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Can You Travel for Months at a Time?

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Can You Travel for Months at a Time?We went on a trip to Eugene for 4 days last week and I couldn’t wait to get home. I have felt this way before, but it usually surfaces after a few weeks on the road. This wasn’t even a real trip because Eugene is only 2 hours south of Portland! The funny thing is that we had a great time. We usually drive through Eugene on the way somewhere else and rarely stop. That’s a shame because Eugene is a really nice laidback city. Mrs. RB40 said it felt like Portland 20 years ago and I agree. It was great to finally be able explore the town a little more. If I couldn’t wait to get home after a short trip, can I still travel for months at a time?

Eugene, Oregon

This trip was actually a business trip for Mrs. RB40. She was in a seminar the entire time we were in town. Her company paid for the hotel so we tagged along to explore and visit with my old college buddies. Eugene is the third biggest city in Oregon, but it feels so much smaller than Portland. That’s because the Portland metropolitan encompasses 7 counties and a lot more people live here than in the Eugene area. It was a nice change of pace for us. I didn’t get stuck in any traffic jams and the pace of life seems more relaxed. Here are a few more things about Eugene, Oregon.

  • UOThe University of Oregon is located there. Did you know their mascot is Donald Duck? UO is one of the top public universities in the state.
  • Track Town, USA – Eugene is the birthplace of Nike and home of running legend, Steve Prefontaine. The Track and Field Olympic trials are often held at Hayward field in Eugene.
  • #1 Hippie Town – It’s a stereotype, but it’s true. Eugene is where old (and new) hippies go. The Oregon Country Fair is a huge hippie spectacle that has to be experienced to be believed. It’s fun for all ages and is held near Eugene every year.

Good Vacation

This visit was great because I got to catch up with two of my old friends from college. Usually, we get to spend about an hour or two together every few years. This time we spent a bunch of time at their house and even got to know their kids a bit more.

We also went to the beach and climbed the Oregon Dunes. RB40Jr had a great time running around on the sand and finding shells. The beach was really nice because it was 97 degrees in Eugene. Oregon beaches are always cold and it’s the perfect way to escape the heat. In fact, another heat wave is coming this weekend so we may go to the beach again in a few days.

beach

In town, we visited Eugene’s great parks and walked to the Children’s museum. We took Pre’s trail to get there, but RB40Jr renamed it to The Hateful Trail. We were wearing sandals and the trail was covered with cheap wood mulch. I know cheap wood mulch because that’s what I use for landscaping. This mulch has a ton of splinters and is fine for the garden as long as you wear gloves. The trail was great for runners with sneakers, but it was terrible for tourists with sandals. We had to keep stopping and pulling out splinters. Eventually, we walked on the side of the trail, but that didn’t work for Jr. either because his legs were getting cut up by the weeds. It’s tough being a 5 year old.

Couldn’t Wait to Get Home

Anyway, we had a very good time in Eugene. Why couldn’t I wait to get home? There are quite a few reasons actually.

  1. RB40 was in her seminar from 9 am to 10 pm every day, so she wasn’t with us except when she was sleeping. Traveling is exhausting when you have to watch a rambunctious little boy all day. Thank goodness my friends had some kid toys for him to play with. Also, I couldn’t work on the blog while we were gone and a bunch of stuff was piling up.
  2. I didn’t like staying at the hotel room. The room was fine, but the AC was nuts. There were two settings — on or off. The industrial strength AC would come on full blast and we’d be shivering. We felt so dried out by the end of the trip because we’re not used to having the AC on constantly. At home, we don’t even use the AC. It was uncomfortable.
  3. Every meal we had was too salty. We usually eat out about once a week when we’re at home and we’re not used to so much sodium. Unfortunately, we had a regular hotel room and couldn’t cook on a trip like this. All the restaurants we tried used way too much salt. Hamburgers, pizza, Chinese food, biscuits and gravy, crab dip, fish and chips, clam chowder, Caesar salad — all were very salty. We couldn’t wait to get back home and eat healthy again. Too much salt is not good because it can screw up your kidneys and raise your blood pressure. All the extra salt probably contributes to why we felt so thirsty all the time in addition to the heat.

Eugene was nice, but we’re really glad we’re home. I’m going to cook mild and healthy food for the next few weeks. We’ll have a lot of vegetables, fish, and tofu for a while.

Traveling is Fun, But…

Traveling is a lot of fun, but I don’t know if we can do long term travel anymore. Before we had RB40Jr, we used to take 3 week international trips every year and we were fine. In 2003, we went backpacking in Europe for 8 weeks and I went to Thailand for 3 weeks immediately afterward. Now, I’m complaining about a 4 day trip to the next town? It’s a bit pathetic…

This is why I can’t understand people who plan to travel long-term after they retire. It takes a special breed to travel for months at a time. I don’t think we’re in that category anymore. This is worrying because I want to take a year off to travel around the world after Mrs. RB40 retires. We need to do it very soon because we may not be able to handle it later.

