Category Archives: Expat life

retire in Hawaii

Finding the Cheapest (and Best) Places to Retire

I’m only 42 and retirement might seem like it’s a long ways away, but let’s face it – I’m already retired and I’ll probably never have the luxury of stopping working. But that’s me –

The truth is, for most people retirement seems like it’s far away and then whammo – it’s on you and you don’t know how it came so fast. Unfortunately, the horrible truth for most people is that when the time comes, they find that they have to downsize and lighten the load because social security, 401ks, and retirement funds never seem to be as much as you expected and – let’s be honest here – life is getting more expensive all the time.

It might seem odd, that a travel blog would be delving into the best places to retire, but in truth – that’s sort of what started this blog in the first place.  I realized that I could either keep slaving away in the corporate world or I could find a place more affordable and conducive to the lifestyle I desired. It’s always been about finding the best place to retire for me.

No matter where you retire, it’s always a good Idea to make sure you will able to retire comfortably. Many of us (especially those in the their mid-20’s and 30’s neglect the idea that one day we will have to rely on the money we’re putting away now. That’s where companies like Suncorp Super and the like come in, who can help you consolidate and manage your retirement fund so when your do retire, you can travel the world.

My own search has led me to some incredible places and not surprisingly, I always find a few retirees wherever I go. Here is a short list of some of the best retirement places I’ve found.

retire in Hawaii

1) Hawaii. Hawaii is great if you have money or you don’t have responsibilities. The weather is perfect, the people are cool, the culture is laid back and healthy – on the downside – it costs a lot to live in Hawaii. I loved living there as a single guy with no responsibilities, but I just can’t make it there with a family to support.

Morocco Retirement

2) Morocco. I’ve complained about it, but Morocco has a lot going for it. The food and rent are cheap and pretty good, the people are interesting and kind. The country is amazingly varied with the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains, and astoundingly exotic cities and towns. On the downside, the religious nature of Morocco can be kind of a bummer. Still, where else can you buy a palace for $50k?

Turkey Retirement

3) Turkey. Beautiful country with fabulous beaches and mind blowing history. Great food, incredibly kind people, exotic culture, and open minded and progressive enough to satisfy anyone. On the downside – war in Syria next door and an increasingly religious oriented government that is curbing in freedom of thought and making things harder for the expat retirees who live there.

Retire on Oregon Coast

4). Reedsport, Oregon. I think my wife and I might be the only people in this town under the age of 65. Cheap, close to the coast, great beaches, abundant hiking and wild life, safe, and so far, the weather is fantastic. On the downside – we are the only people under 65 it seems and in terms of food and culture – there really isn’t any outside of our house.  Still, where else in America can you get a 3 bedroom house with a big yard, a garage and have access to a dozen lakes, beaches, three rivers, and more within ten minutes for less than $1000 – or if you have an RV for less than $300 per month?

What about you? What’s your favorite retirement city? Where do you want to retire to? What hidden gems do you love?


Turkish residence permit tea

Getting Foreign Resident Permits in Morocco and Turkey

Traveling around the world in the slowest possible way means that I generally stay longer in a country than a tourist visa allows.

What that means is that I either have to be illegal or get a foreign resident permit. The difference in requirements and bureaucracy can be staggering. I won’t go into what it takes to stay in countries like the USA if you are a non-citizen, but the two countries I’ve most recently called home offer a startling contrast to one another.

Morocco Foreign Resident Permit

Getting my foreign resident permit in Morocco (called a carte de sejour) was a monstrous undertaking. I had to provide the following documents:
-ten passport photos
-six copies of my passport
-proof of residence, i.e. a rental contract
-five copies of my birth certificate
-five copies of my proof of employment (work contract)
-a letter from my employer stating that I was in fact working (attestation de travail)
-a police report from my last country of residence
– a 100 dirham stamp
All of the documents had to be certified as original and stamped at the local city hall. The process took six months during which I had to check in at the local police station every month. Total cost was only about 50 Euro. By the time I got it, the permit was only valid for six months of the one year I had applied for.

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Turkey Foreign Resident Permit
The process in Turkey was far easier but also much more expensive.

– I had to have a Turkish bank account with 500 lira for each month I planned to stay in Turkey (12 months = 6000 Lira). In order to get the bank account, I had to get a Turkish Tax Identification Card which cost about 700 Euro. I was also asked to prove who my parents were since Turkish ID generally states your parent’s names on it. To get the bank account, I needed just my passport and the tax ID card.

– I needed to have a sponsor who vouched to be responsible for me while I was in Turkey. In this case, me and the 24 year old Turkish man who vouched for me laughed about the fact that a 24 year old man was responsible for a 38 year old man. We had to get a notarized statement.
– I needed to be able to provide an address of residence and phone number to be reached at.
– 5 passport photos
– 2 copies of my birth certificate
– An application for residency
– 900 Lira for the residence card

And finally a trip to the regional police headquarters where there were several visits to different offices for stamps and interviews, during one of which I was served tea and baklava! Turkey is one of the most civilized nations on the planet, this proved it. Two weeks later, they called and I went and picked up my residence permit.

The permit is good until November of next year.

So to summarize: Morocco is cheap but slow and involves numerous bureaucratic hurdles while Turkey is much more expensive but runs efficiently and with a minimum of bureaucracy- not to mention the tea and baklava from the Leftenant!

Take time to sleep on the watermelons

World Travel without Moving

Some of you may have noticed that I’m currently not doing a lot of exotic travel. In fact, that’s okay. Sometimes you have to sit in a place in order to understand things better.

Lao Tzu said that “Without opening your door, you can see the world” and he said it way before Google Street View or virtual travel were even a remote possibility. What he meant by this can be argued from quite a few different directions, but what I’ve always thought he was saying was that sometimes it’s important to sit still in one place and stop endlessly rushing from one place to another. Watch the seasons change, see the way people live.

I like to think of the Tao Te Ching as a sort of Vagabond Bible. I first discovered it while I was hitching across the Southwest USA in 1997. Sitting by the side of the road, watching cars pass by, the words spoke to me. The idea of wu wei especially resonated…this idea of do nothingness. So I sat and I waited and I watched some deer come and drink from the Colorado river. I watched a gorgeous sunset. Then a big RV came along and two very kind old people offered me a lift, a sandwich, and a beer. Imagine if I would have just walked to pass the time. Maybe I would have seen something else, or maybe I would have just worn myself out walking and gotten pissed off that no one picked me up. Either way, I’m glad I stayed put and did nothing for a while.
Take time to sleep on the watermelons

And that is sort of what I am doing now. I’m in Manisa, Turkey. Making friends, working, navigating the bureaucracy to get a residence permit so I can stay legally for a while, and learning as I go.

So, to those of you who want to see new travel adventures every day, I’m afraid you might be a bit disappointed.

However, instead, I am going to continue to share my past adventures, find great travel gear and services to recommend such as the World Nomads Travel Insurance (it’s cheap, reliable, and worth every penny- just click on the ad above and have a peek at how much they offer you-Travel insurance from , continue to write about great vagabonds of the past, and share the hard won travel tips and travel advice which I’ve picked up along the way (hopefully you caught the important piece of advice above, if not, be sure to reread the part about wu wei.

And, of course, I am going to write about life here in Turkey, my small adventures in Manisa and the surroundings, and probably a bunch of other things as well.

I just felt like it is important to let you guys know about it. If you are taking any great travels and want to share them with readers at Vagobond, please just use the submit travel news or stories button and let me know about them so I can share them.

Got any great travel stories?