How we enjoy life to the fullest NOW. A WTF Moment.

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It was the last sentence of the comment on an interview we did in our local newspaper about our trip around Australia that got me. Like a balloon suddenly losing its belly I was struck with a huge deflating WTF?

Am I in the right place? Do people really think like this?

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The six sentences previous to the last one was sort of an indication, but too some extent I can see where that brainwashing comes from. I’m also starting to put parenting alongside religion and politics as the three things you should never talk about.

I kinda just laugh now when people tell me what stupid choices we’ve made for taking our kids travelling and making them miss out on a solid education with routine, discipline and the chance to socialise. If only they knew.

The verdict

As a mother who’s travelled with their kids out of school, and as a former primary school teacher of 15 years who taught in five countries (Australia, USA, UK, Ireland, Thailand) is that traditional education is a broken system and the “life experiences” they gain from travel will help set them up for a solid future. (School does have its place, but it’s not the only place!)

Standley Chasm - West MacDonnel Ranges, Northern Territory, Australia

Are you for real Happy Vanner?

Pushing that aside, Happer Vanner’s comments on our interview about school and education really didn’t bother me. Until I got to the last sentence when I felt as if I just arrived into a scene from the Walking Dead, naked.

You have to work hard the early part of your life to save for retirement. There may not be a pension when this couple retires in the future!

Is this really a reality?

I felt in need of a good cleansing ritual.

I think it’s tragic that this person thinks the pension is the deciding factor of how you live your life. It’s a fear-based approach to life which leaves little room for nourishment or growth. Life offers so much more fun and ease than that.

I couldn’t stop thinking for days.

What would I have missed out on if I thought like this?

Highlight reels rolled through my head: jungle trekking in Sumatra, Eurovan tour, backpacking through Africa, living in London, teaching English in Thailand, road tripping the US, starting this travel blog, and our road trip around Australia with our girls.

I have a soul that bursts with joy every time I trip down memory lane. What would I remember if I lived for the pension instead? It felt so empty.

How could any other life have meaning?

Take the chance on a meaningful life

I know a life of travel is just MY interpretation of a meaningful life, and for each person it is different, but I HOPE that it is NOT waiting until you (hopefully) get the pension to live it well. Especially not with the rising costs of living in Australia.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many ways you can live it well that doesn’t involve travel. I focus on travel as it’s my thing. I’m guessing since you’re reading this, it’s yours too.

I’d rather take the chance on life. I’d rather live this life floating from one country to the next and filling it with memories than going through the ground hog day waiting for a promise that might not come.

It’s worth risking the possibility of one day living off the streets. I know that’s easy for me to say now in this comfortable life when I’m not living on the streets. But, truth is I don’t believe I ever will.

I’ve fallen flat on my face over and over again, but I’ve gotten back up and I’ve rebuilt. I’ve always been supported and I’ve always found a way. That’s the proof you need to feel secure.

You have to believe in your own power because in the end it’s all you got. It’s far too risky relying on the government and stable stocks.

It’s a pattern repeat based upon life experiences and truth. Not what someone tells you. You fall down, you get back up. You fall down, you learn, you get back up. You always get back up again. If in those moments between getting back up and falling back down, your heart is full of life, then you’ll gladly take the fall down.

You know the risk is worth it for the spaces in between. You know you’ll rise again a little higher this time and you’ll work it out.

The future does not matter. We can’t predict it. We can’t control it. We can’t live in fear for it. All we can do is enjoy NOW.

Enjoy life to the fullest NOW

The 401K and Super balance is not going to mean squat to you if your time runs out next month. What will matter?

That you didn’t do what you really wanted to do? That you worried and feared too much and lived too little.

I don’t pay attention to any impending financial forecasts, or stock plummets, or the Dow Jones index. I don’t even know what any of this means.

All I know is that I’ve experienced a life of travel AND I’ve completely screwed up my finances. I did all of this despite the economy flourishing or being in recession. I rarely even know what state it’s currently in. Even when I lost it all I still got my life of travel back and arrived here now – well supported and rich with memories.

A part of me feels irresponsible about my lack of super savings and I am focused on getting better at providing for my future, but I’m not going to do it at the expense of living now.

