When my husband Tim and I first left Australia in 2010 to try out a roving retirement, people thought we were nuts. We were pretty ordinary, middle-class, working Australians in our 40s with a nice house in the suburbs of Brisbane, a modest car and a reasonable income. But we certainly weren’t rich by any means.
People couldn’t understand how we could just pull up stumps and go travelling long term. They figured we’d either be scrimping on everything to stay on the road or back home to resume “normal” life before long. Some still remembered our first extended trip in the 1990s where we really were rock-bottom budget backpackers. None of our friends wanted to ask about how to live that kind of lifestyle.
To be quite honest, we didn’t know if our plan would work either. We’d done as much research as we could. We were intent on travelling slowly so we could experience places on a deeper level than we could if we were just hopping about. We looked at places we wanted to visit and hubs where we could base ourselves for a while. We looked at how much things would cost, what income streams we could open up and where we could work to refresh our funds, along with the best way to access them.
We set up our affairs back home to run on autopilot (almost), conquered those last nagging feelings of doubt and set off.
In nine years, together we’ve visited 60 countries. We base ourselves in Vietnam when we’re not travelling, have established ourselves as English teachers, started a profitable freelance writing business and stayed in a range of luxury accommodation in some of the world’s most expensive places for free thanks to housesitting.
We’ve switched insurance companies, banks, credit and debit cards as we discovered better, cheaper products. And we’ve met dozens of other travellers who’ve passed on their best tips for travelling long-term and living a fantastic life overseas for much less than living a “normal” life back in Australia. And we’re still searching out more opportunities and learning all the time.
Our social media pages show an endless string of stunning destinations, luxurious accommodation and adventurous pursuits… and a fair amount of craft beer being sampled around the world, too…
Not everything worked out exactly the way we planned and a lot has changed in the world since 2010, but that’s been part of the journey. Who would have thought meeting a group of intrepid touring cyclists in Kyrgyzstan would see us doing exactly the same thing a short while later—cycling thousands of kilometres across Australia, Europe and North America. Certainly not Tim, whose longest bike ride at that point had been just 15 kilometres!
The folks back home have come to realise that perhaps we aren’t so crazy after all and we might just have some “secrets” that might help them sample the good life, even if only for a while. Lots of our contacts around the world have promised to come and explore Ho Chi Minh City with us and a few have even decided that life overseas might be an option for them as well. If our input helps even one person achieve a happier, more comfortable retirement than they could afford in Australia, we’re delighted.
Editor’s Note: Sharyn and the rest of our crack team of live overseas experts will be on hand to help answer your every live overseas question at the 2019 Fast Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference. It takes place in Bangkok, Thailand, from February 21 to 23. Find out how you can attend this groundbreaking event, here.