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The Eat, Pray, Love effect: How families finance adventure travel

Part 4 of a Monitor cover story about how families hit by the Eat Pray Love effect finance adventure travel – selling the house, taking the kids out of school and hitting the road.

(Page 2 of 2)

Doug and Ann Brown were able to semiretire after selling their suburban San Diego home. He quit his job as national sales director at Innovasia and they moved to Mexico, living off residual income from investments. They also had very little debt, says Doug. “It’s less expensive to live in Mexico. You can have a rich life without being overextended.”

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They live a very financially disciplined life now, making the same budget-conscious decisions other middle-class American families make, says Ann. “This lifestyle may seem expensive, but it certainly doesn’t require someone to be extremely wealthy to do it,” she says. The Browns started a home-maintenance company in Baja and became distributors for water purifiers and softeners, which gave them the extra income they needed to live at sea for most of the past year.

Betsy and Warren Talbot saved and planned their trip for two years. They did research online and spoke to other travelers to figure out what they would need, on average, each day. The couple – she a business consultant and he handling long-term strategy for Microsoft – saved for 25 months and began downsizing on a weekly basis so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed right before they left. Their original budget was $75,000 for travel around the world for one year. (Betsy’s blog details expenditures in the “expense report” section.)

In October 2010 they left, each with a large backpack and small daypack. In mid-April, after taking a cruise ship to Antarctica, they asked if they could stay on board and ride back with the crew to England. The ship’s crew told them that no one had ever asked that before, and they let the Talbots stay on without charge.

Already, they see their decision to travel as a complete life changer. “I don’t expect us to ever return to regular life,” says Warren. “The money will eventually run out, of course, so we’ll have to face that and deal with that when it happens.”

Next: The final three parts. It’s not all paradise – “Never mind we’d been to Machu Picchu that day, when there was a party [my teen] had missed [back home].”


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