I’m creating a solid foundation for my future by growing our business, living in the present, embracing life, living out loud, taking risk and creating my own pension.

I’m not sold on the idea of Super or 401K’s. I just don’t get it. And Happy Venner is right, the pension may not be around when I’m 60, that’s why I’m busy creating my own financial cushion.

And you want me to hold off living now so I can be safe when I’m sixty? How do I even know I’ll be alive then? Or able to walk? Why would I delay living a good life now for something that might be in the future?

I’m tired now at 40. What’s going to happen when I’m 65, the legal retirement age? I’m physically more capable of doing activities now than I probably will be in my 60s and 70s.

I’m going to be screaming, “Give me a hammock, a Jimmy Buffet tune, and a margarita.” I’m probably not going to want to scale mountains or dance the night away like I do now.

Redefine retirement

Lucky Bay, Esperance, Western Australia
My retired life

My big dream in life was to retire by the age of 40. Because society says retiring later in life is a big-dream goal.

What was I thinking?

I laugh at that now and when I look at my superannuation, I get a glaring insight into my delusional self. There’s no way I could retire at 200, let alone at 40.

BUT, what is your definition of retirement? If I look at the old view of it, the work to get your pension view, retirement is when I can hang up the work boots and enjoy my life.

Here’s a modern definition for retirement:

Create a life you don’t need to retire from!

Tim Ferris talks about this in his book, “The Four Hour Work Week.” I don’t believe he’s working only a four-hour week, but I do believe that his life is one that doesn’t feel like work. It’s full of mini-retirements and living life on his terms!

That’s what retirement is. It’s not defined by age or pensions, it’s defined by control and choice.

Take back the control and choose to be supported

I’m five months short of 40 and I’m already retired. I’ve achieved the big-dream goal.

In fact, I’ve been retired my whole life. I’ve never held down a job beyond two years. I’ve got shit all super in savings, but I’ve got a rich and fulfilled life and memories that run deeper than the roots on a red river gum in the Red Centre of Australia.

I’m retired. At this time of my life, I’ve never worked longer hours. But, I’m working on my passion, my beliefs and I’m enjoying life so I feel so supported that I don’t ever have to worry about the pension.

Sometimes the voice rings in my head, but what about your children? How are you providing for them?

Well, this is a definite concern. But, again what is your definition of providing for them? Are you going to be the fisherman that hands it to them or are you going to show them how to be the centre of their creation?

We’re not going to leave our kids high and dry and we work every day to give them a stable financial future and by what we teach them about living a full life NOW and tapping into their own ability to create that life NOW rather than waiting until they are 65 when the government says,

Congratulations you made it. Now go collapse in that hammock with a margarita. Only one though, as the pension won’t cover two.”

Holy Shit. I beg you not to live your life for this. I believe it has more enjoyment for you now.

Don’t be brainwashed by the powers that be who tell you the only way to get a good education is by marching through the school gates of a morning in a straight line to sit at your desk, put your hand up to gain permission to speak, and rote learn useless facts that have no bearing on the real world.

Try it if you must, but don’t be afraid to learn the rules and then BREAK a few.

The reasons why you can’t take a risk on life now

I know there are a million reasons why this might not apply to you.

You might come from a broken home, live in a third world country, be in huge amounts of debt, suffer from depression or anxiety, concerned about losing out on a career, be a struggling single mum, gone through bankruptcy, lost your job, and so forth.

I understand.

Those situations lead you to relying on assistance, from the government pension or elsewhere. I’m not knocking this, I do believe these services are worthwhile and valid and I’ve used them myself to crawl out of my black hole. And I’m so grateful for them. Do what you have to do.

I’ve been there and it sucks and I have so much compassion for you.

But I know you can climb out of it. I know you don’t have to worry about not living now so you can have what you want in retirement. That’s what you need to focus on.

Your challenges are real and aren’t going to disappear with a wave of a magic wand. But, I think what you discount is the power you possess to create something entirely different.

For every reason I have listed above there is someone who has gone through it and defied all logic to overcome adversity and change their life. That’s the human spirit you have that we don’t hear enough about.

