My Australian husband and I made a conscious decision to take a four year 'gap' in our busy working lives, to move to an Asian country as 'retirees' in our early 50s. We couldn't work in the country but as the cost of living was so much less than in Australia, we decided to try living there to see what it was like. We got retiree visas that had to be renewed each year and that came with certain rules we had to follow, including not being allowed to work or even volunteer. I found that hard. We bought a townhouse on the 6th green of one of Asian's best golf courses and mixed it up with other 'expats' living on the island. My husband loved playing golf and I learned although never really thought of it as a 'love' of mine.
Life was all about travel, boating with friends, dinners and drinks by the ocean and learning to live and function by the laws of a foreign speaking military ruled country.
We traveled regularly to Europe, US and Asia, went on cruises and generally immersed ourselves in exploring the world. We were not wealthy but found a way to travel that included house/pet sitting for people who wanted time out to holiday themselves. We joined a couple of house/pet sit websites and off we went. We stayed in Dubai in the middle of summer for 9 weeks looking after two beautiful golden retrievers for a Canadian couple who were teachers. They wanted to go back to Canada to catch up with family in the school holiday break so we decided why not! I think we recorded 51 degrees celsius one day which was the hottest I had ever experienced. It was a true adventure and a great life experience.
We loved to visit Australia each year to see family and friends so made the trip each year over Christmas/New Year and enjoyed free accommodation again by house/pet sitting for people who wanted to travel themselves. Some great adventures, met some lovely people and got to look after so many beautiful animals.
By the end of 2019 we were ready to return to Australia and moved to the beautiful Sunshine Coast. My husband was happy to return to part-time work and I started my own virtual assistant business called Fiddly Things which I love.
We feel blessed and very grateful for the life we live and want others to know that anyone can embrace change and try something completely different. As my dearly departed dad said to me, "there are always choices…. do what makes you happy".
We chose to have the adventures and travel freely while we could, without every knowing the restrictions that COVID-19 was to come our way. We are very happy to have had that opportunity to live abroad, travel freely and enjoy life.