and Expedia. We join travel groups and share information with fellow travelers.
We also make use of multi-city flight planning. That is how we ended up with a five night visit to Tokyo!
We read other people’s blogs because we are always looking for hints and tips. Check our resources page for the latest info on finding the best airfares. We will keep sharing what we learn.
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