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Reader Visitor Put up – Journey Earlier than Dementia


At the moment, I convey you a visitor publish from a few nomadic retirees, Tom Swan and Georganna Hawley. They’ve been residing a nomadic life-style for about two and a half years and haven’t any plans for stopping.

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Hitting the Road

If you happen to’ve thought-about this life-style in retirement, and even for those who haven’t, you’ll discover their story fascinating and study priceless classes from their experiences. Matters coated embrace their expertise with downsizing, how they’ve handled well being points whereas on the highway, selecting areas the place they need to spend time in retirement and dealing with logistics, and different classes discovered alongside the best way.

We’ve got no monetary relationship. Take it away Tom and Georganna….

This can be a Life-style, Not a Trip

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“We’re NOT on trip” is probably the most typical reply to our mates’ and household’s misunderstanding of our Nomad life-style. Sometimes, People go on a 2-3 week trip, frantically seeing all the things attainable in a “whirlwind tour.” Then they return dwelling and require one other 2-3 weeks to recuperate from the holiday. 

Sure, now we have seen some great, iconic, even unique locations. Nevertheless, we additionally purchase our veggies on the open market, experience the native trains or buses and take free strolling excursions as an alternative of organized “touristy” excursions. Typically we even keep in and simply do laundry like everybody else.

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We’re Tom Swan and Georganna Hawley, semi-retired People. We live our greatest life with this new, and sometimes misunderstood life-style. In September of 2021, we “embraced the change” that a lot of our fellow boomers should not but able to face.

Embracing Change

Covid-19 restrictions allowed Tom to shut his workplace and work on-line. Our grandsons turned adults, and we out of the blue didn’t want an enormous home. A minimalist aesthetic was making us suppose our stuff owned us as an alternative of the opposite manner round.

We have been intrigued and impressed by a radio interview on Rick Steves with Michael and Debbie Campbell, The Senior Nomads. All this was occurring getting ready to looming retirement and had us asking what we wish from this new section of our lives.


We started the monumental job of shedding all our possessions in 2020. I offered 4 stitching machines. Tom offered his treasured drill press and all his instruments. We additionally offered or gave away these particular china dinner settings our daughter didn’t need (NOTE: your children don’t want your stuff). We scanned all of the contents of picture albums (now saved on the cloud), had seven yard gross sales, and numerous journeys to Goodwill. 

Lastly, we obtained all of it right down to solely two rolling carry ons, and two backpacks. We retained two 14 gallon storage bins (half stuffed with treasures) to retailer at our daughter’s home. We offered our home and one in all our two vehicles. Final, we drove our truck to our daughter’s home at hand over the storage bins, and we introduced the keys and pink slip of the truck to our oldest grandson.  

Associated: Downsizing In Retirement – Any Regrets?

Hitting the Street

After that, we pretty danced all the best way to the airport jet strategy to fly off to our first nomad vacation spot, Vienna, Austria, on September 23, 2021.

Some nomads select to maintain their home and lease it out, preserve a storage unit of their dwelling city, and/or preserve a mother-in-law cottage with their children. We selected to dive off the deep finish with none “what if we alter our minds” contingencies. We discover it retains us targeted ahead, studying easy methods to make this nomad life-style work, with no “escape clause”.

I’m now 72, a retired archaeologist and textile artist. Tom is 65 and continues to work remotely as a retirement planner and monetary advisor. He works servicing purchasers’ wants from wherever we’re. 

Good WIFI is essential, and out there all around the world! His cellphone is on a VOIP (Voice Over Web Protocol), and is definitely his previous workplace quantity. So purchasers acknowledge it’s him, however everybody he calls asks, “The place is Tom immediately?”

What About Healthcare?

Tom wanted each arthritic knees changed, however his insurance coverage firm claimed he was too “younger” and wanted to attend for Medicare to pay for it. And most US surgeons will solely do separately. 

Whereas visiting Istanbul, Turkiÿe he obtained a free session with a group of two orthopedic surgeons who quoted a value that was lower than 1/3 of the insurance coverage copays in California. So, we scheduled surgical procedure. Tom had his knees changed in Istanbul; each on the identical day. 

His care was outstanding. Bodily remedy was painful however tolerable, and 5 weeks after surgical procedure we have been strolling alongside Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. 

We do carry worldwide well being care insurance coverage for emergencies and an evacuation coverage for me. However, to be sincere, if one thing occurred to me, I’d moderately go to Türkiye.

The USA has medical health insurance, the remainder of the world has well being care. Huge distinction.

Getting Round

Our transportation mode of selection is through practice in Europe, however buses are additionally possibility if we need to go a bit slower. Public transportation in Europe is often clear, low-cost, and in depth. We’ve got discovered {that a} good different could be to rent a personal driver, particularly if we’re crossing a number of borders in non-EU nations. 

Journey in South America presents fewer alternate options. There are few trains, and buses can vary from nice to downright terrible. We often go for flying between South American nations. 

Repositioning cruises are additionally a good selection for nomads for trans-oceanic journey. A cruise ship gives us with our transportation, lodging, meals and leisure multi function bundle. With cruises, we don’t must pack/unpack for weeks at a time, and no jet-lag! We select to fly solely as a final resort typically.