This feeling will only get worse as we age. We’re taking a trip to Thailand later this year and my mom told me she doesn’t want to come with us. That’s surprising because she hasn’t seen her siblings for over 3 years. She said traveling is too stressful now. She is getting older and starting to have some health issues so she wants to be close to home. It’s a lot easier to deal with health issues at home than on the road. Traveling only gets more difficult as you get older.

What do you think? Can you travel for months or years at a time?

Images by Wikipedia, UO, and Joe.

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{ 81 comments… add one }
  • Michael @ Financially Alert August 18, 2016, 12:41 am

    This is a fun post to think about, Joe!

    Not including kids into this equation, I could definitely see myself traveling with my wife for up to a couple months. We love exploring and experiencing new cultures, foods, etc.

    However, the older I get, the more I begin to appreciate the finer comforts of traditional hotel accommodations. We used to travel on a shoe string budget at times, but now we’re much more willing to pay for comfort and cleanliness. Of course, I’m going to travel hack wherever I can, but no hostels or sleeping on the floor of a friend’s room anymore. 🙂

    I don’t think I’d want to travel for more than 3 months max. I’d definitely get homesick at that point.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:54 am

      The equation was very different this time. Take away the missus and add a kid, then it’s a tough trip. 🙂
      I still like hostel, but I haven’t stayed in one for years… We’ll have to see if I can do it.

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes August 18, 2016, 1:36 am

    The longest I’ve traveled was a month long trip to Australia when I was younger. We had a great time, but I was glad to get back home. Traveling for more than a month would be pretty difficult.

    Traveling is fun for about the first couple weeks, but after that I get tired of living out of a hotel room and eating at restaurants. Like you guys, I prefer home cooked meals and my own bed.

    FYI – Eugene is a great town. It’s pretty high up on our list of possible towns to move to when we leave the Seattle area. Not sure I like the idea of Oregon’s state income tax though…we’re too spoiled here in Washington.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:55 am

      I really like Eugene too. If we move within Oregon, that’s #1 on our list. WA is very attractive with 0 income tax.

      • Susan Cleary September 1, 2016, 12:21 pm

        Corvallis is good! Even for Ducks such as myself. Puts you close to Eugene and more reasonable driving time to Portland.

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline August 18, 2016, 2:53 am

    I’ve had this conversation with my sister a lot, lately! She quit her job and moved to Kingston, Jamaica to start her freelancing business in January. She went to Miami twice, home to Boston twice, Seattle once, and two trips to Nashville. It exhausts me just thinking about it! Even though working for yourself affords you the opportunity to work from anywhere, it’s still a hassle. I’m not planning to spend anywhere for months at a time in the near future.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:56 am

      Wow, that sounds very busy. I don’t want to travel that much. It’s a lot of hassle. We still want to go on an around the world trip, but I think that will be it for long trips.

  • Dividends Down Under August 18, 2016, 3:10 am

    When I read the title I thought you were going to be questioning whether you could do it financially. But whether you could do it full time mentally etc. I’m not sure. Even if we could cope, I’m not sure I’d want to do that – the enjoyable thing about a holiday is how different it is to home.

    I’m not sure we’d enjoy living out of suitcases. After the first couple of places it’d become less special having not come from your ‘base’ of home. I’d only want to do 2 week holidays max, unless we’re doing a round-the-country trip of USA, UK, NZ or Canada where we could take more time to go to more cities. Even then it might be better to split it up.

    Tristan

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:57 am

      Long term travel is surprisingly affordable. Your everyday life cost almost as much as traveling. 2 weeks sounds about right for us too.

  • Pennypincher August 18, 2016, 3:14 am

    Long term travel does not appeal to me anymore. You’re right, can’t control the salt and fat in restaurant menus. Went long term to Australia once, what a nightmare the flight over was! Never again. Traveling can be tiresome/a lot of work. It’s nice to be refreshed, renewed and transformed by a good trip, but your mom is right-it’s just not worth the hassle many times.
    Bravo for your mom to know when she is done with that hassle!
    I do like the idea of visiting a few choice countries, here and there. Stay a while and really get to know a place.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:58 am

      Flying to Thailand from Portland usually takes more than 20 hours. That is a long travel time. I’m not looking forward to it at all.
      I don’t know why everything was so salty on this trip. I guess the restaurants in Eugene use more salt…

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy August 18, 2016, 3:43 am

    I don’t think I could do it. I have such a comfortable life at home, that it is nice to travel, but even nicer to return. We took a two-week vacation this summer with the kids and while it was nice, it was so good to return. Some things I missed:

    – taking the dog for walks around the neighborhood
    – seeing my friends and working out at the local gym (I’m there at least 3x per week)
    – just relaxing at home with a full-size kitchen, laundry, etc…
    – taking care of small to-do’s around the house with nothing piling up

    Maybe it’s an age thing, at 46, home is good! If I was 25 and single, it would have been a different story.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 10:59 am

      I think it’s an age thing too. I’m 42 now and we may not be able to do our around the world trip if we keep putting it off. Traveling is so much easier when you’re young.

  • The Green Swan August 18, 2016, 3:59 am

    You raise some interesting points, Joe. I could see how traveling gets more difficult and stressful as we age, especially when you get up to 60+. I guess that just means if traveling the world is on the bucket list that it may be worthwhile considering doing as much of that early on as possible.

    We’ve never traveled for more than 2 week trips. I would love to go on a month or two long trip at some point, but I do wonder how eager I’d be to get back home after such a long time.

    Good post, Joe!

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:00 am

      I agree. Travel when you’re young. It’s a lot different. When you’re older, you want more comfort and that distance yourself from the local cultures.

  • Physician on FIRE August 18, 2016, 4:02 am

    It’s a good question, Joe, but I wouldn’t interpret a wanting for home after a 4-day business trip as an inability to enjoy slow travel.

    Personally, I love the idea of settling in somewhere and living like a local. That’s the difference. You had a few days (without your wife) to live like a tourist, eating crappy food and seeing the highlights. At least you got to see some college buds. I think the key to slow travel is to replicate some of what you miss from home as best you can. Have a routine, prepare your own meals to the best of your ability, explore the local area at a less frenzied pace than you would on a 4 or 7 day vacation.

    Best,
    -PoF

    • Tawcan August 18, 2016, 10:13 am

      There’s definitely a huge difference between a “tourist” and a tourist with a home-base close by.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:01 am

      Exactly, that’s what we plan to do with our around the world trip. We’ll see the highlights for a week and then settle down for a month, repeat… We’ll see how it goes.

  • Maria Martoral August 18, 2016, 4:14 am

    Two weeks consecutively is all we can handle because we miss our comfortable beds, grandbaby, dog, flower garden, gym, and cooking healthy. We have done international travel but now in our sixties we are looking forward to traveling the U.S. By renting an RV we are able to cook our own healthy meals and explore by hiking some beautiful places. Our first trip is set for the Great Smoky National Park in NC to see the changing of the leaves!!

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:02 am

      Have fun in your RV. For some reason, we are not interested in RVing at all. Maybe when I’m a bit older. Right now, we want to see cities and expose our kid to other cultures.

      • Maria Martoral August 18, 2016, 7:16 pm

        Hoping to get a van like RV so we can actually park it in each of the cities we visit .

  • Apathy Ends August 18, 2016, 4:30 am

    After 2 weeks I am ready to come home, sometimes 10 day trips are to long as well.

    If the dog could come with it might be easier to stay away longer. I like having a home base

  • Money Beagle August 18, 2016, 5:09 am

    Back in my single days, I would have been all about traveling for long periods of time. I did occasionally but never for more than a week or two stretch. Now, I like the comforts and familiarity of home and I would miss my family too much to be away that long, as there’s no way that they could join me for that long of a stay, with school and all.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:03 am

      What about summer? I wouldn’t want to travel without my family either. That’s not attractive to me at all.

  • Alberto Ortiz August 18, 2016, 5:26 am

    Definitely this is a generational article. There is a sense of entitlement about it not found in mine or my parents generation.

    We raised three children and had no time or money to take vacations since we were always involved in their travel teams, school activities, or social events. Hey we couldn’t even go to dinner until they were at least three and it had to be a burger joint. Not a fancy place.

    We found out after 30 years of raising children that we can travel long term. Several things we did. Children out of the house (That wasn’t easy), downsize to a Townhouse (No maintenance), notified family of our travel plans, and set our financial investment in a less risky position.

    We have only been gone for a month or two at the time but getting the kids out re-energized our lifestyle.

    We learned in our travels to Tahiti, Peru, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and more that there are to main traveling groups. The newlyweds and the nearly dead. Still have a visual of a person in Tahiti with an oxygen mask. No fun.

    Things change and so will you. So be prepared and make the necessary changes to enable long term travel.

    BTW, taxes and expenses get fairly interesting. Best wishes to you and your family.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:05 am

      It’s great that you can travel more now. Our kid is just 5 so we can travel a bit now. School will start ramping up soon and we won’t be able to travel as much.
      I didn’t travel much when I was a kid either. We only went to national parks. I hear where you’re coming from.
      Enjoy your travels and thanks for sharing your opinion.

