Important Steps to Finding Your Trusted House Sitter, Part I

Guest post by Angela “Sittingperfected“  Laws

If you own a home, are new to the house sitting world and don’t know where to start to find the right sitter for your home and pets, read Angela’s post below. 

Many home owners have decided that house sitting is just THE best solution to leaving home and pets safe and secure. I’m a home owner myself who has been house sitting for over five years. Here’s some advice on how to get your very own Trustedhousesitter.

Listing your home

While it might not always be possible, it is most advantageous to you to post well in advance of your confirmed travel dates. Post your home’s availability on a reputable and high profile web site. In my opinion, TrustedHousesitters.com is far and above the best and most user-friendly, with excellent house sitters situated throughout the world.

Registering is easy, even for the novice internet user. Within 24 hours of joining the site, your listing goes “live” and TrustedHousesitters sends email alerts to their registered house sitters who are looking for assignments in your area. Not sure of when you’ll travel? No problem, you can still go “live” with dates showing “variable.”

House sitting helps both owners and those who want to travel

Listing Content

Be specific about your expectations. Are you a super-proud house keeper? Do you have a high maintenance garden or just a few pots? Do you retain a cleaner or gardener? If you have pets does your house sitter need to be experienced with certain breeds? Do any of your pets have special needs? Are you away from civilization? Is there the opportunity to explore the area perhaps with the occasional overnight away?

List only the important points so sitters can immediately assess your requirements. This is professional courtesy, and in that way no one’s time is wasted.

Housing on the road, RVing, long-term stays, global house exchange, vacation rentals, apart-hotels, hostels.

Home owners

As a home owner, you’ll have access to many sitter profiles which are full of personal information, references and photographs. To attract sitters, it’s very important for you to include some of your own basic personal information along with photographs of you, your pet and your home.

Would you apply to look after a home without a photo?

Location, transport and extras

If you are in a very rural location, you need to consider if sitters have the use of a *car? (see below) Be honest with your expectations. Are you expecting the sitters to take on extra household duties? Do you have rental units you want managed, relatives you’d like visited?

If you are expecting extra services from your sitter, would financial compensation for these duties – which are not considered part of a normal house sit – be offered?

If you live in a remote location, your sitters may need access to a vehicle

* Important Car Facts!! Car rental is very expensive. Yes, sitters are getting “free” accommodation, but if a car is available I would encourage home owners to make it accessible. This may make the difference between getting the sitter of your choice, or not.

You’re trusting the sitters with your MOST prized and precious possessions – your pets and home – so why not the car? In my personal house sitting experience, it’s been the male of the species who gets possessive over the family car. But to me, it’s the least precious of possessions.

This is something a home owner must consider fairly and reasonably in order to give you access to the sitters of your choice.

Want to sell your home? Trade your home? Find walk-able cities in which to retire? Age in place? Click here

Priority is Trust on both sides

House sitting is an arrangement based on trust.

Honesty at every stage by both parties is a paramount. As a homeowner, always keep in mind that a House Sitter is someone who will care for your home and pet, and keep everything safe and secure and just as you left it. House sitters are not free laborers, gardeners, sub contractors or cleaners. They provide an important service to give you Peace of Mind. They are not there to remodel your home or garden. Just as you trust them to live up to their commitment, you have the same responsibility – no more, no less.

Related Articles:

Retirees Find House Sitting Opens the Door to a New World

Moving from Stuck to a World of Yes!

Do House Sitters Really Guarantee “Peace of Mind?” – A Home Owner’s Perspective

Top 10 Reasons To “Sit” through Retirement

House Sitting My Way Around the World

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Mexico Retirement Locations – Comparing San Miguel de Allende to Chapala, Part I

Guest blog post by Kevin Knox

Kevin is a semi-retired coffee taster and buyer, world traveler, gourmand and student of yoga and meditation. He and his wife, Erin, currently spend their time between San Miguel de Allende, and Chapala, Mexico. To follow his writings and musings, click on his blog here

Why I am writing this piece

My wife and I recently moved to San Miguel de Allende after two years of living at Lake Chapala and several more years of exploring small-town retirement hotspots in the U.S. Billy and Akaisha, inspirations and mentors for us as for so many others, have kindly asked me to share a few comments about these two Mexican retirement havens.

