Why did we decide to include home-free retirees world travel tips?

The Golden Temple Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple Amritsar, India, is seen through a decorative archway on the religious grounds of the historic Sikh location. Please click here to see more photos from Amritsar.

Note: This post is the second of the 2000 word posts required for SEO. Some of the verbiages may sound repetitive. We’ll be back to our usual post tomorrow. Only three more of these to go. Thanks for your patience. Feel free to read.

As Tom’s retirement was fast approaching and we’d made the outrageous decision to travel full-time, we searched online for travel tips that possibly could point us in the right direction, especially those applying to retirees. When many young people travel the world, even with children, they often stay in hostels, camp, rent or buy campers or caravans, and live very different lifestyles than we were seeking.

At that time in 2012, considerably fewer retirees had “given it all up” to do what we’d chosen to do, travel the world for years to come with minimal possessions with us, no storage facility anywhere in our home state or country, and find a way to make it work being home-free. We considered no condo, apartment, or studio-type living quarters as a base to return to should we so desire. We chose to make the “BIG commitment,” and for us, that only came when we sold everything we owned, leaving us little opportunity to change our minds if something went wrong, especially in the early days. Always a part of our mission was to include home-free retirees’ world travel tips.

Our friends and relatives bombarded us with suggestions and travel tips amid a plethora of travel warnings on all the potentially horrible situations we could encounter along the way, some even life-threatening. We chose not to take heed of their warnings when instead, we chose to research on our own.

Searching online was little help. We found countless travel tips from travelers who’d been “out there” on their own, as a couple of a family of three or more. But, few were retirees, and most had a place to call home to return to for a break or respite. Of course, today, eight years later, we’ve encountered other retirees, home-free and traveling the world. But after a fashion, most acquiesced and returned to their home country, recovered their belongings from storage, and began again. Not us. As retirees, we wanted to do it differently to truly experience the challenges and benefits of living life on the move, with no safety net.

What are the potential challenges facing home-free retirees’ world travel tips?…

The most frequent travel tip/question most travelers tossed our way revolved around these two topics:

1. What will you do if one of you becomes very ill when retirees are more likely to encounter health problems due to an advanced age?
2. What will you do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

In the first over six years of our home-free world travel lifestyle, neither of these potential issues had any impact on our lives. As retirees, we were healthy, fit, and relatively active. We’d had extensive medical tests before we embarked on our journey, all required dental work completed. As we traveled the world, we each had basic health checks, blood tests, and dental appointments every few years. All was well until…

The “worse case” scenarios transpired…

While living in a holiday home in the bush in South Africa, in February 2019, I had to have emergency triple cardiac bypass surgery, which resulted in four total surgeries (due to complications) and over the US $150,000 in medical expenses, which our then international health insurance company refused to pay, claiming I had a preexisting condition (I had no idea).

The question many other retirees had asked, “Should such an event occur, what would you possibly do?” Would being home-free prevent us from quality medical care and a place to recover after such a frightening event? It did not. We extended our rental period for the holiday home or would have moved to another while I recovered.

At the time, many home-free retirees’ world travel tips came our way with suggestions for us to return to the US, but that tip was preposterous. I couldn’t travel on an airplane for at least three months. We stayed in the wonderful bush house while I recovered sufficiently to again begin our world travel journey. Nothing was holding us back. We continued for three months in an oceanfront house in Connemara, Ireland, as my recovery continued.

The second question above asks, “What will we do if something goes wrong or you tire of traveling?

Tom and I made a pact when we began traveling the world as home-free retirees. If either of us ever became tired or bored with traveling the world, we would stop. Even amid the challenges facing us these past few years, neither has suggested ending our journey to the other.

Another huge challenge that tested our durability and commitment as home-free retirees was the pandemic that hit the world in January and February 2020. At the time, we’d just completed a weeklong tour on the renowned Maharajas Express Train from Mumbai to Delhi. After the train, we embarked on a 55-night tour of India, which we had to cut short when COVID-19 presented us with a considerable risk of continuing. Most temples and tourist sites were packed with people, often crowding in small spaces. More, we considered home-free retirees’ world travel tips from other readers with similar experiences.

We decided the risk of being at crowded venues was too high and started self-isolation on or about March 12, 2020, when we were notified that our upcoming cruise on April 3, 2020, had been canceled due to the COVID-19. As of this writing, we have officially been in India’s government-mandated lockdown, which began on March 24, 2020, for a full six months. More and more of our readers write to us each day with tips and suggestions as to what we should do at this point. But, our particular circumstances and home-free lifestyle have guided us as to what works well for us.

Considering home-free retirees’ world travel tips weren’t a factor in preventing us from heading back to the US to hunker down in lockdown. Where would we stay? Ultimately, we decided to stay put in a lovely Marriott hotel until we could continue our travels. At this point, the pandemic has reached such proportions in the US, we have no desire or plan to return. Also, it would not be easy to decide where to stay without a home while we waited it out. We’ve been safe in this hotel, although India has been a hard hit as well. Only time will tell when we can continue.

We’ve received hundreds of tips geared toward our home-free status as to what we should do during this period. We’ve appreciated all the tips, suggestions, and updates sent by readers, family, and friends. Most of the retiree’s circumstances are very different from ours, and what they would choose to do in these circumstances may differ from our choices.

What do we do as home-free retirees if the lockdown/pandemic continues for more months to come?…

We are safe. This hotel has exercised diligent efforts to avoid a single case of COVID-19 since we arrived. All staff is required to wear face masks and gloves. All staff members live within the walls of the hotel. No one is allowed to clean our room or serve our meals via room service unless they’ve been living here for a minimum of three weeks. We are confined to the fourth floor except for those few times we’ll head downstairs to the reception desk to pay our bill. We haven’t been outdoors in six months.