  • Michael August 18, 2016, 5:39 am

    I think a lot of it has to do with how you traveled and not just the traveling aspect. From the explanation, with your wife being in a conference all day , I would argue it was less a vacation and more your life inconveniently moved for 4 days. With that being the case, I would always prefer to be at home living my life rather than trying to live my life in a hotel/restaurant (if that makes sense).

    That all said, I agree that staying in a hotel and eating out gets old after a while. If i had my wife and daughter I could probably do a month. However, I think smart people who envision long term travel (ie several months) take that into consideration and book hotels with at least a kitchenette, or possibly go the RV route, if only for a portion of their travels. Also, and I don’t think this point is relevant for most readers here, but you have to keep in mind how many people eat out almost every meal; they have no idea what “too much salt” or “too big a portion” even looks like because its all they know.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:08 am

      It would have been a lot better if Mrs. RB40 could enjoy the trip with us. She is such a huge part of our lives. It’s not as fun without her. You’re right about restaurants. It’s not healthy to eat our every meals.

  • MrRIP August 18, 2016, 5:47 am

    Totally Agree!
    Traveling is becoming stressful for me even before turning 40.

    I guess when you’re FI you love your daily life so much that you don’t have to “escape” it by traveling. That’s what I read between the lines of your post. Maybe traveling with a kid and having to handle him alone is another blocker.

    I dream about traveling more when I’ll be FIREd but I fear that this dream is unfeasible and will be even more as time passes.

    Nice post Joe!

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:09 am

      I think you hit the nail on the head! My daily life is great and I don’t need to get away to “destress.” Life is already really good at home.

  • Brad, MaximizeYourMoney August 18, 2016, 6:17 am

    I think it would be neat to live/work in a few different places. Perhaps rent a house or condo in a city and stay there a year or two, then move to another city. With remote-working options this is actually viable – but of course takes the right person to pull it off and enjoy it. We might test it out at some point to see if it would work for us.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:10 am

      I want to try that once Jr heads off to college. I plan to live in Thailand for 6 months and then come back to the US. Then try different locations. It’s 13 years off so I have no idea if I’ll feel the same way then. We’ll see… Stay tune. 🙂

  • Kevin August 18, 2016, 6:38 am

    I do get sick of eating out at restaurants after about a week. Not enough fruits and vegetables. I think to make long travel work, you would have to rent a apartment or something on AirBnB so you can do some of your own cooking and not feel like you’re living out of a suit case.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:11 am

      We’ll keep that in mind the next time we take a long trip. A place with a kitchen would help a lot.

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life August 18, 2016, 6:38 am

    It’s always important to take stock of what you actually enjoy versus what you think you are supposed to enjoy. I feel like long-term travel is something that gets discussed so often in the FIRE community that it starts to seem like something that everyone should want to do. I’m glad that you are able to figure out for yourself (and before dropping a lot of money on trips that you end up disliking!) what works and what doesn’t.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:13 am

      Long term travel works for only a few people. Even travel bloggers stop traveling after 5-6 years. It gets old. Almost everyone wants a home where they can settle down.

  • Felipe August 18, 2016, 6:44 am

    Great post indeed. A hotel isn’t for long-term travel in my mind. Renting a place monthly after a few weeks of searching for a place to rest for a while is my style. Finding the local markets, parks, jogging paths, cooking at “home”, meeting the neighbors. It’s still traveling but there’s no substitute for some sort of routine for a while before you take off on the next part of your journey. That being said, I tried that in 1999. I traveled for 4 months, got a place and have stayed in this town for 17 years now. When you leave on a long journey, realize you may settle in somewhere and never go back.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:14 am

      Nice! Where are you? We plan to do some slow travel when Mrs. RB40 retires. It’s not fun to breeze through a location anymore.

      • Felipe August 21, 2016, 7:16 am

        I ended up in the woods outside a small mining town in the Colorado mountains, after years in Houston and Boston. When you both slow travel, keep an open mind and go with no plans. Nice post. Thanks again.

  • Maggie August 18, 2016, 6:47 am

    Good reflection, Joe. Your article expresses what I’ve kind of knew for a long time, but didn’t want to admit to myself. One part of me still wants to travel and see many more of the exciting places around the globe, but another part just wants to stay home, enjoying the comforts of being with my daughter and two cats. 🙂

    Perhaps the best solution is to move to a country where you always wanted to vacation in. Then you feel like you are traveling while you are actually not.

    One of my dreams since childhood has been to live in a tropical country. Well, 6 years ago I finally made that dream come true and moved to Nicaragua.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:15 am

      We have a cat too and we worry about her. My old college roommate is from Nicaragua. Have fun!

  • Maggie August 18, 2016, 6:57 am

    Question about the #MoneyGames at GoBankingRates (voted for you!)… what were the requirements for entering this competition?