While we’ve spent a few months in San Miguel we’re still newcomers and just learning the ropes. Our newbie status notwithstanding, I’m hearing from more and more people who’ve heard about but not visited one or the other of these places asking for information and advice, so at the risk of being presumptuous I thought I’d offer some impressions based on our admittedly limited experience.

San Miguel de Allende from the Mirador

Common Clichés & Stereotypes

Perhaps because they are the two most important expat retirement havens in Mexico, stereotypes and misinformation between the two communities are abundant. When we lived at Lake Chapala we were frequently discouraged from even visiting San Miguel: “It’s too cold, too expensive, too snooty – you’ll hate it!” we were told.

Conversely, when we first visited San Miguel and let it be known we’d lived at Lake Chapala, we heard things along these lines: “Oh, Lake Chapala. Don’t you pretty much have to be 75 years old, ex-military, belong to the American Legion, smoke and drink like crazy and live on a fixed income to fit in there?”

Needless to say both stereotypes are inaccurate, yet arose from tiny kernels of truth.

  Curious about Mexico? Click here

Similarities

Lake Chapala, or “Lakeside” as it’s known among local expats, comprises the town of Chapala and several villages, from San Antonio Tlayacapan to Jocotepec, on the north shore of Mexico’s largest freshwater lake. The cumulative population of these places is around 100,000, which is pretty close to that of San Miguel de Allende, with around 85,000 in the city proper and perhaps 140,000 in the greater metro area.

While both places are well-known as havens for American and Canadian expats, we gringos comprise only about 5-10% of the population, depending on the season. This translates to 5,000-10,000 (a total guesstimate – there simply are no accurate numbers) foreign residents: just enough for there to be an established infrastructure of English-language news, clubs and activities.

Both places are strongly seasonal in their expat occupancy, though this is truer of Lakeside than San Miguel. High season is from roughly November through March, and “high high” season is January and February, in both places, with many expats residing in Mexico seasonally.

Differences

Lake Chapala

Lake Chapala is a beautiful natural setting that’s only 40 minutes away from Guadalajara, the third-largest city in Mexico, with a population approaching 8 million. That proximity has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand you have an excellent international airport only half an hour away, which is great for those who return frequently to the U.S. or Canada, and of course shopping opportunities in such a huge city are limitless.

On the downside, Lake Chapala is inundated with partying weekend visitors from the big city, and increasingly functions as a southern suburb of Guadalajara. Big city crime, including a significant level of activity from the narco cartels, has also made its presence felt at Lakeside in recent years. There’s just one major road into and out of all of Lakeside, so on occasion one can feel a bit trapped, geographically.

Beautiful Lake Chapala has been a retirement favorite for decades

The advantages of Lake Chapala are also numerous, starting with the lake itself, which is beautiful in every season. Being on water moderates temperatures, giving Lakeside one of the best climates in the world, with year-round highs ranging from the low 70’s to high 80’s and comfortable lows in the high 50’s to mid 40’s, with lovely rains in the summer months and a lengthy dry season that stretches from November through May. The climate is significantly gentler than San Miguel’s, as is the vegetation (think Santa Barbara or Italian Riviera for Lakeside vs. a warmer version of Santa Fe for San Miguel).

One has a sense of living in nature at Lakeside, and most homes have covered porches or verandas where locals spend much of their time. The pace is slow, the streets are cobblestoned and opportunities for recreation, from tennis to hiking, are abundant.

  Not interested in Mexico? Find great retirement spots nationally or internationally. Click here

The epicenter of the expat community at Lakeside is the village of Ajijic and the Lake Chapala Society, a long-established haven for expats. It offers beautiful gardens, an excellent book and DVD library and has a wide range of classes and activities. Local English media includes the Guadalajara Reporter weekly newspaper and a couple of monthly publications with heavy real estate promotion emphasis, the Lake Chapala Review and the Coldwell Banker sponsored Ojo del Lago. The only truly popular web forum for the area, Chapala.com, is also Coldwell Banker-sponsored and is moderated with a heavy hand.

With regard to the Mexican community, there are really two distinctive communities at Lakeside. Historically and even today in large measure this is a rural, agricultural place, and while employment in service industries and construction has boomed in recent decades the lake is still the world headquarters for Driscoll berry farms, while the entire south shore of the lake is primarily used for agriculture and fishing.

Contrasting sharply with the dominant small village agricultural working class are wealthy second home owners from Guadalajara, for whom the lake is a weekend and holiday playground.

For specifics on San Miguel in Mexico Retirement Locations, Part II

To read Part III, click here

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What if Akaisha and Billy Hit the Big Time?

Hi B & A,

I was just reading your article about the woman who was ill prepared to deal with the syrup on the coke bottle at lunch in Guatemala. Very interesting and amusing to read.

It’s been over 4 years since I’ve began following your adventures and it seems to me that you have more products for sale, both to adventure seekers and advertisers alike. Good for you!! Your entrepreneurial spirit lives on!

I’m also impressed on how you have kept up with technology. I’m pushing 59, and since I’ve retired, I confess that I have lost some incentive to learn the latest and greatest in the electronic world.

Find great retirement spots nationally or internationally. Click here

Then the thought occurred to me, “Suppose B & A hit it big and became niche ‘Trip Advisors?’ with substantial financial rewards.”

Would you continue to live frugally in Mexico and Latin America, or would you move up to 5 star hotels and explore Europe and more expensive places of the earth?

Or would you contribute the excess to the needy in the places where you have visited?

Or would you pick a happy medium?

I may be bordering on “none of your business” territory, and if I am, please accept my apologies.

Have a great day!

Tim

Villages around the world are in need of basic services

Hi Tim,

Thank you for your patience in waiting for my reply. And just so you know, we really enjoy hearing from our Readers!

We are very happy that you have been following our adventures for over 4 years. It feels wonderful that we have been able to keep your attention with our journeys and our writing for that long a time. And of course, thank you for your good wishes!

Sometimes learning electronic gadgetry has been a personal challenge, but we thrive on having a digital office, being able to do what we love and write about it from anywhere in the world. This keeps our minds sharp, gives us avenues for our creativity and we find it both exciting and fulfilling.

As far as “hitting the big time” and making major money… wouldn’t that be fun?!

I can assure you that we would have a grand time contributing to building sources of clean water for villages where we have visited or finding ways to provide affordable electricity so children can study at night time or so family life can improve. Helping young women become educated and supporting the “Girl Effect” in pueblos, teaching about hygiene so children are healthy, encouraging micro-lending for small business people around the world so they can become self-supporting and donating to organizations who help prevent family violence and abuse, funding literacy programs, building schools, clinics, funding medical research… There are countless projects and ways to contribute that would be fulfilling, challenging and worthwhile.

People are people everywhere

We’d love to have millions of dollars at our disposal for such plans!

Billy and I are not major consumers and we are comfortable with that approach to living life. We might want to celebrate once in a while, but we have no need for yachts, cars or living a lavish lifestyle.

There is nothing wrong with that manner of living and we don’t begrudge anyone who has made that choice. Personally, I think we would be too busy with our projects to keep up with owning a lot of stuff. Sometimes we think our lives are too complicated just as we are living them today!

We would love to return to Europe and plan to do so again, this time visiting Greece and spending more time in Italy. Our style is to spend a year here and a year there… I think we could easily do that, even now (before the millions!)

After 2 decades of travel we appreciate the perspective it has given us on so many different levels. We eat well (and probably too much), we have friends everywhere, have seen gorgeous scenery of so many types, experienced cultures around the world and have developed more self-reliance.

Educating this child could impact his whole village

It’s a sense of personal freedom that we have cultivated and it suits us both very well. It’s also something we wish for anyone who is attracted to this kind of world view.

