What It's Like Spending Retirement as “Senior Gypsies”
This retired couple sold their California home and have been traveling the world ever since.
Some people thought Tim and Lynne Martin were crazy when they sold their California home in 2011 to spend their retirement as nomads. But by selling their house, they have been able to fund full-time travel ever since, living in Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, Paris, Italy, England, Ireland, Morocco, Portugal, and Germany. Self-proclaimed “senior gypsies” since Tim retired from a tech company and Lynne from public relations, they've written a book, Home Sweet Anywhere, about the process and their travels. We caught up with Lynne to hear more about their nomadic retirement.
What inspired you to sell your home and travel full-time, versus just taking trips like most retirees?
We realized that in two- or three-week vacations, we never really got to experience a country the way we wanted to. We were running around so much, we had no down time to do normal things like cook and experiment with unfamiliar local ingredients. Having the luxury to relax and just live in a place sparked our imaginations.
How do you make full-time travel work financially?
We looked at the cost of upkeep for our home in California and realized we could live for less traveling the world. We often housesit for friends where we stay for free or find rentals through HomeAway or VRBO. We've even become friends with the owners of our first rental in Paris, and now we take vacations together and get dibs on their glorious apartment when they travel. We also work within a budget, and balance more expensive locales by making our next stop a less expensive place. We take a lot of repositioning cruises instead of flights; they're a bargain because they offer exactly the same services, entertainment, and accommodations as regular cruises, but they cost much less. We’ve made four crossings to Europe this way and loved the leisurely pace and arriving with no jet lag.
How do you deal with missing friends and family while you're living abroad?
Technology makes it easier to stay in touch, though I do miss the hugs. I sometimes chat with my daughter on FaceTime while she cooks dinner in California and I’m having croissants and coffee in Paris. Also on almost every journey, friends or family members have come to visit us.
What's your favorite place from your travels so far?
Paris. Its beauty, food, wine, and fabulous transportation system make it almost perfect for us. We’ve spent several summers living in non-touristy neighborhoods, so it now feels like a second home.
Where are you still looking forward to going?
Parts of Asia—Korea, Taiwan, China—and Australia are high on our list.
Do you ever disagree about where to go next?
We're really lucky because most of the time we agree about where we’d like to go. But when we don’t, our rule is that “no” always wins. That means if one of us has a strong negative feeling about a place, we don't go there.
Do you have any words of encouragement or caution to people thinking about retiring this way?
There is never a moment when we aren’t happy that we chose this adventure over a predictable retirement. The only thing we regret about this journey is that we didn’t start earlier!