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:15 am

      I got an invitation from GoBankingRates.

  • Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries August 18, 2016, 7:31 am

    I love oregon!! Its so beautiful there. Ive taken a few month long trips overseas and they were pretty much the best travel experiences I have ever had. Spent one month travelling all through europe and another month in Asia although I didnt hit as many countries as I would have liked to in Asia.

  • Fiscally Free August 18, 2016, 8:26 am

    You are proving one of the main arguments of the early retirement crowd.
    If you wait to retire until you are 65+, you will be too old, tired, and cranky to do all the stuff you imagined doing in retirement, like extended travel.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:16 am

      Yes, travel while you’re young. It is a lot more fun. Most older people I know like to take cruises. We don’t like cruises so we need to travel now.

  • Justin August 18, 2016, 8:41 am

    We start feeling the same way eventually after a while living on the road. The first leg of our road trip this summer had us on the move every couple of days, staying either in a hotel or in a short term airbnb where we didn’t really want to buy a bunch of ingredients to cook. As a result it was a dining out feast for a week.

    Literally the first thing I did when we got to the airbnb in Toronto (where we were staying for 2 weeks) was hit the grocery store and stock up on thick heads of dark green lettuces, some tomatoes, and other salad ingredients. Nothing tastes as good as a plain old salad after a week of restaurant food.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:18 am

      Right, we picked up a bunch of fruits while we were on the trip, but didn’t get much salad. The last day we ordered Caesar salad and it was really salty too! We’re all feeling better after a few days at home.

  • Chris August 18, 2016, 8:41 am

    Great post Joe!

    I know the feeling all to well. In 2014, I took a 3 month backpacking trip all over Europe. I started a blog during the trip and saw myself traveling and blogging all over the world for the next 10 years.

    Well, just two months ago, I took a 3 week trip to SE Asia and couldn’t wait to get back home after only 2 weeks. I got sick halfway through the trip which didn’t help either.

    What I realized was that I enjoy a good/healthy simple daily routine. I also don’t have to worry about eating bad food or getting sick.

    So, I’m definitely with you on leaving the nomadic lifestyle for more of a balanced lifestyle. Not to say I won’t travel or take trips, but the 3 week – 3 month trips are out. I think the sweet spot is 10 days 🙂

    Happy travels,
    Chris

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:20 am

      Thanks! It’s no fun being sick on a trip. That’s a big reason why it’s so much harder to travel when you’re older. There is always some kind of health issue or another. Your stomach can’t handle all the different food anymore either. I think 2 weeks is just about perfect. We went to Costa Rica last year and that was just about the right length.

  • Whitney August 18, 2016, 8:50 am

    Your blog comes at good timing, as my husband, dog, and I are embarking on a 3-month+ trip this Saturday. We’re pretty excited about it! We’re staying in NYC for the first 3 months, and then… we don’t know where, but the plan is to find somewhere nice and warm for the winter.

    But you bring up some valid points. We also aren’t keen on staying in cold-ass cookie-cutter hotel rooms, and not being able to cook. (We also find it difficult to eat out a lot since everything seems way too salty/sweet/oily).

    To alleviate some of those concerns, we are staying at Airbnbs. That way we will feel like we are actually living there, rather than just playing tourist, and we will still be able to cook!

    All the while, we will be working remotely like true “digital nomads”. So we’ll be busy – not just wandering the streets 24/7. Maybe this is the key to being able to handle long-term travel?

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:21 am

      Have a great trip! I think we’ll like Airbnbs more too. Next time we’ll try them. Being busy will help a lot. Good luck!

  • David Michael August 18, 2016, 8:59 am

    Wow! Lots of stereotypes about aging in the comments section. Gotta set a sense of reality here. As a write this, I’ll reach the magic age of 80 in a few months.

    1) Age 65 is a great time to travel. Usually, the kids are gone, you have money in the bank, health is still good, and social security is around the corner. In our case, I went back to graduate school for another Master’s degree, and worked in the Middle East for the next five years traveling on every vacation and summer break.
    2) Age 70, bought a small Class C RV and traveled around the USA and Canada for seven years full time. Loved it! And we had comfy beds every night. Lots of two week trips kayaking, hiking, and biking in the wilds of North America.
    3) Age 80, I’m converting a cargo van presently into a camper for the next ten years of travel with kayaks on top and bikes on rack in back.

    So…forget about the aging limitations. Travel is a great adventure at any age. Just do it!

    As for Eugene, where we have lived for 32 years (moving from Palo Alto), I gotta say it is a crazy, wacko town with infinite numbers of possibilities for everyday fun. We especially love volunteering at the Track Events such as the Olympic Trials (ushered right in front of the Pole Vault section). Too many free activities to keep track of because of the university and Parks and Rec Dept. Our favorite is the bike trail system. Don’t move here though, it still rains here six months out of the year. Move to Portland!