It’s all the evidence you need.

If they can do it, you can too.

Our circumstances may change from person to person, but the inner strengths and capabilities all come from the same place that we all have access to.

The key to open the door to it is belief

Belief that your life is worth more than waiting around for the freaking pension.

This evening I chatted to my friend Beth through Facebook. I had tears thinking about how blessed my life is that I know her. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina. I met her because I decided life was for living now. Pension wasn’t even an idea in my head let alone a friend.

A few hours later I was chatting with my other friend currently traipsing around Europe and berating him for not coming to stay with us instead. Another good friend made because of travel. And then later I texted a friend we made travelling around the country to let her know red wine wasn’t the same without her. And yes, our daughters socialised together and became great friends.

Friends who taught me that skin colour, gender, sexual preference or religion doesn’t matter. You can laugh with anyone from anywhere. These are the things that have made my life rich.

How grateful am I that I did not delay living and missed out on this until I was 65 in the hopes the government would look after me.

If I arrive to that place where I’m not taken care of or supported, then I‘ll take my hat off and I say,

“I’m happy because my life until this point is amazing. I don’t need anything else. I have passion and joy. I have my memories.”

I truly believe anyone who embraces living to the fullest NOW won’t ever be confronted with this problem. When you play full out, despite all the risks and the fear stepping in your way, then everything works out for you.

You just gotta leap and grow your wings on the way down so you can come to accept this truth too.

Are you living life for now or the pension?

51 thoughts on “How we enjoy life to the fullest NOW. A WTF Moment.”

  1. My heart sank lower and lower reading that comment…. It’s so depressing to think that he’s ‘happy’ to wait until his late 50’s/60’s to travel. Why wait if you don’t have to? There is so much to be gained by living the life you want now and little risk–it may seem like a big risk, but once you take it, you realize it’s actually not that risky.

    I love what you said: Create a life you don’t need to retire from

    I’m going to print that out and hang it up on the wall! Great inspiration to keep me working towards my dreams 🙂

  2. Love your thoughts here and you are so right. The energy you have when you’re younger diminishes imperceptibly each decade and although I’m not (quite) there yet, I think when you retire you actually want less, not more stuff and high adrenalin adventure. So living a life you love when you’re young (as far as possible), on your own terms (but maintaining financial independence) keeping cogniscance as to how your life will impact and hopefully empower your children, is the only way to go in this century. Who knows what the government coffers are going to have available when we retire anyway?

    1. I know Jo. I have little faith that super and the pension will still be a thing when I retire. Governments change things too much. You can’t rely on them

  3. I really do feel I have had the best of both worlds: I had the pleasure of a career and job that I loved and the flexibility to travel. At the age of 62 and retired, I am still enjoying the fruits of that conventional job (a pension plan) and the continued enjoyment of travel (although you are right, I don’t want to dance all night but I do love watching the sunrise in Tuscany!). I think each of us learns and grows in different ways and we should relish those differences – it’s what makes our world exciting. I can tell you, my husband and I never hesitated to take our three children out of school when travel opportunities arose, nor did we pay off our mortgage early – we travelled instead. I don’t think anything educates a child more than exploring this amazing planet we live on! The key, in MHO, is to live your life with joy and love. If you’re able to do that, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing! Live a life without regret!

    1. I love that you travelled instead of paying your mortgage off early. AGainst normal advise but I bet you don’t regret it and the memories more than make up the extra money you could have saved. Money is only paper after all. It’s great to trade it for priceless memories!

