While working in finance, I fantasized about travel blogging. I saw a bunch of people write about all the new places they visited. They chronicled the food they ate and the activities they did while making money online.
Given their niche was travel, they could also deduct their travel expenses from their online income. It was a sweet, sweet deal. As a result, I tried my hand at travel blogging for one year between 2012 – 2013. It was wonderful.
Overcoming Boredom In Early Retirement Through Travel
One of the biggest downsides to early retirement is boredom. If you don’t have children, retiring young suddenly means filling a 10-hour vacuum every day if you worked a standard 40-hour week and had a commute.
Even though I had Financial Samurai to connect with the world, I was often bored the first year in retirement. I'd be done writing and responding to comments and e-mail by 10:30 a.m. Then, I wouldn't know what to do with myself since my wife had to go to work for several years before she joined me in early retirement.
Traveling by yourself can be fun if you don't have a significant other. Every new place you go is an opportunity to meet someone exciting and new. However, when I traveled for over two weeks at a time, I began to miss my wife. So I eventually stopped.
Given my boredom, after enjoying one year of leisure, I decided to “go back to work” by writing more on Financial Samurai. Then I found part-time consulting gigs for 15 hours a week in the fintech space to keep me engaged.
The negatives of early retirement are plentiful. Make sure you retire to something because having a purpose is important.
Some say retiring early cuts years off your life due to a lack of purpose. I believe it, which is why travel blogging may be the ideal activity for retirees everywhere.
Have Always Traveled Since A Young Age
I was born to U.S. Foreign Service Officers, which means we moved around every two-to-four years to a new country until I came to America for high school. Although it was difficult to leave friends behind, especially during middle school, living abroad and attending international schools gave me a tremendous amount of perspective.
During my international travels, I noticed roughly 60% of the travelers were over the age of 60. Another 25% were students and the remaining 15% were made up of normal working people taking vacations.
Then there was the ubiquitous vagabond without a job or family. They were nomadic travelers who never seem to run out of money or time. I wanted to live that lifestyle before having children, but never got the chance. My career consumed me. Today, parenthood takes up a majority of my time.
Now that I'm middle age, I've become fully aware that travel will be much different when I'm older. No longer will I be able to walk for eight hours straight around a new and exciting city. Just the other day, my right knee randomly buckled as I was walking down my stairs.
Climbing a hundred flights of stairs to reach the top of Prague Castle will be difficult. There's no elevator and the spiral staircase is quite narrow. What a shame it would be never to see Prague from a bird's eye view.
I long to travel again, but I won't until our youngest is six or seven years old. Before age five, kids don't remember much of anything. Therefore, to get the full benefit of traveling as a family, we plan to wait until 2026 to go on long adventures.
By 2026, our daughter will be six, our son will be nine, I'll be 48 and my wife will be 45. Then will be an ideal time to travel abroad again.
Travel Everywhere Before You Get Too Old
The pandemic has throttled travel plans for millions, including my own. However, travel is clearly back with a vengeance.
It's important to aggressively travel before your knees start swelling and your lungs lose half of its capacity. Feeling the uneven pavement on an arthritic hip is not a pleasant experience. Travel like a maniac before you have kids too!
Unfortunately, it's hard to fully appreciate travel when we are young.
At age 13, I remember going to Denali National Park & Reserve in Alaska with my parents, aunt and uncle, and grandparents. Instead of looking out the window at the bears and other wildlife, I couldn't help but nap for most of the ride! At least we got to see the aurora borealis one evening off our cruise ship.
When we are saddled with responsibility as 22 – 60 year olds, it's hard to spend enough time in one place. Slow travel is the best, but it is the hardest to enact. We've got a budget and work vacation policies to adhere to.
If you're looking for a career change or simply a break, travel blogging could be the ideal solution. Not only are you free to travel wherever you want, you can mindfully write about your experiences as well. It's a great side hustle.
The world is itching to consume more travel experiences.
Travel Writing May Elongate Your Life
The best way to travel for free or for less is to start a travel blog. But the free perks and tax savings are not the main reasons for starting your version of The Lonely Planet as a retiree.
The main reason to travel write is to get you out of the house for longer and record all your experiences. They will appreciate over time.
I've spent enough time with retirees to know that following the path of least resistance continues once you no longer have to work. That path is staying at home, watching TV, and doing not much of anything.
The best time to write is while you are traveling and not after you've returned from your trip. Otherwise, you'll forget about all the nuisances that seem to blend together after a while.
After all, how many churches will you visit before they all start looking the same? Will you be able to remember all the yummy food you've eaten? Probably not.
Traveling May Improve Your Memory And Extend Your Life
One of the reasons why I've got a strong memory of my childhood is because I moved around a lot. Kindergarten was in Osaka, Japan. Elementary school was in Taipei, Taiwan. Middle school was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and high school was in Mclean, Virginia.
Splicing up my life makes it easier to recall more moments in time. And the more memories you have, the longer and perhaps richer your life will feel. Since the pandemic began, we've all felt some increased level of monotony that has probably reduced our quality of lives.
Too bad there was no internet access, blogging, or digital cameras back in the 1970+ TO record everything when I was growing up. We just had to live in the moment back then.
It's funny how people born in the 1990s or later will never know what life was like before the internet and mobile phones.
The older you get, the more you'll want to slow down time. After all, if you are destined to live until age 100, the 51st year of your life goes by twice as fast as the first year of your life.
Travel blogging helps put the breaks on time so you can more mindfully relive your precious moments. Just don't forget to renew your passport and bring it if you plan to travel overseas.
What Will They Remember About Us When We're Gone
Yearbooks and picture albums are relics of the past. Today, not only can we publish our pictures and videos online, we can also put meaning behind them. It's so interesting that our great grand children will see us in high definition color, as if we were right there with them.
I've always wondered what more was behind those delicate black and white photos of my parents and grandparents. Oh, how I would have loved to hear their voices and read their thoughts as young men and women.
If you're bored in retirement, plan a trip to a new country. Every mundane thing you've taken for granted in retirement will feel new again.
Write down everything you can remember after each day's experience. The internet is the greatest tool we have to pass on our memories to people we care about. Whether we have a blog, a podcast, or a video channel, what a luxury to record our thoughts for children.
I can't wait to take my family on great international adventures. But for now, patience is required.
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Readers, anybody planning a great international trip? How many countries have you traveled to and which are your favorite? I'd like to live vicariously through you, so please share if you have a travel blog or know of any great travel bloggers.