How this Couple Was Able to Retire Early and Travel the World
Written by Grace & Silas
Hey everyone, today I’m interviewing Jeremy from Go Curry Cracker. Him and his wife went from being in debt to retiring early and traveling the world full-time. Definitely check out this interview; it’s seriously inspiring!
1. How did you first learn that early retirement was possible?
Where there is a will there is a way. I started looking for people who had figured out how to travel full time, and that led to figuring out how to become financially independent. Most of this was through books and chance encounters, e.g. Your Money or Your Life. It’s a great book with a great title.
2. What inspired you to go after retiring early?
I was burned out after 6 years of 60-80 hour weeks in order to pay off student loans, so I took a vacation. After 3 weeks of fresh seafood and tropical beverages, I knew that a normal life wasn’t for me.
3. What practical steps enabled you to achieve this goal?
We massively slashed spending; nothing was sacred. We sold the house, the car, the motorcycle, moved into a small apartment in a walkable neighborhood, started riding bikes everywhere, and learned to make the best food in town in our own kitchen. This reduced cost of living in the 3 biggest expenses categories: housing, transportation, and food. The savings were invested in mutual funds.
4. How long did it take you to adopt this lifestyle?
The transition from normal to extreme saver took about 6 months. The change from getting all income from a job to investments paying our expenses took 10 years.
5. Did you have to convince your spouse? If so, what did it look like?
Nobody ever convinces their spouse of anything 🙂 Our first date was in a big tourist market in Beijing, and neither of us wanted to buy anything other than food (fresh scorpions, anyone?) Our mutual frugality and interest in travel was what we built our relationship upon.
6. What were some of your biggest challenges when you first started?
Change is hard, even when you want it. Unwinding lifestyle inflation is such a strange thing in our society. For us, we tried to design our lives such that healthy saving habits were enforced and encouraged. For example, by selling the car we were never able to slip back into driving to work just because it was convenient.
7. What was one of your biggest mistakes on your journey towards financial independence, and how can others avoid it?
I made all the mistakes: big student loans, buying a house, buying a new car, getting married (and divorced) when really young and stupid 🙂
The main ideas for becoming financially independent are:
– compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe. It can either work for you (investments) or against you (debt: cars, houses, credit cards)
– if you save 10% of your income, after 9 years you can take 1 year off. If you save half, it only takes one year. Do that for 10-15 years, and you can take off forever.
As a general rule, if you don’t have the cash you can’t afford it. And instead of buying stuff or experiences, maybe buy your freedom.
8. What was your favorite thing about planning retirement? What excites you about being retired now?
My favorite part was seeing how making good choices (don’t buy this, invest instead) increasingly provided us with more freedom.
For example, when we started our passive income was maybe $0.06 per month. Then it became enough to cover our rent. And then it exceeded minimum wage. It was a beautiful thing to watch it grow.
Now, every day is full of possibilities. We never have to not do something we love and enjoy (spend time with family, travel) because we have to trade our hours for dollars.
9. What was the transition to retirement like mentally? What was it like for your spouse
This was the most difficult part. Even after 6 months I was still thinking and dreaming about work. This just took time to flush out of my system, and I never think about it anymore.
The other mental challenge was from being massive savers to spending. We made this easier by starting in Mexico rather than Paris.
Winnie had an easier transition than I did, as she quit work 3 years earlier and is an avid photographer. It was really a dream to be able to take photos of the world.
10. What does your daily routine look like now that you’ve retired?
It’s really hard to say on a day to day basis, I don’t really have a routine. But life is so busy that I really have no idea how I ever had time for a job. We have been spending about 6 months each year traveling (our 2 year old has been to 28 countries already), 3 months relaxing, and 3 months pursuing creative interests.
11. What do you like best about early retirement?
Naps. Naps are great.
But also, we carry around so much work related mental baggage that it can be really difficult to be fully present for your spouse, children, and friends. It is a real blessing to be able to focus on the people that matter.
12. What’s your best tip for where to start? What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were new to early retirement?
Look at the Big 3: housing, transportation, and food. Saving $1/day on coffee is not as important as saving 100s of dollars on rent, car, and convenience dining. Work towards savings at least 50% of your income. It may sound challenging, but is just the standard 1950s era idea of living off one income and saving the other.
13. Did you have any mentors or heroes that inspired you when you first started?
I had the good fortune to meet Billy and Akaisha Khaderli (Retire Early Lifestyle) and Doug Nordman (the Military Guide) when we were planning. Being able to talk with people who had been there done that was incredibly helpful, back when early retirement was mostly unheard of. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts and the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss were also influenced my thinking.
14. And lastly, where are you now and what are you doing?
At present we are in Taipei, Taiwan, doing a little recharging and writing, and our toddler is going to playgroup a few hours each day. We’ll be in Vietnam over Chinese New Year, and are looking at the US and Mexico for summer.
Meet Silas & Grace
Silas and Grace always had a passion for travel. So in 2016, they started Chasing Foxes as an independent income source. 4 months after launch, they were making enough money from their blog to travel full-time, and in the past 5 years, they’ve been able to encourage others in their blogging journeys too. Learn more about Silas & Grace.