  4. Happy Vanner is simply a T… ! I have seen wayyyy too many Happy Vanners end up selling their kit before they go due to ill health. It’s old age thinking that gets in their way.
    I’m not going to defend “old age” thinking. I’m 57 in November and to be totally honest have been sorting out 57 years of unadulterated “LIFE” crap since 2010 and now very close to being able to choof off infintum. I’ve Minimilised and I’m ready !
    I took off in my late teens (1977 actually). Packed up a V8 Holden Panel Van with 2 surfboards, a box of tools and $600 in my kick. Fuel was 20 cents a litre then !
    That was the start of my big adventure @ 19. I crossed the Nullabor and hit Sydney town…. Given the sleepiness of Perth back then, I guess that was probably like Sydney siders going to Vegas 🙂
    “Life” got busy with marriage, kids and Business…..excuse? No, just conditioned life handed down.
    I look back and think where did those 36 years go ? Yep, I’m a Happy Vanner now because I have my Hilux, my Rooftop Tent and a whole lot of Australia off the beaten track to discover.
    @ late 50’s I’m not depressed at all….I’m ALIVE !
    Casey, Caz n Craig, you are right. In todays “modernisation” and vastly different attitudes, blogs of encouragement, technology and the world abuzz, there is noooo excuse to to WAIT.
    I’m just glad I’m still fit n feisty n ready to get out there.
    I’ve now created that Life that I won’t be retiring from !
    Catchas on the road somewhere 🙂

    “Not all those who Wander are Lost”

    1. OMG 20c a litre!! You must have the coolest stories to share. We’re so stoked you’ll be on the road soon creating more of them. Make sure you post pics on our fb page so we can follow along!

  5. I am 100% living life for now. We haven’t travelled with our kids as much as we would have liked to, but I can guarantee that every trip we have done they have learnt so much and now they have so many great memories as well. I personally don’t think ‘Happy Vanner’ is really very happy and has no grasp on the realities of life. I certainly won’t be sitting round waiting for my pension.

  6. I live in a third world country and when I talk about plans on traveling long-term, people would often respond negatively telling me that it isn’t possible or that only people from the 1st world countries can do that because of currency, etc. As what you’ve mentioned here, belief has something to do with it. I believe anyone can create his/her dream life; it may take some time but it’s possible 🙂

  7. Such a great read – Definitely resonates with me. While I know following the stereotypical cycle of life (go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have a kid… in that order) brings some people happiness, it is hard to understand more people not wanting to break free of it or perhaps, realising that they can if they’re willing to take risks and work hard. The things they desire so much (marriage, a home, children) end up making them feel tied down, but families like yours prove it doesn’t have to be that way!

    1. Yes. I don’t believe you have to sacrifice one for the other. You can definitely find way to make it work. You can still earn money while you travel and save for retirement or the home when you decide to settle. But living has to come first!

  8. From a home schooling mum of two – I get this – your post and scarily enough Happy Vanner’s as well – I was part of the industrialised brain washed culture and constantly have to remind myself to not slip back into it.
    Thank you, for helping with clarifying my thoughts once again.

  9. I love your response to his comments. Life is short, and no one escapes it alive! I think it’s more risky to wait until your 50 or 60 to retire and travel. Many people never make it this far. You never know what surprises both good and challenging the future holds. Do what makes you happy now and live your life on your own terms. I’m so happy you and your family are enjoying your travels and it’s great that your children are getting such an amazing education!

  10. That comment made my blood boil!!! Why be miserable for 50+ years to only “enjoy” 10+ years at the end? What’s the point of living?

    At 85 my grandparents have all the time and money in the world to travel – but health issues are holding them back. I’m glad I’m not waiting.

  11. This is exactly how I feel surrounded by a community who prefer 9-5 job, school education, pension.. I love crochet and I really want to make it a way of earning money. But most of my family member said I should get a real job because I have a degree in biology and I should use it to get a better job. Working in a lab makes me sick and I need to go out. I don’t think doing what I love makes my degree a waste.. I love biology, I love crochet, I love traveling and I have decided to start my own crochet business slowly, start a blog about biology and health, save money, travel and engage with nature. I am lucky my mom and sister are very supportive, that’s all I need to keep me going. I think people who urge me to find a secure job, get married before 30, blah blah blah are just jealous because of my freedom Thank you caz and craig, I want to be just like you.

    1. You can’t turn your back on what you love. The best life is one where you can make money doing what you love and if that is crocheting and travel then go for it!

    2. You go for it, Esther! I’m a knitter and find it so interesting that all the best knitting teachers, authors and pattern writers who make their living at it are former scientists and mathematicians. I’m also 60 and can give you perspective. When I was in my twenties I was passionately creative in so many fields and can tell you for a fact that this will fade if you set it aside for the job that you are “supposed” to be doing like I did. You can’t set aside that passion for “later” cause it won’t be the same. It’s your life, not theirs: do what you love!

