Stephanie Cunningham came on the show to talk about her retirement in a different county.
On Today’s Show we discuss:
Retirement in a different country
Stephanie’s bicycle tour
Decrease in social status after retirement
Stephanie’s cultural transition in Australia
Needing a reason to be on this earth or sacrificing happiness
Value of community in Australia
Money isn’t everything
Stephanie was born, raised and worked in Colorado until she took early retirement to join a round the world bicycle tour. While on the tour, she found Australia and decided to move there. Because of visa regulations at that time, she couldn’t work, which forced her into an early retirement. Trying all of the activities that are traditional in retirement left her unfulfilled and wanting more.
The Bicycle Tour
The bicycle tour was a millennial trip. While it wasn’t an inexpensive trip, it was for a whole year. Stephanie did a lot of physical training for the trip. It was recommended each rider do at least 6,000 miles before the beginning of the tour. Each weekday, Stephanie rode 135K. It was physically challenging but not nearly as difficult as she thought it would be. Stephanie enjoyed the trip because you see things you wouldn’t see on a bus or in a car.
New Found Love for Yoga
One new activity she tried was yoga and enjoyed it. She decided to become a yoga teacher for over 50’s and then added yoga training to teach over 50’s for yoga teachers. In March of last year, she started the podcast Changing the Face of Yoga to expand the perception of yoga. She will launch the second broadcast in July about finding purpose in retirement as she struggled to find purpose and feels it is very important for a successful retirement.
She talks about her initial culture shock and the challenges for retirement in a different country.
Australia is a tenth of the US population but as large land wise as the US. It is less crowded and frantic. Stephanie claims it is almost 10 years behind in certain ways. Australia has less commercial ads and consists of a much more laid-back atmosphere. It is also gorgeous.
Impact of Not Being Able to Work
Stephanie was not planning on retirement when she moved to Australia. She had worked for Colorado and retired for a nominal amount of money. She planned on taking a year off then going back to work in a different way. There were a lot things Stephanie loved about working and it was a hard adjustment at first. She certainly never imagined her retirement in a different country.
Advice for Retirement in a different country
Stephanie recommends really planning it and understanding what you are getting into. She recommends going to an expat community when first adjusting. In addition, look at exchange rates and cost of living when considering retirement in a different country.
Traveling affects relationships. Sometimes it can bring couples closer together, and sometimes it can put a strain on the relationship.
There is a saying “couples who travel together, stay together”.. ok, I made that up. I don't think it is an actual saying. I wanted to dig into the topic of how traveling affects relationships. As a lot of you may know, my husband Les and I enjoy traveling. We wanted to share some of our experiences and tips we have gathered over the years to make it less stressful and a more enjoyable time.
Here are some things that you may need to talk about and might have an impact on why traveling affects relationships
Talk about how you're going to travel. Example, how much luggage you will be bringing, and the type of clothes you will be packing. Create a packing list or use the checklist I provided below at the end of the show notes.
Discuss how many days, weeks or months are you going to stay there?
How much money you are going to spend
One example is buying a plane ticket. Should you go for a business class or economy? It sometimes depends on the number of flying hours like when Les and I had a 13-hour flight. The price for a business class is times 4 the price of economy. Les isn't a fan of paying that much for airplane tickets but I Like the extra space and comfort. So on long flights, Les agrees comfort is important.
Planning Details together
Who's going to take care of your house while you're gone? Are you going to pay for it or have a neighbor do it? Les and I are considering house sitting now.
Decide who is carrying what in their suitcases
I like to bring a nutri-blender with me because sometimes when we go out of the country. I have a special drink I like for dinner but the blender weighs 8-9 pounds! So even though Les would have carried my suitcase for me, the blender takes up a lot pf precious room. So, I typically leave this at home.
Sometimes there can be stressful situations that will test your relationship.
Discuss what you both want to do on the vacation
Discuss what you both want to do. I like to go to warm climates and lay on the beach and Les wants to go to cooler climates and do activities. He isn't one to lay around on a beach all day. What we do is we compromise. We go to warm places sometimes and we go to cooler climates sometimes. I think compromise is key in traveling and in any relationship.