    Keep up the good work, Joe.

    • retirebyforty August 18, 2016, 11:24 am

      Thank you for your perspective. I suspect you maybe an outlier. Most older people I know don’t like to travel. The statistic would be very interesting. RVing is a great way to travel when you’re older. You can bring a piece of home with you. Right now, we like exploring without a vehicle, though. So many people are moving to Portland. It’s crazy…

  • Max August 18, 2016, 9:15 am

    I think it really depends.

    Travelling with a child is definitely a different experience, I remember my parents trying to solve this by taking family trips with my cousins or going to visit various cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. The other way that we would try to solve this was to take vacations sometimes with other families that way the kids could all play together and the adults could all play together and kinda watch out for each other. It more or less worked. It can also sometimes be stressful to bring more people together.

    I’ve been thinking about this one a lot. I’ve been really fortunate the past two years to have some really awesome extended vacations. I’ve also taken some extended travels in the past which may have helped shape things.

    Anyways, I just got back from a 6 week-long trip up and down the California coast and around the Canadian Rockies. As you eluded I don’t think that I could have done the trip that we did necessarily with a young child. We ended up visiting one of my SO’s friends and staying with them for a few days and also going to Glacier National Park together with the parents and their 5 year old son which is the closest experience I got.

    Things I noted and observed:
    1) Kids at that age just have a ridiculous amount of energy and are very egocentric. They can sometimes be generous about sharing things, but are often times very possessive. When they have more than one toy or item that they want they will focus on it. You can distract them with another toy or item that they want fairly easily to bribe them to do what you want them to do.
    2) Again, while we were there, the friend we were visiting scheduled to have a playdate for her son and while the two together were definitely at times more work because twice as rambunctious they also kinda could play by themselves to an extent while we ate, drank, and played together as adults intervening or helping to set-up games for them.
    3) You need to kinda plan and organize around what can be enjoyable for both the child and yourself. I was naive about this initially and had hoped to see much more of the Glacier National Park, but the parents and child we were traveling with were just simply put too exhausted. We still managed to do two awesome day hikes, but they were a little shorter than I would have liked and out of 3 days, I think we only really got one solid day exploring the park.

    Other things to note – there is a lot written about solutions on how to cook while traveling. Honestly, we did a lot of camping and backpacking on this trip and it’s amazing how easy it is to prepare a lot of foods with a basic propane stove (not too expensive or difficult to lug around). A lot of foods don’t always need refrigeration, or you can bring a cooler and restock ice fairly easily. Yes, often times if you’re staying in hotels they will not let you cook inside the room technically – but you can also use the coffee maker to boil water or bring a hot water boiler and then make teas, soups, even eggs… I know it sounds crazy but I’ve done it and heard others do it too. Other things that work well are going to grocery stores and getting milk and cereal, yogurts, fruits, bagels and cream cheese, and sandwiches.

    As Justin notes, it’s pretty easy to “cook” a salad by just bringing a big bowl, cutting board, and knife. We did that a few times on our trip and it definitely helped a lot.

    I’m not saying that we did not eat out on our trip, but we definitely ate in a lot more. Again, when you’re traveling with a 5 year old you need to plan and prepare all the more for everything. I was impressed with our friends we were traveling with they made a HUGE mac and cheese before the trip that we took with us, and had a bunch of snacks and juice boxes and such for their child that we also ended up eating.

    Not saying it’s easy, and if you’re traveling with most folks in a hotel – they’re probably not going to want to do it, but it definitely can be done.

    Going back to if the hotel doesn’t let you cook, you can usually get to a public park area pretty quickly and most have tables and a BBQ set-up.

    Just some food for thought. I had originally planned on trying to stop by to meet you and your family on our trip but the timing didn’t end up working out.

    Another idea you may want to try out that I just learned about on this trip is a program called Historicorps, where you can volunteer for a week at a time and they will provide you with all the camping equipment – tents, pads, lights, sleeping bags, as well as three meals a day for you to volunteer to help preserve Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service historic landmarks, trails, and areas. Kinda like a Habitat for Humanity kinda thing. I ended up camping for a day in Hebo with a friend who started working with them, sounded like a great experience and would be really fun for a kid to learn about (not sure if they actually allow kids since you’re like essentially building chimneys and other type of construction stuff) But maybe check it out.

    That’s all I got for now.

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:28 am

      Sounds like a great trip. We went to Crater Lake with another family. It was a lot of fun. We made a big batch of mac&cheese too. 🙂 Strangely, our kid likes staying in hotels so it’s a treat for him. He could stay up later, watch more TV, and eat out more… It’s fun for little kids. We cut way back on our activities now that we have a kid along. Thanks for letting me know about Historicorps. I’ll check it out, but probably can’t do it until our kid is a bit older.

