Digital Nomads

The inspiring story of seniors Debbie & Michael around the world

It probably happens to everyone on Instagram: 5 minutes there and you’re flooded by the most incredible pictures and videos from breathtaking places with people having lots of fun while traveling. Then you wonder: why don´t I do the same?

Being a digital nomad is the day-dreaming of every millennial with an adventurous spirit, but opposed to what many may think, you don´t have to be in your 20’s or 30’s to do so. In fact, you may perfectly be a senior nomad, just like this couple from Seattle: Michael and Debbie Campbell.

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Debbie and Michael Campbell (photo from their site)

Since 2013 on the road, the couple has already been to 80 countries and assures to be happier than ever. They set up a successful travel site and have written a book telling their adventures in nomadism. As they explain on their web, their will to wanderlust came when they were getting close to retirement – and after enjoying traveling and even living abroad for 5 years in London.

“In July of 2013 we rented our house [now sold], sold our sailboat and one of our cars, and reduced our stuff until it fit in a small storage unit. We waved goodbye to our family and friends and set off to explore the world!”, they explain in their site.

What’s been their home for nearly the last 6 years?

Easy: Airbnb homes spread for Europe, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Mexico, Africa, Cuba, The Middle East, Central Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Asia. They have a very useful list of the homes they’ve stayed in over the years.

As they recently told newspaper El Comercio, in Peru, the idea to become digital nomads came up from their daughter Mary. The couple, well-established in Seattle (he, a sports events organizer; she, a designer running her own company) and leading a fullfilling life, decided to check if it was financially viable to live traveling while renting their house and reducing their living costs drastically. And the answer was, of  course, yes!

Their first stop was Paris, to visit their daughter Mary and spend a month with her family. Then the first Airbnb stay came: Amsterdam. And for the upcoming months, Copenhague, Stockolm, Berlin, and so on, around Europe. This continent, they say, is their favorite.

How to plan a trip

Debbie and Michael say that, in general, they never plan their next  trip with more than a month in advance. There’s a planning but also some room for improvisation. The budget is their lead, and because of that, planning is fundamental. Their next moves, until April, are Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and Paris again. The key, they assure, is to live everyday as locals, not tourists.

The right time to stop traveling

The couple says that traveling is very stimulating and that’s what keeps them youthful. Besides they are always learning with different cultures and through diversity. “I hope that all retired parents could do this some day”, Debbie says.

“We wake up everyday and ask ourselves if we should keep traveling or stop it. And we decided to keep traveling. We are having fun, learning, we stick to the budget, are healthy, and, above all, very much in love”, Michael completes.

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