But, when we think of retirees living in a retirement community, they most likely haven’t been outdoors much either. Perhaps, our situation isn’t so unique after all. We’re safe. We have everything we need. We’re relatively comfortable. We miss socializing and often think of how enjoyable it would be to get together with other retirees and commiserate over this challenging situation.

At most, the staff and any other guests appear to be mostly in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. But, it seems, as retirees, we’re the oldest people in the entire hotel. Every few days, we receive tips in our email with movies and TV series, we should binge-watch, and games we should play to alleviate the boredom we’re experiencing now. We take many of these tips to heart and find ourselves streaming many fun new series suggested by our readers. This means a lot to us.

How are we emotionally impacted by home-free living?…

Often, we’re asked, don’t you feel lost without “roots?” Our answer is simple from an adage, “Home is where the heart is.” And, although our hearts are filled with love for family and friends back in the US, as a couple, we have made anywhere we may be living, at any given time, our “home.” That premise prevents us from ever feeling lost and lonely in a home-free lifestyle.

Most home-free retirees’ world travel tips include comments from those who spent their lives and careers in Minnesota, often leaving to spend their retirement in warmer climates. In most cases, they’ll purchase or rent a condo, house, or apartment in such states as Arizona, Florida, Texas, or Hawaii. Often, they’ll keep their original home and deal with the maintenance of having two homes. This didn’t appeal to us at all.

Instead, as retirees, we chose to be home-free; no apartment somewhere; no bedroom in one of our adult kids’ homes with a closet full of clothes; no lease on a storage facility as a safety net to enable us to “set up housekeeping” once again. This was it, just the two of us and our luggage, the size of which has significantly diminished over the years.

In the beginning, Christmas was a time we had to make adjustments. We’d no longer have a Christmas tree, nor did we have decorations or a need to bake endless cookies and baked goods. We no longer sent Christmas cards and gifts instead of mailing gift cards to our grandchildren. This commitment required a lot of emotional changes experienced by many retirees who become ex-pats and world travelers.

The most challenging time we’ve experienced has been during my recovery from open-heart surgery and now, six months in lockdown in a single hotel room. But, somehow, these two home-free retirees have managed to maintain emotional strength and resilience in the knowledge that in time, we’ll be on the move again.

Will we ever settle down?…

This question has been asked of us over and over again. And, the reality is, we’ll have to at some point. With advancing age and potential health conditions, we may need to return to the US and find a place to live. Does this worry us? Not at this point. We’ve survived so much, we both feel confident that when the time comes, as has been the case in every other situation, we’ll figure it out.

Home-free retirees’ world travel tips often include ways to figure out significant life changes at some point or another. We are no exception. The fact we’ll have lived a home-free existence for so many years makes those decisions only a little more complicated, mainly revolving around: Where will we choose to live?

We’ve considered the possibility of staying in holiday homes in several parts of the US for three to six months, giving us a further opportunity to see more of our own country in our waning years. There’s also the possibility that we may find a country besides the USA where we’d like to live as retirees in the next few years, again with the principle of renting various, fully-equipped holiday/vacation homes.

In conclusion…

A home-free lifestyle is not for everyone, whether a young person was starting their lives, a young family, couple, or retiree. We each have our unique desires and emotional needs when it comes to our chosen lifestyle. If and when we have a need and a desire to be “rooted” to one location, we’ll do so.

World travel is not on everyone’s radar or in their dreams of what will ultimately be fulfilled and purpose-driven. We never knew we had a plan to travel the world as retirees, living a home-free lifestyle. It came upon us in a happenstance manner described in our first few posts and many more to go over the years.

As we’re fast approaching our eighth anniversary since we became home-free on October 31, 2012, we have no regrets from the most exciting adventures to this most recent mundane period, spending over six months in lockdown in Mumbai, India.

We’re hopeful for the future that we’ll be able to continue on our home-free journey to see the world in time. In the interim, we’ll continue to offer home-free retirees world travel tips as well as hearing from other world travelers. The world is a prominent place. We all have much more to see and to say.. Stay with us, dear reader. There’s more to come.

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2019:

Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage, in Witheridge, Devon, UK,  with a few ducks and geese. For more photos, please click here.

Early morning routine…Life of retirees…More photos from cultural coffee farm tour…

Tom was holding the broom (escoba) made of vegetation at El Toledo Coffee Tour.

“Sightings from the Veranda in Costa Rica”

Layers of clouds rolling into the valley.

As candid as we are regarding how we live our daily lives, we’re also curious about how other retirees may spend their time. Is it so unusual it’s Tuesday at 8:00 am, and we’re sitting in the screening room while Tom is watching last night’s Minnesota Vikings game while I busily peck away at my laptop?

The items throughout the cafe each had their own story to tell.

Probably not. We haven’t spent any of our retirement years living near friends and family, which would give us a better perspective of what other retirees may be doing in their spare time, as compared to us.

The El Toledo Coffee Farm’s coffee is nicely packaged.

It’s not a desire to emulate the activities of others. More so, it’s simple curiosity, the same curiosity bringing some of you back, again and again, to see “what we’re up to” from one day to the next.

An old-fashioned cart.

A significant difference for us, besides living in a new country every few months, is the reality of living without a car at specific points, often without easy access to public transportation. It’s the price we pay for choosing to live in more remote locations.

Every corner of the area was filled with family treasures.

Many world travelers with whom we’ve communicated chose to live in apartments and condos in big cities, heading out each day for sightseeing, dining, and tours. 

Gabriel was educating us while we sat at the long table.  We were entranced by his manner of speaking and expertise.

The big city life is far removed from our reality, except on occasions such as our upcoming one-month stay in Buenos Aires beginning on December 23rd (Tom’s birthday). Indeed during those 31 days, we’ll be dining out (no kitchen), using public transportation for tours and sightseeing, and getting out of the hotel room each day to wander about.

