Hi, we are Jan and Mike….we met on an internet dating site, have now been together since 2002 and married since 2003, and discovered that we shared three passionate loves: movies, trivia competitions, and travel. We estimate that we have seen at least 25,000 movies together (conservatively), and we were on a trivia team at a local bar for many years until the ownership changed hands. Traveling together was something we did from the first month we knew each other. We both worked in Environmental Consulting in Orange County, California. While we were still working, our vacation time allowed us to travel in 2- or 3-week increments to Europe, Canada, Hawaii, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, and several US cross-country driving trips. Before we met, Jan had traveled to exactly 6 foreign countries; Mike had been to 10. Together, we have now been in over 100 countries…and we add a few new ones every few months, it seems.
We retired in 2013 and began more intensive traveling, usually for 3-4 months at a time. We found that we were spending a little over half of each year traveling. We would come home to an overgrown garden, a house in need of repairs and care, and an intensive period of cleaning and upkeep. Then, it was time for our next trip! We often asked why we kept repeating this cycle of traveling, coming home to a lot of work, and then traveling some more. The house clearly owned us; we didn’t own the house.
While we were in the UK in 2017, we visited our friends Barbara and Graham in Wales, who asked if we had ever considered selling our house and traveling full time. Our reply was, yes, we had talked about it several times, but as we get older, a house represents some security and stability for us. But it was a lot of work! As we talked about what life would look like without owning a house, we were feeling both trepidation and freedom all at once. Traveling to any country we wanted and staying a few months, then heading to a new destination instead of cleaning and repairing a house? Sounded heavenly. But…..the thought of selling all of our “stuff” – ??? We had to literally sell – or (mostly) give to charity – all of our furniture, books, clothing, kitchenware, tools, two vehicles, and household items. The thought of giving up so much of what we treasured was a bit overwhelming. The shelf life of items in storage units is a few years, and we knew we wanted to travel until we were physically unable (hopefully, for a decade or more), so everything had to go! So we did it, and today are traveling with a backpack each. A few items of clothing and some toiletries are all we need.
January 2019 Update: As we have traveled with few possessions we find that we want fewer and fewer. We now have all of our daily items in zippered pockets…no wallets or purses. And, of course, we have little interest in retail stores, since there is nothing we can buy that needs to be stored. Our only purchases are food, clothing, and toiletries. Since the world runs on items being bought, we are sort of the AntiChrists of retail.
Many times when we talk to people about our lifestyle they say they would feel insecure without a house. If anything, having lots of possessions and a home that was a significant asset to us thousands of miles away from where we were traveling made us feel more insecure. We are so thankful not to have a house…we see home repair commercials and feel relief that we will never need to bother with any home ownership issues. We feel free, unencumbered by so much stuff that had trapped us.
We started our adventure of “homelessness” on February 1, 2018. For the first nine months, we traveled across the US and Canada in the last vehicle we owned, attending several film festivals and taking several cruises along the way. We sold our truck on the way to the Los Angeles cruise port to take a one-way cruise to Australia, which opened our path to exploring Asia in 2019.
We have been updating this website whenever we have something to post, with where we are and what we have been up to. There will always be pictures and some travel or culture insights…and hopefully, some funny stories along the way! We know that traveling full time will change us and change our view of the world. We embrace that eventuality. We will be sharing the best of what we encounter along the journey.
Send us an email with any thoughts, comments, suggestions, or new travel places…or items!….you have discovered. We would love to be in dialogue with other travelers.
May 2022 Update: Trapped by the pandemic, we spent 400 nights in the same Miami hotel room. Luckily, there was a kitchenette, and Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and Walmart were delivering groceries, so we survived very well. At first, we thought we might be there a month or two. Then it stretched into a few more months when they were advising against air travel. At that point, we decided to just wait until vaccinations were available. In May 2021, we finally traveled back to California to see family and our doctors. Mike’s mom asked that we help her find a place in assisted living. So we found a place she loves, cleared out her huge house with the help of her late husband’s family, and put it up for sale (it sold the first weekend, luckily).
We then took a three-month driving trip across the US from CA, heading to Maine and Ohio for film festivals and spending a month in Manhattan. About a year ago, we had made plans/reservations for several cruises and for traveling around Europe, primarily France and the U.K. But then Omicron hit at the end of 2021. We cancelled cruises and cancelled the first part of our plans in Europe. Once Omicron faded, we felt confident enough to stick with our previously made plans. So now we are traveling around Italy, heading toward France, and we can pick up the itinerary we set up last year by mid-May. Traveling again has been fun, but we are reminding ourselves that it is a lot of work – lots of packing up, catching trains and buses, getting used to a new place every few days. Luckily, we believe it keeps our minds sharp, as we have to remember constantly, in the middle of the night, where is the darn bathroom??