I hope I have answered your questions and again, thank you for taking the time to write.

Feel free to write any time.

All the best!
Akaisha and Billy

Volunteer. Change a life!

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Perfect Places to Live?

Hi,

I have been receiving your news letter and ordered some of your books. Thank you. I would have never made it this far without your help.

I go to Chapala, Mexico in January and February, then again in July and August. I have a small problem with the heat – a little colder would be fine – any suggestions?

I know I am asking for everything.

I would also like to travel back and forth without too much hassle. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah with easy airport access and usually change planes in LAX or Phoenix. From there it’s easy to take taxis to Chapala from the Guadalajara airport. I’m not crazy about big cities…

I would love to hear from you, and  cannot thank you enough.

Gwen

Guanajuato has exceptional beauty as a city

Hi Gwen,

Thank you for taking the time to write. We love hearing from our Readers.

I don’t know the level of your Spanish skills, but if you speak basic Spanish, you might try living in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico, or San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico.

Comitan  is a clean, sweet town with family values and the nearest airport is in Tuxtla Gutierrez (3 hours away). But the weather is spectacular (more on the cool side) — and the city has very little crime. People are friendly and the town supports just about everything you might need, except night life. I don’t believe there is much of an Expat community there.

If you are looking for a place with a bigger English speaking community you might try San Cristobal (serviced by the airport in Tuxtla Gutierrez, only an hour away.) This international city has strong colonial influence, very good restaurants, nightlife and a colorful indigenous population. It is also cooler in general than Chapala.

Oaxaca is also a very beautiful, international Mexican city with restaurants of all kinds, night life and culture. Or perhaps Guanajuato where turning every corner offers a photo opportunity.

Oaxaca has history, food and culture to offer

If you want to consider Guatemala, you might try Antigua, Guatemala. There is a thriving expat community there, a colonial feel with international restaurants and nightlife.

Something smaller and more “cutesy” would be Panajachel, Guatemala. It is literally one of the most beautiful places in the world, with a volcano lake, lots of indigenous for color and flavor, fresh food markets and an active Expat community. It’s very affordable to live there.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Thank you for your kind words, and feel free to write anytime!

Best,
Akaisha

Find great retirement spots nationally or internationally. Click here

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The Essentials—Creating the Ultimate Digital Office for Travel

Guest post by Maria Rainier

There are few things more important to our success when we are trying to do work or complete a task than the environment in which we are working. There’s a reason teachers spend so much time putting together their classrooms, libraries are ideal study zones for over-caffeinated college students, and companies put so much thought into their employee work stations—our work environment in many ways determines our success. That being said, today with online learning, online classrooms, remote jobs, and digital enterprises, the term “office” has evolved to mean many different things. More and more often, activities that at one point relied on physical work spaces and classrooms are moving to the digital realm.

Work from anywhere in the world with your digital office

As our world has become increasingly more mobile, so too have our offices—and it’s pretty amazing. With the influx of online education and online enterprises, people are able to study from the comfort of their own homes and can earn a living while travelling the world. This mobile freedom comes with some requirements. Whether you are a busy work at home mom going back to school online or a successful business person looking to travel the world while still maintaining your business, in order to create a truly successful and productive digital office there are a few essential office items you’ll need to consider.

Good Laptop

As a traveling employee, a traveling student or as the owner of your own mobile business, your online success boils down to the capability of your computer. Find a device that satisfies your specific work needs. Some of the most important aspects to consider for your computer include wireless connectivity, battery life, speed, memory, graphics card quality, and hard drive space. Your computer essentially comprises your entire office space. You complete your work on your computer, store things there, conduct communications there, and, for the most part, spend every moment of your workday at the screen. For this reason, it is essential that you find the computer that really suits your needs. While this includes computer specs and hardware, it also involves the appearance, size, and usability of the device. Find a laptop that you are comfortable using—make sure the screen is large enough, the keyboard is comfortable, and the operating system is familiar.

