This week marks a fairly significant milestone in our retirement life. On November 7, 2013 we boarded a United Airlines flight with the final destination being Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Our initial line when people asked what we were doing, we would say that we would give full time travel a go for 3 to 5 years and then reevaluate our future plans. Well that time line easily slipped by and we are still loving our travel lifestyle.
The first few months in Belize we just rented places by the water and unwound from the worklife mentality. Make no mistake, it takes time. I found this especially true as a retired Police Officer. I loved my job and was very happy to be able to leave still loving it. But I also knew that there were a few other things in life that required as full a commitment, so Karen and I made the joint decision to follow those other dreams.
In April 2014 we started our first international house sit in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. That was an absolute game changer for us. Suddenly living simply on my pension was not a limiting factor. As we have travelled the world for the last 10 years, on average we have only had to pay for accommodation for 3 months each year.
We have travelled in 30 countries, 16 of which we have house sat in. House sitting certainly is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we very much enjoy it. It gives us the chance to live in locations where people of that nation actually live. There is nothing wrong with tourist destinations, we have done a lot of them, however we wanted to find out if any of these countries were going to be a place where we might settle down. In addition, during our more than 80 house sits we have met dozens of fascinating people and made friendships which have remained across the miles.
Challenges, there have been a few. No matter how you live your life there will be challenges. Facing them while being nomadic presents some unique aspects, but none that are insurmountable.
Fortunately we have family who, most the time, understand us and always offer their support in any way they can. And we have a circle of friends who chose to stay in touch with us and help to keep us grounded.
That support was vital for us when our youngest son was assaulted just before Christmas while we were in Australia. Karen was able to be by his side 24 hours after we were notified. A very difficult time was overcome with the love and help of family and friends. He recovered fully and The Calgary Police Service caught the individual responsible.
As well, we have learned that the health care overseas can be excellent. Karen had a health scare while we were looking after a boutique resort in Panama. The multiple trips to Panama City was quite challenging, but she found the facilities in Panama City to be first rate and the doctors and nurses to be excellent. Everything was resolved and Karen’s health was deemed excellent.
As well as discovering how difficult situations can be dealt with while overseas, we have also been privileged to experience some exceptional sights.
Over the course of the last 10 years Karen and I have been very fortunate in the experiences we have had and the sights and people we have seen and met. This is not due to luck or being blessed though. This has been the result of diligent work by Karen in looking for the opportunities and our willingness to get way out of our comfort zone. We are all responsible for our lives so I heartily encourage people to explore their dreams and pursue them to the best of their abilities. You never know when your situation will change.
In the post pandemic world we are now required to come home a little more frequently but this has not dampened our enthusiasm for travel or house sitting. We have now included the vast expanse of Canada in our travel itinerary in addition to exploring more unexplored corners of the world.
We thank everyone who has been supportive of our dreams in the last 10 years and hope that you all get as much joy out of your lives as we are getting out of ours.
Here is to the next 10 years, whatever it might hold.