Ep. 11: – Financially Supporting Your Retirement Lifestyle Vision

Brighter Wealth Retirement


Devin Peterson (00:00):

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Brighter Retirement Radio. I’m your host, Devin Peterson, and in today’s episode our topic is financially supporting your retirement lifestyle vision, whether that’s traveling or whether that’s golf or whether that’s spending lots of time with your family. This episode is absolutely for you. In this episode, we had the unique opportunity to get together and connect with Michael and Debbie Campbell. Now Michael and Debbie are Airbnb champions, travel bloggers and authors. Now to give you a little bit of insight into Michael and Debbie’s story that we’ll talk about in this episode. They retired from Seattle, Washington back in 2013 and ever since then have been traveling the world living in other people’s homes. That’s right. Airbnb enthusiasts and experts when we caught up with them at the time of this recording, they are currently on day 2,523 in San Miguel, Mexico, and so we’re very grateful that they were able to find some time to sit down with you, our listeners, and discuss this topic of financially supporting the retirement lifestyle visions.

Devin Peterson (01:13):

Now in this episode we will discuss not only their travel lifestyle, but more specifically how they were able to come to understand this travel lifestyle dream, put together their initial budget, and how they continue to work together to really stick to it. Now make sure you listen to the end where we share their favorite aspects of living abroad. And I believe the responses will actually surprise you. One of my favorite aspects of this interview with Michael and Debbie was their willingness to be a little bit vulnerable and share how important it is for all of us to find what really makes us feel alive and brings us joy in our retirement, what they call your Northstar. How we find that, how we understand that, and how we can adjust some of our finances to absolutely support our dreams. Now keep in mind at the time of this recording, the COVID-19 virus is fast approaching its peak here in the United States and it’s absolutely affected our world economy. And our economy is actually still down.

Devin Peterson (02:20):

So as you listen to this episode, you’ll have us refer to social distancing or isolation, or some of the travel restrictions of the economy, the market that’s down at this time and how that affects them. So keep that in mind as you’re listening to this episode.

Devin Peterson (02:35):

All right, I’m so excited to introduce my guest to you today. And so without further ado, here’s my interview with Michael and Debbie Campbell.

Devin Peterson (02:45):

Hello and welcome back to Brighter Retirement Radio. I’m your host Devin Peterson. And today I’m really excited to introduce our special guests coming all the way from the beautiful state or the beautiful country of Mexico in San Miguel. We have with us, Michael and Debbie Campbell. Michael and Debbie, welcome. How are you doing today?

Michael Campbell (03:07):

Great. Thanks for having us.

Devin Peterson (03:10):

I would just love to take a few minutes to introduce to our listeners who you are and why I’ve invited you to speak to our audience today and what kind of unique story that you do have. So one interesting tidbit that I want to kind of start off with is something that you’ve shared with me previously, which is today is as day 2,523 into a most interesting and unique journey. Is that right?

Debbie Campbell (03:45):

That’s true. Seven years of full time travel.

Devin Peterson (03:49):

So that’s kind of where I want to start. Michael and Debbie, can you kind of share with us in maybe two or three sentences what you’ve been doing in the last seven years?

Michael Campbell (04:04):

We quit work, we sold everything, we headed off to see the world and we’ve been living in other people’s homes for almost seven years. 260 Airbnbs in 85 countries.

Devin Peterson (04:27):

Perfect. Perfect. That’s a perfect caption that we can put on the top of a newspaper clipping. Thank you for simplifying it that way. So for the both of you as I’ve had several conversations via email and then a little bit before we started recording, I love your story because it seems like it is uniquely you. So it’s something that I see that you’ve both set off and you both have smiles on your faces 2000 days later.

But for all of our listeners, I think so many of us are trying to relate to decide what is our thing after we retire, what lights us up, what makes us feel relevant and happy and joyful as opposed to a more slow pace, simple retirement that is more commonplace. And so I’m really hoping and excited throughout this conversation today that our audience, our listeners can really get an understanding or a feeling within their heart of what their path might be. So as we kind of start this off, maybe Michael, I’ll pick on you, if you don’t mind for a minute over seven years ago, how did all of this come to pass? How did you come up with this idea of what you just said, quit work, sell everything and start traveling?