Simplify your life, save money, learn something new, choose a walk-able city, be car free. To learn more, click here

Mobile Hotspot

Aside from your computer and word processor, the next most essential element of a digital office is the internet. Mobile broadband is basically a must these days. While many coffee shops and businesses offer free Wi-Fi, running a mobile office off of these spots is not always realistic. You have many options for mobile broadband providers. It’s important that you look into the speed of connection you can get from your various options. Make sure that you get something that will give you enough power to be truly productive online. Here are some of your options:

Cellphone: Many cellphone providers offer “internet tethering” (which is just a fancy way of saying using your cellphones internet connection on your laptop). Verizon offers this service on several of their phones at a very reasonable price. Other cellphone providers have phones and plans with the same capabilities. Talk to your cellphone provider about your options. This can be a great way to carry around fewer devices when you are working and traveling.

USB Wireless Cards: This is another great option for internet connection from anywhere. The USB cards are small USB devices that hook right into your laptop and give you internet access (these look like small memory drives or “sticks”). There are several different types of these cards and they come with various different speeds and capabilities.

Personal Hotspot: Another option is a portable WiFi router that can be moved from city to city and plugged directly into a wall outlet. These devices use cellular networks to connect online and are a bit more restrictive as far as size and mobility than the above options.

There are many more options for “hotspots” and WiFi devices. I recommend doing your research and figuring out what would be best for you. Talking with your cellular provider is a great first step.

Your world in a suitcase

Digital Storage

Some sort of storage device or external hard drive is an absolute must for a digital office. All too often, we are devastated when our machines malfunction and we lose our hard work. Computers are wonderful in that they can store a significant amount of our important data and digital material, but things do go wrong. It’s important that you prepare yourself with a backup system. Either buy an external hard drive to keep with you and store backup versions of all of your work, or use an online “cloud” storage system. One of the best online storage spaces is Dropbox. With Dropbox, users can store up to two gigs of data on their personalized and secure space. That space is accessible from any device with internet access through cloud technology. Dropbox is extremely reliable and very handy. I highly recommend cloud storage for traveling offices. External hard drives do the job, but they take up just that much more space. Having a “digital office” is all about minimizing the actual devices you have to lug around.

Communication

While most of the aspects of a digital office involve impersonal communication through instant messaging and email, there are times that face-to-face interaction is necessary. In the past this was the most challenging aspects of maintaining a mobile lifestyle while also maintaining a stable office career. Today, there are technologies like Skype to help us stay connected. Skype is a free calling system that enables you to connect with people all over the world. You can video chat using Skype or hold traditional calls. Today, many laptops come with built in webcams that users can use for Skype talks.

Modern technology has made it possible to remain connected and productive in every kind of unique situation. With the right equipment, you can earn your living while traveling through Eastern Europe or complete an online bachelor’s degree while sitting on a beach in Mexico. Consider your possibilities and create a digital office that can help you realize your mobile dreams.

Maria Rainier makes her living as a freelance blogger. An avid follower of the latest trends in technology and education, Maria believes that online degrees and online universities are the future of higher learning. Please share your comments with her.

 

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A Two for One Retirement – Volunteer!

Akaisha,

Glad you write about volunteer opportunities for your Readers. I’ll give you two more websites which give more options and scope to prospective retired volunteers.

People with a multitude of skills are required in most of these places. Builders, bricklayers, electricians, painters, chefs, cooks, welders, engineers, teachers for adults and/or children, social workers, doctors, nurses. The list could be endless but you get the idea. There are a heap of countries, not just Thailand that urgently need assistance and many of the countries are in your area of expertise.

So here we go………….

International Volunteer Headquarters

also Responsible Travel Browse Thailand – Volunteer Travel holidays.

People who are planning retirement and a possible move overseas can dip their toe in the water so to speak, and take say a 3 month holiday in one of the many places mentioned and do some volunteering and sum up how they feel about the place before making a life changing decision. If they change their minds and decide it is not for them HEY! they have had a wonderful adventure and done some splendid work for people who really need their help. There is no real age limit it is open to anyone who is fit and healthy enough to give it a go.

