Retirement Trend: “Roving Retirees” Overseas Enjoy Unique Travel Experiences and Richer Lifestyle, while Spending Less

For some, home is a place on a map or a house filled with memories and possessions. But for others, home is much more portable.

Dan and Char Marshall are among a growing number of U.S. couples who have traded in a stationary retirement for one much more mobile and exotic.

Semi-retired, they have been exploring South America for the last 11 months. In that time, they rented a car for seven weeks to explore Chile; trekked in Patagonia; lived and cruised for one month in the Galápagos; hiked over a mountain pass to Machu Picchu; taken kitesurfing lessons; swam with baby sea lions… and the list goes on.

It took the Marshalls 18 months to organize their affairs back home before they hit the road. “We sold our two rental properties, found homes for the pets, and got our house ready to rent. We went through all our stuff, gave a lot away, threw a lot away, and put the rest in storage. We scanned our critical paper documents, including the information we’d need to file taxes,” say Dan.

The Marshalls fund their travel by using some of the monthly rental income from their house (over and above expenses) and quarterly withdrawals from their retirement accounts.

“We have established a very conservative withdrawal amount, and we live within a budget. Surprisingly, this gives a monthly budget similar to what we spent before traveling, so we have flexibility in our travel choices,” says Dan.

Jo Thomson, 62, and her husband Marc Brand, 63, have embarked on a similar adventure in retirement. They spend about four months each year visiting friends and family in the United States.

But they spend the remainder of their time in Southeast Asia. For the past two years, they’ve used Nha Trang, Vietnam as a jumping-off point for exploring the countries in the region they love most—Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

When they’re “home” in Nha Trang, they enjoy great creature comforts on a modest budget, which leaves them plenty leftover for their travel fund.

“Being by the ocean during the great-weather months has been the major appeal,” Marc says. “We go on long walks in the morning. In the afternoon, we relax, go on adventures in town, read at the beach, or go to a beach club, where we can swim in the pool and rent a chaise longue for about $2.

“After our late-afternoon walk, we relax at home and then go out to one of our favorite restaurants—Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, you name it. Some nights, we go to local American- or Canadian-run bars for live music—rock, blues, or jazz—played by both expats and locals.”

Nha Trang offers great value for money.

“We rented a modern studio apartment—a five-minute walk from the ocean—that was fully furnished and included cable, WiFi, a small kitchen, maid service, laundry six days a week, a security guard, a weight room, and utilities for $300 a month,” says Marc.

“My life generally is healthier in Nha Trang than in the States, due to diet, walking often, easy living, and less stress,” Jo says. “A wonderful acupuncture center that is very affordable—$2 a session—keeps me quite healthy. The most stressful thing on a daily basis is where to eat at night.”

The full report on how you can enjoy a roving retirement overseas for less than you may think can be read here: Roving Retirees Enjoy Unique Travel Adventures Overseas.

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