The Plan


Lighthouse Moon

Chicago Lighthouse

We planned our home-free retirement life style over a period of many years.  We sold our Chicago condo with wonderful views, purchased a Ford F150 and hit the road in May 2011.  We have been traveling ever since.  RT66 took us to the Southwest for about a year.  To prepare us for our first big trip, six months in Europe, we went to China for a month.  While that sounds exotic, three of those weeks were on a small tour so all decisions were made for us.  We visited Macau and Hong Kong on our own.  Feeling brave, we then drove to San Carlos, Mexico for three months.  Having completed our preliminary travel plans, we drove to Ft Lauderdale, Florida and boarded a Celebrity cruise boat destined for Rome beginning our 2014 European adventure.

My international travel interest was piqued after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal by Lynne Martin titled, “The Let’s-Sell-Our-House-And-See-the-World-Retirement.”  Lynne and her husband are a California couple who sold their home and traveled for a few years internationally but have since built a home.  No longer ‘Home Free’ she still blogs about her adventures at  Initially our travel plan included a 5th wheel trailer or motor home.  We are now on-board with renting international condos instead of RV spaces, and will pursue this world travel theme.   While we are young enough to drag suitcases onto trains and up flights of stairs, we are going to give this a try.  An open mind, relaxed attitude and going with the flow will be key.   Of course, much of the goal for me will be to capture unique photographs of the places we visit.

Life Boat Waves

Re-positioning cruises will be our main way of travel to Europe and other continents.  Since we have no home, a slow boat with good food, views and service should fit our needs nicely.  In the winter, a cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the Caribbean is in big demand, but not so much in the hot summer months.  Therefore, the cruise industry repositions their boats to different cruise locations.  In the case of our first cruise,  Celebrity Cruise Lines will move their Silhouette boat from Fort Lauderdale to Rome, Italy with us aboard.  We have booked this 15 night cruise for April 20, 2014.  We will then stay our maximum allowed 90 days (Schengen Days Restrictions) in mainland Europe, then 80 or so days in England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland before taking a cruise back to the States.

On all of these trips we will utilize the WEB Site (Vacation Rental By Owner) or Air B&B for our lodging needs.  This will allow us to stay in more residential settings for extended periods of time before heading off to the next destination.

Our 2016 trip to Europe is planned to last over a year.  We are calling ourselves Obama Care Escapees.  With an annual health insurance premium of $18,000 for a $12,000 deductible policy for two healthy Americans, we chose to spend that money overseas and not contribute to such a flawed system.  We will take advantage of an Affordable Care Act exemption allowing us to escape the IRS penalty if we leave the country for 330 days.

Since my background is finance, I will be sharing and addressing the finances of constant rental and travel under the ‘Budget’ tab.

Norwegian Jade Cruise Boat

Bon Voyage!



2013 Itinerary:

Sept-Oct 2013:  Attempted to visit 7 National Parks in the Southwest, but the irrational US Government shutdown closed all parks just as we started our journey.  Traveled throughout Colorado for fall colors instead.

Oct-Nov 2013:  China mainland, Macau & Hong Kong.

Dec 2013:  Taos, New Mexico


2014 Itinerary:

Jan-Feb 2014: San Carlos, Sonora Mexico

Mar-April:  Visit family, complete federal taxes and drive to Florida, start 15 day cruise to Italy for six months in Europe.

May-June: Italy, spend a week each in Sorrento, Rome, San Quirico d’Orcia, Siena, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, the Dolomites

July:  Austria, Switzerland, Dijon, Paris and Cherbourg, France,  Salisbury and Chipping Campden, England

August:  Ireland and Northern Ireland

September: Scotland and England

October:  Cruise back to Florida from England

Nov – Dec:  Drive from Key West, FL to northern CA spending Thanksgiving in NM.

2014 Itinerary: European Adventure

United Kingdom Itenerary









Mainland Europe Itenerary












2015 Itinerary:

January 2015:  Northern CA

February: Moab, UT

March:    Golden, and Fort Collins, CO

April & May: Hawaii, Maui, Oahu

June – December:  Springdale, UT (Zion National Park)

(November) Spent two weeks in Iceland


2016 Itinerary: European Adventure

Jan-March – Tempe, AZ

April – Visit family in New Mexico and travel to Houston

May – July – Spain & Portugal

Aug – Oct – Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro

Nov – Dec – New Mexico and California visiting Family

First 90 Days spent within Schengen Countries


NON-Schengen Countries

Because we did not plan correctly, we were required to then spend the next 90 days in NON-Schengen countries.  This limited our flexibility.  Despite being so close to Slovenia, we were unable to go.


2017 – Resting stateside and planning our next big adventure.


2018 & 2019 South Seas Adventure

3 Cruises, 19 flights, 4 train rides, 4 car rentals and a 30 day RV rental…

11 thoughts on “The Plan

  1. Awesome! Sounds like fun! I’d probably miss my own home at times, but traveling alot is a dream of mine! Have fun! I look forward to seeing many pics and reading stories!

  2. Hummmm…. Safety 3rd….. Number one may be “Get the photo at ALMOST any cost” Number 2 might be “Don’t get arrested,…. Thank you Dexx!

  3. Simply awaiting new posts. Where in the world are Harold and Gayle ? Will this notify me when you update your Blog?

  4. Hi Harald,

    you were sitting with your photo equipment next to me in bus when you were on a trip to the Narrow’s in Zion National Park and I asked you the question what you do with your photos… I came to this point after 8 weeks on my travel and were interested in the answer from a professional photographer.

    I like your answer when I’m watching your page. GREAT!
    Its more than just like. Your retirement livestyle you choose is inspiring me.

    Thank you for that.

    I like very much

    • Thank you Sebastian,
      There is more than one good way to spend ones youth and prepare for eventual retirement. You were an inspiration to me! You are seeing more of the USA than most Americans have seen. Seems to me like you are doing great and I hope you keep it up. Good luck to you and safe travels…..

  5. I follow you on Facebook and love seeing your pictures! This mornings post about the marching band was inspiring. We too are wanting to travel “home free” in the future. Our kids are younger, so we are VRBO & Air BNB for our summer trip. Thank you for the continued inspiration!
    Sandy & Mike (Lake Conroe TX, north of Houston)

    • I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to follow our travels. I have had that dang marching band song going through my head for some time now. If you have some specific questions, I’ll do my best to answer them. It is great to have long term family goals and work toward them. They will certainly change over time but eventually, you WILL be on your way….. Good luck. Tomorrow, we have a 6 hour drive from Valencia to Granada, Spain. Such trips are always a bit of a worry….

  6. Hello Harold & Gayle – not sure if you would remember me but I use to work with Gayle a while back and she was so awesome! We use to talk music a lot! In fact I’m the proud owner of your old stereo system (Kenwood turntable, receiver and Scott Speakers, and a fair amount of albums as well, which I still get a kick out of when I see your initials on them–Led Zeppelin 4, Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon, etc.) The whole set up still works and sounds great! Anyway, great to know you both are doing well and having some great adventures!
    Perry D.

    • Hi Perry, Thanks for getting in touch with us. I remember all of you guys in Chicago fondly and hope you are all doing well. Glad you are enjoying the stereo and albums, much better than having them sitting in a storage shed. The first song ever played on that stereo was Money by Pink Floyd. We are currently enjoying the summertime in Boise, Idaho and not sure where we’ll go next. Best wishes, Gayle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *