About Nancy

We’re radically re-inventing our retirement dream.

At 65 and 67, my hubs and I are teetering on the edge of retirement and unfortunately, we didn’t get the memo about planning or saving for it.   We’re going to have to get creative to find ways to live LARGE on a small budget.  Fortunately, inspiration for our retirement adventure plan came in the form of an off-hand comment from my other half…

He had been going on (and on and on…) for a few weeks about selling everything on ebay and becoming retired citizens of the world with just our backpacks and a small suitcase.

This statement always ended with “And if it doesn’t fit, then we don’t need it”.

retirement adventures

Portland OR – Great Adventure Race

Although I made fun of him at first, the idea kept growing on me.  I had terrifying retirement dreams that involved the need to eat dog kibble at the end of  the month.  Luckily, my husband always sees the glass as FULL and he was picturing a very different retirement.  I liked his vision way more than my own, but I knew I would be the one who would have to figure out how to make it become a reality.  I was okay with that bargain.

Nobody loves an adventure more than me.  Count me in on this one.

As he so often does (often without having a clue), my hubby hit on a really interesting Life question. What do we really need to be happy?  Most of us get so bogged down with all our stuff that we lose sight of how simple life can and should be.  For us, experiences win over stuff every time.  That’s how we know we’re moving in the right direction with our retirement plan.

See you on the road.


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46 thoughts on “About Nancy

  1. Found you through She Writes, and am a fellow Portlander. My husband and I pared down due to the recession, as in, Keep All The Stuff and lose our business or Pare Down, Live in One Room, and save the business. We took the latter. And now we are still paring down!

    • I’m thrilled you stopped by my blog. It sounds like the last couple of years have been an adventure for you and your husband as well. My husband and I have a toast – May it only get better from here. Cheers to that for all of us. Hopefully we’ll see the sun sometime soon!

  2. I found your site on the 5th page of a Google word search (boomer expat clearinghouse) and am glad I found you. Am also looking for community, especially as a 30 year marriage ends.
    Would love to hear more about San Miguel.

    • Hello Dixie! I am so pleased that you found my blog. This adventure is new to me as is blogging. It sounds like you are discovering and creating a new life as well. It can be scary for sure but exhilarating as well. I love San Miguel! Especially in Centro. So much history and culture and a great mix of wonderful locals and friendly and interesting ex-pats. I will be posting more about San Miguel and other locations as well as links to experts and other resources. I hope you find your own new community as well.

  3. Hi, Nancy. I’m also 63 and living proof that you can live large on a small budget. I, too, never saved a penny for retirement. Blessedly, I had a nice pension from the Writers Guild from my TV writing days. Last year I downsized from a 3 bdrm/2 bath rental where I’d lived for 17 years, and got rid of everything that wouldn’t fit in my new one-room cottage on a hilltop. I’ve never been happier. Best of luck to you on this new adventure. It’s really worth it.

    • Hi Jayne, Thanks for stopping by and the encouragement. Part of the adventure for me is figuring out how to live as large and have as many experiences as we can on just a wee bit of income. It’s great to hear from people who are doing it. Did you by chance know Margie Peters from your writing days? She wrote and eventually produced for Love Boat, One Day at a Time, Facts of Life and other shows. She is a life long friend of my husband. Lots of writers in LA I know, but sometimes it’s a smaller world than we realize. I’ll be reading your blog as I try to learn more about the actual craft of writing. Right now I’m musing out loud and enjoying myself very much. Nancy

  4. Nancy, So glad to have found you. Like you, I am 63 and my husband is 66. I’d love to pick up and explore but he continues to let his fear prevent him from doing that. We also have limited income. I may have to do it alone but meanwhile I’ll do what I can to ease him through his fear and hope that he will be able to join me in this journey. Any thoughts on traveling on a VERY limited income? We’re also looking for alternative retirement options and opportunities. There are so many of us at this stage in their lives who want to create something exciting, creative and adventuresome for their next act. How can we all find each other?

    • Hello Peggy! I am so glad you stopped by my blog and thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you will come back. I try to post two or three times a week with musings, ideas, research and some of our own experiences as we try on this new stage in our life. I agree, so many of us are hoping to create new experiences and fun adventure in the years to come. We’re all in this together. Stay tuned! I am determined to find a way and share it with others.

  5. Hi Nancy,
    We came across your blog and read about your exciting trip to Spain 🙂 and noticed that you would want to find a home exchange in Spain. We’re Knok, a home exchange site with hundreds of homes in Spain! We’d love to invite you to try out our community. Just send us an email if you’re interested!

