How many times do you see people retire from work and then decide they should travel, only to find that their health prevents them from doing so? If you take a look at the top two regrets people have before dying there is a common theme and that is: 1. Not pursuing their dreams and aspirations; and 2. Working too much and never making time to enjoy life. These regrets certainly reinforces the argument for experiencing adventure before dementia!
The majority of people after reaching retirement age, have paid off their mortgages, accrued a nice little nest egg through their super and no longer have to support their children. They finally reach a stage where they are financially secure and no longer have to worry about “bringing home the bacon”. It is the long awaited unburdening, where we are free to do what we want, go where we please and have money to spend on ourselves for the first time in our lives.
But why do so many people wait to unburden themselves and enjoy their lives prior to that magic number of retirement age? It doesn’t make sense at all. There are many ways of enjoying the experience of travel prior to retirement age. One of the best ways is to make use of your major asset, your family home, as an income stream whilst you are travelling.
In 2014 my husband and I took off on our adventure before dementia, in our 4WD with caravan in tow and travelled right around Australia for 7 months. How did we afford to do this you may ask? Firstly we retired from work, set up our super fund into pension phase, which you can do after you turn 55 and have retired from full-time work. This allowed us to withdraw small amounts from our super during the time we were travelling to cover some of our travel expenses.
Secondly, we leased out our family home for 6 months as a fully-furnished rental. All we had to do was pack up our personal effects and store them in our garage for the time we were away. We were fortunate that our son and two of his friends moved in so we were never worried about our house being neglected.
Thirdly, I photographed and wrote about our travels as we roamed around Australia, that created a small amount of income from advertising and paid sponsored posts on my blog. However, my blog was well established prior to embarking on our trip so I would not rely on creating an income from blogging until you have a successful blog already in place.
During our travels we met many people who had sold up their homes and replaced it with a house on wheels and a sturdy 4WD. From all reports these full-time nomads were happy with their decision and loved living life on the road. If they were missing their loved ones back home, they would simply jump aboard a flight and return home for a few days to catch up with them.
Although travelling around Australia can be costly, with the high cost of fuel and caravan site fees, there are ways to economise. We found a lot of people free-camped rather than pay for caravan sites in caravan parks. Most modern caravans today are set up for free camping with their own battery or solar power, extra water storage tanks, toilets and showers. You can also save on fuel by not driving into headwinds and spending more time staying put, rather than always being on the road. Some travellers spend weeks camped at free camping areas and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another popular method of affording travel is to consider house swapping. There are a few websites specifically set up for house swapping. They charge an annual fee that enables you to view houses available for house swapping from all over the world. You then contact the home owners via the secure website to see if their house is available for a swap, negotiate the terms and dates and “voila” you are in France or Italy with free accommodation before you know it!
We have friends who do this every year as they love to spend our Winter in the south of France. They have very positive things to say about house swapping as a means to travelling overseas without having to pay the high cost of accommodation. You can use the houses as a base to travel further afield, some houses also come with a car and the houses are all furnished with everything you need. They are also usually located in great holiday destinations such as the south of France.
We are heading off soon on an overseas trip and decided to get house sitters in for the duration of our holiday. As we have a 12 month old dog that we have to consider, we thought it would be best to leave her at home with trusted house sitters, rather than put her into a kennel. It was extremely easy to get a suitable house sitter via a website called Trusted House Sitters.
For the house sitters, they get an entire home with free rental for 5 weeks and all they have to do is maintain the house, gardens and pool, care for our dog and collect our mail. This is another great way of obtaining free accommodation in your desired travel destinations. Many people do this as a full-time gig in addition to maybe renting out their own homes or travelling around in their caravans. It is a win-win situation for both parties.
So for those of you who want a little adventure before dementia, I say get out there and do it before it’s too late! As I have proven there are many ways to enjoy the experience of travel without it costing you “an arm and a leg”. Be prepared to look outside the square a bit and you will soon be off enjoying your lives and living “la dolce vita”!
This post is part of the Lovin’ Life Linky with a Lovin’ Life Team of the “ageing positively” kind who are as keen as I am to promote the Lovin’ Life mindset. The Lovin’ Life Team includes:
Kathy Shade is a 50 something year old who is married with 2 children who has spent most of her life being a housewife, mother and working as an Accounts Administrator in the public school system. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Her friends would describe her as being a 'have a chat' with an outgoing personality and zest for life. Kathy also has a great love of shopping and is known for her bargain hunting prowess!