Okay, so you saw the title of the post: Are We Done Traveling? Let’s start off my saying that the answer is ‘No’! We definitely are not done traveling. But we are completely changing the way in which we travel in the future. In this article we’ll explain why we are changing our travel style. We’ll also explain the new method of traveling that we are planning to follow.
If you prefer to watch a video with the same information then go to this link: https://youtu.be/OglbckvEekQ
Why We Became Full-Time Travelers In The First Place
Even before we met each other and got married, my wife and I always loved traveling. In fact, I (Ryan) been to a total of 70 countries now. We always said that once we reached retirement age we would travel the world. But then in 2016 I had a bit of a health scare, I had a knee injury that resulted in a serious blood clot, was in the hospital, and I had to relearn how to walk. This was a wake up call that life is short. On top of this, Emily had a very stressful job. She was working 13 hour shifts or longer. She was working weekends so we didn’t see each other much. Basically, it was time for a change. So at this point in our lives we said, why are we going to wait until we’re old and retired to start traveling? Let’s see the world now! So about four years ago we quit out jobs, sold everything we owned, bought a one-way ticket to Lima Peru, and set out on our world travel adventure.
Our New Lives As Full-Time Travelers
When we started traveling we knew we had to be careful with our budget, and this is how we came up with the idea of slow travel. Airbnb sometimes gives a big discount when booking a stay for 28 days or longer, so we decided that we would spend about one month in each place. It would save us money on housing and it would give us more down time for our hobbies. (Emily enjoys cross stitching, and I make these YouTube videos for my hobby). We went to three different cities in Peru, then moved on to Chile for three months, Argentina for 5 months, and also visited Uruguay and Brazil.
Our Big Mistake
Right from the beginning in Lima, we quickly realized that we had some flaws in our travel plan. First it became apparent that this style of travel was going to have some moments where we would feel quite isolated and alone. The language barrier made it difficult to meet people. And Facebook groups for travelers and expats weren’t as big back then as they are now. We were caught off guard by this because we are both introverts and didn’t really even consider the need for socialization. We did meet some nice people along the way. But it’s so hard when you meet people you connect with, and then all of a sudden you have to say goodbye once it’s time to move on to the next destination.
Another flaw in our travel plan was that we had no real strategy for how our life as full-time travelers would come to an end. We just assumed that we would keep going until we either ran out of money or got tired of it.
Some other issues that came up were arriving at an Airbnb apartment that wasn’t accurately portrayed in the listing. Or the stress of dealing with disruptions to our travel plans and having to come up with an alternative at the last minute. So there were some tough moments, but we weren’t ready to quit yet because. Even though there were some hard times, the good times and the amazing adventures far outweighed the difficulties. And we also knew we didn’t want to go back to our former lives in America.
Our New Start
When our time in South America ended we didn’t want to give up and decided to keep going. We decided to start the next segment of our world travel journey in Asia. But we had a little bit of a different focus when we went to Asia. In addition to some sightseeing, each time we went somewhere we wanted to keep in the back of our mind the idea of living in the places that we were visiting. We made a list of things that were important to us about a city if we were going to live there. Our list included:
- A low cost of living
- Somewhere safe for foreigners
- Good health care
- Pleasant weather
- A small expat community
- Good public transportation
- Nice outdoor spaces
- Volunteer opportunities
- Stable electricity
- Good internet speeds
- Easy immigration policies
- Low air pollution
- No natural disasters
- No bugs or insects
- At least one good sushi restaurant.
Okay, this is a long list. A bit ridiculous actually. And we were being silly about sushi (we don’t even like sushi). But we get it, there is not one single place on this planet that is going to be perfect. When we went Chaing Mai we found out that it checked off a lot of those things on the list. And to this day I think we could be happy living in Chaing Mai. But we had just started our time in Asia and wanted to keep looking. Maybe we would find somewhere better.
Due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic (you can our story in this article), we unexpectedly ended up in Malaysia. Just three days after we arrived, the country went into a covid lockdown for a few months. But things eventually reopened, we fell in love with the country, and we thought “This Is The Place!” It had just about everything we wanted. So we began the application process to receive a visa that would allow us to stay in Malaysia for 10 years. We were working with an immigration agent, gathered all of the paperwork, we were waiting for just one more document to complete the process. And then BANG! All new applications for this type of visa were suspended. The program has since restarted, but with new financial requirements that are impossible for us to meet. We looked into some ways to make it work, such as applying for the visa through the Malaysian state of Sarawak. But in our age category the financial requirements are still quite high. We really hope sometime in the future these requirements to get this visa for Malaysia become less strict.
We knew we needed to continue our search. We spent six months in Mexico There are a lot of great things about Mexico, but a few negatives as well (read more here). , you can watch the video you see in the link there to learn more. The bottom line is, we still wanted to keep exploring to find that special place.
Where Are We Now?
And that brings us to our next destination, Turkey! We have never been to Turkey before. But after doing some research we know it’s definitely a country that is going to check off many of those boxes. Although it has become an expensive country for Turkish people, it remains affordable for us as foreigners. It’s a very developed country. It rates high for safety and health care. It seems like Turkey has a lot going for it. And we like it’s location because it’s kind of right in the middle of map, surrounded by places we want to visit in the rest of the world. So we plan to spend several months exploring Turkey, to determine whether or not Turkey is a place that we think could be our future headquarters.
Even if we settle down, we will continue traveling extensively and exploring new places. But we are also excited about the possibility of establishing ourselves somewhere. Stay tuned for future updates about our search in Turkey. Thanks for traveling with us!
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