Handmade wood boat.

Even us, who don’t mind staying in, don’t enjoy sitting in a hotel room all day and night.  This period will give us an excellent opportunity to get out walking, something we’ve missed here in the villa in Atenas. The hills are too steep to navigate for an enjoyable leisurely walk.

The coffee cafe, with its cultural decor, was fascinating.

Luckily, in the weeks we’ve had a car (every other at this point), we’ve chosen various types of sightseeing, all of which have required extensive walking. Although these “hikes” aren’t frequent enough to build the level of fitness we’d like to restore, at least these tours, thus far, have kept us on the move.

The clutter was oddly appealing.

As for a day like today…once the football game ends and I’ve uploaded the post, most likely, we’ll spend time out by the pool. The past three days have been cloudy and rainy by the time I’ve finished the post. We’re both anxious to get our token 20 to 30 minutes of sun time and spend time in the pool. Rain or shine, we spend the better part of each day on the veranda with the roof protecting us from the rain.

Once we embarked on the tour, we entered this working area.

We discuss our dreams for the future during those pool times, where we’d like to go after revisiting the US in 2019. At this point, we’re tossing around some ideas, considering which countries we’ve yet to visit and those we long to see.

Gabriel was explaining the use of the space.

Our typical day-to-day lives may not be too different than yours, except for a few factors; we don’t do any household repairs and maintenance; we don’t do yard work, and we don’t go to Home Depot. 

Wine-making area.

We don’t “jump in the car” to drive short distances to visit with friends and family; we rarely go to the doctor; we don’t go to Costco for a fun shopping trip loading up large quantities of food and supplies; we don’t head over the Walgreen’s or CVS for a few items, using these little rewards cards for discounts hanging on our keyring.

Drying racks for the coffee beans.

Then again, most peculiarly…we don’t have a keyring! How odd is that?

Have a pleasant day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 12, 2016:

When we watched this activity on the river, we had no idea what was transpiring until we saw they were cleaning the carcass of a cow in the river. Yikes! For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s railroad guys get together…Worldwide traveler stats and lifestyle for those living without a home…

From left to right: Dale, Tom, and Jon.
Today’s photos are from a get-together of retired guys who worked with Tom at BNSF during his 42½-year tenure. Thus, the images are not related to today’s post. 

The life of a world traveler, especially one living without a permanent home, is a unique blend of freedom, adventure, and, often, unpredictability. These individuals, usually called digital nomads, perpetual travelers, or global wanderers, embrace a lifestyle that allows them to explore the world while remotely maintaining their work or personal projects. This essay delves into the statistics surrounding world travelers who live without a home, exploring their demographics, motivations, challenges, and the impact of this lifestyle on their well-being and the global economy.

The number of digital nomads and perpetual travelers has steadily increased over the past decade. According to a 2020 report by MBO Partners, there were approximately 10.9 million digital nomads in the United States alone, reflecting a significant rise from previous years. Globally, the figure is estimated to be much higher, with millions more embracing this lifestyle in Europe, Asia, and other regions. This growth can be attributed to several factors, including technological advancements, increased remote work opportunities, and a growing desire for a more flexible and fulfilling lifestyle.

Digital nomads tend to be younger, with the majority falling within the 25-44 age range. A survey conducted by FlexJobs in 2021 found that 42% of digital nomads were millennials (ages 25-40), while 19% were Generation X (ages 41-56). However, this lifestyle is not limited to younger generations; there is a notable presence of older travelers, including retirees, who also take advantage of the freedom and opportunities of a mobile lifestyle.

The guys got together for a group photo as Tom drove up to the restaurant.

The motivations behind choosing a nomadic lifestyle vary widely among individuals. For many, the primary driver is the desire for freedom and adventure. The ability to explore new cultures, learn new languages, and experience diverse environments is a significant allure. Additionally, the flexibility to work from anywhere allows individuals to craft a lifestyle that prioritizes personal well-being and work-life balance.

Economic factors also play a crucial role. The cost of living can be significantly lower in certain parts of the world compared to major urban centers in developed countries. For instance, living in Southeast Asia, Latin America, or Eastern Europe can provide a high quality of life at a fraction of the cost. This financial advantage enables travelers to save money, invest in their passions, or extend their travels indefinitely. For us, living in the bush in South Africa for extended periods has been so affordable that it has enabled us to spend more in other, more costly countries.

Despite the many benefits, living without a permanent home presents unique challenges. One of the most significant hurdles is maintaining a stable income. While remote work opportunities have increased, not all digital nomads have steady employment or freelance work, leading to financial instability. According to the same FlexJobs survey, 34% of digital nomads cited finding remote work opportunities as a primary challenge. Fortunately, we don’t require additional employment to support our world travels.

Another significant issue is the lack of a stable support network. Moving from one place to another can make building and maintaining meaningful relationships challenging. This transient lifestyle can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can impact mental health. Again, we have been fortunate to make friends worldwide, and with our close relationship, we never feel loneliness becomes an issue.

Most had the buffet, but Tom waited to eat homemade pizza when he returned to the hotel.

Additionally, navigating different healthcare systems in various countries can be complex and expensive, adding another layer of stress. We’ve covered this topic in many posts. The most imperative things are a quality travel insurance plan and easy access to quality medical care, especially for those with medical conditions that may need intervention.

Logistics can also be challenging. Visas and legal regulations for long-term stays vary significantly between countries, requiring travelers to manage and plan their movements continuously. Access to reliable internet is another critical factor, as it directly impacts the ability to work remotely. While many countries offer good connectivity, there are still areas where internet access is unreliable or expensive.

The impact of a nomadic lifestyle on well-being is multifaceted. On one hand, the freedom to explore new places and cultures can lead to greater life satisfaction and personal growth. Many digital nomads report higher levels of happiness and fulfillment than their previous lifestyles. The ability to escape the confines of a traditional office and live in inspiring environments can boost creativity and productivity.

