When our children became adults, we thought about how we would spend the golden years of our lives.
On a cruise, we decided to sell all of our possessions and travel full time.
Here’s what it’s like traveling outside the US as empty-nest parents and grandparents.
When my wife and I boarded a Greek Isles cruise for her 49th birthday. We had no idea how that trip would change our lives.
As we sat in our cabin enjoying the ocean breezes and talking about the next phase of our lives as empty nesters, we decided we wanted new experiences, more exploration, and to go all-in on travel.
We made a scary decision to sell everything and travel full time during a global pandemic.
We spent the next two months selling our 3,500-square-foot home in a beautiful neighborhood in Florida, our car, and all of our material possessions. We didn’t store our things or downgrade to a smaller place. We sold or donated everything to live an entirely location-independent life. And then the adventures began.
Entering the empty-nest stage
My wife and I have six children and two grandchildren. By the time we took the cruise, all of our children had graduated from high school — four are in college, and our eldest is married with two children.
This could typically be a time in a parent’s or grandparent’s life when they downsized but stayed somewhat near their family.
Despite already having had a lifetime of raising children, I struggled with an ingrained belief that I couldn’t make significant changes because I always had to be there for my kids.
That’s where we found ourselves, and we put our ambitions on hold. We wrestled with our desires to travel and the feeling that we would be abandoning our children and grandchildren if we did.
We concluded that we could have the best of both worlds. We could travel full time while still being there for our children. No rule says you have to stay put to be a good parent, and we deserve to explore fully living our dream life.
Since selling our home in September, we’ve spent six weeks in Puerto Rico, where we connected with my wife’s heritage. We traveled back and forth between Florida, Wisconsin, Atlanta, and New York.
We rang in the New Year in Rome and spent a month touring the Italian countryside. We’re now in beautiful Lisbon. And after Portugal, we plan to travel to Nice, France, and at least eight other countries.
Affording this lifestyle
We knew this lifestyle would be suitable for us and that, as business owners, we could afford it.
We own multiple six-figure education businesses, and I’m a freelance writer. We have a business that can be run and operated anywhere with an internet connection.
We share our knowledge and monetize our experiences through digital information products and online courses, as well as by earning Google AdSense from a YouTube channel.
We have options to make money in ways that were unavailable in the past, and we’re adding more of these opportunities to our business.
Fully living as empty nesters
What helped us was letting go of expectations. We learned to put ourselves first and to fully live life because we’d earned this moment.
We’re seeing firsthand that there’s an alternative lifestyle for empty nesters that allows us to explore, build wealth, and do things we’ve always dreamed about.
I’m not sure we’ll ever settle down again somewhere. We’ve traveled to 25 countries over the past four years together, but we still have so much more exploring to do.
Traveling outside the United States as empty nesters gave us a lifestyle that’s filled with new experiences: eating foreign and delicious food, experiencing histories where they happened, learning how to live in different cultures, being immersed in new languages, adjusting to the unknown, and living life in bucket-list destinations.
Read the original article on Insider