In the digital nomad community, there’s this image of young people sitting on the beach, sipping cold drinks, and working from their laptop. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nomads are of all ages. In other words, A nomad doesn’t stop traveling just because the calendar turns over a certain amount of times. Of course, there can be some limitations compared to when we are younger, but senior nomads can have as much fun if not more than younger nomads!
In this post, we’ll explore a variety of topics that senior nomads should consider before hitting the road for good.
Is it possible to be a senior nomad
This is a question that is sadly asked quite frequently in the nomad community. The short answer is that while many people give a negative response to this question due to certain factors, it is absolutely possible to be a senior nomad! In fact, I have seen many senior nomads staying at the same hostel as me (Some hostels have a strict age limit while others are quite open to travelers and nomads of all ages.)
In my experience, I have found that being a nomad, no matter your age, is more about your mindset and how open you are to new experiences. I’ll give you an example. Back in 2015, I was staying at a hostel in Thailand and there was a man from Belgium that was easily 50+ years old. While at first glance, I wasn’t too sure how he’d get along with the rest of the 20 somethings in the hostel, this man ended up being the life of the party! He had great stories, incredible amounts of energy, and was open to whatever everyone else in the room wanted to do.
I think in some ways having more life experience benefits senior nomads because they know exactly what they want from their travels. I think back already to my first backpacking trip when I was 18 and I realize how I travel today 10 years on is completely different from those days. The travel experience, in my opinion, is better because I know what I like more and I don’t waste time on things I’ve tried and aren’t to my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I still am open to experiences, but I’m certainly a smarter nomad 🙂
To sum everything up, it’s definitely possible to be a senior nomad and older people should not let age get in the way of enjoying their life and exploring this incredible world we live in.
Are there any senior nomad books?
While there is a good amount of content related to senior nomadism, there are two books in particular that stand out due to their creative and imaginative content as well as the authenticity and realness that the books bring out. These books are must haves for any senior nomads or any seniors interested in this lifestyle.
The first book that comes to mind for senior nomads is Your Keys, Our Home: The Senior Nomads Incredible Airbnb Journey. The book is written by Debbie and Michael Campbell, who give us insight into their crazy adventure traveling the world through Airbnbs. Honestly, this couple is amazing! These two sold all of their possessions and decided to travel the world right before “retirement”. All of these years later, there is still no end to their travels. Let’s say that they caught an intense travel bug! Over the course of their travels, they have been to 85 countries, hundreds of different cities, and stayed in over 270 Airbnbs worldwide.
The book is extremely detail oriented and will allow you to find the Airbnb of your dreams. The book comes hot off the press in either ebook or paperback editions. It’s a great read while on the road and the tips can be implemented right away!
Another great read for senior nomads is Winter In The City of Lights. The book is a memoir and is written by senior nomad, Sue Harper. The book follows Sue in her adventures around Paris and reveals how terrifying the jump to a nomadic life can be for those that are just getting started. Sue and her partner seemed to have the best retirement life full of travel, exotic locations, and had the freedom to do what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it, but Sue was unhappy and wanted more out of her life.
It wasn’t until her partner enrolled in an art course in Paris that everything changed and life became exciting. As Sue discovers the cobblestone streets, cemeteries, and beautiful halls of various museums, she comes back to life and realizes what she’s been missing this whole time.
You can’t go wrong with either of these books, but both would make a great gift for the senior nomad in your life.
What does a retired nomadic lifestyle look like?
While a retired nomadic lifestyle could technically be achieved at any age, senior nomads will especially be interested in the topic of this paragraph. It’s important to point out that a retired nomadic lifestyle is different for every person or couple. I know nomads that haven’t worked in decades while I’ve encountered senior nomads who are still working online just to have something to do and to have some extra spending money. The beauty of a retired nomadic lifestyle is that it can change and be flexible with your needs and what you want to achieve.
The first order of business for any retired nomadic lifestyle is to line up travel and medical insurance. While younger nomads can get away without having health insurance, senior nomads should absolutely invest in this insurance. You’ll be happy you did if something happens while on the road and in a country where you don’t speak the language or know anyone. Fortunately, especially for those coming from the US, health insurance and medical care can actually be cheaper in many parts of the world!
The second priority is to sort out your home situation. Compared to younger nomads, many senior nomads own homes. Whether you go down the same path as Debbie and Michael Campbell and sell your home or rent it while you’re away, it’s important to figure out what to do with your home before you head out on any adventures. If you have any family or friends nearby, they can keep an eye on the house while you’re gone, but if your travels keep extending, then it might be worth it to sell your home as you can free up some extra cash for the road.
