Luxury Insider: Where To Retire?…What About All Over The World!

Most people spend much of their working lives thinking about what they would like to do when they grow up…. And then, before they know it, they become full grown and they do not work anymore….What comes next is called retirement. How do you define retirement? Depends. Usually it means slowing down the tempo, smelling the roses and taking care of the grandkids. But for some independently minded seniors, it can also mean living to the fullest now that they don’t have to commute to work and do the time all day and every day. Growth is a state of mind.

That pretty much describes the on-going adventure of a couple of 66 & 70 years old free spirits who decided to call the world their home. It is the story of Lynne & Tim Martin, a story recounted by Lynne herself in the columns of WSJ.com. It is captivating and somewhat thought provoking.

Last year, Lynne & Tim sold their home in California and put whatever they felt was worth keeping in a 10×15 foot storage unit. Then they started packing their suitcase. Destination: the world. Of course, it takes money to travel. They accumulated a nice nest egg over the years: savings, investment returns, social security, pension money, equity from the house or, -I guess-, the net from the married couple tax exclusion…plenty enough to draw on when needed. Their financial advisor would send them a few thousand dollars every month and, in addition, they could tap into a slush fund to make advance deposits for housing rentals and travel needs, whether by plane, boat or train.

And so it started for our “retired” globe-trotters. So far, they have hopped from one apartment to another in as many as six countries, namely: Mexico, Argentina, Turkey, France, Italy & England. In a few weeks, they will be in Ireland and then Morocco, to warm up, I guess, after windy Ireland. Not a bad itinerary, with lots of fascinating discoveries along the way, not the least of them being self discovery.

Lynne & Tim are “home” on the road. They call themselves “senior gypsies.” Early on, during a trip to Mexico, they found out that they both wanted to see the world “in bigger bites than a three-week vacation allows.” Wherever they go, they live like the locals, shop like them, eat like them and learn the local ways and traditions.

Of course the US is never too far. One must be practical too. The internet is the bridge to family, friends and news from the “old country.” Online services and DVD players also help bring back to mind those favorite shows and movies. Other challenges like payments and health care are covered. They use an online bill-paying service that feeds their flying mileage rewards and they contracted an international health insurance for medical emergencies. Good thinking and good doing when you live in a suitcase overseas. There is no substitute for preparation.

Interestingly enough, our favorite gypsies discovered quickly that they were not alone living the nomadic lifestyle. They routinely meet retirees who, just like them, enjoy what may be called extended vacations abroad and some who permanently settled in a foreign country.

What’s next on the world tour for Lynne & Tim? Plenty. Next year, they will live in Portugal, Spain, France for another round, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia. Going further on the calendar, they are already booked for two months in a Paris apartment in the Summer of 2014….It looks like a full time job to take care of the planning and the reservations! Talk about retirement!

After that, who knows, perhaps they will come back. That’s my guess anyway. Everyone needs a “home base” and there is really only one. It might take some time and a passport full of stamps to figure this out, but we all need a place to call home. If and when that happens, I’ll be glad to refer Lynne & Tim to a good Realtor who will find them a nice home on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

By Alain Pinel