On the other hand, the lack of stability and the challenges associated with constant travel can negatively impact mental and physical health. The stress of financial uncertainty, difficulty forming lasting relationships, and the logistical challenges of travel can lead to burnout and exhaustion. Digital nomads must find a balance and establish routines supporting their well-being.

Economically, digital nomads contribute to the global economy by spending money in various countries, supporting local businesses, and often investing in local real estate. Some countries, recognizing the economic benefits, have started offering special visas and incentives to attract digital nomads, not necessarily to retired travelers.

World travelers living without a home represent a growing and dynamic demographic reshaping traditional notions of work and lifestyle. While the freedom and adventure associated with this lifestyle are appealing, it also comes with challenges. Understanding the statistics and trends surrounding digital nomads helps to illuminate the motivations and hurdles they face, as well as their impact on the global economy and their well-being. As the world continues to evolve, the lifestyle of nomads is likely to become increasingly mainstream, offering valuable insights into the future of work and travel.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 12, 2014:

Tom was getting a haircut in Ribeira Brava, Madeira, Portugal. For more photos, please click here.

How long can you live outside the US before losing social security?…

The church in Campanario, Madeira, Portugal, wasn’t far from our holiday home.

We are often asked, “How long can we live outside the US before losing social security?” This question is often asked while on cruises where we spend considerable time in the presence of other senior citizens.

We’ve always known the answer since we checked on this long before we began our worldwide travels, giving us peace of mind, but we thought about checking it out 12 years later to see if anything had changed on this topic. It has not. Today, we’re talking about two situations:

  1. Permanently living outside the US
  2. Travel to foreign countries but return periodically to the US as we do; thus, we aren’t permanent residents of any country other than the US

Today, I stumbled upon the following article bringing this topic to light as follows from this site:

“How Long Can You Live Abroad Before Losing Social Security?

If you plan to retire abroad, here’s what to know about receiving Social Security benefits. By

While Social Security is a U.S. program, foreign citizens can qualify for Social Security benefits if they have a work history in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. retirees can receive Social Security benefits while living abroad, with some exceptions.
  • There is no time limit on how long a person can live outside the country and receive benefits.
  • Foreign citizens with a U.S. work history may qualify for Social Security benefits under certain agreements.
  • Social Security payments can be deposited directly into a foreign bank account.

The United States attracts people from across the world who seek to live out the American dream. In some cases, Americans are leaving for other parts of the globe to enjoy a different pace of life.

For retirees, the appeal may be a lower cost of living, new adventures, and less expensive health care. However, some may hesitate to leave, worried they will lose their Social Security benefits. Fortunately, the good news is that U.S. citizens can, with few exceptions, continue to receive benefits regardless of where they live.

The Social Security Administration pays out about $6.1 billion in benefits annually to 760,000 beneficiaries outside the United]States, according to 2022 data from the U.S. Department of State.

“If people are planning to do this, they need to do some homework beforehand,” said Tim McGrath, managing partner of Chicago-based Riverpoint Wealth Management, in an email.

Before you book a one-way ticket to your favorite retirement destination, understand government rules for Social Security payments to expats.

Whether U.S. citizens can receive Social Security while living overseas has an easy answer.

“Definitely. They can receive benefits abroad. That’s not a problem,” said Matthew Allen, co-founder and CEO of Social Security Advisors, a firm that helps clients maximize Social Security benefits, in an email.

There is no time limit on how long a person can live outside the country and receive benefits. They will continue indefinitely while proof of life documents are signed and returned. Known formally as the report to the United States Social Security Administration, Form SSA-7162 is two pages long and asks about changes to a person’s residency and marital status, among other things. Depending on a person’s age and country of residence, the forms may be mailed annually or biannually.

However, living abroad doesn’t absolve a retiree from the responsibility of filing a U.S. tax return annually. Just as with U.S.-based retirees, a portion of a person’s Social Security benefits may be taxable if their annual combined income exceeds certain thresholds.

And if a person has a foreign pension, their Social Security benefits may be reduced due to the windfall elimination provision. Retirees can use the Social Security Administration’s Windfall Elimination Screening Tool for Foreign Pensions to see if this applies to their situation.

U.S. citizens can move practically anywhere and receive Social Security payments, but some exceptions exist. Currently, payments cannot be received by those living in the following countries:

  • Azerbaijan.
  • Belarus.
  • Cuba.
  • Kazakhstan.
  • Kyrgyzstan.
  • North Korea.
  • Tajikistan.
  • Turkmenistan.
  • Uzbekistan.

“It doesn’t mean you’re not going to get that money,” McGrath said. “You’re not going to get it in that country.”
Once you move somewhere where payments can be made, you will receive the money that was withheld while you were residing in these countries. The exception is for foreign citizens living in Cuba and North Korea. They will not receive any payments for the time they were in these countries.”

Of course, the above may not apply to those permanently living outside the US. If they have a place of residence in the US and receive your social security benefits paid by direct deposit to your US bank account, that may be a different situation. Please check with the US government, an accountant, or a financial advisor who deals with such situations.

None of this applies to us without permanent residence in another country. We are US citizens and residents able to travel back and forth to any country we choose, always returning to the US to our state of residence.

That’s it for today, folks. We hope this clarifies a few questions you may have if you’re considering living abroad.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 7, 2014:

Celebrity was our favorite cruise line at the time we booked this cruise. We now prefer the smaller Azamara. We sailed on this ship for 14 nights, beginning on January 5, 2016, and ending on January 19, 2016. Built in 2008, it’s rated 5.5 stars of a possible six stars. For more photos, please click here.

Fun lunch date today…..

The craggy shoreline in Madeira, Portugal.

