When you think of traveling the world, backpacking to 93 different countries, and living your dreams, you may not think of two senior citizens being able to do this let alone wanting to do this.
“We Have Done It, We Are Doing It and We Love It.”
Ours is one of those stories that you don’t hear of very often and one of those stories that we hope will warm your heart to the very core. Our mission is to inspire you to get out there and live the life you love, with the ones you love, to the maximum daily. Never let disabilities, doubt, or even “old age” get in the way of wringing out every ounce of enjoyment in your life.
We are going to do this by choosing the top questions we are asked almost every day. The first is always the same, “What Is Your Favorite Country?” Tough to answer but if we had to choose one and only one.
To put it plain and simple, we are John and Laurel Rodgers. We are two 70-year-olds with a passion to travel full-time. Just so happens, we live on Social Security while we travel. We’ve been inspired to tell our story because we want to share the secrets to staying happy, no matter your age or circumstance.
Answer: Staying Young at Heart and Young In Body
There are many parts of traveling the world that keep you young at heart, and even feeling young mentally and physically. The mere feeling you get when you travel somewhere new, see new places, new faces, and more, this feeling alone makes you feel on top of the world which reduces stress tremendously. Since stress is such a huge part of the aging process, it’s no secret that the less stress you deal with, the less you’ll feel like you’re getting old and the happier you will be.
Staying in one house, and one area, for a prolonged period can become quite depressing as you grow older, so being able to travel — not just the state you’re in but the World — can bring a type of peace within you that you never knew existed. You do not have to take the huge leap we did, but get out, go to a local park, go camping, go to the lake or anywhere that makes you happy. “Get Out and Do Something.”
We grew up being told to be mature and thoughtful but to always keep a childlike mind. Take in new information daily if we can. Seeing new places, trying new foods, and meeting different types of people can certainly keep your mind open and childlike to learning new things. With a mindset like this, you’ll never grow old.
Answer: It’s There, So Why Not?
Of course, another factor that has inspired us to travel is to see more of the world. After all that we have accomplished at our age, it’s only necessary to find out what the rest of the world looks like. Especially since that’s one thing we haven’t accomplished yet.
It’s invigorating to see life from other points of view, broaden your perspective, and open your eyes to a whole new world. Seeing more of the world and viewing how other people live also becomes knowledge, you learn so much along the way of all your travels.
Answer: Because It Has Made Such A Difference In Our Health
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of traveling is getting your exercise and staying active. In doing so, we can now encourage other seniors to stay active without breaking the bank. You don’t have to go to the gym and work out either. You simply do this by doing what you love, just not sitting around the house watching TV.
It’s super important for us as Senior Citizens to work out and keep healthy. We’ve got many years of experience. Our body can sometimes show it and definitely feel it. One of the best ways to keep a good heart and a good health report is to travel and stay active.
Answer: Because They Are So Darned Cool!
We believe all of this boils down to seeing and experiencing all that the world has to offer. This is the most perfect time to venture out into the world and see how other people are living, experience nature in another land, and eat foods from many different cultures. The world has so much to offer us. We are only touching a very tiny portion of it by staying in the town that we were born in.
I’m almost certain that your number one obstacle is going to be your health. And let’s be honest here unless you are just too sick to travel or have a doctor’s note that tells you not to travel, your health will be there (or not be there) whether you are traveling or not. At least, that’s how we try to look at it.
If you are going to be sick you’re probably going to be sick at home too, so why not be sick on a tropical island? All jokes aside, it is super important to pack everything you are going to need for a trip. This includes all medications and a letter from your doctor listing your prescriptions. Your cremes, lotions, breathing masks, hearing aids, etc. It’s better to overpack than under pack (in this particular instance) so go ahead and take it all.
It might be beneficial to get the “O.K.” from your doctor too, just to put everyone else at ease, and not just yourself.
Fitness isn’t going to be as much of an obstacle as you think. Mainly because traveling is exactly what you need to start your fitness journey if you haven’t yet. This just falls in line with your clean bill of health from your doctors O.K. to travel and stay out of the country for an extended amount of time.
If health isn’t your biggest concern then money probably is. The truth is that it is not as important as you think either. I know, how does that even make sense when it takes money to travel? Keep reading this “senior citizen’s travel guide” and we’ll let you in on a little secret about how you can travel on your social security too!
Answer: Yes and No
We know that as our families grow and age the children and relatives gravitate to their own lifestyle. We probably have every much or even more contact with our family as when we lived in America. They think what we have done and are doing is great and support us 100%. We visit with them on Skype Chat far more than we ever did when we were at home. We have had 3 great-grandchildren on this trip and see them on Skype. We hope someday this is our gift to them and they will find it far more interesting than a box of old dusty photos.
This can be one of the most difficult parts of traveling, leaving your family and loved ones behind. But you have to think of it as not leaving them behind, but only being away from them for a short time.
Leaving to travel to another country doesn’t mean you’ll never see them again, it only means you will be away from them for a little while, and during this time you’ll be contributing to your health, learning about other cultures in the world and enjoying your new lifestyle.
