How a Couple Who Saved $100,000 a Year to Retire Early Travels the World With Their 3-year-old
"It's not a vacation — it's a lifestyle."
After six years of working 60-hour weeks, exchanging his vacation time for pay, and having no time for rest, Jeremy Jacobson finally finished paying off his student loans in 2003. He rewarded himself by taking a two-week trip to the Philippines.
He spent his vacation scuba diving, sipping on tropical drinks, and gorging on giant shrimp.
It was then he decided he didn’t want to go back to work, he told Travel + Leisure.
Jeremy thus began his journey on an "aggressive savings path" to make that dream a reality. He met his future wife, Winnie Tseng, in Beijing on a work trip in 2004, and they settled in Taiwan one year later, cutting costs wherever they could. Together, the two were able to save $100,000 a year and retire in 2012 with more than $1 million in savings. Jeremy was just 38 years old.
Since then, the team behind the travel blog Go Curry Cracker! has been traveling nonstop, taking a short break when they had their son, Julian.
Having a child has not slowed down their travels, though. At three years old, Julian has already been to 30 countries — and with the UK, Barcelona, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and the U.S. on the itinerary for an upcoming three-month trip, the tiny traveler will reach 40 by the end of the summer.
Despite their busy travel schedule, the family's lifestyle has become more stabilized since Julian started pre-school. With Taipei as their home base, the "perpetual travelers" rent short-term apartments, Airbnbs, and hotels during the school year and travel when Julian is on break. They do not consider themselves minimalists, but they find that temporary housing comes with everything they could possibly need — including kitchen utensils and laundry — in addition to their two backpacks, a suitcase full of books and toys, a stroller, and a car seat.
But Jeremy and Winnie have found ways to keep their family grounded: "We just try to live a normal, everyday-person sort of life," he told Travel + Leisure. "We just happen to do it in different places along the way. It's not a vacation — it's a lifestyle."
So how do two people who quit their jobs to travel the world find a sense of normalcy in the day-to-day?
Just like any other family, Jeremy and Winnie take Julian to the park every day to swing on the swings and play with other kids his age. They go swimming, read books, play cards, and do their best to make sure Julian is "entertained and learning and having adventure." And in the midst of their "child-focused life," they also find time for their own interests, including biking around the city, taking art classes, and indulging in delicious eats at the local markets.
And while they are frequently on the move for the time being, they do not plan to keep up the intense travel schedule forever. They plan to settle down when Julian starts elementary school, Jeremy said. But where? Southern Spain and northern Italy have good weather and a quality of life that meets their core values — not to mention all the opportunities for hiking and feasting at public markets. Jeremy said he feels the "kind of vibe" to be found in both countries is one he could soak in "every day for the rest of [his] life."