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Escape!

Hello,
I NEED to escape (nothing criminal, don't worry) and am looking for ideas on places to go. So this is not your typical trip. I am seriously thinking of selling almost all my belongings and hitting the road. I have done a lot of solo travel before. I am 60 (in 16 days!) I would like to be by the water, I love being by myself (so don't do well in crowds), don't need anything fancy (but clean would be nice) and I have a small budget. Even the time of year is flexible.
Vague and challenging I know. But give it some thought, ask me some questions and throw some ideas my way. Thank you so much!
Curly

Posted by
979 posts

.....and for how long? Sadly, there are the realities for long term visits of needing to maintain residency so ewhere for long enough to maintain health care, an address for bills, the reality that every cou try has a limit to time allowed, often proof of finds and i come so you do not become a burden on the government.
Putting that aside, I have read blogs of people who manage to travel cheaply by house sitting, or WOOFFing, or by teaching English at high end retreats....the English is not appropriate for introverts.
Southeast Asia offers budget travel, but often too high a population density. As you published on RS and general Europe I am thinking you may not be interested in that direction. If it is only one of numerous sites (Lonely Planet Thorntree forum, or TripAdvisor Solo Travel forum) then this is just an opportunity for added input.
I am thinking anywhere that only provides one rural bus a day would be a consideration. Areas of Scotland and its outer islands, or areas to the east of central Europe.....but even thkse and the old Eastern bloc are not as i expensive as they used to be.

Posted by
4810 posts

What are you trying to escape from? And why does it require selling almost all your belongings (as opposed to just taking a trip somewhere)? That's an irreversible decision - I wouldn't make it lightly. It's a lot easier to give suggestions for more "light-hearted" plans like a limited duration trip. My advice is to hold off on doing something drastic without having a solid plan (financial and otherwise) and/or when the strong emotions are at their height. Start small first - consider a nice road trip somewhere (or head down to Mexico or similar place that's inexpensive and has lovely beaches).

Posted by
7878 posts

Perhaps a trial trip of a month before you cash it all in. And you need to do lots of research on visa and immigrations policies before leaping to full time travel. BUT since you are open on location, why not try Airbnb or VRBO and just look for lodging (apt, house, cottage) in a price range you favor and look in one country that calls to you. Near water could be Spain, France, Italy, Greece, the UK, or even the BalticC. You will have to narrow it down a bit. Warm or not-so-warm?

Posted by
291 posts

Its not that easy to relocate long term but a month long stay somewhere in Europe would be doable. I would suggest a nice cottage in England on the coast with good transportation. Thinking Devon/Cornwall, Kent, East Anglia. Off season travel would be much better on the budget and for the crowds. There are several options through Cottages.com or Homeaway.com but I am not sure how long you can actually rent these places out. I have never rented a cottage past two weeks on these sites.

Posted by
534 posts

Make sure you are thinking about it really well before you do, but if you decide it is best for you go for it and have a great time. As far as escaping are you able to do a lot of walking? There are many walks you can do in England where you do the walking and a company hauls your luggage from overnight to overnight. I would love to do one of those one day. You could also do all or a section of the Camino de Santiago to kind of just get away from it all, not necessarily for organized religious reasons and not a lot of water. And in Scotland there are a lot of more remote drives you can do with any stopping along the way that you want to to see landscapes or castles etc..., and of course lots of hiking and walking available.

My other major thought is that you find several good bases in Greece and explore the area around each base really well. Lots of water, amazing food, fantastic history, and it can be very economical.

Good luck!

Posted by
10412 posts

If you are planning to be in Europe, then that is what I would suggest as long as you pay attention to a some legal constraints.

No problem traveling solo, (no big deal), my first trip was solo, I've done that most of my trips, and still travel solo as one nine years your senior, tracking places/ sites alone, eating alone, all relatively easy, but easier when some planning is behind it. How are your finances? If relatively adequate, then I would suggest planning for a 100 day trip in the summer, May to Sept. covering western, central and eastern Europe, ie from the UK to Finland, the Baltic countries, Greece, etc. using all options of transport, ferries, day and night trains, buses, discount air carriers, the EuroStar.

The more you can cope, put up with, the more flexibility you have.

Posted by
2796 posts

I totally get your escape motivation. Anytime I'm away from home is a good time because I can escape from all the work, costs and responsibilities of being there.

I did something similar to what you're describing at the age of 31. That was way back in 1977. I didn't have much, but I sold almost all of it to help generate the money to travel to Europe. I ended up with a VW Rabbit, 10 packed boxes, a bicycle and a large painting. It was such a relief to get rid of 90% of my stuff.

I was working at a university at the time and my colleagues thought I was nuts. But I'd only been there about 2 years and realized that the work environment was not for me. That trip started me on a path to working in Germany in the early 80's. I loved that job.

This trip was obviously pre-Schengen, pre-electronic, pre-everything that makes travel so much easier these days. I traveled solo for about 4 months in the fall and winter with less than I take now for a month+.

You don't say how long you want to be gone, but I say, "Go for it!" When my husband and I retired I wanted to get rid of everything except the absolute essentials, store those and hit the road. We both prefer experiences over things, but he wanted a home base, so that's what we did.

He was 55 and I was 58 when we retired. It took 5 more years for me to get him to go on our first trip to Europe together. I've gone to Europe 8 times so far since we retired, the last 3 being solo because he opted out after our 5th one.

Now at 73, I think I'm approaching the end of my ability to travel. At 60, you have the time to pursue this dream. Do it while you can.

Posted by
29391 posts

Curly,

Hopefully Frank II will spot this thread, as he's doing much the same thing and I'm sure will have lots of good advice to offer. It may be challenging to find a health insurance policy that covers you for an extended period of time.

