What it means to be a Vagabond in retirement
As a vagabond, you've waited your whole life to have the freedom to see the world. Now you're doing it.
For you, retirement is all about exploration, experience and being open to whatever comes your way. When you're not crossing off destinations on your global travel bucket list, you're exploring the community where you live.
While travel is at the top of your list, consider thinking about the following.
How often do you want to be “home?” And what does that “home” look like?
Unless you plan on traveling 100 percent of the time, you’ll still need a place to call home — but that doesn’t have to look the same as it does now.
If your family is still concentrated in one area, maintaining a home near family may still be important to you — and to them. But consider whether your current home is more than you’ll want or need when you retire, and think about what might better fit your needs when you get there.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- If I keep my current home, how often will I be there? Is it worth keeping if I'm there infrequently?
- What would it mean to me and my family to sell the family home? Would the emotional cost outweigh the financial benefits, or vice versa?
- Do I want or need more than one home? Am I going to spending significant parts of the year in one place? If so, it may be more efficient to have two smaller homes than one larger one.
- How much space do I actually need? Could you also downsize your possessions? Are there things I simply don't need anymore?
- How will I maintain my home once I'm a frequent traveler? What kind of help would I need? Who would I look to for help?
Downsizing to a townhome or condo may be more suitable to an on-the-go lifestyle. They're also easier to maintain. But a townhome or condo — which has less space — can change the family dynamics around holidays and get-togethers if you're used to playing host. How would downsizing affect you, and also your family?
What kind of Vagabond do you want to be?
There are many ways to explore the world. Each can offer very different experiences. Consider testing the waters with some trips now. You can also game out how you might travel, planning trips but not taking them in order to explore different travel styles. Either way you can ask yourself:
- Do I want to stray from the beaten path and focus on nature? Or do I prefer a golf resort or beach life? Or am I more interested in exploring all a new city has to offer?
- Do I want to be my own tour guide, or travel in a group?
- Do I want to plan every detail in advance? Or do I want to just to hit the road and figure things out when I get there?
- Do I always want luxurious accommodations? Or do I try to stretch the budget, or prefer to rough it?
- How do I want to get there? Go by air? On a cruise? Road trip in my car — or maybe even an RV?
- How might my family feel about these different styles? What might they prefer in terms of my safety, how much contact they'll have with me, how long I'll be gone, and so on?
How to talk to your family
As you get closer to retirement and have a better idea of what traveling the world will look like for you, share your plans with your family. Here are some points to consider:
- How much time do you plan to be on the road? If you’re planning a couple big trips per year, that may not be too different than what you do now. But if you’re planning on being away from home 90 percent of the year, that’s going to be an adjustment — especially if you live near your family and they’re used to seeing you often.
- How will (or won't!) your travel plans involve the rest of the family? Will exploring be a solo activity, or do you envision bringing the rest of the family along sometimes? And would you pick up the tab? While the idea of blazing new trails with you may sound amazing to your family, it may not be financially or logistically possible because of work, school, and so on. If having your family along for the ride is important to you, be sure to have an open conversation about what's realistic for everyone.
- What's your "adventure quotient" when it comes to travel? You may feel great roughing it and thrill seeking, but your family may be more tentative. The opposite can also be true! You may want to play it safe, but your family may want you to take more risks. You never know until you have the conversation.