Michael Campbell (05:53):

We didn’t have to plan. There’s a ten year age difference between us and so I was probably a little bit more readier than Debbie was. But we didn’t know what to do. We didn’t really have a plan. We didn’t know for sure. We didn’t have report. And Debbie will tell you, one of our daughters was home visiting usfor Christmas eight years ago.

Debbie Campbell (06:21):

This daughter that lives in France. She and her husband have three young children there. At that time she only had the toddler, but was expecting her second and was home for Christmas. She kind of saw a list of places we’d like to travel to on the refrigerator. And she said, well, I don’t know, mom and dad, why don’t you just quit your jobs and travel? And we were like, well, that’s an idea. I mean, we love to travel. And she said, well, have you ever heard of Airbnb? And at that point we had not. And she said, well, let me show you this. Because had a friend who had been traveling and working in Airbnbs in South America and she said, you can just live in other people’s homes all around the world. And that sparked an idea.

Michael Campbell (07:04):

We kind of said, well, Mary, that’s the daughter’s name, have you looked at our checkbook lately because I can’t imagine that this is even remotely possible, but we were intrigued and we traveled a lot in the past and lived overseas for five years in the UK, mid career for me. We started digging in and exploring and thinking and dreaming.

Debbie Campbell (07:31):

I call Michael “Captain Spreadsheet” because he loves Excel and he loves to crunch numbers. So he really just sat down and cranked out a few budgets. And we found one that was maybe doable. And honestly, that was in December that she saw us. We were on the road in July.

Devin Peterson (07:49):

That’s amazing. It was my understanding that most folks as they sit down and do their budgeting and their planning for one trip a year, that’s definitely a task to be had. But sitting down and trying to wrap your head around, if I’m doing this 365 days out of the year, what kind of expenses are going to come about. So Michael, as you started to put down together that spreadsheet, do you feel now, in hindsight looking back, do you feel like you’re spot on, you’re inspired or do you feel like there’s a lot of expenses that you’d kind of neglected to think about that you might need to plan for?

Michael Campbell (08:30):

I think I was able to project most of them. I am a rows and columns kind of guy who put on sports events for a living. And so planning and budgeting is something I’m really comfortable with and enjoy. I don’t think there was anything shocking. I just took our own budget and said, we’re going to have a lot of these same expenses on the road and crossed out the ones that we wouldn’t and ones that we would.

And I just started, three columns, a low, medium and a high, and off we started thinking about it.

Devin Peterson (09:03):

And off you went. So as you know, this podcast is primarily focused with financial retirement education. So a lot of our listeners are what we call charitable boomers, right? So they’re there just preparing for retirement or just retired or just a few years into retirement and still trying to really put together a good financial plan that they feel confident and comfortable with, which oftentimes means making decisions about their social security, timing, their pension, if they’re going to take it or not. What kind of assets are going to hold? If you don’t mind sharing a little bit, as you started to now you have a budget or spreadsheet in front of you and you started to plan for that, did you take into consideration many of your income sources and did that need a little bit of planning as well?

Michael Campbell (09:55):

Yeah, well we’re blessed in so many ways, but one of our blessing is a financial advisor, who we’ve been with for maybe 25 years. One person who handed us off to another person and together those two people have been at our side for 25 years which was 18 years before we ventured off. So we had had a lot of help and understanding diversification there and kind of what kind of returns you might be able to expect based on all sorts of envisioned models and so forth. In any case we eventually, in the process of a couple of months into the thinking about this, sat down with her and Pam said, well, you could probably take about this amount of money out of your little nest egg or little small asset, fold in social security for me and eventually for Debbie. And so we started really thinking about how much it would cost to live on the road and how much it would cost to live retired in Seattle, kind of on our porch with rocking chairs. And we didn’t have a porch with rocking chairs. But anyway, you get the visual right. And the hypothesis was maybe we could travel the world for the same money and money we would spend if we retired in Seattle. But in order to do that, we couldn’t own a house. We had to get rid of it, reduce all your expenses in Seattle down to as low as humanly possible and take that money that you would normally give to your cable provider and your gas station and your car insurance and give it to Delta airlines or we give all of our money to the airlines and Airbnb. There you go.