    • Thank you for letting me know about your site. I will take a look and see if it might help in our exchange search. I am very excited about our trip to Spain and walking part of the Camino.

    • Thank you for the lovely comment. Something about advancing years seems to take my thoughts on many tangents. There are so many interesting aspects of embarking on this new phase of life. It’s like being a teenager without the zits or angst and a few more dollars. I have been checking in on your blog as well. So glad to connect.

    • Thanks Maria. Life is always an adventure. Some of us don’t figure that out until we’re well down the road. I can tell from your photography and your beautiful blog that you are already on your own beautiful lifetime adventures. I’m so pleased we connected.

  6. Hi Nancy,

    Just came across your info and blog through the Road Scholar story on Facebook! Nice to e-meet you. I. too am 63, born and raised (and still live) in Los Angeles; however, I am and have always been single and would love to travel! Can’t quite retire yet but am looking at ways to pinch the income and make it work better so that I can attain that goal. I look forward to reading more of your blog, suggestion and travels. Also, I while trying to Facebook friend you I noticed that you went to Montebello High School. I started my life off in Montebello and went to Eastmont Elementary, then just before I entered junior high we moved further west. Perhaps we’ve crossed paths or maybe will in the future.


    • Hello Nancy! Thank you so much for taking time to comment on my blog. I am a Canadian by birth who moved to Montebello in 1963 and graduated from MHS in 1965 – go Oilers! I think the world is a very small place and our paths just might cross. I hope you will come back often for travel inspiration and ideas on living the good life in our retirement. See you on the road! Nancy

  7. I tripped over your blog when I googled wwoofing for seniors. (My daughter wwoofed through New Zealand and loved it. I am from Michigan and would love to wwoof in California or Oregon.) Your blog is full of fabulous ideas on the cheap that I hadn’t even thought of! I too am a baby boomer with no pension, only savings. Looking forward to seeing the country and maybe the world either wwoofing or road scholaring! LOVE YOUR BLOG!

    • Hi Pam. Welcome! I am so pleased that you “tripped” over the blog. I absolutely love the idea of SWWOOFing (senior wwoofing) and I believe that more people our age who are fit and strong and looking for adventure will be out doing it. It is definitely on my list. My husband is a little less thrilled but he generally goes along when I’ve put something good together. I found wwoofing through my son. I hope you will stop by again! Happy travels.

  8. I am just delighted to find your blog tonight Nancy. I am Canadian, aged 59, retired, and my husband plans to work until 65. We have woofed together, in New Zealand, in 2006, and although it was tough to convince him to do it, he lists it as one of the highlights of his 4 months there with me. I also travelled alone there, and did some more wwoofing by myself.

    I love your term swwoofers – actually last year I coined my own term for us :
    Boomers + wwoofers = BOOFERS!! It sounded so ridiculous I had to use it right away.

    So fantastic to find so many kindred spirits on your blog! My Google search was for “wwoofing 55+” and it revealed a plethora of interesting links, yours at the top! I am up late but hope to visit again soon.

    • Hi Anne! It sounds like we are kindred spirits. I was born in Toronto and I have a sister, Ann. It is a small world. I haven’t quite convinced my husband to try wwoofing yet. He says its too much work but it sounded like work + fun + interesting people. BOOFERS! Great word. I makes you smile. I’m glad your search lead you to Just a Backpack and I hope you join our little community. Nancy

  9. thanks to our tour director, devin, found out about road scholar and by browsing, came across your website….loved reading some, will continue for more….about your travel and simply living. would appreciate any updates from you via email.

  10. We went the other way a few years before retirement – bigger house rather than smaller – like about 20% do. It had the advantage that when my other came to live with us for two years after a massive stroke, we didn’t feel strained, and when our now grown sons bring their families, there is plenty of room. It’s not a permanent solution, but it serves at this time in our lives. That being said, I know lots of empty-nester gypsies who have loved simplifying down to Rvs.

    • Hello Carol, Thanks for stopping by. I see we’re both grandmother power bloggers. What a lovely idea Tara and Paola had. It has been fun. I took a cruise through your blog as well. You are one very busy woman. What an inspiration!

  11. Hi Nancy,

    National Contest for Boomers and Seniors Seeks to Prove Age is Just a Number

    I’m promoting a contest for a national home builder that is specifically for people 55 and older that I thought would be a good fit for your fans.

    The Greater Than My Age contest is for a new 55 plus community that’s opening in Broomfield, Colorado called Skyestone, by Taylor Morrison Homes.

    The contest is open to people who are over 55 and residing in the United States. To enter, contestants simply share a short paragraph about what makes them great, including hobbies, accomplishments (big and little), professions, past-times or whatever they feel makes them greater than their age.

