Friday, January 15, 2016

Senior Nomads 2016

Happy to be home in Seattle for the holidays before starting Senior Nomads 2016
The Senior Nomads are on the road! After spending Thanksgiving with our French family in Paris and six weeks at home in Seattle for the Christmas holidays, we charted a course for another round of our adventures. Well, a partial course. We started in Mexico City on January 5th where we worshiped the Sun God and did some fabulous food grazing. Our young hosts, Alberto and Daphne (and one year old son Bruno) welcomed us to their city. Here's a link to that airbnb: Currently we are four hours north in San Miguel de Allende for the next ten days: Then we head back to Mexico City for a week before a much anticipated visit to Cuba for three weeks! That gets us through February.

After that we are not sure where the March winds will blow us, but we are excited about the possibility of connecting with the Junior Nomads - that would be our son Alistair and his family, somewhere in South America as they continue their world tour.

The  Junior Nomads in Cambodia. They are currently in Thailand as they continue the #campbellamble.
Last summer we took the last step to becoming true Nomads and sold our home. It was odd to be in Seattle knowing that we could no longer open our own front door - but it also gave us even more freedom to continue our travels. During our stay our generous friends the Robinsons took us in, so we were well looked after and enjoyed a festive few weeks at home.

A perfect winter's day walking around Seattle's beloved Greenlake.
One of the reasons we embarked on this journey 2 1/2 years ago was some uncertainty around what our retirement would look like. We have a nest egg - not ostrich egg size, but not sparrow sized either. So the questions that we, like so many of our friends were facing, centered when to retire, and when we did so, how to make that nest egg last. And of course there were so many scenarios to consider. Did we want to continue living in Seattle? Or should we move to Portland or Paris to be closer to grandchildren? We both love to work, and thought we might be able to find a way to add to the retirement funds - we just weren't sure how to combine that with the freedom that retirement supposedly brings. One thing was certain - we had least one more adventure is us, and we weren't ready for rocking chairs.
Many of our followers know our story, but for those that don't, three years ago when we were contemplating our options, our daughter Mary, who lives in France with her French husband and three young children suggested we travel full time - especially in Europe. I am certain there was an ulterior motive there - but it got us thinking! She also asked if we had heard of Airbnb. We had not. Once we started to explore the possibilities of full-time travel staying in Airbnbs we discovered we could actually afford to give it a try! Four months later we booked tickets to Paris in left Seattle in July with a goal of traveling for six months.

We rented our house and filled a small storage unit with whatever we didn't sell or give-away. We sold our sailboat and we keep one car at my brother's house. The rest of our worldly goods fit inside two large suitcases, two day-packs and a generous purse. So wherever we end up after our travels, there won't be much to move!
Our storage unit. You never know when you might need a metal horse and your Pantone color guides!
We keep a daily journal and today is day #917 since we left Seattle. I guess we took Mary's suggestion to the extreme. Since we booked those first tickets in 2013 we've visited 46 countries, 129 cities and are currently in our 87th Airbnb home - and we are staying fairly close to what our budget would have been had we retired somewhere in the Northwest. Close enough to keep going.

We have filled 10 journals with our daily activities and spending since we left.
Now, instead of opening just one front door, we've opened 87. Instead of retiring in our own home, we live our daily lives in other peoples homes around the world. It's been the most gratifying experience you could ever imagine. Each new home we temporarily call our own home gives us first hand experiences of living like locals. We shop, we cook, we sleep-in, we do chores, we work and we learn everyday.

A recent front door in San Francisco opened one of our favorite Airbnbs.
At this point, we envision continuing our nomadic lifestyle until we run out of money, stop having fun, stop learning, have serious health issues or fall out of love.  Here is a story that ran last spring in The Seattle Times about the Senior Nomads: 

 Mexico has been a great start to a new season of travel. Part of what makes this work for us is to stretch ourselves to embrace the local culture. We are not on vacation, we are just living our lives in other peoples homes in other neighborhoods.  I know we were seeing things that most tourists would miss. I will tell you more about our Mexican experiences in my next post.

Still in love, but not this thin in Mexico City!
Thank you for following along. For more frequent updates follow us on Facebook at Senior Nomads. Happy New Year!

Debbie and Michael Campbell
The Senior Nomads


  1. Enjoying your blog! We are currently in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and staying at
    You might check it out.

    We also have a blog with a bit of a different focus but some travel in it as well.

  2. I wondered what happened to my favorite nomads. I'm so glad to know you are still enjoying and having fun with your travels. I look forward to what 2016 will bring you, that I will get to vicariously visit, too. :-)

  3. Hi I live in SMA. Are u still here? Want to meet for coffee?

    1. Hi Billie. We are leaving on Saturday, but could have a coffee tomorrow or Friday if you like. e-mail me at

  4. An absolutely delightful read! Feeling so lucky that your travels brought you into our lives! Eagerly looking forward to all your future updates, and to all the inspiration they bring.