My friends and I are on the last leg of our journey. Our tour guide, Jai, expertly drives the van over steep mountain roads, cutting through rough terrain, meandering alongside the brilliant blue waters of the South Pacific. Amazing scenery serves up a warm welcome to the paradise island of Fiji…
Europe: home to beautiful history, stunning landscapes, fascinating cultures and iconic landmarks. It’s likely that when you think of travelling to Europe, you probably start to see your budget burst. But, the truth is, travel is Europe doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, it can be downright affordable, even a bargain if you know what to do and where to look.
This past May, I celebrated my five-year anniversary of being on the road full-time and took a long, happy, look back at the adventures those years have given me. Those adventures were beautiful and vast and more than I ever could have imagined when I first set out on this journey.
Low-key and uncrowded, fronted by a five-kilometre beach, Hua Hin, the Thai beach town my wife Vivien and I call home is also surrounded by three of the country’s biggest national parks. Its central location on the gulf coast means easy access to plenty of out-of-town beaches, too.
My husband Michael and I were in our 50s when we made the decision to retire overseas. Before then I really hadn’t given retirement much serious thought. I suppose I had seen us as part of the grey nomad brigade, caravanning the well-worn roads of Australia, gathering at 5 p.m. for ‘sundowners’ then toddling off to camp for the night.
My husband David and I love Vietnam. And when it comes to finding a place to call home here, we’ve been spoiled for choice since the day we arrived. We loved Nha Trang’s spectacular bay, ringed by a long expanse of golden-sand beach, sparkling turquoise water and lush green islands that seemed to shimmer in the distance.
Since retiring two years ago, Vadim Ponorovsky has been enjoying the exciting and stimulating life of a roving retiree. He’s been to Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, France, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam, immersing himself in new cultures and making new friends.
“Travelling is a fountain of youth,” says Christina Daggett, as she sits down to dinner with her husband, Tim. It’s evening in the town of Hawick, Scotland, where they are currently staying. “I can’t imagine going back to our old lifestyle. Nothing could be better than what we’re doing now.”
For just over a quarter of a century, International Living has ranked, rated and named the best retirement destinations in the world in the annual Global Retirement Index. Each year we’ve refined and improved the process, bringing new categories and considerations into play, gathering new data and asking more and better questions of a greater number of expats.
When I talk to friends who’ve never visited Southeast Asia about my life in Vietnam, they’re often surprised by some of the things I take for granted. Reliable WiFi in every cafe and restaurant, modern shopping centres, cinemas that show English language movies, even an ice rink. But that’s Vietnam for you…full of surprises.