It’s wrong to wish your life away, but most avid travellers will agree that it’s never too early to start planning your retirement. For us, it’s still 15 years away and although that sounds like ages, it’s really not, especially when it comes to long-term financial planning and interim goal setting. It’s Hubbie who will be retiring, I expect I’ll be working until I’m 90, but as a location independent freelancer I already have the freedom of logging on anywhere in the world. As long as there’s internet!
So, despite still being in our 40s, we’re already avidly planning our retirement, and of course, 99% of that is going to involve travel. We’ll rent out our house and do something we’ve always wanted to try, yet never had the time to do – slow travel. Having to cram in adventures during a few measly weeks of the year means that at the moment we only ever scratch the surface of a new destination, but once we’re retired, that all changes. I personally can’t wait to be able to spend several months in a single location, or even longer if we decide to move abroad, which is certainly an option to consider.
If you’re retiring in the not too distant future and are looking for ideas for epic adventures to write home about, then check out our current list. Do you have any to add?
House sit your way around the world
One of the ultimate ways to slow travel around the world is to become house sitters. This basically involves looking after someone’s property whilst they are away, which could be anything from a week to a few months. You could be spending half the year living in quaint towns hidden away the South of France, before jetting off to the Caribbean where your house sits come with their own pools and beach access.
The best way to get started is by signing up to an online house sitting platform which will give you access to all the available opportunities across the world. One thing to be aware of is that most house sits require you to look after the owner’s animals, which can be anything from a couple of cats to an entire menagerie of donkeys, horses, and chickens. If you’re an animal lover, it can be lots of fun, but don’t worry if you’re not fond of things with four legs, there are plenty of other opportunities where watering the plants is the most taxing thing you’ll have to do each day.
Once you’ve done a few house sits and received some glowing reviews from the home owners, you’ll build up your profile and be able to bag some of the most coveted properties in the destinations of your choice. Many opportunities are posted quite far in advance so this will allow you to plan your time and know where you have gaps to fill.
Sail the Seven Seas
Something that’s often at the top of many people’s bucket lists when it comes to retirement is buying a yacht and sailing around the world. Enjoying life on the high seas is the ultimate freedom, and the thrill of not knowing where you’ll be in six months is all part of the fun. If you’re a yachting virgin, don’t worry, plenty of novices have gone before you, and there’s a lot of guidance and advice out there. You’ll need to learn the ropes before you start out, so book onto a course or two and get familiar with how to handle a vessel.
Then it’s time to put that pension lump sum to good use and go yacht shopping. Luxury boat manufacturers like Oyster Yachts are a good place to start your search, whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to sailing destinations too, with some insider tips about docking and weather thrown in for good measure. Of course, you want to be comfortable and have enough space on board your new home, so do take the size and style of the sailboats into consideration. After all, this is where you’ll be living for the foreseeable future.
When it comes to yachting locations, really the whole world is yours for the taking. Many people like to start off in sailing the Mediterranean, where there are plenty of quiet coves and stunning stretches of coastline to explore. If you’re feeling more adventurous you could head over the the Caribbean and spend the year island hopping out of hurricane season. Just make sure sure you connect with the yachting community so you can enjoy the companionship of like-minded people as well as pick their brains when it comes to your new lifestyle.
Volunteer in Africa
Volunteering isn’t just something that kids do on their gap years. In fact, more and more retirees are looking into volunteering programmes abroad as a way to experience a new place, and give a little something back in return. One of the best places to enrol on a placement is in Africa, where there’s a lot of choice when it comes to locations, themes, and length of your stay.
Yes, whilst volunteering in Africa you can help build schools and teach English in local villages, but there’s so much more to discover if you scratch a little deeper below the surface. Depending on your skill set and life experience you could be volunteering in a medical capacity in remote communities, doing a bit of sports coaching, or assisting with vocational and agricultural training.
One of the big draws of course is wildlife conservation, where you can get involved in practical work and assist with research projects. Some volunteers even end up training to be field guides, and staying in Africa long term. Yet it’s not all hard work. Being based somewhere like Kenya or South Africa means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy yourself and go exploring too. It’s a chance to finally enjoy that luxury safari you’ve been dreaming of for years, with plenty of stunning coastal resorts for a bit of rest and relaxation afterwards.
Renovate a riad in Marrakech
At the top of our retirement bucket list is owning and running a riad in Marrakech. These gorgeous guest houses in the old medina are straight out of 1001 nights, with romantic lighting, dipping pools strewn with rose petals, and rooftop terraces that boast views out towards the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. There’s just something a bit magical about Marrakech, and after over 10 visits we know we’d love to stay there longer term.
Running a hotel would be a lot of hard work, but the satisfaction that comes from seeing happy guests exploring one of the places you love most in the world is priceless. Plus, having the chance to actually live abroad in an exotic destination like Morocco really would be a dream come true. You’ll be able to explore the country in far more depth than you would on a mere holiday, plus you’ll get to know the locals and be treated to all the best insider tips. Discovering the ancient streets of Fes, enjoying remote hikes in the Ameln Valley, and camel trekking in the Sahara Desert will all be at your fingertips.
Buying a property abroad can be quite daunting, but there are lots of expat support groups out there to guide you in the right direction, whatever country you decide to choose. And of course there may be a fair bit of renovation work to undertake too, so make sure you get the right advice when it comes to hiring laborers. Once you’re up and running, it’s a good idea to hire a manger to run the day to day operations, leaving you free to enjoy your new venture, but also to travel knowing you’re leaving the project in capable hands.
Interrail around Europe
Interrailing through Europe is another gap-year adventure, often enjoyed by youngsters before they head off to university. Yet it’s a great option for retirement travel too, especially since you’ll have the freedom to stop wherever you want, whenever you feel like it! The beauty of interrailing is that you don’t need to plan far in advance, which leaves room for being a bit spontaneous along the way. If you visit somewhere you fall in love with, you can just stay longer without having to worry about onward tickets and arrangements.
Popular stops include some of the European greats like Paris, Florence, Rome, and Barcelona. You’ll feel like you’re doing the famous ‘Grand European Tour’ that well-heeled youngsters in the Victoria era used to enjoy as they became part of society. This is a great opportunity to stay in some lavish city hotels and live the high life that you’ve well and truly earned over the years. There are plenty of apartment rentals too if you want to stay longer and need to keep your budget in check so that you can spend longer out on the road.
Whether you want to climb the Eiffel Tower, walk in the footsteps of gladiators at the Colosseum in Rome, or canoe down hidden rivers in the heartland of Slovenia, going interrailing is your ticket to adventure.