Love,

Mokshadharma

To learn about more excellent volunteer opportunities, click here.

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Are you Confused? Good!

Contrary to what you have been told, confusion can be a positive state of mind.

Sometimes, discombobulating events or circumstances can show us the places in our lives where we are outgrowing the old and calling for the new.

Believe it or not, confusion can lead to good things

Huh?!

Just as in my previous post where I spoke about the Benefits of Fear, in this one I want to let you in on a valuable secret: Confusion about something can sometimes be a good thing.

When we know the parameters of what to expect in our relationships, job, or health, we seem to breeze through life without anxiety, and we like that! Most of us would prefer the feeling of certainty and the comfort it brings rather than the disconcerting feelings that come with chaos.

Except Life isn’t always so easy.

Confusion can show us an open door

Just as pain or fear can motivate us to make a change, confusion lets us know where there might be an open door or window to new opportunities. Turning a routine on its head is upsetting, but think of it as clearing the cobwebs out. Dust flies but the result is something newer and brighter.

Examples

Ok, so let’s say you are thinking about retiring but you cannot afford your current housing situation as well as having a second house in your chosen retirement location. The entire situation has you uneasy because perhaps you don’t really want to sell your place anyway, and besides, the current market for housing has been sludgy.

Perfect.

What to do about Home Sweet Home?

Pair of what?

What you might require is a paradigm shift. Those are fancy words for “considering your options.”

Take a piece of paper and on the left hand side write the word “Housing.” Draw a line down the center and on the right side of the line begin to brainstorm anything possible to solve your situation. Move your mind from the “problem set” and walk into the “solution set.”

Even if an idea seems a repeat, or seems obvious or might even be something you don’t care for, don’t stop listing. Keep the momentum going until you run out of steam.

How to find great retirement spots and information on retirement overseas, aging in place, women in community

Sample Solutions

Doing a house exchange

House sitting in a new location

Renting your house out while you travel

Rent just a room in your home for the extra income

If you have a bi-level, rent out one level to cover expenses

Consider becoming snowbirds as an option

Renting in the new location instead of buying

Listing viable options to your dilemmas

The above possibilities are just starters. What else can you think of?

Perhaps you want to retire or even semi-retire, but you don’t feel that you have sufficient funds. Get out the piece of paper again with the word “Money” on the left side, and Options on the right.

Sell your dog

Have a lemonade stand

Part time work

Teach English as a second language

Make money from a hobby

Pare down to one vehicle

Try ride sharing

Consider non-financial exchanges for services given or received

New combinations can reveal your solutions

Write as many outlandish or common sense ideas that you can come up with and keep that list growing.

Want to find out about part-time, seasonal, dream jobs, adventure jobs, working from home, mentoring in retirement or freelance? Click here

The next step

Now, on a separate sheet of paper take any of your possible solutions and list all the reasons why it could work. You might already have resistance to some of your responses – so go ahead and write those down too, but on a different piece of paper and place that sheet aside. Here on the solution page, you are trying to build up the reasons why your possibilities could actually be implemented.

Play devil’s advocate

If you have a spouse or a good friend whom you can trust, take turns playing devil’s advocate for why these are good ideas. We can all find reasons why something won’t work. You want to find ways to substantiate why your ideas can be feasible.

Clear that mental dust away.

Bring order out of seeming chaos

At the end of this exercise you should have a list of viable alternatives to your previous conundrum and you won’t view your circumstances in the same light. Sometimes it might take a combination of these options to have a workable solution, but at least now, you are not grabbing at air. You have solid choices. Going through new doors is scary, but it’s the way to create the life you want.

As long as your confusion continues, proceed with the above exercise to generate ideas. Welcome confusion as holding a key to a future that you create yourself and which better matches your needs and wants of today.

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Traveling with a Stay-at-Home Spouse

Hi There,

I’m planning to visit Australia next year to visit my cousin on the Gold Coast.