    People can also nominate someone else over 55.

    The winners will receive $1,000 and will be included in a national campaign for Skyestone in Denver.

    I am hoping that you can help us reach more people by sharing a post about the contest. The contest will be ending June 30, 2013.

    Here are links to our contest that you can share, Contest Entry Page: http://on.fb.me/17cpJeW

    And here are our Website, Facebook page and Twitter account, so you can learn more about us.


    Best regards,

    Christy Stevens

  12. Nancy ,
    Thank you for this inspiring blog ! You should probably address it too to non retirees or younger folks, since your theme is way beyound retirement , it is about Life and a way of Life – basically reinforcing the truth that real happiness is about experiences and feelings , none of those can be bought ! The smile of the loved one, the flourish of your community, the smell of freshly baked bread ,the bird on your balcony … Keep on writing ,please and don’t forget to come with the hottest spot for Tea !!

    • Petya’s Tea Party – one of my personal favorites. Sitting on your porch, sipping tea and solving the problems of the world. Perfect!

  13. Hello,
    Found you through the She Writes group and saw that you’re based in Portland. I’m coming there (from San Diego) this weekend for the Chris Guillebeau’s WDS event. Any chance you’d be in town and available for a short interview for my podcast, The Gathering Road? Email and let me know. I return on the 9th. Thanks, Elaine

  14. Just found your blog and have to tell you how inspiring I find it. Most people I know think I am crazy fro planning on moving into a tiny house after retirement so that I can use most of my pension for travel.

    I too have a countdown until my “leap day” but it is a little further than yours. Good luck and I will keep reading.



    • Hi Amy, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Of course I popped on over to your blog. We have a lot in common. I’ll be following your journey to leap day as well. Good luck! See you on the road. Nancy

  15. Hi Nancy, it’s Cheryl Janis! It was so great to re-connect with you at the LWL reunion last month! I’m following your blog via my RSS and loving it! I really enjoyed your post on Uruguay because {as I shared} I lived there on and off again in the 90’s & my spanish accent is Uruguayan. 😀 I’ll continue to follow you after we move to Sebastopol at the end of the month! Cheers & blessings to you~Cheryl

    • Hey Cheryl, It was great to see you again as well. What a lovely afternoon, eh? I was very interested in your not entirely positive feelings about Uruguay and Montevideo in particular. I’m going to explore as much as I can in S.A. and other parts of the world as well. Who knows where we’ll land. I hope everything worked out with your house and you are free to move on to your new adventure in Sebastopol. What a lovely area you have chosen for this next phase. Much joy and success to you there. Keep in touch!

  16. Hello from Cuenca, Ecuador! You were talking about possible visit to Cuenca and I wanted to let you know that I may be interested in going back to the states for a month this next summer. I have a lovely 4 bedroom, 5 bath, three floor penthouse in Cuenca that I rent for $350 a month and live in with my children. Finding a place here is cheap and easy, but maybe we could work something out if our timelines match up. Otherwise, I would be happy to give you a quick tour and welcome you to this wonderful city.

    • Hello Alicia, Thanks for reaching out with your offer. I’m not sure we will be going that way in June, but let’s keep in touch. I’m assuming you were looking to rent your house or were you looking for a house exchange? In either event, we’re open to options and if we’re there at the same time, we will take you up on your offer of a tour. Feliz Navidad! I am enjoying your blog posts. You are very inspiring.

  17. I have been smiling as I read your blog. I was relieved to hear that we will find “comrades” as we venture out on our amazing retirement adventure. We have just retired, and yes, it has been quite a task. The “getting rid of stuff” part was much harder than I imaged.

    Very excited today though, as we head out on a 3 month adventure. I am very new to this “blog” stuff but that is what this part of life is all about-right?


    • Hi Mary! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I wish you smooth roads, comfortable beds, good food, amazing adventures, many laughs and lots of interesting characters on your journey. I’m heading over to your amazing-retirement-adventure blog right now. Safe travels. Nancy

  18. Indeed, what do we really need to be happy? And how many of those things are really “things” (tangibles). We just returned to our home in Rome from a 4-night visit to Prague. Once again, I over packed, wearing at most 30% of what I packed. A real challenge for many of us is putting into practice what we already know. I enjoy your blog and look forward to more posts. Jim Flege

  19. Good for you, Nancy, for listening to your hubby and having the confidence to move forward and let go of the past. I hope you enjoy the lighter load and are able to have some really amazing experiences along the way.

    • Thanks Doreen. I am still a work in progress but I am eager to get on with the next chapter for sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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