  • Tawcan August 18, 2016, 10:11 am

    Interesting topic Joe. As you may know, traveling around the world once we reach financial independence is one of the things we plan to do. We have traveled with Baby T1.0 many times and have fared pretty well. Recently we had a 5 day vacation in Kelowna (~4 hours from Vancouver) with two kids. We fared pretty well but there were definitely challenges.

    I think it was harder for you as Mrs. RB40 was in her seminar during the day. We had a similar experience last year in Seattle. I was in a seminar during the day and Mrs. T was touring the city with Baby T1.0 (T2.0 was not born then). I was told that one day Baby T1.0 had a complete meltdown in the line going up Space Needle. Mrs. T was like “I’m done with traveling with this kid!”

    I think the trip for traveling around the world is to have a home base. Being able to cook your own food will make you feel more relaxed. Eating out all the time not only is expensive but also not good for your health (too salty, too fatty, etc).

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:29 am

      Yes, it made a huge difference with Mrs. RB40 away. It’s a lot more fun traveling with the whole family. I’m planning to have several home bases when we travel around the world too. It’ll be a great opportunity to see our relatives in Australia and Thailand. 🙂

  • Pia @ Mama Hustle August 18, 2016, 10:20 am

    I have zero interest in traveling long-term with two kiddos. I think it would stress me out beyond belief. Once they’re a little older though, I think I’d be game. If it was just me and hubs (pre-kids era), I’d definitely do it.

    But now, I just don’t think it works for our lifestyle. I’m boring 😀

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:29 am

      I’m sure you’ll be able to travel more when they are a bit older. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Cofrog August 18, 2016, 1:29 pm

    We’ve learned with two kids along, we won’t stay for more than 2 nights in a hotel, otherwise we do VRBO for a house or condo. It’s just not fun otherwise.
    We’ve bought a collapsible cooler that we take where ever we go and pack pb & j along with fruit and healthy snacks. We never eat out more than one meal a day, and often we don’t even do that. Right now with our kids, we can’t be gone for more than 10 days or so, but they do well when do trips that long, in part b/c we try to enjoy as much as we can while still keeping our routines of home.

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:30 am

      That’s a good idea. We’ll try VRBO if we stay more than a few days next time.

  • Pat Crosby August 18, 2016, 2:43 pm

    I follow your blog religiously and have gotten so much good feedback from it. With that said, I love this topic. My husband and I knew years and years before we retired where we wanted to be – the mountains of WNC. Now all through our high paying but high stress careers, we also took some great trips – Europe, Central America, many places in this country, but always went to WNC at least once a year. When we finally leaped into retirement at 55 we came to NC and found the perfect ( for us) little house up a mountain road back in the woods. We still though, talked about all the travelling we would do. Well guess what – we don’t want to go anywhere! We love where we live so much, we just explore around the little mountain towns – there is nothing I would rather do than sit on my front porch overlooking our property and stream, with a cup of coffee and my dogs at my feet, with my favorite music in the background. Oh, and another thing – I swore I was going to do nothing much in retirement – now 4 days a week, 5 hours a day, I go to my new job as Bookkeeper/Treasurer for a local church. I love it and it gives me spending money without any stress to draw down funds. Life is different than what we originally planned, but is perfect for us! I do still want to go to Japan – fascinated with their culture. Maybe we’ll make it and maybe we won’t. It’s all good.

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:31 am

      It’s so great to hear you found a place for yourself. It sounds wonderful. Japan is a lot of fun and it’s pretty easy to travel in. You should take a short trip someday. Enjoy your retirement!

  • That sounds like a lovely area Joe! But I totally agree about hating AC in hotels (we don’t have AC either) – they are generally loud and wake me up when the compressor kicks on and off. And as far as salty food, we have pretty much given up eating out because of that. We feel like we have to drink water for hours after! (And we drink a lot of water anyway!)

    • retirebyforty August 19, 2016, 10:32 am

      The AC in hotels are so strong. It sucks all the moisture out of the air. We usually have good luck with restaurants in Portland. Maybe it’s just because we only go out once a week or less. We probably don’t notice the extra salt at that rate, but when you eat out every meals…

  • nicoleandmaggie August 19, 2016, 10:34 am

    So far we’ve moved someplace new every 4-6 years, give or take. The last two times we moved away for a year and then came back to our home base. So… is that like traveling for 6 months at a time if you’re renting a house and bringing your cats and sending your kids to school? Hard to say.