Decide if you want to spend the entire time together or are you going to have “break-out” sessions and do something on your own
Sometimes, you and who you're with don't like to do the same things or activities. When my sister and I went on a vacation together, she wanted to hang out by the pool and I wanted to go and visit museums. As a couple, you need to decide if it is okay to do things on your own sometimes.
Plan on what to do if you accidentally get separated
What if you get separated from each other? On our trip to Asia, we got separated from each other. We were in a shopping area and I was looking at cute little things while Les is looking at the backpacks. We made arrangements that if we get separated, to meet each other in a certain area.
There is no question that traveling affects relationships. Patience, planning, preparation, are just a few things to have a successful vacation with your significant other.
Do you have any stories on how traveling affects relationships?
Have you had a good experience where it brought you closer together? Or have you had a bad experience? Please feel free to let us know in the notes below
How can Seasonal Jobs help you Rock your Retirement?
Kelcy Fowler and Matt Moore are the new owners of CoolWorks.com. What is CoolWorks? CoolWorks has been a leader in connecting people seeking meaningful and exciting work with the employers who are looking for their enthusiasm. energy, and knowledge. They believe that you can and should love your job, and they want to help make that happen! They post job opportunities in great places– everything from national parks to ski resorts to retreat centers. and everything in between. Their journal profiles the exciting stories from CoolWorkers to inspire you to take that next step.
Whether you are still discovering your passion, need a seasonal career, or just feel the call to change paths, they have everything you need to help you find your next great adventure.
Let's meet the owners:
Kelcy is considered to be the Magic Wand Wielder, helping others pursue their own “grand” adventure. And Matt calls himself the Employer Wingman and Captain of Contracts. He’s got a true passion for Great Places and inspiring people from all walks to take the first step in finding their different path.
They have a resources section on their website called “Older and Bolder” which I love! The motto? “You’re more than a retiree, you’re Older and Bolder! You’ve got energy and dreams, and there are tons of opportunities out there for you.”
How does CoolWorks (seasonal jobs) work?
CoolWorks is a website where thousands of different employers across the country post their seasonal (meaning temporary jobs) and year-round job opportunities in great places. CoolWorks is completely free for the job seeker to browse and apply for jobs, you don't even need to sign up! They also provide job seeker accounts to save searches and favorite employers and a great collection of Older and Bolder Resources.
If you are traveling and will be staying there for a while (or ever want a reason to travel somewhere wonderful and stay for a season) you can check their website and look for seasonal jobs available in the state that you're interested in. What a cool way to earn money, right? You get to enjoy the place where you are staying and at the same time, you're earning money. Win-win!
Why would someone want to go work if I am retired and don’t really need the money?
A lot of retired people are passionate about having new experiences and meeting new people. It's an opportunity to fill up your season with incredibly rewarding and exciting experiences and meeting lots of friends and creating lots of great relationships.
What skills do you need?
There are a lot of skill sets. It differs from employers but one of the most common that they are looking for in an employee is friendliness. If you are friendly or a people person, you have a higher chance of getting hired. If you aren't a people person, they have jobs for you too!
How do I apply?
All you have to do is visit their website, https://coolworks.com/, look for a job that you are interested in, and contact them! It's that easy.
If adventure, travel, and experiencing new places and meeting new people is anything that appeals to you, consider seasonal jobs and visit us at coolworks.com and give it a try. We believe we change lives one seasonal job at a time.
My husband and I have a running argument about traveling. I want to travel more. He's concerned about the cost of getting care for our two rescue dogs, Izzy and Winky, and my Moluccan cockatoo Mr. Grant. And it's not just the cost. It's the upheaval that the animals have to go through when we leave. So when I found out about these house sitting websites that are out there, I HAD to dig deeper and learn more.
What is a House Sitting service?
House sitting is the practice whereby a person leaving their house for a period of time entrusts it to one or more “house-sitters”, who by a mutual agreement are entitled to live or stay there temporarily. Either in paid positions or rent-free, in exchange for assuming any combination of responsibilities, such as taking care of the homeowner's pets, performing general maintenance (including pools, lawns, air-conditioning systems etc.), keeping trespassers off the property, readdressing the mail, and in general, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if the owner was at home. It is reasonably assumed that pet-care is typically a paid service, although some “house sitters” may choose to include this as part of their agreement at no cost or a nominal fee. 