Devin Peterson (11:59):

If I may kind of interject a little bit. I love what you’re saying because really as folks approach retirement, there’s several of their expenses that are kind of in this box that they don’t consider might be optional. And so what I hear you saying is as you sat down with your advisor and as you sat down with your spouse and really considered some expensesthere was some definite trade offs that you realize that you would have to make to be able to support that kind of lifestyle. I like that you’ve said, we would love to travel, but let’s kind of put it in the best, a more appropriate frame of mind. We’re not going to be staying at the Ritz Carlton everywhere we go. We’re not going to be on a cruise ship where we have our own yacht. And that’s actually absolutely okay. I love what I hear about what you’re saying is you kind of took some direction from your advisor and got a good idea of what your income streams are going to be or how much you could pull out. And then you started to really understand what that lifestyle might look like.

Debbie Campbell (13:14):

Yep. Well, the most important thing that we can say is we’re not on vacation, so it’s a different mindset. We’re living our daily lives, we’re just doing it in other people’s homes. So what we do in that home is the same as we would do in Seattle. We play cribbage, we do jigsaw puzzles, we watch Netflix, we do the laundry, we pay our bills, we go for walks, we cook almost all our meals at home. We do laundry, we just do everything we would have done at home. We just are blessed enough to be doing it in different countries and it just is so enriching and back to our financial advisor, which I’m sure you are the same with your clients, she was such a cheerleader for us. She absolutely not once did she off at this. She was like, you know what? I wish more of my clients would look at this as a model because it can be done and you know, it can be done at a millionaires investment or not a millionaire investor. That’s when it just depends on how you’re willing to stretch that money and where you’re willing to spend your time.

Devin Peterson (14:12):

Absolutely. And so coming back to something that Michael said about understanding that some of your expenses that we all think are necessarily like your cable bill or your water bill or your insurances on some of your assets like your car those are all negotiable as you really seek to find what’s going to light you up and bring you happiness when you’re in your retirement. Now admittedly, your circumstance is a bit extreme.

Debbie Campbell (14:43):

Yes, go ahead. It is extreme.

Devin Peterson (14:46):

But clearly you being in a space to sell everything is one end of the spectrum that some folks might be on the other end that they don’t want to sell anything. What I understand those most folks live somewhere in the middle, right? Most folks realize that, okay, I could give up X, Y and Z in the middle because I would love to live abroad for one month a year. Right? And give that up. We can give away XYZ. So I like that.

Michael Campbell (15:23):

I might jump in just to say we are on an extreme, but with our financial resources, we could not have a home and travel six months a year, eight months a year, or nine months a year. And at some point you say, well, why would you want to have a home if you’re going to travel 11 months a year? Does that make sense? So the person who wants to travel one month a year can say, well, I’m going to tighten on this line item, this line item, this line so I can spend on travel. Yeah. And can I also make one other comment about financial, because I think that’s the heart of your interest. It says most people when they get to the retirement stage, they get really conservative and they’re concerned about the future and they just can’t see the future. Like all of us, none of us can. And so they want to hold on to any assets and that’s totally understandable. But if you can get yourself to the place of, so you okay, take a leap, most likely you’re going to get this kind of return on your investments over the next X number of years and then go for it. I think that’s what most people don’t do. And I think if they are looking for happiness, looking to fulfill whatever their Northstar is, a little push, a little encouragement is in order by a lot of financial planners.

Devin Peterson (16:55):

Thank you for kind of bringing it back to the financial advisor as a cheerleader or as a team member that can really help give confidence to supporting your desires because I admittedly a bit of a nerd. I will raise my hand. I will own that. I am a nerd. I live and breathe the retirement topics, retirement finances, the tax side, the investment side. I’m a nerd and luckily most people are not nerds like me. Most people are professionals in their own right, regardless of what their training and employment has been. And so most folks as they approach retirement, retirement finances are a bit foreign for them because they don’t live and breathe it every day. And so having a team member, like a financial advisor that can see with clear eyes into their finances and give them a thumbs up, green lightpermission slip to be able to step into something like what you’ve done, I’m sure was really encouraging. Is that right?

