Backpacking through Europe is kind of a post-college cliché. Footloose and fancy-free, you stash a few necessities in a bag, hop on a plane, and let life take you where it will. Afterwards, most people settle down to a regular job, maybe short trips on vacations, but mostly just living in an ordinary routine. You might look back fondly on your youthful trip. But do you expect to do it again? You should! Retirement is a wonderful time to wander the country and see the world.
It can be surprisingly cheap, too. Think about how much of your money goes toward rent or a mortgage, along with insurance and utilities. If you give up a permanent address, all those bills vanish. In addition, beautiful countries like Costa Rica and Thailand are favorite places for retirees. The weather is wonderful and housing and food are both very inexpensive. There are already communities of American expats to join. Even if you don’t want to settle in either place permanently, it’s good to have a place to rest and regroup after your adventures.
Maybe traveling the world isn’t quite your thing. Especially with all the confusing restrictions still in place with COVID-19, you might not want to bother. In that case, you might decide to get an RV or camper van and see the country.
If this kind of nomadic lifestyle appeals to you, let’s look at the steps you should take to get there. First you have to majorly pare down your belongings. Consider letting children, other family members, and friends know that you are downsizing to travel. Find out if there are particular keepsakes they would like. From there, decide whether to donate or sell unwanted stuff. You’ll need to decide what to do with important papers, other valuables, and sentimental items. Perhaps you have a family member or friend who would keep a few boxes for you. You can consider renting a storage unit, too.
Next, you’ll need to sell your house or give your landlord notice. Set dates to turn off utilities or have them transferred to the new owner. Think about how you want to handle mail. There are lots of mail forwarding services out there. People who will travel abroad for extended periods of time should check out companies that will upload your mail to a secure online location. This allows you to read it anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Those who will be taking up an RV life need to think about where their home base will be. You need to have an address so you can get health insurance and vote. You can get your mail forwarded to your physical location as you travel around. If you plan to travel abroad, get or renew your passport.
Then comes the fun part--making your travel plans. Brainstorm (with your partner, if you have one) places you’ve always wanted to see. Find out what the visa requirements of the countries are. Decide on what sort of accommodations you want--hotel, an AirBnB-type rental, or maybe even a cruise ship cabin. Start making plans for specific cities and places to see like London, Paris, and Berlin.
It can be a good idea to take a few shorter trips to get your feet wet and get used to travelling. You will learn what kinds of clothes and other items are really necessary and what to leave behind. You can figure out what kind of accommodations you prefer and what your travel style is -- whether you like to have a detailed plan or if you prefer to let a trip unfold serendipitously.
For the RV travellers, research different options among RVs and take your top picks on shorter trips to help you decide on the features you really need. Think about places in the US you want to visit. Keep in mind that campsites at national parks often need to be reserved several months in advance. Look into parks where you can stay with your RV for an extended time if you decide you want a break from the road.
A nomadic lifestyle is a great option for people who are retired. You probably have more money and more savvy than you did as a twenty-something. You also know how to savor the joys and shrug off the inconveniences of travel.
Will you adopt a nomadic lifestyle? As always, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter if you found this on social media and get back to living your best life!