Here’s the Thing . . .

Here’s the thing about not being able to go much of anywhere and having lots of time on your hands: you can really think things through. Not just what you’re going to do that day, or that month, or that year, but way into the future. You have time to run all the scenarios, do the research, and think deeply about what you really want to do going forward.

More than knowing what we want to do with our future, Brett and I have been clear and united about what we don’t want to do. We do not want to own a home again. We do not want to own a car again. We do not want to own a lot of things any more.

It took us a while, but we eventually realized that rather than settling down someplace and feeling restless, we’d rather travel full-time again for as long as we can. Several months ago we came up with plan that put us on the road again in 2023. We created an itinerary and figured out how much we would need to save to make those plans a reality. We jumped right into savings mode and have been going strong ever since.

However, somewhere along the way, while thinking about travel and the pandemic, the idea of settling permanently in another country came up for consideration. Portugal has been at the top of our list for an overseas location, and so we spent well over a month learning everything we could about the process of obtaining a long-term visa, thinking about where to live so we wouldn’t need a car, and trying to decide what we would bring along with us and how to accomplish that. It turned out to be very doable, and Portugal beckoned with good weather, great public transportation, a low cost of living, good elder care, and access to the rest of Europe and other destinations to scratch our travel itches. The language would be a major issue but we knew we could start learning Portuguese online now and then take formal classes once we arrived.

We got very serious about moving to Portugal and swore each other to secrecy. We weren’t going to tell anyone until we were locked in.

Then a few weeks ago we got to talking about Strasbourg and realized if we were going to live overseas we would rather live in our favorite European city even if the weather wasn’t as nice as it is in Portugal. So, again we started looking into getting a long-term visa (a bit easier in France than Portugal, it seemed), talked again about what to bring, how we would learn the language, figured out a budget, etc. This became even more exciting to us than moving to Portugal! We were especially happy about this decision because learning French would be easier than Portuguese (maybe).

We got ourselves into a serious-about-moving-to-Strasbourg mode and swore each other to secrecy again.

Then last week, as we started watching old Father Brown episodes, we discovered ourselves becoming a bit emotional when scenes around Blockley appeared, especially when the little cottage we had stayed in occasionally flashed into view. We had absolutely loved every moment of our time in the UK and in Blockley, and have continually talked about going back again someday. We had already researched the possibility of settling in England, even with its crummy winter weather, but like Japan there’s no long-term visa we qualify for.

Oh yeah, Japan. In our excitement over Portugal and France we had pushed our absolute favorite country to visit to the back of the pack. When and how were we ever going to be able to do any sort of long stay there while paying rent in France? Or Portugal? What were we thinking?

Something had to change.

And here’s the thing: something did change. None of our previous plans, we realized, were exactly what we really wanted to do right now, just parts of what we thought we wanted. We don’t really want to take up our previous busy travel style again. We’re not ready or wanting to settle down anywhere or own things again. What we needed to do was put together pieces from all our previous ideas and create a lifestyle that would fit us perfectly.

We’re going to be traveling again, but at a very slow pace. We looked at visa rules, got out a calendar, and figured out we could stay 90 days in Blockley, then move to Strasbourg for 90 days, and then head over to Japan for 90 days, with a visit to the U.S. squeezed in as well to see the girls, all without violating any country’s rules for long stays. We can rinse and repeat this schedule as long as we feel up to it, living for long stretches in our favorite places and experiencing them in every season, and fitting in short getaways to other places we want to visit while we’re there. We’ll be nomads again, living with what fits into one large suitcase and a carry-on bag, a lifestyle we loved. We’ll get to see our son and his family once a year, and the girls once a year as well. We won’t have to figure out how to obtain special visas or take expensive language classes, and we’ll be flying less too. We’ll be in places long enough to quarantine, if necessary.

There are 19 months to get through before liftoff, and lots of work to do before our plans can happen. As we well know, much can change (quickly at times) and probably will more than once before our scheduled departure. In the meantime we will do what we can, and continue to save as much as possible, continue to get ourselves in shape and stay healthy, and continue to downsize, downsize, downsize. We’ll also continue to enjoy and appreciate every moment of our time left on Kaua’i. We’re lucky to be here, but looking forward to the future.

28 thoughts on “Here’s the Thing . . .

  1. I can’t tell you how much I love this plan! Having the time to think things through and arrive here is a terrific gift. My hope for next year is to start spending a chunk of time closer to friends around the US – maybe a month at a time. I’ve got a grandson on the way, and also have pets to still consider. This would give me a slow introduction to a more nomadic lifestyle. Thank you for sharing your ideas, they are a great starting off point for your readers!

    Like

    1. We are feeling a very different sort of satisfaction about this plan than we did with the others as well as a different sort of motivation. It will be less costly for us in the long run, even with a higher grade of rental than we used before. We’ll still be nomads, but at a slower pace and in places we love. We’re especially looking forward to experiencing different seasons in each place as we move around.

      Like

  2. I’m so intrigued by your nomad lifestyle, but I can’t imagine leaving the comfort of my home, my view, my grandchildren. I love to travel, but I’m always ready to come home after a few weeks. I guess I’ll satisfy my nomad interest by continuing to read your blog 🙂

    Like

    1. I imagine if our grandchildren lived closer, and our daughters weren’t living far away and pursuing their own careers and lives right now we’d probably be less inclined to be nomads. But, everyone in our family is in a place right now where this lifestyle works for us. In a few years it may be impossible, so this is our time to go for it!

