Keith and Tina Paul saw a different life for themselves after retirement. They saw retirement differently too. And now, from their home in Cuenca, Ecuador, they run a fantastic blog (RetireEarlyandTravel) and business that provides tools to help people retire earlier, and use their time and money to travel. I love their perspective and commend them on the work they’re doing. To me, they are certainly Modern Explorers.
1. What were you initially searching for in your travels? Have you found it?
We were both born with wanderlust. Our goal is to see as much of the world as possible, to explore as many cultures as possible and to meet interesting people from around the world. We have been to some great places, experienced wonderful cultures and met some extraordinary people but we have a long journey ahead of us if we are to see the world. We are probably one-sixth of the way there!
2. What has your journey taught you about yourself?
Travel has taught us that we are much more capable of practicing patience. When you travel a lot, you have to have patience.
3. What has it taught you about other people?
As we travel, we see that basically, people are the same no matter where they live, what language they speak or how they dress. People around the world are good people. They love life, and they hold their families close to their heart. We would also say that most people are curious. Especially when you visit a faraway land. People are always curious as to why you chose their country to visit. Most of the people we have met traveling are proud of their country and want to be a good representation of its people.
4. What ideas about travel did you once have that have been proven wrong?
That travel was hard especially due to language barriers. This is simply not true. First, many more people than you think speak English, but for the times when there is no English, there is Google Translator. The app works great. When that is not available there is always miming and sign language, the universal language of all humans!
5. What would you say to someone who says they’re content with staying where they are or are even anxious about going somewhere new?
We have faced that with Keith’s mom. She says why do you need to travel when there is the Travel Channel on TV? We explain that seeing things for yourself is so different. We love watching and reading about travel for inspiration, but that experience pales in comparison to being there yourself. Different parts of the world have unique smells, and the air feels different. These are things you can’t experience reading or watching TV. Then there is also food. Different states in the US use different seasonings relative to their location, and the same is true for countries. As far as anxiety goes, until you do it once, the anxiety will be there. Maybe start slow. Travel to a city a few hours away and stay at a hotel, take in the sites and have a meal out. The next time you can travel to a nearby state or province, and before you know it, you will be a world traveler.
6. What do you want the people who follow you to come away knowing? Feeling?
We want people to know that time is not infinite. We left great careers early so that we could have more time to spend with the people who matter most to us and TO SEE THE WORLD! We feel that things come and go in our life, but our memories last forever. We collect memories, not things. We want people to know it is not difficult to retire early. It just takes some planning. There is so much more to life than work. We want to inspire others to travel and collect memories too! Lastly, we know change is difficult but we want people to feel the courage and strength to try something new.
7. Where is your happy place, and why? We have lots of happy places. Aside from being with our families, then we are probably happiest walking the streets of a new city or having a glass of wine in an unfamiliar place.