The third point that has recently come on the radar for senior nomads is living in countries with strong Covid-19 protocols. It took me a minute to realize that this form of tourism is a huge opportunity and selling point for countries with low rates of coronavirus infections. Senior nomads are generally more hesitant to travel due to health reasons, so countries such as Taiwan and Singapore that have done an excellent job managing the pandemic can benefit.
The fourth point for this lifestyle is that in many cases, traveling the world actually saves money. Yes, that is not a typo: traveling saves money. For many senior nomads, they’re sitting on a healthy amount of savings so senior nomads could save money through geoarbitrage (Yes, the same concept put forth by Tim Ferris). For example, an average retirement savings would go extremely far in countries such as Colombia, Mexico, and Vietnam so why not travel to these places? Not to mention, the weather in these locations is much better than sitting at home in the cold.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that senior nomads should go wherever they are happy and not because they read about a destination on some blog. Life is too short to go anywhere you don’t like so keep these tips in mind when planning your retired nomadic lifestyle.
Advantages of being a nomad as a senior
There are certainly advantages to being a senior nomad. The 4 advantages include:
- Cheaper Cost of Living – Use geography to your advantage and put those hard earned savings to work. Your money will go farther in some countries rather than others. Plan your travels wisely.
- True Freedom – At this point, senior nomads have most likely accomplished a lot of their career and life goals. This now frees them up to truly do whatever they want without others opinions getting in the way. If you sell your home too, the only worry you’ll have as a senior nomad is where should we go next!
- People You’ll Meet – While many travelers assume that it can be more difficult to meet people while traveling as a senior nomad, in my experience, I’ve heard the opposite. Generally, senior nomads are an outgoing bunch with little regard for social norms and expectations. This will allow them to meet more people on their journey in this world.
- Quality of Life – Go where you want, when you want. Many countries have discounts and perks for older people so senior nomads should take advantage of them. In fact, many countries make a point to market towards senior nomads.
Disadvantages of being a nomad as a senior
While there are benefits to being a senior nomad, there can also be cons. Here are 3 disadvantages:
- Ageism – Unfortunately, ageism is out there. People will look at senior nomads as outcasts or odd people. It’s unfortunate because senior nomads have wisdom and tons of experiences to share with younger people. Not to mention, every time I needed help, it was always older people that went out of their way to help me.
- Family – Traveling the world as a senior nomad will pull you away from your family if they are settled in a certain region. This can be difficult for many senior nomads and even culturally grandparents are sometimes seen as a main caretaker. Being away from family can be especially hard for senior nomads.
- Sense of Home – While this can affect nomads of any age, not having a home base can throw senior nomads off a lot. As we get older, we get more set into our routines and not having a constant routine can lead to sadness and anxiety. Sometimes it’s a good idea to establish a routine in a country for some time until the travel bug comes back 🙂
Are there online groups for senior nomads?
Just like any other interest or hobby these days, there are also online groups for senior nomads. While some are quite generic towards nomads, others are geared towards senior nomads specifically.
There is quite a large group on Facebook called “Senior Nomads” run by who else but Debbie and Michael Campbell. The group has over 2,000 members. This group focuses on sharing tips, tricks, and overall experiences of senior nomadism. The group is open to new members and responds quickly to any questions. I have to say the content I’ve seen in this group is inspiring and actually gets me excited to one day be a senior nomad too!
Another good resource for senior nomads is the Facebook group, “Digital Nomads Around The World”. The group is home to many nomads of all ages, but sometimes has specific senior nomad content. One great part about this group is that it focuses on meeting other nomads…In real life! With over 147,000 members located all around the world, you’re bound to find people in a similar situation like yourself.
Finally, senior nomads have to join the Senior Nomad group on Digital Nomad World. The website is providing digital nomads with the one-stop shop on how to become a digital nomad and for all of their nomad needs. Meet like minded individuals while learning tips and hacks to get the most out of your nomad journey.
While senior nomads were considered outcasts of the nomad world prior to the pandemic, the movement has been picking up steam as more and more seniors have realized that a retired nomadic lifestyle is entirely possible and in many cases, cheaper and way more fun!
There are certain disadvantages that need to be considered, but senior nomads can enjoy some of their best years seeing this incredible world that we live in and enjoy true freedom. Senior nomads can enjoy past memories while making new ones. In my opinion, being a senior nomad is the ultimate goal in life.
So senior nomads it’s time to get out there and see if the nomadic lifestyle is for you!