I’m a 60+ lady traveling with a lady friend, my hubby is a stay-at-home type……………..

Any advice….

Thanks

Julie

For financial books, travel books and guides, inspirational reading, click here

Hi Julie,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

I was unclear as to what your question “really” was.

1) Advice on how to travel without your husband?

2) Advice on how to find great travel partners or affordable ways to travel?

3) Advice on how to “get” your husband interested in traveling?

4) Advice on how to travel in your retirement and not feel guilty, keep in touch with your husband while you are on the road, and more?

In Chapter 10 of our book, Your Retirement Dream IS Possible, we discuss this very topic in great detail. Many couples want to fulfill their dreams in retirement and sometimes these dreams differ from what their spouse has in mind. I believe you will find this chapter to be very helpful.

You might also take a look at our Traveling Singles Page. Here you will find adventure groups, women’s groups, global and educational tours, information on solo traveling, packing lists and such.

You might also take a look at our Travel Housing Options Page. Here you will find links to hostels, furnished apartments, how to make connections worldwide through Couch Surfing, how to find a place to be a roommate in a location which you might want to visit, links to home exchange, house sitting opportunities, Workampers, vacation rentals and more.

Keeping in touch with loved ones while we travel is easier today than ever. You can download Skype for free and chat online with video from your computer or at an internet cafe. If you chat computer-to-computer, this calling time is free. If you call a landline or cell phone, it is only a few cents per minute. So you will be able to chat with your husband while he is at home where he feels comfortable, and while you are on the road, where you would like to be.

I hope these few suggestions are useful to you. Feel free to write any time.

Best,
Akaisha

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Forced Out of Retirement Due to Financial Crisis?

Just read your story about extreme retirement.

How much money do you and your husband still have?

Were you and your husband forced out of retirement because of the financial crisis?

You obviously get paid to sell books on the subject so how are you retired presently ?

I want to know your real net worth so I can do the same.

Thanks,

Dave

For tools and calculators to analyze your monetary situation in all areas of living, click here

Hi Dave,
Thanks for taking the time to write. We enjoy hearing from our Readers.

We explain how and why we retired in 1991 in our first book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement. We were not “forced” into retirement but rather chose this lifestyle over two decades ago. Since then we have made it through the various market crashes and downturns.

We didn’t write our first book until we had been retired for 15 years, and after that, both the website and the number of books we offer have grown.

The view that “once one leaves the working world they can never, ever, ever make money again” is one that we don’t hold. We consider ourselves to be financially independent, and choose what we want to do with our time. Most of what we do is either volunteer work or something that is a creative challenge to us, like the work we do on our website or in writing books. We are entrepreneurial by nature and it would be absurd for us to pass any opportunities by that looked appealing.

Being financially independent offers one those choices.

“How much is enough” is a personal consideration. There is no “One Financial Number” which would do it for everyone, as each person has different needs, circumstances and dreams. Suffice it to say that we have more money now than we did when we first left the conventional world.

Also please realize that not every transaction is a financial one – there are lots of things that can be bartered for or an agreement can be made. Trading your skills for ones your neighbor has is worthwhile. This has been a mainstay of society since the beginning of time, so that concept is nothing new.

We no longer own a vehicle and when in foreign countries we either us public transport or hire a driver. In the States we hire friends to take us from place to place. House sitting is a means of having a place to stay in many locations around the world and this minimizes your housing costs.

Try looking at your situation creatively to see how you can rearrange what you have to work for you.

I would suggest that you take a look at our Preferred Links Pages and research some choices that are available to you in all the categories of one’s retirement experience.

Track your spending and find out how much you — in particular — need to have to create a reasonable lifestyle and then see what tools and opportunities you have available to you to make that happen.

You might also take a look at our Retirement Issues Page as well and read some of the Interviews we have done with others who have made the leap. You will find that each story is different and that no one size fits all.

Hope this gives you some insight into your questions.

Take care and feel free to write any time.