  • Silicon Valley Dollar August 19, 2016, 2:51 pm

    Whew… I’m so happy I’m not the only one who feels this way! I often hear people say that they need a vacation from their vacations, I increasingly feel this way myself. If possible I try to build in some buffer time between the end of traveling and going back to work just to kind of rest at home and get my normal life rhythm back, so to speak!

    • retirebyforty August 22, 2016, 10:22 am

      Mrs. RB40 feels the same way. She needs an extra day off to adjust at home now. I think that’s a really good idea.

  • Pon August 19, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I’ve always wanted to take 3 months off to travel, and understand local culture and food. Traveling while staying in a comfort bubble isn’t my thing.

    Sadly, my time, the most valuable thing in life, is tied to my job right now. The last time I had a month off was when I just graduated from University.

    • retirebyforty August 22, 2016, 10:23 am

      You should see if you can get a 3 months sabbatical. Some extended time off could really recharge your battery.

  • Finance Solver August 20, 2016, 1:43 pm

    I don’t think I will ever get used to traveling for months at a time. I like change and all to put myself in an uncomfortable situation so that I can grow the most but I think traveling all the time can create too much change in my life which I think will lead to me burning out.

    It’s great that you were able to enjoy Oregon! Had no idea that a school would have a cartoon character for a mascot.

    • retirebyforty August 22, 2016, 10:24 am

      UO is the only university with a Disney mascot! Someone knew someone who knew Disney. 🙂

  • Jason in Vancouver August 21, 2016, 1:35 am

    Our trips are generally 3-4 weeks long. Travelling is still novel enough for us that we are sad when the vacation days wind down. Our target is to travel 6 months of the year when retired. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean 6 months straight. It might mean a mix of a month away during the rainy winters in Vancouver, road trips, a weekend in Vegas, summers in Vancouver, a 3 week cruise, etc. The flexibility that FIRE will afford our plans is exciting. While we want to do more locally, planning and researching travel/vacation plan is fun and interesting for us.

    However, the missus is getting a bit lazy though as cruising is one of her preferred travelling “tools” now. At least she still prefers to DIY around the ports of call instead of jumping on a tour bus.

  • Alexis @FITnancials August 21, 2016, 5:32 pm

    I’ve been traveling on and off for months at a time the past year and it’s been such a rewarding experience. I have spent time in SA, EU, and Australia. I believe these real-world experiences also helped me with my blogging and expanding my knowledge. I think everyone should spend a few months abroad, whether it’s for simply for leisure or work.

    • retirebyforty August 22, 2016, 10:25 am

      I loved extended travel when I was young too. It’s the best time to go travel. Once you have a family, then travel is a lot more difficult. I agree everyone should try some extended trips.

  • Cardinal93 August 22, 2016, 10:48 am

    Great article Joe!

    This is the reason why I have a timeshare (Hilton which I bought in the resale market), and I just bought another one (Worldmark, also on the resale market for cheap).

    I’d never stay in a hotel room again if I can help it, and I usually stay 3 nights or so in the timeshare (which has full kitchen, dining and laundry facilities, and plenty of kids activities in the recreation center or pool).

    Timeshares are usually terrible investments, but they make for great travel options if you know how to leverage and use them correctly. Also, remember never to buy them directly from the timeshare developer…you’d be paying 4x more than necessary.

    • retirebyforty August 22, 2016, 2:34 pm

      I heard timeshares are terrible investments so I haven’t looked into them. Let me see if I can find a good deal. 🙂

  • Susan Cleary September 1, 2016, 12:28 pm

    As far as your food choices in Eugene…you have to avoid the Pub/ brewery type places to get a healthier non salty fare, which is completely doable in Eugene… Laughing Planet and other veggie focused restaurants are plentiful….

  • Totoro November 18, 2016, 10:00 pm

    I’ve travelled so much for work and have lived overseas with small kids – I’m kind of travelled out. I’m in my 40s and retired now and we still take some trips but tend to stay in one spot when we arrive and rent thru Airbnb. I mostly just want to stay home and invest in stable community and relationships for the long term with people who I can speak my native language with and share regular brunches and holidays with for the rest of our lives. That is way more meaningful to me than being a tourist, but I understand that maybe that is me getting older too! ?

  • Apop February 25, 2017, 7:48 pm

    As a researcher I take an entire team on the road once or twice a year. I love the lifestyle, but there are definitely some tricks to it. First thing is get a kitchen. We use AirBnB or otherwise rent an apartment or condo. In my case it is a great way to shrink research costs, but it also solves the salt and sugar problem- no one can live on restaurant food for too long! Second, the trip pretty much should be a month at least before it shifts from “vacation” to “travel”. After a month you really settle into a routine in the new place- get to know the town, etc. And the stress of having to “see everything” fades. So yeah, get a kitchen and don’t rush. I love starting to feel like I’ve really experienced a new region or city.

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