Early Retirement & Perpetual Travel

June 22, 2010

Early retirement and perpetual travel in Bordeaux, France

Who doesn't dream about retiring early or radical early retirement and living luxuriously on little as you travel the world slowly? You can love your job and still want more freedom in your life or more time with loved ones exploring the world. Today it is easier than ever to retire early and be a perpetual traveler. It is also cheaper than living at home and we do it on just 23 dollars a day and have been to mostly expensive countries. That's DaVinci above,  doing a little work on our investments  online as we hang out at the pool amongst the world class vineyards in Bordeaux, France near St. Emilion!

As we told the Frugal Traveler in The New York Times,  we were inspired by authors Paul and Vicky Terhorst who wrote Cashing in on the American Dream. We were also inspired by Santa Cruz natives, Billy & Akaisha Kaderli and we have become online friends with them  and hope to meet both couples  in person one of these days. Both of these couples did radical early retirement over 20 years ago and are still loving their lives as perpetual travelers. 

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." - Voltaire

One can also do mini-retirements which we have written about and we are case studies in the new 4-Hour Workweek where Tim Ferris coined the term. The mega hit The  4-Hour Workweek is a must-read for anyone looking to create more freedom in their lives. You should also read Your Money or Your Life and Vagabonding.

We are an ordinary family so had the normal fears and concerns before retiring early and  doing our open ended world tour, but now that we are four years into it, we have a passion to let others know that it is easier, cheaper and more rewarding than you can even imagine. Yes, even retiring with a young child!  We have a ton of information on this website ( find some key posts on our FAQ page or explore by country or topic) and will be adding more and e-books as we have time. Little did we know that our blog and website would turn into another mini career, but we enjoy the creative outlet as long as we can stick to a four hour work week.

Here are more sites that can help you with your planning!

Retire Early

Tips and Tricks for Mini-Retirement

Wise Bread

Get Rich Slowly

The Simple Dollar


The preparing and planning part is not always easy, but it is worth the effort. I read somewhere that all early retirees tended to live frugal lives well below their means long before they retired,  so that is a good place to start I think. Do you dream about early retirement? What are your plans?

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Interesting post. I was just getting ready to write on this topic myself and as I started thinking through it the thought occurred to me - what is retirement really? I mean, are you only retired if you do no professional activity at all, or are you retired when you have a 4 hour work week? There are many "retirees" these days who maintain some activity in their former professions on occassion. I think these days the lines are really becoming quite blurred.


Carmen- Good there is definitely blurred lines, but I think true early retirement means that one has enough assets that you don't HAVE to work at all. That one has enough assets to live well for the rest of their lives...which actually can be done on not that much money as the Terhorsts proved.

It really does narrow down to "your money or your lives" as the "consumer culture" has many folks slaving just to maintain endless STUFF.

Some in their 20's call themselves "retired", but they still need to work to live. They have enough to meet their day to day, but if they ran into a major problem or couldn't work their "4 hours" every week,they would be in trouble. But them some retire several times. ;)

Of course, in today's economy, it's smart to keep one foot in the proverbial "door" in one way or other, both for fun and because no one is sure exactly how this "new economy" will unfold. All the old rules are disappearing fast.

Retirement is certainly different today than it was for our parents and grandparents ( social security & pensions will probably not be around for ever, nor were they meant for our long lives).

But the opportunities for perpetual travel for ALL ages is better than ever!

Few people are happy retiring to just bask on a beach for 20/30 years as they would die of boredom quickly, so it makes sense to dabble in some interesting way when retired for fun, to help others and/or even for profit. NOT as a HAVE-to...that is part of the joy and freedom that comes with early retirement.


I've been reading your blog from since you've started blogging, and am still always inspired by reading it. Recently, travelling back from Minnesota with my husband and kids for a three-day stay, my husband and I agreed we'd love to do an around the world trip. Our goal is to do so in 8 years when the kids are 12.

For now we'd like to set up some online businesses and blogs to bring in some passive income and aim to also retire early.

We plan to unschool the kids and already live a lifestyle unlike most people we know. We rely heavily on real world experiences, visiting museums, conservatories, symphonies, gardens, art exhibits, and other real learning environments on a weekly basis. We travel whenever we can already and I'm planning a two week trip to Greece next summer. My daughter, who turned 4 two months ago, reads books like the Magic Treehouse series on her own for fun, and her twin brother, while not reading yet, will listen to "adult" books for hours at a time. All this has come from tons of reading aloud and integrating the kids into our full lives.

Thank you for sharing your lives and your constant inspiration.


Christina- I'm truly humbled by your sweet words and so happy we can inspire. We are kindred spirits for sure!

Sounds like you have a great plan & that is how one does it, step by step.

Yes, the unschooling and travel will help get you ready to as well as the frugal planning.

Your daughter sounds so much like Mozart at her age. All the work that you are putting into them will be worth it ( as you are already seeing). It becomes even more obvious as they get older. Each experience builds on the next. It will be nice to that your children have each other too.

Happy planning!


We have our house on the market and hope to be on our way to Asia this Spring with our two boys. Our original plan was to travel slowly for two years, putting down roots when we fall in love with a place. However, right now the discussion is if we could do this perpetually. What would we need to do to make this dream a reality? We are busy exploring our options and scheming of ways to make it happen. It took us six years of planning to be at the point we are now, proof that if you want it bad enough, you can make it happen!


Good luck to your process Amy! I am a BIG believer that if there is a will there is always a way, but certainly good planning, some sacrifice and out-of-the-box thinking helps. I think you will find actually doing it easier than the planning and prep stages. Today thanks to tech, it is easier than ever to work & school any where and MANY ways to live a perpetual travel lifestyle.

The journey itself will give you many of your answers and it will change you. As your kids get bigger, things and your needs will change. Traveling extremely light, living large on little, always keeping an open mind, focusing on the good, working as a team, living like a native, honoring everyone's needs, being ultra flexible, unplugging a lot, realizing time is the greatest wealth etc are all keys that work for us. Enjoy the process!


I think you guys rock!
I also have a family, 4 daughters and a wife, and we are all trying to come up with a way to make a living while travelling. Would you be willing to teach us how? Point us in the right direction?
Eternally greatful.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks for your kind words Jorge. Thankfully there are many resources online today to help you out in your planning.

So many that were not around when we planned in 2004.

Look at the links above, google questions and try places like Digital Nomad Academy, Location Independent, Professionals, and Brazen Careerist, Digital Nomads etc

Happy planning and good luck!


We sure do dream about retiring early - my wife and I haven't even hit 30 yet but it is on my mind every day.

I have found it challenging to know what investments I can trust at the moment. Everyone seems to be so bullish on the stock market at the moment but anyone with an open mind knows that the system is sick.

I am happy to retire on modest money but don't want to lose the lot with non-tangible investments.

Anyway thanks for the links, I have plenty of reading to do!

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