My husband and I were in our mid-50’s when we sold up everything we owned in Scotland UK to travel the world. We waited until we were empty nesters and our kids were through university and living life independently of us and, as we weren’t quite old enough to take a pension and didn’t have much in the way of savings, we liquidated all our assets by selling our home, our car, and everything we owned, so we could travel modestly for a longer period of time and also feel free of material responsibilities.
To date, six years on, we have continued to travel nomadically and we have explored 55 countries. We’ve had the most incredible experiences and we’ve met so many lovely people all over the world. We have absolutely no regrets about selling all our material things – and no plans to ever stop exploring the world – at least not until we must.
Our unexpected return to the UK early in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has actually only increased our passion for wanderlust and fuelled our ambitions to travel once again when of course, it’s less risky to do so.
Right now, as I write this, travel is either impossible or impractical but this too will eventually pass.
So, while we are all paused, I hope to inspire you through this website.
That is… if you’ve ever dreamed of selling everything and taking off to travel the world.
But it’s not that easy! (I hear you say) and I agree it’s not easy. It’s likely impossible to take off and leave behind a family, a home, a job and responsibilities. But what about after all that? These days, more and more mid-lifers and empty-nesters are looking to shake off the shackles that tie them down and to travel and have adventures while they are still relatively young and fit. By exploring your own situation – as long as you have reasonable health of course and have access to some savings or a pension payout or assets you can turn into cash – then a life of freedom and long-term travel is a very real possibility for many people who might only consider it a dream.
It’s becoming a trend. And why not?
National Geographic says: Life Begins at 50. “Empty-nesters are inspired by their children’s gap years. Young-at-heart empty nesters are increasingly looking to travel. What’s more, they’re heading further afield and for longer, preferring exotica and adventure over slippers and comfort zones.” And goes onto say. “A lot has changed within a generation, and the empty nesters don’t see why they should miss out on what didn’t exist when they were younger.”
In my opinion, it takes planning, good timing, and bravery on your part.
Some home-owning empty-nesters downsize or rent out their homes to fund their long-term travel expenses or to cover payments on an existing mortgage. This is an option too if you feel uncomfortable not having a home base or if you have a home you are reluctant to sell. If you don’t own a home but rent one then you should see your situation as being a step ahead in flexibility.
Then you’ll be able to fly off to your bucket list destinations and experience them for yourself.
And I can tell you that there really is nothing like seeing for yourself all those amazing destinations that had previously only been available to you via a TV screen, a travel blog, or an Instagram post. And, if you are really smart and savvy about it then it can be much cheaper to travel the world than you think. Especially if you have gone the whole hog and sold up everything because then you’ll have no home-based bills to pay.
Okay, you still have to eat but you’ll have to eat wherever you are in the world. I can assure you that a delicious noodle dish and a bottle of local beer in Thailand (for example) will set you back a lot less than shopping in (insert the name of your local first-world supermarket) for your dinner.
Top Travel Tip: Sourcing and booking flights and hotels online means bargains can be found. In particular, if you book early or you book late you can often grab a special deal. We once managed to grab a next day flight to Seychelles – a bucket list destination – for a knockdown price because of a last-minute seat sale. We then spent two fabulous weeks island hopping in Seychelles. Ditto with hotels, hostels, homestays, resorts – they can all be booked online and travel search engines make it easy for you to get the best prices.
Top Travel Tip: Join airline and hotel loyalty programs as soon as you start out and collect miles and points. All the main airlines and major hotel chains have loyalty programs. It’s possible to build up enough points to get free flights. Hotel points usually (in our experience) add up much faster and prove more valuable than air miles and equate to upgraded rooms, perks during your stay, or even free nights. It works for us so be sure to sign up as soon as you start travelling.
Here on The Backpacking Housewife Dotcom I’m planning to post about our travel destinations and upload photos of fabulous places and share with you all my top tried and tested travel tips. I’ll also be sharing the mind-blowing pinch-me kind of fabulous things that have happened to us over the past few years as well as the down-right awful mishaps and mayhem experiences that we have encountered as world travelling nomads. Not everything goes to plan you know!
I’ll also occasionally be posting about my books and the places and experiences that have inspired them. Did I happen to mention that all my bestselling romantic adventure books are available from Amazon and that The Backpacking Housewife series of books are published by HarperCollins?
I’ll also be offering you competitions and giveaways – so why not consider subscribing to my occasional newsletter and to my posts by email? You’ll see a pop-up form for my newsletter before you exit this site and there’s also a subscription box on the sidebar and then you’ll never miss a newsletter or a backpacking post!
So, back to my original question…
Have you ever thought of selling everything and taking off to travel the world?
All travel and bucket-list dreams can be shared in the comment box below.