Authors of PassingThru, Betsy and Pete left their comfort zone and pursued their dream of becoming location independents. Learn how they achieved their travel goals by following them across social media channels: Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
First of all, tell us a quick background about you as a couple…
We’re a boomer couple, empty nesters with no grand kids (yet!). We’ve been location independent since 2011, and now are completely nomadic. After we were married in 2006, we quickly realized that we were not going to have the kind of traditional retirement our parents had enjoyed and that many of our peers look forward to. There were no pensions and very little savings. We took some unexpected hits in real estate with the recession, etc. So we decided we’d better play offense as well as defense. Since we’d be still working in our later years, online business seemed to be a good fit. And, as we really loved to travel, we decided to try to combine these interests into a group of diverse income streams, figuring this would make us less financially vulnerable if something didn’t pan out.
Why Passing Thru?
We envisioned PassingThru in 2008 as an online hub around which the other businesses and income streams would revolve. The blog chronicles our travels, thoughts and experiences with online work, location independence and the type of mindset you need to develop to be successful with this type of lifestyle. It also links into our other efforts – our online stores, the books we’ve written, our business resource recommendations, and our consulting services. PassingThru, like many other lifestyle blogs, is a window into who we are and what we do.
What is your travel style?
Our travel style has evolved. When we were dating and first married, we camped a lot. Gradually, we decided we liked a few more creature comforts, so got rid of the camping equipment and changed to hotel stays. We collected a lot of hotel points that have served us well throughout our travels. We road-tripped around North America using Pete‘s vacation time before he quit his day job, testing our ability to work on our businesses from the road. Then we took a fateful trip to Hawaii and decided we wanted to move out of the chilly midwest to paradise. So we sold everything on the mainland and did just that. For a year, we just exhaled on the island of Kaua’i and didn’t travel anywhere. Then we made an epic journey to Europe and traveled over land to Russia for the Winter Olympics. While we had a blast, we realized that a faster pace just wasn’t us anymore. It’s no fun packing up and schlepping to a new location every few days. When we returned home to Kaua’i we decided we’d travel the world for two years, which would allow us to stay longer in each location.
What places have you visited so far?
By the end of 2014, together we’ll have visited 36 states, 5 Canadian provinces, 3 continents and 16 countries so far. Our goal is 7 continents, 50 states together (anything we did separately before we were married doesn’t count!).
Have you experienced challenges being location independent entrepreneurs?
So far we’ve liked just about everywhere we’ve been, and would have liked to stay longer than planned! We’re hoping that slowing the pace will give us the time we want to get to know places in more depth. It’s amazing how conditioned we all are to compress our travels just as if we have a limited amount of vacation time. Breaking out of that mindset has been liberating, but still we tend to lapse.
How do you fund your travels?
We have both business and investment income sources. We’ve reduced expenses significantly since we became “deliberately homeless,” as you might imagine. People mistakenly think you have to be rich to live this way. Actually, we’re spending less traveling as we do because we’re not maintaining a traditional lifestyle with all the expenses associated with that. Additionally, we’re house sitting when we can, caring for pets and property while homeowners have a getaway themselves. This eliminates accommodation expenses. Once those are gone, it’s really amazing how little you can get by on.
Do you take advantage of airline credit cards to save on flights? If so, which card do you use?
Yes, we do! Our favorite airline miles card has been the U.S. Airways Mastercard, which will soon roll into the American Airlines program as part of the merger. We’re looking forward to that because we think the program will be more flexible in terms of international flight planning.
What are the things that you cannot travel without?
Our technology! We each have a MacBook (Betsy an Air and Peter a Pro), iPad and iPhones. We carry along a Time Machine for daily backups, and a network modem. We also have various accessories – surface chargers, bluetooth mouse, converters, etc. It all comes along in “The Office” a wheeled compartmented business case, which gets carried aboard.
What are the places that are still in your bucket list?
Is “everywhere” an acceptable answer? 😉 Okay, to name a few: Trans-Siberian Railroad; Africa: Namibia, South Africa, Rwanda; a Southeast Asia run to include Thailand. Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam; a Scandinavia/Baltic circle tour – Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway. We’re also planning on returning to Europe starting with a visit to Spain next year and would like to walk the Camino de Santiago.
Do you have any major travel regrets?
Only those long past. We’re trying our best to live regret-free these days. You tend to think you have all the time in the world when you’re younger, so you pass up opportunities. Fortunately, we’ve been able to put some of those regrets to rest. We’re very aware that, at our age, we’ve got a finite amount of time. More recently, we were invited by a couple we’d met on the street in Prague to join them for an early lunch. We declined because we’d just eaten. We should have said yes. We’ll never pass up an opportunity to get to know local people again.
What is your greatest learning in travelling?
People are people. We are most assuredly not our governments. We all want similar things in life: health, happiness, safety and freedom. Most people are good-hearted. When you project loving kindness you receive it back.