Two of my three grandchildren have driver’s licenses and can pick me up. Today, grandson Miles, 16, and I have a lunch date, just the two of us. I’m flattered that a 16-year-old boy looks forward to lunch with his grandma. I didn’t want Tom to have to drive 20 minutes each way twice to handle my transportation, so this works perfectly. Plus, he is still recovering from the virus, and although not contagious, it’s best he stays in and continues to rest.

Today, while at Champps Bar and Grill with Miles, I’ll order a to-go meal for Tom for tonight’s dinner, which he can reheat later. After the big Cobb salad I always order at Champps, I’ll make myself an omelet for dinner with a green salad on the side.

I am still coughing but feel fine otherwise. But the coughing is outrageous, although it’s not as bad as it was. Hopefully, we’ll both be better in a few days and go to Billy’s on Friday afternoon with Tom’s siblings, whom we haven’t seen in a few weeks since our last buck euchre marathon.

The weather in Minnesota has been awful since we arrived six weeks ago. Most days, it’s cloudy, rainy, and humid, if not cold and drizzly. We’ve hardly had time to enjoy the outdoors. Yesterday, there were tornado and heavy storm warnings all day and evening.

Is it 66F, 19C, with rain starting at 2:00 pm? Rain is predicted through Saturday, but next week, if accurate so far ahead, is supposed to warm up into the 80s. Hopefully, by the 4th of July, the weather will improve for many outdoor activities planned on this date every year. We have no plans for the 4th, but we shall wait and see what our kids plan for the holiday weekend.

If they have no plans, we’ll be fine, as we’ve been for several years. We can easily entertain ourselves regardless of the occasion. Neither of us is interested in fighting traffic and crowds to watch fireworks unless a family event warrants it. We shall “play it by ear” as always. Our adult kids tend to plan things at the last minute, which is OK with us. But old-timers like us tend to make plans well in advance.

It baffles me why most retirees like us prefer to plan well ahead of any occasion. Then again, Tom and I have always been “planners.” In part, I love the anticipation of an upcoming event. The perfectionist Tom finds comfort in knowing the schedule well in advance.

We all have our unique peculiarities that make us who we are. It is the acceptance of one another’s preferences that provides for harmonious relationships. Tom and I are very different in many ways. We see the world differently but accept these differences as part of how this relationship works.

“They” say “opposites attract,” which is so true in our case. We are often shocked by how our opinions may vary in countless situations, but somehow, over the years, we’ve learned to get along when discussing differences to avoid frequent disharmony. In most relationships that don’t last, each party fails to accept the differing views in many aspects of life, which may sometimes be as insignificant as how to load the dishwasher to such significant issues as managing money.

We both cherish harmony, and with that in mind, we can negotiate or, in some cases, merely agree to disagree.

That’s it for today, folks. I am off to lunch with Miles.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 19, 2014:

Judite, our cleaning person in Madeira, told me this morning that this is “pera abacata” which translates to avocado. For more photos, please click here.

Quiet in Robert’s Resort as “snowbirds” leave for the summer…Who are these people?

We walked quite a distance to this restaurant in Marrakesh for lunch instead of dinner since it was safer to walk during the day. Tom was reading something on the wall as we sat on a banquette. The food was fantastic.

We often wonder about snowbirds who head south or to other locations during the winter months to escape snow and cold weather in northern locations throughout the world. This phenomenon is not exclusive to retirees when many jobs are mobile and can be performed from anywhere in the world if the still-working snowbirds can afford the cost of having two homes or more.

Many retired snowbirds have paid off their homes and only have the expenses of property taxes, maintenance in their absence, and utilities, making it more affordable to head to a warmer climate during the winter months. See below.

Average temperatures in summer in Arizona
Month Average high Average low
June 106°F 73°F
July 108°F 81°F
August 106°F 81°F
September 100°F 75°F

We’ve especially observed this here in Arizona, as we see not only the family returning to Minnesota in the next three weeks but also the fact that many of the residents of Robert’s Resort have already left to return to homes in the US, Canada, and other locations. Few residents of this RV park stay behind during the heat of Arizona summers, running  as high as

In searching online for statistics to share, I found the following from this site:

“The Migratory Processes of Snowbirds: Where They Come From and End Up

Snowbird Travelers: America’s Seasonal Flock

Each year, flocks of “snowbirds” travel cross-country in search of warmth and respite from cold winter temperatures. These snowbirds, however, are not actual birds of a feather; rather, snowbirds are people who identify as seasonal travelers.

So, who are these snowbirds, where do they come from, and where do they end up? Read on to learn about the migratory patterns of our nation’s seasonal travelers.

Snowbird Origins

The origins of the term “snowbird” do, in fact, tie to a species: the Dark-eyed Junco bird. But in 1923, the word “snowbird” was coined to describe droves of seasonal workers who moved south in the winter in search of additional work and income. Today, these snowbirds and seasonal travelers are largely retirees who migrate annually to warmer climates during the year’s winter months.

Snowbird Demographics: Who Are These Travelers?

The snowbird population consists primarily of baby boomers, adults born in the years following World War II. With the majority of snowbirds between the ages of 50 and 70, this generation is well-educated, financially secure, and active — a solid foundation for the snowbird lifestyle of adventure and migration.

Another snowbird demographic: many are Canadians. While most snowbirds alternate between two destinations within the United States, about 10% of snowbirds reside permanently outside of the United States. Nearly 80% of the international snowbirds actually come from Canada.

Migratory Patterns: Where Are All These Snowbirds Headed?

Despite common beliefs that all snowbirds flock to sunny Florida, snowbirds actually settle all over the United States. Migratory patterns resolve in places including Las Vegas, California, and Hawaii. However, snowbirds do tend to follow two primary trajectories: west coast birds fly to Arizona, and east coast birds sail on towards Florida.

