Our three year anniversary…A special day out…Total expenses for three years of travel and lots more stats…Hold on to your seats!

Us in Hawaii, one year ago. Tomorrow, we’ll post a new photo of us together from Namale Resort. Here’s a link to our two year anniversary.

This morning, we awoke simultaneously at 5:45, both of us saying “happy anniversary, lover!” It’s a special day for us. It’s the third year anniversary of our world travels, beginning on October 31, 2012, the day Tom retired and we left Minnesota to begin our journey.

The first few years we didn’t make much of a deal of the anniversary when we hit the road, leaving our lives in Minnesota behind, leaving behind all we knew and loved.

Our kids, now all in their 40’s had built their own lives with their families, filled with activities, their own traditions, fully embracing the hurried and at times, the frantic pace of life in the US. 

After working all of our lives and living that frenzied pace at times, we were ready to expand our horizons and step outside the “expected” box of retirement and old age. 

What contributed to our choosing this life evolved more from our mutual desire to do so than anything else. In many marriages, one may like the idea, but the other spouse wouldn’t consider it. With my renewed health beginning 11 months before we left, it was three months later until we even conceived of the idea. 

It was hard leaving everyone we love behind.  We didn’t take it lightly. We just did it differently than many Minnesotans who choose to escape the frigid winters and short, hot, humid summers.  Instead of buying a condo in Arizona or Florida as many retirees often do, seeing family once or twice a year, we chose to see the world, although the stretches between visits are further apart.

The kids and grandchildren visited us in Hawaii last December, a little over two years after we’d left and we’ll see them again in 19 months. They’re doing fine without us. A call on Skype is all it takes to see a smiling face and hear a familiar voice. 

Many ask, “When will this end and you move back to the US?” When one is happy and fulfilled, it’s a tough question to answer. Our answer is vague at this point, “When we have to (due to health) or when we want to.”  Neither of those scenarios is in front of us now as we enter into our fourth year.

Although not specifically an anniversary photo this was taken in January, 2013 in the days when we had lots of luggage. We believe we had a total of 17 pieces including several carry-on bags.  Now we have three checked bags and a two carry-on items each.

When we began this journey three years ago we made a pact: If one of us wants to stop traveling, the other will agree. Of course, if health becomes a serious issue we’re unable to address from abroad, we’d have no choice but to return to the US.  Perhaps, after a period of time and recovery, we can continue again.

However, part of the joy in our lives is the uncertainty of the distant future, an odd sensation for two people who liked to plan well into the future, especially me. And yet, I’m totally at ease moving every few weeks or months. 

Other than missing the people we love, we miss nothing in our old lives. Sure, a TV would be nice or AC on hot humid days but now, we see those as frills we easily live without. Getting dressed is easy each day: shorts and tee-shirt, or…tee shirt and shorts. Life is simple and uncomplicated.

We wish we’d taken more anniversary photos on years one and two but, often alone, we settle for what we can, often taking photos of ourselves individually or on occasion, asking a stranger. We’ll try to do better on future anniversaries. 

Tomorrow, we’ll definitely post a photo of us together after today’s upcoming celebration at Namale Resort where we requested an exception to allow “outsiders” to dine in their restaurant when it’s exclusively intended for “all-inclusive” guests only. 

Luckily, our offer of doing a story on Namale and today’s experience will be posted online tomorrow which results in great exposure for their resort to our worldwide readers. We’re appreciative of the opportunity to visit this world-famous resort.

Now, for the part most of today’s readers are anticipating…the numbers. Yesterday, after reviewing our spreadsheets with every facet of our travels, including all expenses and every aspect of our itinerary.

Tom at the beach at the Indian Ocean on our one year anniversary in 2013. Here’s a link to our one year anniversary.

Also, we’ve included the totals for each expense for “everyday” living with such items as medical, supplies, insurance, toiletries, groceries, data, clothing, dining out, entertainment, postage, miscellaneous fees, and on and on.

Many of you will be shocked when you read these numbers. Others may be pleasantly surprised. But, if any of our readers were to add up every last cent they spent in the past three years their numbers may not be whole lot different than ours.

I’ll lighten the shock of the total by sharing the 37 month total (we’ve included estimated costs for our remaining month here in Savusavu based on averages on our spending to date):

  • Monthly cost (37 months):  USD $6,880, FJD $14,772
  • Daily cost: USD $225, FJD $483:
  • Three year total (37 months): USD $254,572, FJD $546,582

The monthly total was higher than we’d originally estimated. But, when 12 family members came to Hawaii at our expense, our monthly averages increased exponentially. 

Into the future, we should be able to keep our monthly cost around the USD $6,000, FJD $12,882 thus reducing our daily total expense at USD $197, FJD $423, a number we feel comfortable to strive toward into the future.  As we peruse our budget, we see this is entirely likely once we’ve passed 2015. 

As for other numbers, here are a few facts we gathered from the past three years as well:

  •  21:  vacation homes we’ve rented
  •  56:  nights spent in hotels
  •  14:  flights we’ve taken (roundtrips count as two)
  •    1:  trains we’ve taken (the Eurostar, Paris to London)
  • 119: nights spent on a cruise ship
  •  11:  cruises we sailed
  •    7:  rental cars (total number rented, not number of days rented)
  • 16:   total months with a rental car (leaving 21 months using a driver)

None of the above surprised me based on the fact that I’ve been entering these numbers for over three years.  Tom was surprised at first at the grand totoal but as we discussed it further, he was easily able to see how it adds up.

Two years ago, on our one year anniversary on the beach at the Indian Ocean in Kenya.

None of these totals include deposits we’ve paid for future travel. Those numbers will be calculated into new totals for each year as the rentals, cruises, and expenses occur.

There it is, folks. Without storage and a permanent home in another location, its affordable for us to continue to travel the world. Never for a moment do we take from granted our ability to do this. Never for a moment do we take for granted the good fortune, safari luck, we’ve experienced in these first three years.

And most of all, never for a moment to we fail to appreciate each other’s bravery and determination to live a joyful life “outside the box” or our ongoing good health.

Thus, to my loving husband, I say “thank you” for this extraordinary experience. To our family and friends, “thank you” for accepting our decision to travel the world. And, of course, to all of our worldwide readers for “traveling along with us” from your comfy armchair, your ride on the bus, or with your morning coffee or tea at the kitchen table. We have loved sharing each day with all of you.

Photo from one year ago, October 31, 2014:

We didn’t make much of our deal about our two-year anniversary last year which we’ll share in tomorrow’s post for the one year ago photo. It’s a special milestone for us each year and for us, is deserving a bit of hoopla. For details from last year, please click here.

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