Debbie Campbell (18:04):

Oh, it was. And you know, we’re probably in touch with our financial advisor six times a year, maybe more and she follows us religiously on the blog and so she knows exactly what we’re doing. So she kind of feels a little bit of ownership of this as well. So that’s nice. But the other thing that’s helpful with having her on our team is that she’s able to look forward into the future where we aren’t, I mean, she’s got me line item until I am 95 and so I feel a great comfort from that. I know what that’s going to look like and feel like. Yes, this is risky, but I think if it got to a point where it was too risky or something really happened, you know, certainly with this Coronavirus or whatever, she’d be the first to call us home.

Devin Peterson (18:51):

Again, having that team approach allows you to really enjoy what you’re doing.

Michael Campbell (18:58):

I’m going to phrase it one more time just to make sure that point is made. Many of the financial advisors that we’ve talked to find that they can’t get people just before retirement or in retirement to let go and to go do what they want to do. Because we’re all fearful of the future and we all get conservative. So I think what can break that free is a financial advisor who says this one, you can do it. Let me show you on paper here. You know, 90 times out of 1000 or 90 times out of 100, your return is going to be in this range and you’ll be okay. You know, and you don’t have to do it forever or whatever it is that you want to do. We can stop whenever we want.

Devin Peterson (19:47):

Thanks Michael for kind of coming back to that because the traditional mindset is the closer that we come to retirement, the more conservative you have to be. Right. (Have-to!). I think many folks get stuck in this model of I have to be more conservative. I have to limit that because that’s what everyone else says as opposed to really what your overall plan says. Because I think there’s definitely many, many circumstances where folks don’t need to shift all of their portfolio assets to conservative just because of their age or just because they retire. It’s more based off of what their plan really needs. There might be some folks that absolutely, to preserve what they have, they might have to.

Debbie Campbell (20:43):

The other thing that about Michael and I is we’ve done some kind of risky things in our lives. We both had our own businesses for most of our careers. And so we’re not risk adverse. And I really felt like, again, with our age difference, I said to Michael, we have one more adventure before we settle down on those proverbial rocking chairs. So I think that we were ready for this message, we were ready to hear what Mary said and we were ready to take it to next steps. We value experiences over things. So we had a lovely house, a nice townhouse in Seattle, but we weren’t so attached to it that we couldn’t give it up. Even though we did rent it for two years, just in case. But we have a lot of friends who have wonderful homes that they’ve lived in for all their lives that they could never think about giving up. It’s not even a financial issue. Even if they could, they wouldn’t. They would have kept it regardless. So we are freer in our thinking than that, but still there’s a way for people to travel if that’s their dream on any number of budgets.

Devin Peterson (21:52):

Yeah. And I kind of want to split off from where we are going now to go down another path that you’ve mentioned several times throughout our conversation so far. And this concept of finding your Northstar. Clearly you, like you’d mentioned are a bit of an adventurer at heart. You were familiar with world traveling, because you spent a few years in London at that time your daughter was also living in France, right?

Debbie Campbell (22:21):

Yep. They were small at that point. They were 2, 4, 6, and 11 when we were there.

Devin Peterson (22:26):

Oh, okay. But they weren’t living in France yet. They were still in Russia. But you had a little bit of an adventurous heart and that’s what led you to your Northstar, which is traveling the world in someone else’s home. Right. What would you kind of say to our listeners that are trying to find their North star? Trying to find what their jam is? What would you say to our audience?

Michael Campbell (22:59):

I don’t know that I’m a qualified therapist, but you got to get in a quiet place with yourself and say, and your spouse and say, you know, what is it that we really like? What is it that we really enjoy? Get their piece of paper out. You’ve got the pros and the cons and write a novel, ride your bike across America of surf in every great surfing town in the world and start a not for profit, whatever all the things are that you really would like to do. And it’s so easy to have to listen to the nose. We can’t do this because of the dog. We can’t do this because of the mortgage payment. And then just try and break down the things around the nose that are maybe not as firm as you think they are. Debbie will have another approach.