New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania residents escape cold winters by spending three to six months of the year in Florida. Towns like New Smyrna Beach, Florida’s Secret Pearl, is an affordable snowbird destination along Florida’s artsy east coast. Luxurious lakefront homes in New Smyrna, such as this one, are drawing snowbirds with price tags around the $300,000 range.

Upper-left US residents are primarily drawn to Arizona. Tucson, in particular, attracts a large snowbird population each year. Sited at a lower elevation in comparison to other Arizona towns, Tucson boasts warmer (and more predictable) winter temperatures. With a mix of RV parks, long-term condominium rentals, and fully furnished homes, Tucson offers snowbirds a warm respite that balances urban and rural life.

What Drives Snowbird Flight?

Aside from the advantageous weather situation, what draws snowbirds away from their primary homes and established routines? The snowbird lifestyle is more than just a retirement hobby; snowbird living centers on practicality.

As people age, winter weather conditions pose serious concerns: a slip on the ice becomes highly dangerous; maintaining a clear path to a front door in several feet of snow is too straining; and the low-temperature limits outdoor lifestyle and health routines like walking and bike riding. By migrating to a warmer climate, snowbirds avoid harsh winter climates and seek environments where they can avoid injuries and maintain healthy habits.

The community also drives snowbirds to their warmer homes. Early snowbirds often start as vacationers, but most eventually evolve into flocks. Established groups of friends and family band together and find communities with similar ethnic, cultural, or religious groups existing within many snowbird communities. Snowbirds are, in fact, continuing to build life with one another.

Dispelling Snowbird Myths

Younger generations of established community groups may see snowbirds as disruptions to the local economy, as mere tourists, or as another form of inconvenience. But it’s time to dispel these myths.

Snowbirds are trying new places on a whim: Wrong. Visits turn into established patterns, and each visit requires careful planning and thought: winterizing your primary home, packing and securing insurance documents, resisting a change of address, ordering long-term medications… the list goes on!

Snowbirds are burdens on the local economy: False. If anything, snowbirds are major contributors to the local economy. Look at Palm Beach County as an example: in addition to the county’s standing 1,335,415 residents, annual snowbirds bring an additional 143,837 residents with an estimated financial impact in the billions.

Snowbirds, Take Flight!

Whether or not you’re in a stage of life where being a snowbird is a realistic pattern for you, snowbird migration offers health, community, and economic benefits to people and areas across the country. Is snowbird migration in your future? Visit a warmer state this winter, listen to those who have made the journey, and who knows, before you know it, homes.com could help you find your winter home.”

There’s no doubt that had we not traveled the world, we surely would have become snowbirds. There was no way we would have been interested in staying in Minnesota during the winter months when the temperatures can get as low as -20F, with many feet of snow covering the ground at any given time. Summers can be hot and humid with vast amounts of mosquitoes.

What brings snowbirds back to states like Minnesota when the summers aren’t ideal either? Mainly to be with family and also to enjoy outdoor activities, especially because Minnesota has over 14,000 lakes, drawing many people to partake in fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor adventures.

In any case, we love the life we’ve been living over the past 11½ years, and hopefully, we’ll be able to continue traveling in times to come.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 17, 2014:

Tom was getting his haircut in the barbershop in the souk in Marrakesh, Morocco. For more photos, please click here.

Tom’s new laptop is ready to use…Another fun evening of playing cards…

It was pleasant to see so many flowers blooming in the desert.

Tom’s laptop is done. Since he didn’t want to carry over “junk” from his last laptop, I loaded every item separately without using Google’s transfer tool. Over the years, he decided he didn’t want to keep many old and useless files that invariably get carried over using any transfer tool.

That’s why I took so long to give him a clean start. He wanted to save some items, but they are on two clouds, Dropbox and Google Drive. This way, his Windows desktop is uncluttered and easy to manage with a fresh start. This allows his device to operate more efficiently and gives him ease of use.

Overall, it took me about eight hours to complete the process while he helped by sending links to website pages he uses regularly. Now, as needed, he can add folders that will automatically save on Google Drive.

Windows includes a browser that neither of us cares to use, Microsoft Edge. Removing this browser from the laptop is difficult when we prefer to use Google Chrome. Microsoft has made it nearly impossible to eliminate Edge, so we make Google Chrome the default browser. At times, Edge seems to pop up. It’s Microsoft’s way of ensuring its Windows users also use their browser to make more money.

Undoubtedly, Google Chrome is a money maker for Google, but since we can choose our preferred browser, we operate with the one we like, regardless of who’s making money from our use. All browsers are money-makers for companies. Who are we to complain when we also have advertisers on our site? It’s the nature of the beast. We’re “small potatoes” in the realm of things.

We don’t make much from our ads on our site and YouTube. Why? We haven’t promoted our advertisers since that’s a job we didn’t want to include in our life of world travels. Nor did we hound our readers to use the links on our site. However, we kindly ask that you consider using some of our advertisers when making purchases.

By using our advertisers, we make enough money to cover the costs associated with the operation and management of our website. The links have the same products and services as you’d find if you go directly to the sites from your browser. It costs you no more, and small amounts of revenue are sent our way to cover our costs. Thank you to our readers who use our advertisers! It’s so appreciated!

Last night, we sliced some ham and cheese and brought it to Colleen’s unit for snacking while playing cards. Tom had gone to lunch and wasn’t ready to eat a full dinner before we headed to her place. I had nibbled on a few healthy items during the day and was fine without making dinner.

Today, I’m bringing a huge batch of chicken salad and a green salad to one of the sister’s park model when we gather again this afternoon. Another family member, brother-in-law Tom (Rita’s husband), arrived late last night. Now, there are eight of us for the next few days until Mary and Eugene head back to Minnesota for a funeral, where they’ll stay for the summer, returning to Apache Junction late next fall.