Posted by
770 posts

I would like to be by the water, I love being by myself (so don't do
well in crowds), don't need anything fancy (but clean would be nice)
and I have a small budget.

Greek islands. Incredibly cheap (sometimes less than 20€/night), most of them not crowded, ferries are cheap too, so you can do some island hopping....

Posted by
20430 posts

Croatia or Montenegro or Bulgaria might each fit the bill...

Is this a sudden whim based on some circumstance, or something you have been planning for some time?

Posted by
8442 posts

Easy, the Adraiatic coast of Montenegro. Beautiful, clean, and most importantly dirt cheap. It's not in the EU so that might make splitting time between Montenegro and an EU country an attractive way to avoid Visa issues. But I bet getting an extended stay Visa for Montenegro isn't hard. Montenegro is on the Euro so currency is easy.

Posted by
1474 posts

Are you wanting suggestions JUST for Europe, or are you open to US options (which might reduce expenses)?

If you might be open to Ireland, I can recommend (send me a PM) a modest little B&B near Doolin, and maybe the owner would make a longer-stay deal for you. Disclaimer: I have not stayed there (a bit too modest for me), but I do know the owner, and he is a nice character.

Posted by
1657 posts

Sounds like your big birthday is bringing up some life reevaluating, seems pretty normal to me. I'd start researching and then plan something for a year from now. It's really helpful to me to have something to look forward to and that is fun to research and plan. If you're really spontaneous, this might not help. Either way, I say go for it.

Posted by
243 posts

Vague and challenging I know.......

If you gave more specifics it may help. How long do you want to be gone? What's a small budget for you? Do you really want to be out of the country to live or just travel or is this an escape to clear some cobwebs from your mind? I see you were in Croatia and Slovenia last year. Did any area there strike you as a nice place to stay?

Posted by
20430 posts

curly, your question has been up for nearly a week and you haven't been back to answer any of the questions asked by several people to try to pin down the best answers to you, and you haven't replied to any of the posts.

Are you still interested in this question, or was this just a momentary blowing off of steam and of no importance?

Posted by
7522 posts

Further to what Nigel says, above, you did say in the OP "ask me some questions"

Posted by
10412 posts

Hi,

As long as your desire to escape has nothing to do with the law, legal obligations and ramifications, taxes, and all that, I wouldn't be concerned in the least, as long as no one else is being harmed, adversely affected by your "escape." That's for you to decide whether working it out is important or not to be bothered with.

Keep in mind that in this so-called escape you had better be used to, comfortable with, adjusted to traveling solo, which makes it a lot easier in most situations. Going solo is no problem with me. Obviously, it's a trade-off. When to go is a trade-off, whether you can deal with the heat, ie, no AC (if you depend on that, I don't need it), and the crowds (they're real, can be very tedious), in the summer, or not.

I go in the summer, ie starting by mid-May, more advantages than negatives, but you yourself have to decide on that, or maybe when to go isn't high on the list as long you just get over there at an acceptable flight price.

Posted by
10412 posts

Bottom line here is the lower your level of luxury expectations, the more flexibility you have, which translates into more viable options.

You're 60, (well, just about), now, can you still stay in a hostel dorm room with 5 to 9 other roomies? If yes, that's another low budget option available to you in contrast to the more expensive alternative. No problem with me, either. This dovetails into your "don't need anything fancy" requirement.

Posted by
30 posts

I did it at age 50. I sold everything - house, furnishings, clothes etc. I gave away my car. I primarily live in a 21 inch carry on and now travel full time with my modest retirement income. I am able to save a tremendous amount of money by being a full-time house sitter. My usual two year cycle looks like this: Book consecutive long-term house sits across the United States the first year. Nearly back to back sits in various parts of the country allows me to explore areas that I have never seen, even in my own home state, and save nearly a years worth of my retirement pay sans travel cost. I do not charge to house sit as I'm living rent free. Any tips I receive house sitting go into a special travel only account. Year two I take a long (6 - 8 month trip) all within the limits of the Schengen rules. Last year was my travel year. I did 4 months split between England, Scotland, and Ireland. I then did 90 days in the Schengen areas, and then returned to England for another month before returning to the states to already booked house sitting jobs. Some of the people I now sit for on a regular basis I met while traveling in Europe. Due to work restrictions, as well as language issues, I won't house sit internationally, but that's a personal decision you'd have to make. Most of my house sit jobs include use of a vehicle and some even off-set my travel cost depending on where they are located. My only real expense is my food and insurance cost and I maintain a global insurance policy to cover me in any vehicle I drive. I've been doing it now for 5 years and don't see myself stopping any time soon.

Since I love being alone I find this type of life style has suited me well. Feel free to send me a private message if you have specific questions.

Posted by
2959 posts

Southwest France is a very reasonable priced, beautiful area! From Montpellier all the way southwest to the Spanish border you have beautiful villages, great beaches and coastline, vineyards and wineries, many historic sites, a relaxed vibe, and interesting communities. Lots of expats for company but friendly French people as well. I love that area of France and return whenever I can. This part of France is not overly touristed and it doesn't have the expensive price tags of the southeastern portion of the coast. Plenty of quiet, out-of-the-way places.

Posted by
325 posts

Well, either the OP is shy, forgot their password? lol or communicates in PM's. At least some info may help others.

Posted by
10412 posts

@ Tracy....I must say that I admire your temerity, courage, determination, or just plain guts in doing what you did....bravo! I know of no one who comes close to what you have achieved. American ex-pats I've met but they are in Europe as married couples or long term partners not solo as in your case. I started traveling in Europe in 1971 solo, still travel in Europe like that most of the time now. Some of what you write as a solo traveler I can easily relate to.