Debbie Campbell (24:06):

Or if you were Michael Campbell and this is his best thing is if you had a magic wand. So then take away the nose. It’s like if or sometimes he says what he doesn’t really mean if money is no object when he starts a conversation, which it always is. But if you could take the financial parts of it out of it, it frees your thinking. But the other thing that has come to light to us, we have a mentor and a friendship, Conley, and he has started a place in Baja, California called the Modern Elder Academy. That is a place for people of our ages and maybe slightly younger, where they can go and spend a week really contemplating the best of their lives and the rest of their lives. You know, what is it that in your career, if you still have another 10 years in your gas tankdo you want to do, and if you’re closer to retirement, what do you want to do, because we’re going to live a long time. I mean, retirement isn’t what it used to be. So for the people that are 20 years younger than us, you know, they’ll easily get to their nineties, I think. And that’s a lot of after work planning to think about I’m 60, I just turned 64. So in some respects I’m just at retirement age and I could have worked considerably all the time that we were gone and for the foreseeable future.

Devin Peterson (25:29):

I think you like your current work right now. Yeah. And you know, to mention your current work, I’ve read several of your blog posts, right? So your blog that you are an active contributor to, and it’s a very extensive blog. I’ve read several of the articles. It’s called The Senior Nomads. It’s under www.nomads.com. I mentioned that because through your blog people can see what your Northstar is. It’s very apparent. I love that you’ve been very open with your story and you’re being open with that today. As we record this podcast, you’re showing everyone really a step by step of how you came to find your Northstar and how it was achievable if you just bite at a time, start to unravel it and to take action. Because as you know, not everyone’s Northstar or desire is to live in someone’s home 365 days a year and travel the world.

Debbie Campbell (26:30):

If you to think about it, that’s 365 kitchens, 365 showers, 365 beds know it’s not for everyone.

Debbie Campbell (26:37):

Right. And that’s okay. Because like you mentioned, a lot of us are more attached to our home or emotionally attached to make sure we’re around our grandkids or our specifics. We’d like our grandchildren. We do, we really do. But what I like about your story that we see here today and then we see in your podcast or sorry in your blog, is really you seeking after it striving to accomplish it and finding it. And it just makes it very achievable and very doable, which is what I really love about what you’ve shared. So for all of our listeners that are really striving to find their Northstar, you’re right, you could go sit down with a qualified therapist or self-improvement guru or just sitting down and just thinking about what you enjoy, what you like and then surrounding yourself with a supportive team. Absolutely. That’s a spouse emphasized by Debbie herself and endorse the identity.

Debbie Campbell (27:48):

If ever either of us didn’t want to do this. We would stop. I mean it has to be, we often say we’re rowing the boat in the same direction. Now if someone lifts their oars out of the water, the boat’s not going to go forward.

Devin Peterson (28:01):

So good marital advice right there. But not only you really surround yourself with your spouse and any other support staff that would be needed to wrap your head around whatever your goals are. Right.

Whether that’s traveling once a year or all the time or we don’t even have to limit that to travel. It could be like you mentioned start a non profit.

Devin Peterson (28:27):

Exactly. So kind of coming back to your very unique story, I absolutely appreciate you. Let me dive into your finances a little bit more in picking your brain. Because I think that’s a very on the top of mind for a lot of our listeners. Because like you said, if we could wave a magic wand and finances not being an issue, that would be great. However, it’s always an issue. It’s always going to be a factor in there. But coming back to your unique story I would love to get a little bit more commentary or feedback on continually holding yourself to a budget. Because you came down and you created this, this wonderful spreadsheet that has columns and rows and I’m sure it was formatted perfectly and it looked beautiful. But as the years have gone on, has there been any times that you’ve deviated from that? Do you have months where you purposely spend more to live in a nicer Airbnb and then balance that with months that you spend less with a less expensive Airbnb? Kind of talk me through some of the budgeting nuances there.