  12. I’ve been following this story since you posted it on facebook the other day.

    I don’t have children yet, but I’ve started planning for them in the new few years and I really want to give them an alternative education via travelling. I’ve been nervous about this because most people I have told say that it can’t and shouldn’t be done, it’s selfish, children need to go to school and get a “proper” education and learn social skills, it’s against the law to take them out of school, it’s their right to an education etc.

    But when I travelled for a year by myself, it changed my entire life. And now I want to give my future children that opportunity from Day 1. I don’t know fully how families do it, I know you can do correspondence, home school, join other families doing the same – but the point is they’re doing it. And that gives me just a little bit more hope than yesterday.

    I think what you’re both doing is the best thing in the world for your children.

    Elise 🙂

    1. Yes. It is so easy to do. And there are plenty ways around the schooling. I don’t think it’s selfish at all. It’s about teaching your children that you can live a life you love and you can find ways around societies rules.

      I have to write a post about how travel has benefited our girls. There are some drawbacks of course, but that will come no matter your life choices. The positives far way the bad.

      Kalyra’s returned to school top of her class at reading and she just received a student of the month award for her diligent attitude and her leadership skills are shining. She was naturally a learner anyway, but I know so much of this comes from th travel experiences.

  13. The question “are you living life for now or the pension?” implies a false choice. It doesn’t have to be all one or all the other. Sure you need to live for today, but you also have to provision for the future. It seems to me that the goal should be to create a good balance.

    Case in point, living for today, hopping from gig to gig, without any savings may be perfectly acceptable lifestyle when you’re young and healthy. But eventually health fails. It’s the one thing we can all count on with 100% certainty. Whether you want to continue earning a paycheck becomes secondary to whether you physically can. And many of us will reach a point where that is no longer possible. Having planned for that eventuality while your young seems prudent.

    We’re doing both. We set off to travel the world in 2010 at the age of 38. But we also have solid plans for how we’ll care for ourselves if and when old age relegates us to a rocking chair whether we want to be there or not. I couldn’t see living for today any other way.

    1. I don’t believe you do have to sacrifice one for the other. I was trying to put across that you can follow doing what you love and still be supported – for NOW and for the future.

      You can definitely do both, which is why we alway advocate for the working holiday strategy. It’s the best way to cover all bases.

      I’m focusing on having awesome health until my times up. Like Craig’s Nan, 92 and still walks to the shops every day. I’m not going to listen to society saying age = ill health. I wish I could remember where I’ve read it, but I have read interesting things abotu the perception of age meaning declining health and how this limits our understanding of what age can offer and so we create that as we’ve just taken it on as certainty based upon what we’ve always heard since birth. Perhaps it’s not true! Something to think about anyway.

      Enjoy your travels and thanks for sharing

  14. What a wonderful post! I kept nodding through the whole article – some people are so concerned about what their life will look like in 20, 30 years that they forget to enjoy the present moment. It’s sad, considering that the present is the only thing that truly exists – the past is as a memory (and in most cases it’s up to us whether it’s a happy or a sad one) and the future hasn’t happened yet, so why not enjoy what we have n o w and live to the fullest? The “one size fits all” societal mould doesn’t actually f i t everyone and there’s no such thing as the right way to live your life. Actually, let me rephrase that – there i s a right way to live your life but it should be up to you to define “the right”, instead of allowing outdated societal standards to do it for you.

    Thanks for changing a negative comment into such an uplifting piece!

    1. Absolutely! EAch person has to define their right. I like to turn the negatives around to help uplift and inspire. They’d destroy my mental state otherwise.

  15. I can tell that article and its comments got to you. Ignore them, they know nothing different. I’ve lost friends and family over this but…meh.
    I’m 48 now, loving life, educating my kids, exploring the world and quite probably about to buy a shell of a traditional house in…ROMANIA! Are we crazy? Possibly, but we’re having lots of fun with that insanity, as are the kids. We’ll have 2 cool houses, a few websites and a lot of useful life skills the kids will inherit, stuff the pension. Hope you come and visit us when we’ve finished building 😉 or maybe help us build it. Life is meant for enjoying, not ticking off days towards that rocking chair when 1 Margarita would probably send you to sleep..

