Today is our ‘Escape” anniversary!
On the 26th April 2012, we handed over the keys to our home and flew away from Vancouver BC, Leaving behind family, friends, our home, our few remaining belongings and a lifestyle that had kept us chained to a treadmill for years. The fears and anxiety that had plagued us for the last year—ever since we had made the decision to quit the rat race—were still there, although buried under exhaustion and excitement!
Although we were only 44 and 53 at the time “far too young to retire” according to some, we had reached a major turning point in our lives after the death of a dear friend and the culmination of a series of self-development courses.
Are you teetering on a turning point, are you realizing that there is a better life to be had elsewhere? If so, we understand what is going through your mind and the conflicting emotions, panic, fear, uncertainty, excitement and determination.
After two years of full time travel, while ‘we explore the globe in search of our perfect abode’ we find ourselves experiencing a completely different set of emotions. The panic and fear were found less, we have not been robbed, harassed or mugged. Although we have not worked at a job for two years, we have a regular monthly income from our properties (in fact our net worth is actually a little higher, than it was when we left). Excitement, determination and engagement are our new norms. Each new destination is exciting, we are engaged with learning new skills–Michael is now a professional photographer and I a travel writer—and we are determined to continue our vagabond lifestyle.
We invite you to join us as we take a trip down memory lane, our first year on the road took us to 14 European countries, too many to cover here apart from a few highlights.
Italy, our first taste of housesitting and our first cooking class
Lake Como Italy
Then onto France for a two-week sojourn at a vineyard, the best mussels and canal jousting.
“Our Castle” in France
A Spanish casita was next, followed by a mammoth road trip through this huge country. We did side trips to Gibraltar, Morocco and then onto Portugal.
The Algarve in Portugal
Jamming in Tangiers Morocco
One of our reasons for escaping the 9 to 5 was to spend more time with friends and family and we did that in spades, spending time with friends in London (during the Olympics) family in my home town, a week in scenic Cornwall, sometime in Wales and a wonderful week in Scotland.
Buckingham Palace during the 2012 London Summer Olympics
Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall
Breath-taking scenery in Scotland
We headed back to Vancouver in September 2012 for a pit stop, and to assure ourselves that all was fine back home, it was! We spent a month scanning important paperwork, culling files and clothes and set off to spend Christmas and New Year in warm sunny Belize.
After almost a year on the ‘road’ we were happy, tanned, fit and healthy, with memories of work, stress, anxiety and indecision slowly fading.
We had met many expats along the way, who all had similar stories, the work, effort and disruption is worth everything. Eugene and Lynn of Placencia, Belize have certainly found a new lease on life.
Our first return to check up on the ‘stuff’ back home was all we needed to allay any fears we had had. Our tenants were taking excellent care of our property, our online banking was running smoothly and we had found storage for our vehicle. All was well so full steam ahead.
We spent the winter months in Belize exploring Central America, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua , the Bay islands of Honduras and then onto Panama. We know that we will want to settle down somewhere, sometime, so we were starting to get a feel for what our perfect abode would look like. Costa Rica had been high on our list of potentials as we had visited a few years before, sadly even though we were housesitting there we found that it was no longer as affordable as it used to be. (Not in the suburbs of San Jose anyway), grocery and restaurant prices were comparable or even more expensive than back home in Canada.
We loved the laidback lifestyle of the Bay islands and made some very good friends there; the excellent diving was a bonus.
Stay tuned for part II of our journey from frustrated to free.