I’m ready to be a nomad, the next chapter of my life.
Yup. You heard it here first!
I’ve realized it’s time to retire and it’s very obvious that I can not afford to retire in British Columbia or really anywhere else in Canada. For a modern world country, government services for the citizens such as health care or getting a passport are extremely substandard. I’m mostly talking unacceptable wait times for both medical care and passport renewal.
Then there’s the basic cost of living. Housing is out of this world. For a single it’s extremely difficult and expensive. It’s tough to find a rental even in a market with sky high rents. Rents start around $1500 for a one bedroom apartment or basement suite and the prices go up from there.
That’s more money than the monthly income I’ll receive when I retire!
Even the company I work for, that occasionally has rentals available, the rent prices are going up. Holding properties, aka houses owned by developers, are usually priced low, very reasonable, and are very difficult to find unless you know someone.
Really. The majority of our houses are rented by staff or employees of our sub-trades.
Where I live, my company owns five houses all on small acreages, total around seven acres. The plan is to tear them down and 34 houses will be built on this site.
Of the five, two are rented for $500, one for $750, and another for $1500. The fifth house, and the nicest of the lot, is where I’m housesitting, no money received or paid.
A new property manager was hired by our company and he’s increasing the rent on houses – $2,000 to $3,000. He says he’s renting under market value, and he probably is, but generally holding properties come with cheap rent, due to the short term nature because of upcoming demolition. Lower rent means tenants aren’t as likely to move out before demolition.
Last year I decided that when my dog, Shadow, passes away, I’d be ready to retire.
Sadly, her time to cross the rainbow bridge arrived on January 12, 2023, leaving me heartbroken. Shadow was my emotional support animal, my constant companion, and accompanied me daily to work.
RIP my beautiful baby.
Ready to retire
I’m ready to retire. I’m done. I’m sad that Shadow passed. I want to get out of here and travel.
Just hanging on a bit.
I have osteoarthritis in my hands and the mobility in my fingers is getting worse. My doctor booked me an appointment with a specialist back in September and the first available spot was mid-February. I should be lucky I only had a five month wait. In British Columbia patients wait months, maybe over a year, to see a doctor. Yup our phenomenal Canadian health care. Now, I’m not complaining about the quality of the care once you get seen by medical staff. Its just that people die on waiting lists.
If there’s a possibility I’ll be put on disability and get hand therapy and other treatment, I need to hang on and work a little longer while I’m covered under health care benefits.
In a couple of weeks a treatment plan will be known and then I can narrow down my escape.
For sure I will be in Spain in September for three months.
That means I will retire sometime in the next seven months.
I’ve been thinking about getting out of Dodge for over a year now. The only reason I stayed around was to give Shadow a good life. For my own sanity I’ve got to get out of here.
I still have a big, gorgeous horse that I’m responsible for. I can’t afford to board him in the area where I currently live, so I’m looking upcountry for a retirement home for him. Of course, I’ll still be responsible for him financially. I just want him to live out his life and be happy in his retirement.
Walk the Camino de Santiago
I mentioned above that I plan to be in Spain in September. There’s a couple of reasons. I plan to walk the Camino de Santiago and one of the best months to do this is September. Fingers crossed there won’t be a heatwave!
The other reason is I want to be in Spain for my birthday in September. Maybe it’s a little silly. I turned 21 when I was living in Spain and working as an au pair. Twenty one years later when I turned 42, I have no idea where I was. Canada, obviously, but that birthday doesn’t jump out at me. Another 21 years is passing and I’ll be in Spain when I turn 63.
Taking a really long walk! The Camino de Santiago, and the route called Camino Frances, is an 800 kilometre (500 miles) walk across the north of Spain. The route starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, Frances, crosses the Pyrenees, and into Spain.
I’ve certainly known about the Camino and thought about walking it, but last year when I decided to become a nomad, Spain jumped to the top of my list. I need to walk the Camino de Santiago while I’m still physically capable of doing so.
I’m hoping this really long walk brings some clarity to my life and where I should retire.
Nomad on the move
After Spain, where else is on my itinerary?
Some of the places I’d like to spend time in are:
- Dominican Republic
- Costa Rica
I put Peru at the bottom of the list until things are more stable with the government there!
I did a fair amount of housesitting when I was younger, before I bought my first house. Some housesits also included dog and cat care, other houses were pet-free.
I’m currently researching several housesitter websites. I’d be looking at long term housesits, at least two months or longer, depending on the country’s tourist requirements. For example, I can stay in the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom for six months. Other places, like Spain, visitor stays are three months.
Housesitting will cut down on my housing costs, and may even take me to places in the world that I might not have previously considered.
There are some countries I have no interest in visiting due to my personal safety. This includes, but is not limited to, countries where war and other violence is ongoing and human rights and women’s rights are disrespected. Generally I’m open to just about anywhere that has a stable government. In addition to dog and cat care, I’m an experienced horsewoman and have experience with chickens, donkeys, and other farm animals. I’m hoping that this will be a benefit when searching for housesitting positions. I love farm stays!
Can low-income single women retire comfortably in Canada?
I wrote a post about whether single low income women can retire comfortably in Canada. Or the United States.
Or should we take ourselves and our meager retirement income to another country and live a better lifestyle than what we can at home?
That’s what it’s come down for me. I want to live somewhere that my dollar goes father and the climate is warmer.
Retiring on a low income in Canada is not something I can do. It’s especially hard for senior single women who face financial insecurity.
Apparently I will need 70% of my current income for retirement. Ha ha ha.
Ready to be a nomad
So what’s my D-Day to begin my nomad life?
That’s the tricky question. Loosely it will be this summer. June 30? Maybe July 31?
Month end makes sense because I’m a salaried employee.
The sad thing is this has nothing to do with my employer. Best company ever. For me it’s just my exit plan from Canada. I feel the struggle between loyalty to a company I really love working for versus leaving the country and getting on with retirement.
In upcoming posts I’ll detail how I’m preparing to become a nomad.
You heard it here first. I’m ready to be a nomad.
Published by Cheryl @ The Lifestyle Digs on February 2, 2023.