  16. Thank you Caz for this great post. Happy Vanner seems to believe that the most loving and responsible thing you can do is provide financial stability for your children’s future and make sure they have survival skills within the school / work system of today. Maybe 50 years ago that was actually a good idea but when I look at my kids (ages 8 & 11) and think of the world they will inherit where work life is virtual, pensions are a lovely memory of a bygone era and the world is infinitely connected it seem far more irresponsible to be preparing them for a world that just will not exist. What you and Craig are doing – traveling with your children, giving them the gift of your time, new experiences and challenges, exposure to different viewpoints and cultures will give them true self confidence, a life that embraces happiness as well as challenge and the survival skills they will need for the FUTURE! This is in my opinion a much more responsible choice. It comes down to whether we are making sure we leave our children with a freezer full of fish or are out on the river showing them how to cast.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences and being an inspiration to so many of us who are striving to follow the same road.

  17. We are in our early fifties and after watching friends start dying sold all our stuff and left Australia to travel. We have spent the last 16 months travelling around Europe on a motorcycle. We had people tell us ‘you should wait till you retire’ ‘you are abandoning your children’ (they are adults) etc. Do we have any regrets…..NONE AT ALL, life is to live not to sit waiting for it to start (when you retire). PS we have met and spoken to many traveling families and their children seem well rounded and keen to learn so taking them out of mainstream education is not the end of the world it is just another world.

  18. Wow Caz what an amazingly well written and articulated piece, hats off to you.
    I so so agree with everything you speak about and I too give very little thought space to my super fund.
    I couldnt agree more that living the moment is much more important, I’m 55, working from anywhere (currently in the French Alps) and don’t think about “retirement ” instead I go with the Tim Ferriss “mini retirements option”.
    My friends always comment on “what a life you have” , my response is ” thats my choice and it could be yours too”.
    Anyway great stuff Caz, I’ll be sharing and keeping this post handy

    1. It’s all a choice Andy!! I just wish more people realised it. Imagine what they could do and create. I love how you are out there living it!

  19. I met a ‘Happy Vanner’ at the pool the other day while our kids were playing. He had just moved his family to Brisbane from Sydney to a specific neighborhood because of his 5 year old’s need for structured education, socialization, and competition. It was almost word for word what your reader said. I think the real world provides all those things in a more natural setting than school. So, why do the parents have to sacrifice their lives for the so-called ‘well-being’ of the child? Can’t a life be created that has the best interest of all members of the family? Isn’t that going to create a happier, more well-adjusted child anyway to see their parents really living? We are trying to figure that out, as I see you are, too.

  20. Your children will be among the ones who will begin to change this world for the better. I believe it is almost not possible for the children who grow up exactly as he has described to be part of positive change in the world because they won’t understand the world, appreciate it’s wonder or ever know how to follow their hearts into a realm that has not been shown to them before. Life, this planet, and universe, all we can and can not see, it’s all part of our ever-continuing education while we are alive. Without even realising it, your children will know things deep inside them that many will never know, plus they will know what they learn at school and these will all combine. Why must people think there can only be one or the other? Your children are among the most fortunate in the world to have such parents to expand their horizons and the world is fortunate to have your children as they will in turn expand the horizons of others.
    Awesome job team! Keep loving life the way you do 🙂

  21. I understand everything you say and agree with much of it. I certainly don’t agree with the waiting for a pension comment. I do think however that us bloggers (not accusing you, I’m thinking of others) can be careless with our advice to drop everything for a life of travel – I’ve seen so many posts telling people how easy and cheap it is and how many jobs there are out there that will allow you to achieve this. Or that you can make money being a travel blogger. The reality is that it’s not that easy and most digital jobs don’t pay great and are not readily available. I wouldn’t want my son to drop university to travel and start his own travel blog. Not everyone is going to be Nomadic Matt. The bottom line is that people need money to travel – and maybe not just travel, but also accumulate savings in their lives. I’m sorry, but are you going to want to couchsurf, sleep in a hammock on the beach, or be eating street food in your 50’s? The older we get the more comforts we need. That means having some savings.

