Seeing the World Three Months at a Time: My Life as a Roving Retiree

I look out my bedroom window to watch seagulls soaring below me; what an interesting perspective to view these graceful white birds from above.

How my life has changed in the past year.

My current apartment in Porto, Portugal, is located on the fourth floor of a building on the rising side of the hills, reaching up from the Douro River. The view…is simply breathtaking. Centuries old buildings lie in every direction housing the people of Porto, many with yesterday’s laundry still hanging outside their windows to dry—clothes on lines, racks, and rails of small balconies. I had never imagined how colorful this would be. But, it has been one of my most cherished views since arriving in Porto.

But let me take you back to the start. In May 2015, I attended an International Living conference. This was one of the catalysts that nudged me to take the leap and move overseas.

I put my house on the market, and after selling it a few weeks later, I found myself in Seville, Spain. I arrived during “Santa Semana”, the week of Easter which is a high tourist season, so I ended up splitting my three months stay there between two apartments. This meant, I was able to experience two very different Spanish neighborhoods.

It was the perfect place to begin my new adventure—and also inexpensive compared to U.S. prices—living on half what it cost me back home. Understandably, my friends and family soon became bored with my texts of pictures of my latest grocery shopping trip, and the cost. Averaging $175 per month, including wine. My “restaurant” expense was roughly the same; the tapas were too good to pass up. So, my total food expenses—food, wine, and restaurants—averaged $343 a month.

I finished the year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Originally planning to stay only three months, after one week in my amazing condo—I checked to see if it was available through the end of the year, and then signed an extended lease. I enjoyed five-and-a-half months living in a high-rise with breathtaking views and stunning sunsets, all overlooking the Pacific Ocean and perfectly maintained property.

I am living what is called a “roving retirement.” In my case, this translates to living in places around the world that cost less than living in the States. These are extended stays for me, usually a minimum of three months…with two suitcases in tow.

Living this lifestyle does require managing details. The internet makes life much easier now compared to those who began this lifestyle many years ago. Having the internet, means I can communicate with family and friends anytime, and manage my financial life and any other details that arise.

So too, has the advent of HomeAway, Airbnb, and other such websites opened up a whole new, economical way to travel. They allow me to live in an authentic neighborhood enriching my cultural experience—lower my food expense by enabling me to shop locally and cook at home if I choose—and get away from the tourist areas which increase traffic and expenses.

To people offering apartments and houses, I am an attractive renter. I stay longer, requiring much less attention and active management on their part and the fact that I am older brings them some peace of mind. All of which gives me a little leverage in negotiating my monthly rental rate. I have budgeted $1,000 per month for housing…and I stay very close to that. This figure includes all utilities and WiFi, although in some places electricity expenses, as well as cleaning service, are in addition to the monthly rate.

I arrange my schedule to go “home” every three months to see my family—which is more frequent than when I worked.

Who knows what 2018 will bring, but on the list to consider and research are Malta, Ireland, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador…and maybe even Puerto Vallarta again. This nomadic life may lead to a new home…but for right now, I am enjoying the journey.

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