It’s perfectly normal for you to put others’ needs and wants ahead of yours, but maybe this is the time to care about your well-being. The truth is that you can’t hold back your life just to allow everyone else to live out theirs. Make sure you have a cell phone, a computer or laptop or at least computer access, and you will never have to worry about missing one day with your loved ones!
While this might not be true for everyone who travels (especially, if you are deciding to travel full-time), you just might be forced into a situation that we were forced into. We sold everything we owned and then took off with the rest of what we had, all in just one carry-on and a backpack. It was a scary moment and trust me when I say we had our doubts.
But your heart knows what it wants and you can’t fight that, no matter how scary or life-changing it may be. The good part about selling everything you own and taking off with one bag & backpack to your name is the fact you get to start over and start fresh, free of “bad baggage” and “material items” that are actually holding you back.
Remember how just a few paragraphs ago we mentioned that you don’t necessarily need tons of money to travel? Take it from two senior citizens on Social Security, if we can travel full-time then so can you! Here are just a few of our top tips on saving money while traveling.
You’re able to stay at an Airbnb for up to one month to obtain up to half off, which can sometimes be much cheaper than two weeks at a hotel with no discount at all. Choose your location wisely and remember that cheaper doesn’t always mean the place itself is cheap, do your research and read reviews from others to base your decision on where to stay.
Much like staying in cheaper places, you benefit from flying with budget airlines also. You can’t be afraid to fly with a cheaper airline, they are just as safe as your top-notch airlines that cost hundreds for one-way trips. Most people are too scared to fly with budget airlines. But, if you think about it, they have to follow all of the safety regulations too or they wouldn’t be flying. There’s nothing to be afraid of at least, not anymore afraid than you would be on an expensive airline.
Another mode of transportation you can’t be ‘afraid of’ is the bus, whether that be a city bus in the town you are visiting or a bus to travel from one State to another along the way. Utilizing the busses will be a huge penny saver.
As tempting as it is to eat out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day you are there it is wise not to. It would be much more beneficial (and much cheaper) to cook your own meals like we do when we travel. This isn’t to say not to try the cuisine of the country you are visiting. This just means that cooking our own meals has helped us save tons of money during our trips, and we know it will help you too.
One of the most efficient ways to save money while traveling is actually what happens before you ever take off. We always shop for the best travel deals before we book a trip to ensure we are catching the right deal at the best time. There are always going to be deals and discounts, it really just depends on the time you are traveling, the destination, and how popular this is with other travelers.
If you’ve read this far and you are still thinking about becoming a part or full-time traveler, we have some tips for you and some helpful advice to always use while traveling.
Shop for locations that fit your budget this is self-explanatory if you can’t afford to shop or travel somewhere don’t force it
Shop for the best deals on everything be frugal with everything you buy, save money at every turn
Eat like a local eating like a local means you might go out a few times while you’re there, enjoy the local cuisine, but definitely cook your own meals. It’s always fun to incorporate the culture you’re in, into your meals though.
Always be flexible whatever this means for you, adapt it. If it means that you should be more open-minded, then you should embrace other places without judging. Or maybe it means that you’ll have to try a new food that you might not normally try at home. Be flexible!
Don’t expect things to be like home piggybacking off of being flexible, sometimes you’ll have to respect the fact that it won’t be like home and that’s the whole point. It’s not supposed to be like home and if it were, it wouldn’t be much of a trip or vacation.
Practice responsible tourism this means a lot of things, but most of all be respectful of the town, the country, the culture, and the people you are visiting.
Don’t try to change the countries you visit never try to change the place you’re visiting, even if it’s not fun or not your type. It’s real life and you should always let it be that. We see too many people trying to tell others how they should live and change their centuries-old customs. Put yourself in their shoes and think of how you would feel if someone came to tour your hometown and told you how to live and what you should change.
Take some extended trips first to experience the lifestyle:
If you take an extended trip or two first, before you decide to make this lifestyle change, it’ll give you insight on what it’s going to be like.
Make sure this is right for you first:
Once you’ve taken a couple of these extended trips, make sure this is 100% right for you personally. It’s fine to travel as a senior citizen but please make sure you’re fit to do this first. Then make sure this is what you want to do after taking some long trips.
Never rush and try to take everything in:
Don’t rush anything! Never feel like you’ve got to do this, that, and the other to make this trip perfect. It already is perfect. Just enjoy it and live in the moment.
Meet and interact with locals:
Meeting new people, especially the locals, is going to benefit you in many more ways than just one. You’ll feel better, and you’ll know much more about the area you’re in.
Remember that people are the most important part of your trip:
People are going to be the number one most important element of your entire trip. Seeing how other people live, dress, walk, talk, act, and eat gives you the knowledge of what the rest of the world is like. What other people in other countries go through also shows you that you are never alone.
If or when you get tired of traveling, then GO HOME. Don’t stay on the road unless you love it:
When you are ready to go home never be ashamed to say that, even if it just to remind yourself. It’s ok to go home, after all, home is where the heart is!
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