We don’t know how they can keep up two houses, as many retirees do, to get away from cold winter weather up north and other areas in the US with inclement weather in the winter months. We love not having the upkeep on one house, let alone two or more. It provides us with so much freedom.

Have a great Tuesday!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 16, 2014:

At the Terrasses des Espices Restaurant in Morocco, we were served this black olive Tapenade, which I could eat along with a basket of bread for Tom. Notice the ashtray on the table. Smoking is allowed in restaurants. For more photos, please click here.

Up and running again…Fun lunch in the RV park with a memory from childhood..

Yesterday, we stood in front of the Weinermobile for this shot taken by another participant.    

Last night, I left Margie’s home and the buck euchre card game we were playing (Colleen took my spot) to return to our rental. Margie insisted we use her car while here, which Tom used to drive me back. I was anxious to continue working on my laptop issues, knowing I would post today. Sorry for yesterday’s missed post.

We both chuckled when we spotted the Weinermobile.

As it turned out, the cursor wasn’t working after many efforts to fix it, and the lighted keyboard stopped working. Finally, I restored the laptop to factory settings after saving all my files on a portable hard drive. But then I had to start all over to reinstall all my apps and files, which took hours.

By 11:00 pm, I had everything up and running again with most of the apps reinstalled. Later today, I will continue to work on the apps I’ve yet to install and should be done with the process by early afternoon. I’d spent at least an hour on the phone with Acer technical support, but they couldn’t resolve the issues. Frustrated, I left it alone and was anxious to get back to it last night.

Tom didn’t return from playing cards at Margie’s until 3:00 am. There’s no way I would have lasted that long. I slept poorly when I finally went to bed since Tom wasn’t there. When he returned, he fell asleep immediately, and I did the same. I was glad he could spend quality time with his family. We both look forward to playing cards with them again soon.

Yesterday, there was a fun activity in the park, the arrival of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile for free hotdogs starting at 11:30 am. Let’s face it, people love free food, so there were over 200 standing in the queue and dining at the many tables and chairs in this popular area of Robert’s Resort.

Neither of us had seen the Weinermobile since we were kids, and it was fun to see it again. I stood in line with Tom to get an extra hotdog for him with his favorite topping when I wouldn’t eat a hotdog with or without a bun. He enjoyed them, as did the family, and we had a lovely time sitting outdoors on a nice 80-degree day.

Excuse my finger in front of the lens. Hotdogs were set on a table as they were prepared on a portable grill.

Here are some fun facts about the Weinermobile:


Oscar Mayer will pay you $35,600 to get behind the wheel of the iconic Wienermobile—here’s how to apply…

Oscar Mayer is looking for someone who would relish the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of America’s most iconic vehicles.

Tom entered the Weinermobile for these photos. Cute, eh?

The processed meat giant has launched a nationwide search for its next crew of Hotdoggers — paid spokespeople who drive the brand’s famous hot dog-shaped Wienermobiles around the country.

The company is hiring 12 drivers to get behind the wheel of the 27-foot-long vehicle, which is equivalent in length to 54 wieners laid end to end.

The Hotdoggers’ main responsibility is to represent Oscar Mayer daily as they drive the 87-year-old Wienermobile around America between June 2024 and June 2025.

“It’s like they’re running a PR firm on wheels,” says Ed Roland, who runs the Wienermobile program. “They’re key content contributors to all of our social media channels. It’s some of the highest performing content for all of [parent company] Kraft Heinz.”

Oscar Mayer has a fleet of six Wienermobiles. Hotdoggers will travel in pairs and be expected to host over 200 pop-up events over the course of the year. They will be responsible for “pitching and appearing on local television, radio or newspaper media,” according to the job listing.

There were more seats than we expected inside the Weinermobile.

If you want the gig, be ready to present your driving record. The average driver travels 20,000 miles each year, Oscar Mayer says, visiting at least 40 cities.

“It’s a lot like an RV,” Roland says. ”[Applicants] do not need a CDL or any special driver’s license.”

The role will require Hotdoggers to work on major holidays and spend the majority of their year away from home.

The listing says that the one-year assignment will pay a base salary of $35,600, with an additional weekly allowance of $150 for meals and personal travel. Hotdoggers will receive health benefits and 18 days of paid time off, and their hotel expenses will be covered.

In a typical year, the Wienermobile program receives between 1,000 and 1,500 applications for the 12 open slots but has gotten as many as 7,000 in a single year.

Tom was handed a Weinermobile whistle.

Oscar Mayer will accept applications through the end of January and says that bilingual candidates, in particular, are encouraged to apply.

You can apply for the role here.”

This might be a fun experience for retirees who want to supplement their income, although the pay isn’t much, and see the US at the same time. However, it was quite a task to set everything up to cook the hotdogs, prepare the toppings at every stop, and clean up after the event ended, only to get back on the road again to the following location.

Enjoy our Weinermobile photos, which bring back memories from our youth.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 5, 2014:

A close look at the pastry cart. Tom wasn’t interested in any of these treats. If I could eat them, I’d go for any of them. For more photos, please click here.

We made it to Arizona…

Leaving Las Vegas.

We were out the door in Lake Las Vegas by 9:00 am. Tom got The Ford Expedition rental from Budget as a free upgrade. We had food and lots of miscellaneous items that we’ll haul to Cleveland in the next 90 days.

The drive was pleasant and uneventful, although it rained intermittently. We stopped for a restroom break at the only rest stop in the last hour of the five hours, but they had no restroom. Weird. Nor did we stop to eat when the only restaurants we passed were fast food.

By 2:00 pm, we pulled into Robert’s Resort in Apache Junction and checked in at the office. There was a long queue, resulting in about 45 minutes to check in, and finally, we made our way to our unit, a short distance from the three homes of Tom’s three sisters. Tom unloaded the vehicle while I got to work putting everything away.

