A Home is an Anchor not Security

Why do you think being ‘homeless’ can be a good thing?

Becoming homeless was the best thing I ever did. I had no idea what an anchor and trap owning a home was. Once I liquidated my possessions and rented out my house, I suddenly became able to move anywhere I wanted when opportunities opened up for me. I was also shocked at how much money and time I spent on maintaining a home. It would have taken me a lifetime to be able to keep a home AND live abroad. Now I have 3 monthly bills- health insurance, a cell phone and a small storage unit for personal mementos for my daughter.  I move around the world with 2 suitcases and a computer. I no longer have a car. I rent furnished places as I need them and rarely know where I will be more than a few months out. I am able to be flexible and take advantage of new places. Most of all, it costs so much less this way than the way I used to live.

A Road Trip Changed my Perspective

How did your journey to Alaska with your father change your perspectives?

It opened my eyes to all kinds of people of all ages, living amazing vagabond lifestyles and that is can be a sustainable lifestyle. I thought that I could only have this type of life after I made a lot of money and lived small and invested that money well and then, someday, I could travel and live in other places around the world. I also saw my dad making this trip at 70 years old and at the time, I was 45 years old, and saw how different it was for him than for me and knew that I didn’t want to wait another day to make the change.

A Career Path Based on Wanderlust

You’ve had quite the career path. Can you tell us how it changed?

In my early years, I was a very disciplined and a hard driver. I believed that if I wanted something, I had to make it happen. There was a distinct separation from work and what I loved to do. The more I accumulated in money and stuff, the more complicated life got. After I “quit my life” by resigning from my job and liquidating my possessions, I drove to Alaska with my 70 year old dad in a camper for 6 weeks, then moved to South Florida in search of a Tiki Bar on the beach. I wanted no responsibility, to be around happy people and see the ocean. I ended up working at a marina bar, met a captain living on a sailboat, jumped on board to island hop in the Caribbean. Later I went to Italy for a 3 month stay and visited a small family winery as a tourist, met third generation wine maker, Giuseppe, drank the wine, fell in love and never left.

During this “life reinvention” journey, I kept a journal and made it into book. Fans of the book started to write to me and ask advice about how I really did it. So I started a blog and became a certified life coach. I now live at the winery 8 months of year and learned all about wine, wine making and how the family sold it. I used my American marketing skills to open new lines of sales and have doubled the private wine sales for our family.

The other 4 months, Giuseppe and I return to the USA and promote his wines and my book and our story. My latest adventure is hosting a “Life Reinvention” Retreat in Tuscany. It’s a weeklong, all inclusive stay at a 1,000 year old monastery turned Bed and Breakfast that includes all lectures about how to reinvent/change your life and excursions, meals and of course, wine! And, we will help pick the grapes at our vineyard!

So my career path changed as I opened my mind to a different lifestyle. I went from corporate sales executive, to waitress, to first mate, to award winning author, to winery marketing, to Certified life coach, to Retreat Instructor all while traveling and loving the adventure. My motto through it all is “ I am open and eager to see what comes next.”

Love Of Travel

Where does your love of travel come from?

I’ve always had wanderlust. When I visited a place, I would imagine how it would feel to live there. Getting on plane, planning a trip and exploring new places makes me so happy.

I grew up in the rural Lancaster Country Amish country and as soon as I knew there was another world out, I wanted to explore it. Today, I laugh about how I travelled all around the world to discover I wanted to live on a farm. Somehow, a winery in Tuscany is much more romantic than dairy farming in Pennsylvania!

A New View on Retirement

If you could retire tomorrow but only pick one place to do it, where would it be?

I really can’t pick a place. I have hot feet and don’t think I will ever let grass grow under them. My bucket list is soooo long. It will take me the rest of my life to see it all!

I am already retired, meaning I don’t “go to work” everyday, I have downsized and I have time, freedom and the ability to travel. I am not golfing or living in a retirement community or living on a fixed income. I love my work and use it as a means to live the life I want. There is little separation between work and play for me. I am not working for the future. I strive to have “enough” and am obsessive about enjoying where I am in this moment and am acutely aware of the gifts I already have.

One last thought is to use the different world economies in your favor. Earn money in dollars and spend it in pesos. Your dollars go along way when you can rent an apartment for pennies on the dollar in Central American or Asia. Even in Italy, although the exchange rate is not in my favor, the cost of living is so low, that I can rent a fully furnished apartment with electric and wifi for less than a $1000 a month. Use inexpensive, readily available public transportation and you don’t need to buy and maintain a car. Don’t plan out the rest of your life, just work a few months ahead. Travel light and stay flexible.