Michael Campbell (29:40):

Sure. Wellthere was no budget. I did, I understated it, I’m sure by 20% what we ended up doing. Everything’s an average. Some months are higher than others. Some countries are more expensive than others. So if you want to go to Norway or you want to go to Switzerland, maybe you want to go to Macedonia and Albania to balance that out. Maybe you want to stay put in one place a little longer in order to avoid an airfare or a train trip between two cities. So balancing out how long you are in one country, in one Airbnb, which countries you’re visiting. So you’ve put those all together. And I do like to track our expenses and I think that’s one of the things that gives us comfort. We talked about before we started we have a journal, we keep a journal for every day for the 2,500 and some days.

Devin Peterson (30:51):

Do you mind kind of holding that up to the camera if you’re watching here on your podcast video? Wow.

Debbie Campbell (30:56):

Michael and I alternate writing pages and we keep all of our expenses listed. We tape in receipts and tickets and memorabilia. We have probably filled 20 of these and as you said this page is day 2,523.

Michael Campbell (31:12):

So somebody could listen to it and say you guys are compulsive, whatever their thing is, they’re overly compulsive about this. But anyway, for us, being able to track our expenses every day and put them in a spreadsheet and do a monthly total and compare that to our monthly average and compared to how much we spent a year ago gives us the reassurance that we’re staying within the guardrails. If you didn’t know how much you were spending, at least for me I would be going to like, well, I don’t know if we can’t afford this or so by some simple little tools that we do on a regular basis that are ingrained in our routines. They’re habitsthat we know we’re staying within the guardrails and therefore we can keep going.

Devin Peterson (31:56):

Is this a monthly activity that the both of you sit down and do or is it one person just does all the budgeting and the other person just gets reported to?

Debbie Campbell (32:07):

You couldn’t do it without it being a team effort. Michael obviously does all the spreadsheets. He has so many spreadsheets. He keeps track of our game scores when we play Scrabble and Backgammon and Pivot and Dominoes. So anything you want to know about our lives is on a spreadsheet probably. But we do the book every day and it’s nice because we write down what we did during the day and then our expenses. And at the beginning it was a little bit, you know, I really do need a receipt for that. But the more you can get them, the more it’s part of the journey now for us.

Michael Campbell (32:37):

I think the answer to your question is it has to be in our family. It needs to be the two of us. We both need to be committed to staying within the guardrails. And so we enjoy, you know, once a month going through and making the fatalities and saying, we’re in good shape. Yeah. I don’t want to add as a footnote here because, you know, the stock market with the virus has put a real big hurdle in the front of all of us who are investors long time retired, short term, retired early retirees. And so I think this is a real test, do you have the stamina to stick with the program when the market’s going up? Hey, this is great. But I think this is really a test right now and our little net worth has fallen dramatically just like everybody else’s. But our financial advisors, 100 times, 1000 times, we ran this simulation and you’re going to be okay.

Devin Peterson (33:37):

I would like to share that same sentiment. As long as you have a plan and you’re sticking to your plan, you’re going to be okay. I think where a lot of the fear comes in is for those folks that maybe you didn’t have as much of a plan as they thought they did. But as long as you have a plan on what you would do in market situations like this where the world seems to be falling apart overnightas long as you have a plan, it does give you a lot of that peace of mind. So I’m so grateful that your advisor is kind of sharing that same sentiment with you.

Debbie Campbell (34:15):

We’ve been married for 41 years, so we know each other. It’s beautiful and we’re best friends. I wouldn’t do this if we weren’t best friends. But we are very different. I mean, as he said, he’s a rows and columns guy. I’m a graphic designer. I’m a doodler, I’m a scribbler, but we get to the same place. Like I said, we’re rowing the boat in the same direction and it’s brought our marriage to a great place because we don’t argue about money and we’re both contributing to the cause. And I think that makes a real difference. And we also have a little bit of a philosophy.

New Speaker (34:54):

Here’s our tip for everyone to do this. So when it comes to buying things, we don’t buy things. We rarely buy new things. If you need a new pair of shoes, you better be prepared to get rid of a pair of shoes. So

if we say, if you can’t eat it, drink it, attend it, or get somewhere on it, don’t buy it. It doesn’t come with you. Yeah. We spend all our money on food, drink, experiences and travel, and we always say to each other, why don’t you look nice today? Even if I’ve seen this shirt, you know, 67 times in a week, you know, because you really understand what you need to survive. And it’s not as much as you think.

