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The Keys for Retiring to Travel | The Senior Vagabond Series

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Gar Williams, the Senior Vagabond

Dump it all and GO! Dump it all! The house, the car, the furniture, and all those clothes you have in the closet that you never wear. If you want to go then do it. Dump it all and just GO!

Six months ago, I sold my house, my truck, my furniture, and everything else I couldn’t get into one 46 liter Osprey backpack. I packed up that backpack and set out to see the world. Now, months later, I’ve been to six countries and traveled roughly 30,000 miles. I don’t plan on ever stopping short of that ultimate stop we all must make. I’m sixty-four years old, retired, and finally doing what I want to do.

I just returned from Australia and I’m in the USA at the moment. In a couple more weeks, I will head down to Catemaco, Mexico. It is a nice place to live for a while. It is ten miles from the Caribbean, and the price of living is just right. That is the city I consider my “base.” I do have an address in the US but that is just a convenient place where my mail is sent. I collect it every six months when I pass through.

Actually, my “home” is wherever my backpack happens to be. I don’t have a domicile in Catamaco – yet. Maybe I will soon. Maybe I won’t. I just pretty much do whatever I want to do and stay wherever I want to stay.

How is it that I am so free? I’m not independently wealthy – not exactly anyway – and I’m not a bum. Again, not exactly. Exactly how I live, what I do, where I go, and how I pay for it is what this Senior Vagabond series is all about.

So, first the biggie – how do I pay for my travel and expenses. I am a retired man, age 64, in reasonable health. I don’t have a lot of money in the bank. I do have some that is earmarked for “medical emergencies.” That is my “health insurance.” It costs me no premiums and even provides me with a little income in interest. The money is in a USA bank where it is reasonably safe. At least as safe as the current government of the US — but I don’t want to get into that or politics here, so enough said about that. The money is not much but I think it will cover me if I have something catastrophic occur, assuming I am in the right country when it happens. More about this later in the series.

I got this money the old fashion way: I worked for it, saving it over many years. Also, when I really retired to traveling, I sold my home which, in this economy, only netted me a few thousand. I also sold my truck and banked that money. Other than the small amount of interest I get on my savings, my other sources of income are a small social security check and a much smaller retirement check.

The words “small” and “much smaller” when speaking of my income streams are only accurate when I am in the USA or some other relatively expensive country. That is the first key to my freedom: I spend as little time as possible in countries that are “relatively expensive” and as much time as possible in countries that are “less expensive,” where I can stretch my money much farther.

The second key is fixed expenses: I don’t have any. The only exception to this is a small check I send to my aging mother every month. I have no debt, and don’t owe anybody anything.

So, I am traveling, seeing the world, doing what I want to do, going where I want to go pretty much on my social security check. There is no reason why you can’t do the same. If you want to. And that is the third key: you’ve got to want to.

Future articles in this series will deal more with the specifics of these three keys: 1.) A small income stream, 2.) A small or non-existent stream of fixed expenses, and 3.) The desire to travel. I will also be talking about the specifics of where my money goes. More importantly, I will talk about where my money doesn’t go.

Until the next time – and a word of caution – just remember what John Wayne said:

“I think a man ought to do what he wants to do – as long as he’s willing to accept the consequences.”

Any “advice” or “information” offered in my writing comes with the same provisio.

— Gar, the Senior Vagabond

Read the other articles in the Senior Vagabond series.

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Filed under: Perpetual Travel, Senior Travel, Senior Vagabond

About the Author:

Gar Williams liquidated his former life, sold all his possessions that wouldn’t fit into a 46 liter backpack, and left it all behind at age 63. He is now traveling the world, and, in his words, is finally doing what he wants to do. Gar stops by at VagabondJourney.com from time to time to offer his wisdom and advice on the Senior Vagabond series. has written 65 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Gar Williams is currently in: Ecuador