    I believe you can do both. Spanky and I have both had our careers and I’ve raised my son at home. During this time we’ve always travelled, usually a couple of times a year for 3-4 weeks. So we had a balance of career and travel.
    I retired last year at 47 and Spanky was allowed to continue her job from a distance. We’ve been travelling non-stop now for the past year and will continue to do so. We both built our careers and saved enough that we don’t ever have to work again. We certainly don’t have to wait for a pension, neither do we have to worry about being homeless at 65. We don’t have to sweat every penny everyday like a few other bloggers we know (how stressful is that?).

    It can vary with your career. You may be able to travel and have a good career working from abroad. But most people have to establish themselves first and create a base before doing that. And while for some people a ‘meaningful life’ may be 24/7 travel others may get burned out and then suddenly find themselves rethinking everything.

    I guess my point is that it doesn’t have to be 100% either/or. You can build and plan your life of travel. You can have family and career, travel, AND save. While we love our lives of full-time travel now, I also have good memories from work and the people I worked with. And I appreciate our new lives even more now that we no longer have to work that 9-5 life. “Are you living life for now or the pension?” is a too black and white. There are many ways to achieve your dreams but many ways to get there. But the bottom line is it requires work and planning and there is no easy way.

    Anyway, that’s my opinion 🙂
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. but are you going to want to couchsurf, sleep in a hammock on the beach, or be eating street food in your 50’s?” Amen. I don’t even want to do that now at 39!

      Yes I agree wth what you have said. It’s not easy and I was thinking that at some point today. But, I hope that doesn’t deter people from trying something new and seeing what they are capable of and delaying their dreams now for some later time that may not come.

      Each person needs to find their niche and space and make it work for them. Anything you do in life will take hard work, you might as well turn that into something ou love and mix it with fun and adventure.

      Thanks so much for sharing Frank!

    2. H Frank, I’m 49. I can assure you that I will be more than happy to still be eating street food and sleeping in budget guest houses in my 50s. ( We don’t do AirBnB, it’s over priced and we hate self catering, guest houses are cheaper). With my kids, who will be in their very early teens.
      What’s the problem dude?

  22. Wonderful post! How many people wait until they retire to travel and then either get sick or die before they get to fulfill their dream? My husband and I are in our late 50’s and decided last year we would take 6 months off work and travel around Australia in our caravan. It was the best decision we have ever made. We met so many older grey nomads that were trying travel on their pensions and they couldn’t even afford to put petrol in their cars, camp at caravan parks or pay for tourist attractions. That is not my idea of enjoying retirement when you don’t have the money to do it properly. We did everything possible on our trip, like swim with the whale sharks at Exmouth and because we are both fit and healthy we were able to do hikes through gorges, etc. I don’t know whether we would be capable of doing any of this if we waited until retirement age – 65 years. I agree whole heartedly with your comments – travel now while you can!!

  23. It’s a sad state of affairs that most people do think as Happy Vanner does. And that the brain-washing is so strong most people think they could never step away from “security” as they are doomed to failure, poverty and lack of stability (whatever that may mean).

    When my husband and I quit our jobs, sold our home and took off to Phnom Penh with a one-way ticket in 2010, there were a number of people who thought we were crazy to walk away (particularly since my husband had an excellent job and a significant position in his company).

    Guess what? What the job and the money meant to him was plenty of stress, too much focus on money and not enough on enjoying life.

    Our honeymoon to Thailand in 2007 changed all that and he realised there were ways of living better, with much less. So we opted out of the “traditional” lifestyle and hit the road. That was almost five years ago. We never looked back and will never go back. My husband is happier than he’s ever been (as am I) and we can’t imagine exchanging this life with our old one.

    Trouble is, most people buy into the media/financial institution horror stories of never having enough. And once you think that way, there never will be enough.

