This Is Now – Four Years Later
Whenever we find a new blog we enjoy (travel, expat, boomer or whatever) we’ll wander around reading a few posts but it isn’t long before we find ourselves on the ABOUT page, wanting to fill in the background of the author(s) and find out a little more about the person behind a blog. We’ve been thinking for months (and procrastinating too) that our “ABOUT US” page is way overdue for an update on where we are, what we’re doing and how our decision to retire early and travel has reshaped our priorities and our lives.
A recap: We spent three-plus years as full-time nomads, carrying all our stuff (and there was a lot no matter how much we winnowed and left behind each time we repacked) on all sorts of conveyances from bus to boat to car and water taxi to tuk-tuk and plane. Once, a workers’ strike in the area of Chiapas, Mexico had us rolling our suitcases down a stretch of empty highway for a few miles. We varied our lengths of travel between two to three days to weeks and, whenever we thought a place might be a possible future home base (Playa del Carmen, Mexico – Antigua, Guatemala – Granada, Nicaragua – Manta, Ecuador – Barcelona, Spain) we’d rent a place and unpack for a month to two or even a bit longer. Our accommodations were a mix of nice hotels to hostels (we stayed in a hostel in El Salvador where our good night ambience was the sound of “beer pong” being played outside our door) and, a few times, renting rooms with locals. But whenever we stayed for more than a few days we’d find an apartment (some just barely doable and a few that had us contemplating a longer stay because a hot shower and comfortable bed could be such luxuries!) where we could spread out a bit, shop for groceries and cook our meals, make some friends, volunteer when the chance presented itself and just live. We’re middle-class travelers – not luxury seekers although we like pampering ourselves occasionally. And we’re not into denial or scrimpers by any means. However, we’re cost and value-conscious and we track our daily living expenses (and spreadsheet them too because, you know, we can!) We’ve enjoyed several house and pet-sits in many countries which is a terrific way to save money as well as immerse ourselves in a local community.
Currently: We think of ourselves as part-time nomads with a base. After traveling through Mexico, Central and part of South America as well as some of the island countries like the Dominican Republic and Curacao we decided to head to Europe. We found that Portugal, specifically the Algarve Region, was a perfect fit for us, did a little soul searching about giving up the full-time nomadic life and applied for a resident’s visa. In November of 2015 we signed a lease on an apartment, unpacked our two suitcases each and declared ourselves travelers with a home. Some of the advantages of having a home again that we so appreciate are:
We’re back to a carry-on suitcase each when we travel.
We’re able to acquire a few conveniences that we’ve really missed: our own pillows, a scanner-printer and some good pots and pans. Heaven!
We have our own doctors and dentists again and, best of all, a community of new friends.
We have all of Europe to explore at our leisure.
It’s really nice to have a familiar place to come home to. A place to regroup and anticipate the next new place to travel to as well as a place to simply enjoy living a good life.
And our future plans? We’ve made traveling our priority since 2012 and we have no plans to stop. The simple truth is, we’ve found that the more we travel, the longer our bucket list gets! Each time we make a travel dream become a reality we see our world grow smaller because everything and every place becomes possible after you take the first few steps and start to think creatively about the various ways to achieve your travel goals.
Thanks to all of our friends, those we’ve met face-to-face and online, for stopping by and reading our stories. It means a lot to us. We love to read your comments and we love to share our travel experiences and thoughts.
Anita Oliver and Richard Nash July, 2016