I found two people who use house sitting services regularly
The first person I spoke with was Jo Ann Schneider or Josie for short. Josie and her husband have been all over the world! They have been able to travel to places that others only dream about because of the costs. She and her husband are retired, and they receive Social Security among their other ongoing payments. But for most people on a fixed budget, traveling around the world might not be an option. How did they do it? They used house sitting matching services. Josie and her husband had been staying in bed and breakfasts when they found out about house sitting.
“In 2008, we were in Australia and we were staying in bed and breakfasts. I had a book of bed and breakfasts in Australia, and we would look in the book to find a place to stay in a town we were headed towards. In Alice Springs, in the red center of Australia, we booked a bed and breakfast, and we got there and our hostess said, “I'm not the homeowner here. I don't own this place. I'm just house-sitting for them.
We looked at each other and looked at her, and we were very confused. And she explained how you meet up with home owners on websites and that you can go and stay in someone else's home while they're on vacation, and it's an exchange that no money changes hands. It's free to the traveler, and the home owner gets peace of mind knowing that their home and often their pets are looked after.”
Their first house sitting experience was for a young couple in Copenhagen and they stayed in their home for 6 weeks while the couple traveled. However, when I interviewed Josie, they had just returned from an 8 month, around the world, house sitting experience!. They started in Helsinki, worked their way down through Scandinavia, UK, seven countries in Europe, Singapore and Australia, and then back to the US where they live.
I asked Josie how she was able to do this and get the trip scheduled in advance
“We kept adding on. It's logistically impossible to have them all scheduled or committed to beforehand. In an eight-month time period, the people eight months out were not posting their need for house sitters yet. So yes, we had to do it as we went along.”
Not only does the house sitter get to stay for free, but you get to have amazing experiences
“They're all unique and very, very different from staying in a hotel in that you have neighbors, and the homeowners often introduce us to the neighbors. What that gives us is a real look into the local culture. We share dinners, we talk about politics, culture, taxes, and the quirks of the area. It has allowed us to really immerse in a culture that's quite impossible when you stay in a hotel. Our neighbors have taken us on little road trips in the area or hiking, shopping.”
Logistically what happens is the homeowner posts on one of the matching services what they are looking for. The dates of the trip are listed, along with the animals and other details of the assistance that's needed. Once it's posted people apply to the house sitting position. The first time Josie applied for a house sit, the homeowner got over 100 applications!. What made her decide on Josie and her husband? The letter of introduction is what gave her the edge. Now, of course, she still went through an interview process of sorts, but it was really the letter that got her noticed. Josie teaches people how to write their introduction letter on her blog, housesittingtravel.com. She also gives other tips and tricks to traveling such as how to accumulate frequent flyer miles.
But what about the other side? Having people stay in your home?
To get that perspective, I talked with Chris Román. I asked Chris what interested her in exchanging homes?
“When my kids were young, we didn't have a lot of extra money. I couldn't really bear the thought of all four of us stuck in a hotel room together, throwing away expensive food and meals out. We started trading our home with people around the Western United States, and it worked out great.”
I asked her if she was nervous about someone staying in her home
“I think for me the key to finding great people is always looking for somebody that has a number of glowing reviews. It's sort of like Yelp, you look and you can see there's some people that are new to this. Or maybe don't look like quite your kind of people, but there's lots of people where people can't just say enough good things.”
“Yeah, so I begin by looking for people with lots of great reviews, which gives me confidence. Then I reach out to them through the site. You can actually reach out proactively to people in your area that sound good. Or you can publicize on the site you request, and have people apply. Once there seems to be mutual interest then I typically Skype with them and we get a sense of each other pretty quickly.”
It can't all be good though, right? I asked Chris what her concerns were
You wonder, “Am I going to hear from these people at all? When I come back is the house going to be a mess?” Honestly, I've had someone come to clean the day after we got home both times and the house didn't even need it. They had stripped their beds, put it all out in the laundry, the house was immaculate.