    We’ e about to publish our book next week (Just Go! Leave Life on the Treadmill for a World of Adventure) and, in it, we truly hope to let other people know there are so many other ways to live life, to step away from “convention” and to design a new paradigm that works, no matter how much money you have. We’ve interviewed couples, singles, old and young, married and with kids and all of them say the same thing: do it now.

    As you know, you figure it out along the way, don’t you, Caz?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights. You are an inspiration to many.

  24. Hi Caz !
    Thank you for this post that sums up most of what my partner and I believe in.
    We just started our own travel blog and, just like many other digital nomads, our families are quite worried about financial issues and particularly pension…
    Your post backs up what we are constantly trying to tell them, so maybe by showing it to them, it will make the difference 🙂
    Keep on inspiring us, we both love your blog !
    Cheers,
    Antoine

  25. Holly crap!

    This is like I’ve been litsening 2 me self…

    WTF moment…

    Been throught wtf moments 3 times in my life, and rotate my life 4 18o degrees… Now I have a familiy for last 8 years.. and it started to happen 2 me again.. 2 years ago..

    Now I decide it..

    its time 2 go.. all of us…

    I allways worrk for my slf as a feeelance.. money means nothing… living in a rental… moving around.. and not beeing happy

    happy is where familiy is..

    Retirement? will it egsist? or will i be alive?

    What to wait? a time when i will be old, gruupmy and sick?

    screw that! We are getting a hell out of here!…

    a world is our home…

    thanx for aditional inspiration…

  26. I worked at a large Telco for a while and one of the guys working with me was celebrating 50 years of service. He was proud of it but I thought it was the most depressing thing I’d ever heard! He had a huge amount of long service leave built up and I asked him why he hadn’t taken it. He said he wanted the money for his retirement. I guess different things make different people happy though.

    1. So true. I’m not sure if you’re from Australia or not, but just in case you aren’t, long-service leave is a big thing in Australia. After you work for 10 years, you get up to 3 months paid leave. I’ve never come close, but I’ve traveled more than anyone waiting out those 10 years and often on trips lasting way beyond 3 months. My thinking was always why not just go create your own trip now instead of waiting 10 years!
      But, as you say different strokes for different folks. Some people value security more whereas for me I value freedom first. Just different

      1. Yep, Australian 🙂 I’ve never come close to getting long service either but apparently any stints in the public service, state or federal can be combined – so I’m only about 5 years shy!

        You get such a great reaction telling people from overseas about long service leave. Or and holiday leave loading blows their minds — getting paid 10% extra to go on holidays.

  27. While I was reading this article I caught myself with one surprising thought… I’m 20 years old and in the 3rd year of university. I love what I’m studying and I’d love to make a career out of it, but I’d also like to combine it with all my other passions and one of them is travelling. I’m in that point of my life in which there are so many things I’d like to do that I don’t know where to start or how to find the way to do everything that I want and enjoy it. And here’s the surprising thought that caught me: I have never ever in my life thought of MY retirement! I think that’s a good thing. I have never had the thought that I might end my working life at the age of 60 and then I was going to enjoy. I know maybe the main reason is that I’m too young but anyways, I’ve never thought of my mom’s retirement for exemple, we’re used to live life happily on a daily basis and just, enjoy! I grew up in a third world country and I’ve been living in western Europe since I’m 16 for my studies. I know there might be some obstacles for getting your dreams come true, but it’s ok, you just have to work for it keeping a happy soul and you’ll be filling your life with meaningful experiences all the way to your dreams.

    Thanks for inspiring us once again Caz!

  28. Anna Bromberger

    Someone actually walked out of my life because I didn’t believe in this idea of “waiting till retirement”. It actually angers me when people talk about life this way. If I wait till retirement to live my life, i.e travel, dance, get my degree, I will have no soul left to live it with. My big adventure starts this August and I am itching to get started. Thank you so much for all the inspiration.

  29. This! Oh man. All of this.

    The only time I really get scared and nervous and overwhelmed since quitting my job and hitting the road a year ago is when I think about creating a hefty retirement count. But when I think straight, I realize the same thing you have – I’m retired now! How many people dream of a life where my time is my own. Sure, I work hard, but I do it on my time and for things I love.

    Deep breath. Keep smiling 🙂

    -Rachel

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