We had more “stuff” this time than we’d had in years, but it wasn’t an issue when we’ll be on road trips. When the time comes for us to fly again, whenever that is, we’ll have lightened our load considerably, back to a maximum of one bag of clothes for each of us and one bag with supplies.

As we unloaded the vehicle, Tom’s three sisters, Margi, Colleen, and Mary (and husband Eugene), stopped by to say hello. I had already started unpacking, but I chatted with them in between. We planned to come to one of their three homes once we were done and had something to eat. We hadn’t eaten all day.

It was a pleasant drive through the Lake Mead area.

With only eggs and cheese on hand, which neither of us felt like eating, we decided to forgo having dinner. We munched on snacks at Mary and Eugene’s place. When we returned to our place around 8:30 pm, I ate a protein bar from the batch I’d purchased at Walgreens. Tom didn’t have a thing but felt it wouldn’t hurt him to fast for a day.

The TV here is so small that we won’t be able to broadcast our streamed shows. We’ll use my laptop to stream anything when we have time. In the next week or so, we’ll buy Tom a new laptop with an outlet for our HDMI cord. His computer is three years old. and is due to be replaced. He’s happy with the Chromebook concept and a small 14′ monitor. When we can’t use a TV monitor for streaming, we will always use my larger laptop.

The bed was comfortable, more than the memory foam bed we slept on in the condo in Lake Las Vegas. It is very soft but enabled us each to get a good night’s sleep. I never awoke during the night, but I awoke early and bolted out of bed, ready to start the day.

While at Mary Ellen’s house last night, I prepared an online grocery order. It arrived at 7:00 am when I’d scheduled it from 10:00 to 11:00 am. Go figure. I have decided to use a different grocery store for future orders since I was disappointed with the small sizes of many items. I may not have better luck with a different market. With all the retirees leaving this area for spring and summer, they only offer petite sizes of most products.

As an example, Tom suggested that this may be because most seniors don’t purchase one-pound blocks of aged sharp cheddar cheese or large packages of romaine lettuce. While we still had the Expedition this morning, we headed to the market to fill in some items and purchase bottled water. The tap water here is not safe to drink.

In total, we spent over $250 on groceries, which is about $100 more than we’d been spending in Las Vegas. We have enough food to last for one week. Prices are very high here.

At this point, we are entirely settled. We unpacked the items we’ll use while here, and somehow, we managed to make space for everything in this small place.

We’ll be fine. It’s not my ideal vacation home scenario, but it’s fun to visit with Tom’s sisters and Eugene. As always, we’ll make the best of it while always enjoying being together, regardless of where we are.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, April 2, 2014:

I tried to get a photo of all of the Seven Pillars that represent the original builders of the city of Marrakech. In the fast-moving traffic, this was all I could capture. For more photos, please click here.

Why are we more busy now than before we retired?…What’s the deal?…

Lovely fresh flowers were on the table when we dined in Marrakesh, Morocco.

When I think back to our old lives, before we started traveling in 2012, I don’t know how I ever accomplished all the tasks necessary to manage our lives and household. Often, I heard retirees mention that they were busier in their retirement than when they worked.

Tom worked 12-hour days, with two hours of driving time (an hour each way), and when he got home, he was exhausted and had no time to help manage a household. He didn’t shop, cook, or clean in those days. I often worked 12 hours a day during my career, but it was nowhere as taxing as Tom’s work. Also, there were many days that I worked for eight hours, leaving me time to do what I needed to do to keep things running smoothly in our lives.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had a house cleaner once a week, which helped tremendously. In the later years, before we left, I had groceries delivered, which saved a lot of time and effort. I could whip through an online grocery order in less than 10 minutes, as I do now.

For most of my career, I was self-employed and often kept my workout clothes in the car, enabling me to work out whenever I had a break. Since Tom usually worked through dinner time, I would go in the evening if I missed working out during the day. Beginning in the 90s, I started shopping online when others thought I was risk-taking in doing so.

In my mind, shopping at a mall was a waste of time. Instead, I’d use that time to go to lunch with my friends and co-workers. This allowed me to build and maintain excellent relationships with my girlfriends, which I still hold today through phone calls and texts. Family time was usually reserved for the weekends when everyone was more readily available, except for Tom, who often worked on weekends with two days off during the week.

I always assumed when we retired, our lives would be spent with family and friends and time together with a sense of ease and few constraints. But, once I retired in 2010, I found myself busier than ever when I worked. My days and nights were jam-packed with errands and social events with family and friends, all of which were enjoyable but seemed to fill my days to such an extent that I had to figure out when to work out and maintain a pleasant home life.

Retirees often say how busy they are/were, and after only a few months, I understood what they were talking about. In a short time, I was spewing the same phenomenon. Did I schedule too much for myself since I now had an extra 10 hours a day to fill? Most likely, that was the issue.

You’d think that now, with no home to maintain and living away from family and friends, I’d have many extra hours to fill each day. But, much to my surprise, I am busy each day running this household, managing financial matters, cooking, cleaning, working out, and chatting with Tom, family, and friends. It’s almost as busy as it was before we began traveling.

I’m not complaining; I love the daily activities, except for the cleaning, as mentioned in yesterday’s post here. Even once I’ve prepared tax stuff for the accountant, I enjoy the time spent managing money each month. The tasks aren’t difficult or time-consuming, providing a tremendous sense of accomplishment when done.

Speaking of which, it’s time to finish exercising for the day, after which I’ll wrap up the preparation for tonight’s dinner: steak and rice for Tom and salmon for me, along with the big salad I prepared this morning. Last night, we dined at The Pub and had a fun evening and meal.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, March 23, 2014:

While walking in the souk, I often hold the camera and shoot, getting whatever I can. Sandals and shoes are popular items for sale in the souk in the Big Square. For more photos, please click here.