Devin Peterson (35:39):

Yeah. And I think this comes full circle back to the strength that I feel within the both of you of understanding your expenses and understanding what’s important and what’s not. And maybe even not important is maybe a little bit extreme to say it just what doesn’t support your choices, right? Choice and your lifestyle is choices you’ve made from the very beginning.

Debbie Campbell (36:05):

Sometimes if it’s pedicures that support your lifestyle. They go in the budget.

Devin Peterson (36:09):

Absolutely. You got to spoil yourself a little bit. Right. So we’ve talked a lot about budgets, finances, and kind of organizing your finances, having some team surrounding there. All of these I think are so valuable in understanding the financial aspect of starting a journey like the both of you have gone on. So thank you so much for sharing a little bit about your personal finances and your personal finance habits that I think are amazing. So I commend you for that. For all of our listeners that have joined here, I bet they’re all just chomping at the bit to kind of understand and get a little bit of a peak behind the scenes on what some of your favorite places are and try to use you as a valuable resource. I know we can point everyone in the show notes. We’ll point everyone to cedarnomads.com so they can research essentially any place on the planet that you visited and get some commentary there. But I would be remiss obviously if I didn’t take the opportunity to kind of ask a few questions about some of the places around this beautiful world that you’ve experienced. So do you mind if I take a few minutes and kind of go there? I know it’s extremely hard to find or pick favorite spots. However, if I could start somewhere with living abroad lifestyle,in all the places that you’ve visited,can you shorten it down to like one to three, like favorite aspects of living abroad in these beautiful places?

Debbie Campbell (37:50):

That’s really interesting that you asked that question now because where we are in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico is one of the rare places we come back to. So this is our third visit here which shows how much we like it and it’s very affordable here. There’s dozens, well, hundreds of ex-pats, so a lot of Canadians and Americans here. There’s a lot of things to do, which is really important. You can’t do any of them right now. It has kind of put a bummer on it. This is one of the places that we really liked that we could consider living. I mean, it’s warm, it’s affordable, the people are kind, there’s lots to do. And that’s always been kind of something that’s been important to us.

Michael Campbell (38:36):

We love New Zealand. We really enjoy Croatia. We spent more time in Italy and France than any other country. What is it we like about it, I think we’ve kind of said the place, what is the theme? I think the theme really for us is making new friends, meeting new people and we don’t work for Airbnb. I think we’re their largest single user. Not customer from a dollar standpoint, but user, but what we do find is that we have a friend in a new city before we got there because we booked an Airbnb consciously trying to find somebody who really is not in it for the commercial reasons primarily, but likes meeting people

and being hosts. And so we made friends around the world at a time when as you get older, your friendship base usually shrinks. And I would say that’s really one of the core benefits.

Devin Peterson (39:41):

That’s beautiful because I wanted to ask you a question that was a little bit more deep than just like, where’s your favorite places that you’ve lived? But what I hear you saying, where my question was is, what’s like one of the favorite aspects of living abroad, lifestyle aspects. And so as you’re saying, broadening your friend base making new relationships, purposely planning places where you’ve met people before or people that you might connect with. I think that’s beautiful to be able to still understand that. It’s really the relationships and the connections that we have with each other in this life that are the most important thing, even above possession. So thank you for sharing that.

Debbie Campbell (40:27):

That is true. And to that point, and we just reached out to all 14 of our Italian hosts, just checking on them, seeing how they are during this terrible time in Italy with the virus and we’ve heard back from most of them. And so it’s nice to have that connection.

Michael Campbell (40:45):

I would also say that not being much of a student when I was young, but being a better student today than I was when I was younger and we’re both voracious readers. The thing about the travel that we have enjoyed is it brings history to life. It brings geography alive, that all of a sudden, that story that you read about some city or something, you’re there, you’re standing there and you realize so those are the countries that border, that country, the geography standpoint, let’s go to those countries. So just education, which we tried to summarize, we’re curious and we’re lifelong learners. And so this scratches that itch to satisfy that need.