      Like

  3. Isn’t it fortunate the UK left the EU in order to allow you to stay there outside of the Schengen Agreement restrictions . . . it really is the answer to your dilemma! This seems like the absolutely perfect plan all around, and one I believe I will turn to myself should I ever become single via the death of my spouse. (He is rooted in having a permanent residence more so than I am.)

    Is there any reason why you couldn’t now move up your timeline?

    Like

    1. Interestingly, England was never part of the Schengen Agreement; neither is Ireland, so that’s another place we could spend time in order to not violate Schengen rules.

      We are currently in talks about possibly moving our departure to late December 2022, spending Christmas with the girls back east and then heading over to spend winter in England.

      Like

  4. Sounds like a good plan. I hate to be a downer, but my son came down with Covid. He is vaccinated and wears a N95 mask. Only place he takes it off is in college cafeteria. First week of school and he caught and he literally goes nowhere bc this is law school, not undergraduate, and very grueling. He is also careful because of family member with cancer and undergoing treatment. Just know that despite all precautions, he caught it. He does catch viruses very easily. So, just be aware this virus is very contagious and may interrupt travel plans of even the vaccinated.

    Like

    1. Cindy, I can’t tell you how sad this makes me, especially since both you and your son have been careful, gotten vaccinated, etc. Sending all good wishes that he recovers quickly.

      COVID is (and has been) the one wild card in our plans, and will determine if, when, and where we go.

      Like

  5. Sounds like you will be Generally Nomads rather than Occasional Nomads. Hope, everything will be better by the time you are ready for lift off.

    Like

    1. Generally Nomads doesn’t quite have the same ring though, does it? Moving every 90 days or so will still keep us in the Occasional category, I think.

      We feel very differently about this plan than others before – it’s been quite a journey already figuring out what we want to do in the future, but this one finally feels right.

      Like

  6. That does sound like a good plan! I’m thinking once the booster shots are out, things will start to settle down and you should be good to go by 2023. Let’s hope!

    Like

  7. Sounds like a great plan. I’m curious how you would deal with medical issues that might arise? Say, for example, you need surgery while living in France.

    Like

    1. I am wondering the same thing about healthcare needs. Is being military veterans helpful in this regard? Knowing your thoroughness, I’m sure you are figuring it out.
      For me, everything changed suddenly, but we did have some Plan B, C, D, etc. stuff in place, for which I am so grateful! I know I won’t retire outside of the USA, and just trying to figure this out is very challenging! I know not to make my plans based on the current situation of children, step-children, grand-children, because it will change. Good luck to all of us!

      Like

      1. Being retired military has proven to be extremely helpful – our insurance covers us worldwide for the rest of our lives. Plus we can tap into military hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics if nearby to where we are.

        We always have a Plan B and C, but have so far not had to activate them. I am currently grateful for the time we have now to watch things unfold and thing more about what we want to do now, and where we want to be.

        Definitely good luck to all of us!!

        Like

    2. Our military medical insurance covers us world wide; in fact, in some countries hospitals and doctors will bill it directly (we know that happens in France). We will still have a copay, but costs in other countries are nothing like they are here, and the amount we ever have to pay out of pocket is capped. Prescription refills are our big concern, but Ramstein Air Base is very close to Strasbourg, and we are close to military hospitals in Japan so can take care of refills when we’re there.

      Like

  8. Hey, that sounds like a great plan! I have to agree with Debbie though – I can’t imagine leaving the comforts of our little house, the grandchildren, etc. on a permanent basis. So I, too, will enjoy your travels through your blog and hope to one day make a shorter trip to some of those places! 🙂

    Like

    1. We get that this isn’t a lifestyle that either appeals to many or is doable for many. There are lots of sacrifices involved in making it happen. But, it works for us and fits our current family configuration, so we’re going for it!

      Like

    1. We are! We have always been, as our son says, “restless people,” and this is a perfect way for us to feed our need to get up an move after a while. Our fingers are crossed that COVID settles down next year so we can make our plans a reality.

      Like

    1. We are now working on whether we can leave in late December 2022. Our goal is to save enough to cover our first full year of expenses (rentals, flights, etc.) and we’re working out how we can do that.

      Like

  9. How much fun is it to plan, and dream, and look things up in order to do more planning? And then plan and dream some more!

    I’d love to have a whole year in an English village. To see the change of seasons! The flowers. The cold. My dream.

    Like

    1. I grow more thankful for the time we have now to figure things out and get it right. I hate though that we have to follow COVID’s lead, but are hopefully things will calm down as we go through 2022.

      We could very easily do a year in any of our three destinations, if only they would let us.

      Like

    1. The more we think and talk about this, the more we realize how well it works for us. We’re well situated to Ramstein when we’re in Strasbourg, and to Yokosuka in Japan for medical issues, but also have good insurance to cover issues that may arise. We both really like the idea of being a place for several months – our last stay in England was the ideal.

      Like

  10. I was so curious about what your plan would end up being. It has been a process and it looks like you may have hit the sweet spot.
    My husband and I did something similar but just for 7 months in 2010-2011 and it was absolutely wonderful. I think is perfectly doable and honors your occasional nomadic title.
    Congratulations, I will be following your adventures!

    Like

Comments are closed.