Chris loves to travel. And now with the ability to have people house sit for free, she's able to get out more. In fact, she's even started a blog called Explore Now or Never. Her blog talks about travel tips and how to get out and see more even if you are afraid. She helps you through all of that.
I have to admit, I am in love with the house-sitting idea. I don't know if we would have tried it if we wouldn't have already stayed at anAir BNBwhen we went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. But we are going to give it a try!
Have you thought about creating your own Adventure in Retirement?
This podcast episode falls under the 2nd pillar, Significant Other (Be adventurous with your spouse), in the Six Pillars of Retirement. Jim Palmer is a marketing and business building expert and in-demand coach. He is the founder of the Dream Biz Academy and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program. Jim is the host of Newsletter Guru TV, the hit weekly Web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners and he is also the host Stick Like Glue Radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique brand of smart marketing and business building strategies.
Jim started thinking about and living his retirement lifestyle before retirement age. Instead of waiting for his retirement, he is living out a dream now while he continues to work. He and his wife sold their house and put the contents in storage. They are currently living on their boat, which is named Floating Home and traveling up and down the east coast. They are enjoying a more simple life. He has created a dream business where he works with clients only 3 days a week and travels the rest of the time. He hopes to continue working for many years, beyond typical retirement age and says it will be possible because he hasn’t worn himself out with work that is unfulfilling.
It's time for a big adventure in retirement!
It was Jim's wife's idea to live on a boat but it's Jim who is the “boat guy” as he grew up on boats.
When Jim married his wife, they wanted to have their own boat. However, between work, raising four children, and maintaining a home they never had the chance to buy one. Once their children got married and moved on, and Jim's wife Stephanie said she is done with her job, suddenly they were no longer “landlocked.” They spent a few years trying to decide what they would do and where they would live, They did get a small boat which was big enough to sleep on but not that big. Eventually, his wife suggested they live on a boat. Jim's initial thought was “we're gonna need a bigger boat”
Then their adventure in retirement began. They sold their house, found a bigger boat, and moved on April 15th, 2017. They initially agreed to an an18-month plan. First, they went to New England to see their daughter and grandkids. Then they went to Chesapeake Bay which is their home port, and they are going to go to Florida for their first winter.
So, at the time of this interview, they were almost a year into their adventure in retirement. How is it?
They love it so much! Jim feels living on a boat is like an everyday vacation. It's very relaxing and it is just a simple life. They are now talking about a 5-year plan to continue their retirement adventure on their boat.
What is it like living on a boat?
I personally, know very little about boats and tend to think of it as somewhat similar to living in an RV. Jim and Stephanie's boat is 50 feet long and 14.5ft wide. It has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It's a motor yacht with almost 1000 horsepowers. Jim said they don't want to go on a camping in the waters, they want to feel comfortable. They wanted to have separate space if they need it so it isn't too cramped.
We talked about all of the amenities in Jim's boat and the maintenance and repair that goes along with it. It is quite fascinating! An interesting fact is you don't have to have your captain's license. The fact that you own a boat and can drive it means you are a captain. Both he and his wife have taken courses through the Coast Guard. Jim's job is to drive the boat and do maintenance on the boat. His wife's job primarily is the navigator. She took a multi-day day class through the Annapolis School of Seamanship on how to plot your course. Jim says you never stop learning because things that happen out at sea generally happen quickly and unexpectedly. Fortunately, they have never had any major disasters on their boat but Jim does talk about some scary moments.
What has been the best moments so far?
Pulling into New York Harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty from the water on their own boat.
Watching their grandkids run down from the dock onto their boat
Jim and his wife have become closer. He says that he and his wife out of necessity, have learned to communicate better and work together.
What has been the worst moment so far?
Jim tells us a story about how one of the engines went down near Atlantic City. The boat is rocking really hard which made Jim extremely nauseous and sick. Yet, he still had to go to the front of his boat, catch a line from the Sea Tow boat and attach it to his boat so they could tow them.