Devin Peterson (41:34):

Seeking to further educate yourself into your later years is something that I believe is often lost which kind of leads me to a couple of these last questions that I want to ask you both. It’s something that I’ve come to understand as I’ve worked with hundreds of retirees over the last many years, is seeing a trend in those that are active in their mind and active in their body, tend to stay healthier and live longer. This is a question I ask all of my guests and I love these questions because I love the responses that I get for them. But for Michael, what makes you feel alive? And then also what makes you feel relevant in your world around you? So maybe Debbie, will kind of start with you? What makes you feel alive? And I probably know because you’re kind of living your Northstar as we’ve talked about throughout this episode, but what makes you feel alive and then what aspect of that really makes you feel relevant day to day in your life?

Debbie Campbell (42:51):

Do we get to each answer this our own way? Because it’s always going to be different between us.

Devin Peterson (42:55):

I’m picking on you individually. Debbie Campbell (42:56):

Yes. All right, excellent. Well, what brings me joy is learning every day and expanding our horizons and being able to share what we’ve learned with our children and our grandchildren. I think our kids, we have four adult children are really proud of us and they look to us for inspiration. And so that brings us a lot of satisfaction. And also just the people that respond to the blogs that say, we’re going to do this.

You’re idols. You know, how do you do this? How do you do that? So we’re constantly teaching and inspiring people. So that kind of bleeds into what makes me feel relevant. And I think that that’s part of it is that we are relevant because we are sharing our Northstar with us there. So they might have that same direction or use what we’re doing to build something of their own that they want to do in retirement. And also probably Michael speak to this, but I’m learning new technology. So yes, staying physically active is great and keeping our minds active, but we are just constantly learning and I think that makes a big difference.

Devin Peterson (44:01):

That’s wonderful. Thank you. All right, Michael, what would you say?

Michael Campbell (44:05):

We’re both big consumers of news and because we’re curious, lifelong learners as stories come up, I’m on the front page of papers every day, every week. I think I feel really relevant because we’ve often been there and we can relate to the story in a personal way. We might even know people who live there. So that really makes us not isolated. We’re the opposite of isolated. And I find that gratifying and just rewarding to like say, well that happened in New Zealand and the Christ Church shooting and so forth. So we wrote to our hosts in New Zealand to tag onto what Debbie said, you know, our hearts, our prayers, are with you because it’s really a difficult time. And then we heard back from them and you know, we have a love for New Zealand and what they went through and that we wouldn’t have if we hadn’t been traveling the world.

Devin Peterson (45:18):

Yeah. Thank you for sharing. I see that this unique lifestyle that you’ve chosenyou’re this unique way that you’ve shown up in retirement is actually given you a depth to be able to relate to those throughout the world that not a lot of folks have. And I love that with both of you.

Michael Campbell (45:44):

Totally. It has brought us closer together. I just want to say one thing that seems relevant to me is that when we left, we bought round trip tickets where we were going to be gone for six months. We rented our house. We thought hey, if you don’t like it, we’ll come home and then we’ll stay something. And then we kept going and we kept going. Here’s my point. We never envisioned we would be talking to you eight years ago. We never talked. We never thought we would do interviews with people all over the world. We didn’t know that we would have a chance to inspire other people. That’s not why we did it. But as an accidental byproduct, it has been incrediblyrewarding, fulfilling to find that when we meet people and they’re like, we read about you and then we did too. It’s like, Oh my God.

Devin Peterson (46:41):

Yeah, I could see that. It’s kind of humbling too, because you did not set out to be an influencer and change lives, but you just kind of came around the bottom of the plaque at your own peril. That’s your own risk. Well, Debbie and Michael, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. I know that this was very valuable for me as an individual, but especially for our listeners. So thank you so much today. Take care and stay safe down in Mexico as we together as a world as a people, as we go through this health crisis and this financial crisis. Absolutely. Stay safe and take care. Thank you so much.

Michael Campbell (47:29): Thank you. God bless you.

Devin Peterson (47:30): Thank you. Bye. Bye.