Assembly Logistical Challenges

Journey preparations are after all as much as us, and it has turn into an element time job. We work collectively, doing analysis on locations, what we need to do, and one of the best time of 12 months to remain specifically areas.

We additionally think about suggestions from different nomads. It usually is sensible to journey in a selected route; north and east for spring and summer time months, after which start heading south for the winter, at all times chasing 72 levels. 

Many nomads select to see the Arctic or Antarctic and have great tales and photographs. We select to remain in hotter climates and preserve our change-of-seasons packing to a minimal. If we by no means see snow once more, that can be simply fantastic with us.

The web is (principally) our buddy for planning and making reservations. It takes fairly a little bit of group, however we handle redundancy with a paper calendar, excel spreadsheets, and each of us having all confirmations and reservations on our computer systems and telephones.

I copy a map on-line and label the following few months the place we can be, then publish it so household can comply with our progress.  Regardless that we work collectively to plan our travels, now we have nonetheless managed to make airplane reservations for the unsuitable day, forgotten how the Worldwide Date Line works, and gotten our timezones confused.  

As Nomads, now we have discovered to pivot, clear up issues and discover alternate options shortly.

Selecting Lodging

We like to remain in flats with a kitchen and washer with easy accessibility to the native metro or bus. Normally discovering Airbnb’s in a metropolis middle neighborhood fits us. Quick, dependable WIFI and an elevator are a should. 

We additionally take pleasure in volunteering at English Immersion retreat periods and now we have carried out this 4 instances now. It’s an effective way to satisfy and get to know the native folks and the free lodging assist to stretch the funds. 

This 12 months we added a home/pet sitting into the combination. We get to spend high quality time with canine and cats, and keep in an actual dwelling, typically within the English countryside, different instances in a southern California suburb. Selection retains our nomad life-style enjoyable and attention-grabbing.

Nice Tuning Our Planning

We’re nonetheless looking for the candy spot of how lengthy to remain in anybody place. Usually every week is sufficient to maintain our curiosity, and a month could also be too lengthy. 

If climate or timing preserve us from doing all we have been planning for, we all know we will at all times come again subsequent 12 months, or the following. Typically we purposely don’t search out all that we predict can be attention-grabbing, understanding a city or area will certainly be on our “return for longer” record.

The Schengen Zone is a problem for us and different Nomads, and is a vital a part of our planning. The Schengen Zone includes 27 European Union nations + 4 different nations. 

As People we will solely keep within the Schengen for 90 days out of 180. The nations outdoors the zone means our  “Schengen Shuffle”  is consistently on the radar (there are apps for that). 

Final 12 months Croatia entered the zone, and in 2024 Romania and Bulgaria are scheduled to enter. This implies we might want to discover different nations to discover whereas we await our Schengen clock to reset. 

Türkiye, Albania, Macedonia, Georgia, and 5 of the “Stans” are good nomad selections. Even the tiny mountain nation of Andorra between Spain and France is outdoors the Schengen. And what about North Africa? The limitless potentialities are an enormous cause we preserve touring.

Isn’t This Costly?

After all now we have a funds, we aren’t spending wildly on trip, in spite of everything! The cash saved not having to pay utilities, taxes, vehicles, gasoline, tires, repairs, and a number of insurances means we spend lower than if we nonetheless lived in California. Even our month-to-month lodging prices are lower than our mortgage.

Transportation prices are additionally a lot lower than the price of proudly owning a number of vehicles. We don’t usually purchase clothes as a result of the area is restricted in our suitcase. Many nomads purchase garments at thrift shops and re-donate once they depart a location. We select to go along with what now we have and if it will get chilly, we simply head south! 

We every personal one pair of sturdy strolling footwear. I did purchase a beautiful classic denim jacket in Hamburg, Germany final 12 months. It’s too cumbersome to pack, so I needed to make the aware resolution that I need to put on it on each journey day. When that will get to be too cumbersome, I can depart it in a donation bin for another person to like.

Leveraging Journey Rewards

One other funds stretcher is utilizing bank card reward factors to our benefit. Final 12 months Tom manipulated our factors into 22 free lodge nights and 16 free enterprise class airplane tickets. The “factors recreation” is rising in reputation amongst nomads, and nicely price Tom’s time spent learning the constantly altering choices.

Associated: Journey Extra & Spend Much less With Credit score Card Journey Rewards

Are we nonetheless pleased with our option to do away with all the things and journey the world as modern-day senior nomads? Sure! When can we plan to cease (the second most requested query)? We don’t.

If well being or unknown circumstances make us rethink our life-style, we will pivot. We’ve got carried out it earlier than, we will do it once more when that point comes.

Chris’ $.02

Due to Tom and Georganna for sharing your story. Their solely need for sharing their story is to ispire and join with others who share their pursuits. You possibly can join with them via their “Two Vacationers” Fb web page.

If you happen to loved their story, take a look at one other visitor publish from nomadic retirees Margot and Nick.

Reader visitor posts are at all times standard on the weblog. If you happen to’d prefer to share your story ship me an e mail at

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to Financial planning inquiries can be sent to]

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