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.

Of course, Karen found an incredible deal in Business class from Calgary to Belize City. Then it was the local Tropic Air that took us over to Ambergris Caye. A great little airline with above average customer service.

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.

I found it only took about 2 months to totally slip into the mode of being able to relax and simply enjoy the moment for several hours a day. The transition was also eased by having family and friends come to visit while we were in Belize. This aided in the more lengthy separations to come.

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.

Our first house sit. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Our 2 1/2 months in Puntarenas was certainly challenging, but honestly, we loved it. We arrived nervous and full of enthusiasm. We adapted and enjoyed the experience. It also set us up for success in many of our future sits.

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.

In some Central American countries house sitting is not that popular. In those we did rentals and checked out the required tourist sights. The Panama Canal cruise was one of those. Such an impressive place to experience.

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.

One of the challenges that never goes away is being separated from family. Facebook and video chats help, but I am a hugging person and there is nothing better than being able to give your Mom a hug. After our first 21 months away I am sure my Mom thought she was never going to see me again. It was so wonderful to be able to return for her 80th birthday.

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.

The thrill of enjoying a cocktail at the top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore was awesome.
Or having the opportunity to host Karen’s Mom in Vietnam while we were living there. The trip to Ha Long Bay was truly memorable.
Helping to overcome my dislike of heights was at the top of our agenda when we visited Kuala Lumpur. We got the chance to go up the KL Tower as well as the impressive Petras Twin Towers.
A couple of items at the top of my list were being able to celebrate our anniversary on the Great Wall of China.
And experiencing the Pyramids of Egypt. Simply incredible experiences.

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.

The Covid 19 pandemic threw the entire world into chaos. For us however it was a most fortuitous event. We ended up being able to spend 18 months at the height of the pandemic house sitting this gorgeous home in Calgary, near family and friends.
Also during that time I had my own little health issue which required me to experience a stem cell transplant. Due to Covid restrictions all of my support during the process came via FaceTime. I once again very much appreciate technology. As well as science and fantastic health care facilities in Canada.

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 look forward to creating more memorable moments, whether scuba diving with turtles.
Or having those memories converted into a reminder Karen gets to take everywhere with her.
Perhaps we will build some more beachside tables for watching sunsets or some other small project to help improve where we have been.

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.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

10 comments on “10 Year Travel Anniversary

  1. Julie McLean

    Congratulations! I remember when you started this journey and remember thinking how amazing it was that you had the courage to follow your dream.

  2. Rosemary Hosking

    Congratulations to you both and go on enjoying your travels as Graham and I enjoy sharing your adventures with you. Thank you,
    Please note our new email address as we would hate to miss hearing of your adventures

  3. Tyrell Sinclair

    Truly an amazing experience for the both of you.


    I love following you guys! Here’s to another 10! 🥂

  5. Louise Cervi

    Congratulations! I love reading reading of your adventures. Good job you guys.
    See you one day soon. Keep well xo💕

  6. Eunice (District 3) & Bob Keys

    What a wonderful journey….carry on – we’ll be watching.

  7. Love reading about your adventures and looking at the pictures. Glad to hear you both have survived your scares and your son too, tugged at my heart having been through something scary with mine. Safe adventures and keep having fun

  8. What a great milestone to ruminate on. Fun to look back and see how your travels have evolved. Congratulations!

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