The Wall Street Journal publishes a Journal Report on retirement issues called NEXT: Planning & Living the New Retirement. The latest issue had a front page account of the Martins, a couple who “walked away from all they owned” to travel and live around the world.
The Martins have lived in London, Paris, Florence, and Buenos Aires among other places. They travel on the cheap and live in fully furnished rented apartments for a month or two or three, and then move on to the next place. I won’t rehash their story, “The Let’s-Sell- Our-House-And-See-the-World Retirement”, which you can find at WSJ, because I was with a couple this week whose retirement plan was “Let’s trade our house for a boat and travel around the U.S.”
I have known Ed and Benia (Ben-ya; her dad was expecting a boy) since college days. In 2005 they sold their house in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, gave control of their assets to a financial planner, and bought the Sea Angel, an ocean-going sail boat. Ed and Benia are both experienced sailors and Ed has his captain’s license.
The plan was simple: live on the boat and travel the intracoastal waterway on the East Coast. Most December’s and January’s the Sea Angel was anchored in Key West.
They have adventured throughout the Caribbean visiting most of the islands in the West Indies, Mexico and Central America. Over the last two years they have been on the great adventure up the Hudson, the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, Detroit River, Tennessee River and others south to Alabama where they entered the Gulf of Mexico and headed for Marathon, Florida to complete a 5000 mile sojourn.
I met them at the Charleston Maritime Center last week to get a glimpse of their new boat, Genteel, on their way south. After seven years of tugging on ropes, hauling the keel and flipping the jib, they have traded the Sea Angel for a power boat of the ocean-going class: 48 feet stem to stern, 16 feet in the beam and twin diesel engines that produce a hull speed of 14 knots. (I don’t know what all that means but it is a beautiful boat that goes faster than the average bear.)
Their cruising retirement has had its share of adventures: rough seas, waiting weeks for repair parts in Guatemala, and challenging sandbars. There has been more upside than downside with people they have met, places visited and bucket list accomplishments.
Retirement: different strokes for different folks.