Best,
Akaisha

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An Apple a Day Doesn’t Work

Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

I’m tired of doctor’s offices. I’m fed up with driving there, sitting there and filling out forms that take longer to do than the duration of any of my illnesses.

Once upon a time a visit to the doctor meant answering a handful of questions: Name, Address, Why are you here?, How long have you had these symptoms? Today, the time spent at a doctor’s office rules out time for doing anything else. The day is shot.

The other day the receptionist handed me seven sheets to fill out while I waited for the doctor to grace me with his presence. Two of the sheets only needed my signature. One gave me the option of allowing others to know my medical background. Why would anyone want to know my medical background? She had her appendix removed in 1947? We can’t hire her; she’s defective.

Doctors want too many forms filled out!

On the other sheet I listed people to contact in case of my death. I was there because of an annoying toenail fungus. Dying never entered my mind. Now I wondered if I should worry.

Because there’s never room to list all seventeen of my surgeries, seven medications, and seven allergies I opened my wallet, withdrew my prepared list and handed it to the receptionist to copy for her records.

Forty five minutes later the doctor, who obviously believed his time was more valuable than mine, was ready to see me. But I wasn’t ready for him. I still faced two sheets of questions, so he had me bring the papers with me. Of course there was no way I could continue filling them out and fight off the nurse who was trying to weigh me. I saw no reason to humiliate myself on the scale. I had stood on my scale that morning, naked. I didn’t like the numbers then. Why would I like them better when I was fully dressed? And besides, what did weight have to do with a nail fungus?

My husband, Mighty Marc, is able to fill out medical forms in under five minutes. At the Dermatologists office the nurse asked him if he had any allergies.

“No.”

Then she asked, “What medications are you on?”

“None.”

She looked up from her desk. “You’re in your seventies and you’re not on any medications? Do you have any idea how unusual that is? You’re so fortunate.”

“It’s not really luck,” he said. “When I married my wife four years ago, we agreed she would do medications, and I would do yard work. We’ve both upheld our ends of the bargain.”

I’m not a hypochondriac. Every sickness, ache, pain and disease I have is real – at least to me. I’m concerned that when I write on my income tax return that I’ve traveled 2,500 miles to and from doctors this year, a red flag will be raised and I’ll be audited.

For information on private, national or international health insurance, click here.

My last problem started with pressure and pain in my lower left abdomen. I tried ignoring it but when I no longer could, I visited my Internist.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this,” I instructed him.

“Why?”

“Because I’m sick and tired of seeing doctors,” I answered.

“Truthfully, I’m fed up with seeing patients,” he quipped.

He pressed and palpated and decided I probably had diverticulitis, an irritated colon; a common condition in older people, but not to be ignored. He sent me for a CAT Scan, which wasn’t conclusive, so he put me on an antibiotic for five days. When that didn’t help he suggested I see my gynecologist.

GYNECOLOGIST!! Uh oh!

What am I doing here?

Once home I did some online research. By the time I arrived at my gynecologist’s office I was hyperventilating, sweating and in a state of panic. I even took a Valium, which I’d not done since before my last surgery seven years earlier.

The gynecologist walked in and found me sitting on the edge of the examining table.

“Sit down,” I instructed her. “I have some bad news.”

Her brows furrowed. “What kind of bad news?”

“I don’t want to upset you, but I have ovarian cancer.”

“WHAT? How do you know that?”

“I read it on the internet.”

“Lie down and assume the position,” she commanded.

My ovaries have gone to heaven

Within seconds of her physical assault she began to laugh out loud.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Honey, your ovaries have dried, died and gone to Ovary Heaven.”

“Really? And that’s a good thing?”

“Unless you want more children,” she said. “I suggest you see your gastroenterologist and have either an Ultrasound or another CAT scan. I feel certain it’s diverticulitis.”

I hugged her and cried tears of relief. Then I left her office with prescriptions for an Ultrasound, an MRI, a Bone Density test, and a Mammogram. It was then it occurred to me I’m not going to die from a common disease. I’m going to die from radiation poisoning.

For information on leading edge medical approaches or preventative care, click here.

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