Retirement isn’t just the end of a career; it can also be the beginning of a whole new life. Just over 12 percent of the American population is 65 or older, and while many of these people may be focused on playing it safe, some, like Lynne Martin and her husband Tim, are interested in adventure. Not content to simply travel during their retirement, the couple wanted to live in a variety of exotic locations. Martin’s book, Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World (Sourcebooks, April) explains how they did it.
In order to achieve their dream of living abroad, Lynne and Tim had to first sell their home. The decision wasn’t easy, and the questions the couple asked themselves will resonate with anyone—regardless of circumstances or marital status—who are thinking to make a major change late in life. Lynne wondered, “What would it be like to have no home, no place to curl up in our own bed and put our things in our closet after a long trip? How would it feel to live for several years in other people’s spaces? Where would our plan take us emotionally? Would the stress of moving every few months to a new country, starting over endlessly, strain our deeply contented marriage…? Would our four daughters…ever speak to us again if we left the country for years?”
Major changes at any stage in life require bravery, and ultimately Lynne and Tim decided that they were up to the challenge. It was that bravery that afforded them the opportunity to live in a high-rise in Buenos Aires; a country hacienda in San Miguel del Ellende, Mexico; an apartment on the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul; a flat on the Seine in Paris; a villa apartment in Florence; a three-story walk-up in La Charite-sur-Loire, France; a one-bedroom on the River Thames in London; an apartment outside Dublin overlooking the Irish Sea; two rooms in Marrakech, Morocco; and a beach house near Lisbon, Portugal.
Home Sweet Anywhere provides envy-inducing details of Lynne and Tim’s various travels, along with travel tips for anyone looking to embark on their own alternative retirement, including where to find rental homes when traveling abroad and how to pay the bills. Following this more general advice are location specific tips for each of the places Lynne and Tim lived.
This travel memoir is more than a how-to book, though, and is valuable reading for anyone looking for new perspectives on both retirement and getting older. Lynne describes some of the fears and inconveniences that she and Tim faced, and then writes, “The trade-off for these discomforts and yearnings? Challenging our notions of what ‘old’ means. We hold that specter at arms’ length where it really counts: in our minds and attitudes. … [E]very day, we learn something, see something, plan something, meet someone, or solve some brand-new problem. For those reasons, we do not perceive ourselves as ‘old.’”
Readers of Home Sweet Anywhere will find the attitude contagious, and whether or not they are inspired to sell their homes and pursue a life of travel, they will surely come away with a new view of themselves and this next stage of life.