“We are very removed from all of the noise that used to be part of our lives”
Jim says he has discovered through their journeys and meeting others who boat, that there is hope for humanity. When they removed themselves from the big city and visited “Small town America”, they met some of the friendliest people. They take care of each other and look out for each other, and people are very friendly and want to talk to you. He said it has sort of restored their faith in humanity. They also really do not watch TV and they don't miss it at all. They watch the sunrise in the morning and sunset in the evening, that is their reality television.
We also talked about how they learned to live on a boat, how would someone get started if they were interested and how to buy a boa?. For me, I would have no clue where to even begin or how to live on a boat. He said they read a lot of books from people who have done it. Jim has also written 7 books himself and his last book was based a little bit on their boating adventure in retirement.
Sometimes when you are getting ready to do something big, your mind starts playing the “what if game” which can paralyze you with fear. If you are thinking about something you can think about all the things that can go wrong but what if you have the adventure of a lifetime?
Do you have a story on how you created your own adventure in retirement? We would love to hear it! Post in the comments below.
Why did they use AirBNB* and why is it a great hotel alternative?
Les' brother invited us to watch his team play in the Rose Bowl. It was last minute. Right after his time won. We said yes, and immediately started looking for a hotel room. But, oh no…all of the hotels were fully booked. EVERYTHING was sold out.
The nearest available hotel was in Los Angeles, which was WAY to far! We had to find a hotel alternative if we wanted to see our family. As a lark, I started checking AirBNB as a hotel alternative.
I was really nervous because it was our first time in using this service. We weren't sure what to expect. Would it be dirty? Would the owners be lurking around? What kind of people would let us stay in their spare bedroom? And…Les is VERY private.
The first few places I found on the website were whole apartments. Those looked great! The bad news was that they were $800. That's right… $800 for one night. Ouch! A bit pricey for us.
Finally, after a lot of searching, we decided that it would be OK to stay in someone's spare bedroom. We found a room in someone's house. It looked cute, like maybe it was built in the 1940s. And just like the house, the owner seemed cute too. She looked very artsy. But to be honest, it was the fact that she played the harp that sealed the deal for me. So I submitted my request.
We had a great online conversation about harps and she wanted to know who I knew that played the harp. It's funny that I know two people!
Our First Stay:
We drove to Pasadena and found her house. We had made arrangements to park in her driveway so we wouldn't get a ticket. That was another way we saved money…no parking fees! A hotel would have charged us to park on premise.
Once there, we “checked in”. She wasn't home, but had a combination lock on the back door. After entering the home, we followed the signs to our room. Painless.
Outside her house was a very cute “library”. Another thing we never would have seen if we stayed in a hotel that weekend.
The first thing we saw inside the room was a small mini-fridge. two wine glasses and a bottle of wine sat on top of the fridge. Fresh flowers brightened up the corner of the room. We took a peek inside our mini-fridge and we found almond milk, coconut water, eggs, and blueberries for our breakfast.
Our initial observation was that we felt very welcomed and attended to, just like you would feel at your grandma's house! This was a very different experience from a hotel.
We met her later that day and she gave us some tips on the Rose Bowl. We were so glad that she allowed us to stay in her home for a reasonable fee (I think it was around $200 a night. Still pricey, but not $800!)
So now that you know that we were adventurous enough to stay in someone's bedroom, let's talk about the service that allowed us to go that.
What is AirBNB?
AirBNB* is an American company which operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, home stays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms, to participate in or facilitate experiences related to tourism such as walking tours, and to make reservations at restaurants. The company does not own any real estate or conduct any tours; it acts as a broker. They receive a percentage of the cost of each stay. Like all modern sharing services services, AirBNB* is an example of person to person sharing. This company has over 4 million listings in 65,000 cities and 191 countries and has helped with over 260 million check-ins.
We really enjoyed our AirBNB* experience is definitely a good one. We can say that it is a great hotel alternative.
Why is it a great hotel alternative?
It is cheaper than a hotel room
Hosts get to meet people from all over the world
Guests can ask the host about tourist spots and how to get there
Hosts can provide valuable information about their area
Service quality is more personalized
*Note: If you use my AirBNB link you will get a discount and I will earn a commission.