California couple trades their home for more time to travel

Published on: October 24, 2012 | Last Updated on July 21, 2018
Lynne and Tim Martin in Kinsale, Ireland

Lynne and Tim Martin were serious about carving out more time to travel so last year they took the bull by the horns: They sold their house in Cambria, California, stowed their stuff in a 10×15 storage unit, and made arrangements to live for a month or two at a time at furnished apartments and houses around the globe. They don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

At 66 years old, Tim is a retired journalist, poet and songwriter who is working on a novel. Lynne, 70, is a former pubic relations executive and writer who blogs about their itinerant lifestyle at According to a recent story penned by Lynne in the Wall Street Journal, the nomadic couple has visited Mexico, Argentina, Florida, Turkey, France, Italy, and England and have found a way to experience life in these places in a way that’s more akin to a resident than a tourist.

To find a place to call home, albeit temporarily, they use online home rental sites like and To save on transatlantic travel, they take advantage of the sizeable discounts made available by cruise lines when they reposition ships between seasons. By cooking at home much of the time, they not only save money, but are able to gain a more authentic experience of life lived as locals.

The greatest tradeoff involved in a bold plan like this is probably is the distance between these road warriors and their family and friends. Yet, the Martins manage to stay connected using the Internet, and also arranging stateside house rentals in-between trips. Depending on the locations of their stays, expenses have ranged between $3450 per month in San Miguel Allende, Mexico to $6800 per month in London— below the estimated $7,750 cost-of-living per month before they started their trek.

You can read more of Lynne Martin’s story on Yahoo Finance.

Ways to Find More Time to Travel: Lessons from the Martins

  • Find ways to reduce fixed expenses at home (The Martins took an extreme approach).
  • Take advantage of rental properties rather than hotels.
  • Find creative ways to economize on transportation costs.
  • Focus on experiences rather than stuff.
  • Take advantage of careers, like writing, that allow you to telecommute.
  • While income may be more limited, the retirement years often offer more flexibility in terms of fewer family and work obligations.
  • Be brave enough to take the plunge.

Other articles on this website that suggest ways to find more time to travel:

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Sounds like a great idea. I think as we get older, we don’t need a bunch of “stuff” to live. We crave authentic experiences. It’s also a way for couples to bond and get closer.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Fascinating, but I don’t know you manage to have health care that makes sense this way.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      October 26, 2012 at 4:11 am

      You raise a good question, Brette. In the article, the Martins say they have Medicare and supplemental plans, and see their doctors back home for annual checkups when they are in the U.S. They also have international health insurance covering medical emergencies and evacuations.

  • Reply
    Donna Hull
    October 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Brette brings up a good point about health care. I wonder about missing the connection to a home community. But, kudos to the Martin’s for making their travel dream a reality. I’ve used VRBO for vacation rentals and have always been pleased.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      October 26, 2012 at 4:13 am

      See my response to Brette about the health insurance. The Martins seem to feel some semblance of community in their temporary locations, where they mix with locals, and also through trips back to the States and, of course, by staying in touch with friends/family via the internet.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2012 at 12:42 am

    This is stuff only I could fantasize about. But I do admire people who can actually do this. What an adventurous life they must have!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Seriously, people waste time and money by ‘putting their stuff in storage’, instead of just selling and ridding themselves of all that burden. Get rid of it and don’t look back and relax.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      October 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

      That’s probably the most practical and economical thing to do. I hear so many stories of people putting things into storage and never taking them out again. Yet, it is hard to dispose of all your “stuff” in one fell swoop.

  • Reply
    Living Large
    October 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Wow. We’ve already given up most of the stuff, now we would just need the money to live on!

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      October 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Maybe when you’re up to collecting social security, Living Large! You would save on the storage costs 🙂

  • Reply
    ruth pennebaker
    October 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Oddly, I’m less interested in travel than I once was. Maybe it was my last transatlantic flight from hell. Sometimes, I’m just content to travel shorter distances.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I love the idea of having a more authentic travel experience, of really getting to know an area. How do they handle their mail?

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