Unexpected Challenges on the Road to Financial Independence

WRITTEN BY AKAISHA KADERLI of RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

Everyone thought they were crazy. But, with all of their possessions sold, there was no going back. Gulf War or not, Akaisha had to get on that plane and join her husband. She shares their story of taking that first step together into the new life that they have been continuing to live and love for almost three decades now!

We began our international travels

We began our international travels

…Continued from Article 2

So there I was, days before I was to leave California for a tiny island in the Caribbean, sitting in front of the TV watching the news on The Gulf War. Talking heads discussed with other talking heads how frightening things were and what a mess our country was in.

There was commotion in my own private world too – my parents, my sisters, my friends were all saying I should wait. Just wait it out until the war was over.

And when would THAT be? I wondered to myself…

The Fork in the Road

The Fork in the road was in front of me and I had to make a decision. Should I stay or should I go?

To say this disruption in our plans to retire early and travel had not been planned was an understatement. At this point, neither the path of going nor staying was guaranteed – and both scenarios looked rocky.

Sometimes the road to fulfilling our dreams isn't a straight one

Sometimes the road to fulfilling our dreams isn’t a straight one

Life Lessons Learned

Billy and I both expected to come up against challenges on this new course in life that we were taking, it’s just that neither of us expected it to happen with such immediacy or so early in our journey. I guess that’s why it’s called a surprise.

We had already come up against lessons like dealing with group opinion and facing peer pressure. We had encountered people telling us that leaving the conventional working world couldn’t be done successfully – and that we didn’t have enough money.

My motor had been going in one direction and it wasn’t so much that I had burned my bridges, but most of the planks had been packed.

The next lesson meeting me eye-to-eye was: Did I have enough faith in myself – or ourselves – to trust that we could figure it out?

No matter how many ducks we have in a row, the unexpected is just that. I think it’s at these times in our lives that we must calm the noise, grab whatever it is we have inside that we call strength, belief, guts or self-trust and move on into the unknown.

Billy and I like doing things together

Billy and I like doing things together

The Love of my Life

This was the lesson before me.

That being said, Billy has always been the love of my life. We have had chemistry for business pursuits, life adventures and for our personal relationship. The two of us together cover enough bases in life that – even though I was exhausted and fearful – I chose to move into the nameless, faceless, unmapped area of the future and take my chances.

Waiting on the Dock

The flights from California to Florida were long, plus I took another flight to the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. Next I had to board a water taxi that took 30 minutes to arrive at the tiny sister island of Nevis, where Billy met me on the wobbly dock.

My few pieces of luggage were schlepped up from the water taxi and placed into a dusty, open-air, rickety jeep. Billy made sure we arrived at our new place of residence – a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house that belonged to the Mayor’s brother. Painted white on the outside, the front terrace was a blistering orange. When I walked up the steps and turned around, I had a view of 3 islands.

We began our international travels

We began our international travels

Sounds fabulous, right?

Except we weren’t renting the house romantically by ourselves; we shared it with other employees of the Four Seasons. Although we were only 38, most of the other employees were in their 20s and they seemed like spoiled kids to us. This gorgeous home backed up to the jungle of the islands and had a view of the volcano in the back yard.

The Importance of Housing

Ours was the smallest bedroom in the house but we had the privacy of our own bathroom, which was a plus. There were donkeys tied up right outside our bedroom window and they brayed at sunrise each morning to wake us up. Our back door opened to the sugar cane fields of Nevis’ jungle, so we had cane spiders coming in to say hello from time to time.

These rust-colored, hairy spiders were the size of my fist and they had the unique talent of being able to jump a couple of feet in distance at a time!

This hadn’t been what I’d expected!

We've sailed all throughout the Caribbean

We’ve sailed all throughout the Caribbean

But I was learning another lesson which we would modify to perfection with the more practice we had. And that is this:  manage your housing costs and you can live just about anywhere in the world.

Buck Up and Quit Complaining

The cost of housing is one of the biggest expenses in any household. While this particular setup might not have been my first choice, our portion of the rent was affordable and we had spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean from the front porch and of Nevis’ volcano from the back. We had color TV, ceiling fans, all kitchen appliances, maid service and hot water in the showers.

A short walk to the end of the street brought us to cheap public transport and we could go anywhere on the island for less than a dollar.

Why was I complaining?

Looking back, we had a spectacular setup. I was simply shell-shocked from the massive changes to my personal life that I had gone through – and I had yet to train my eyes to see the advantages of my surroundings.

Island life is exotic

Island life is exotic!

The Power of Gentle Adjustment

If you are considering changing your conventional lifestyle to one of world travel with few possessions, give yourself time to adjust. We went from our super-speed, super-stressed lives to ones of a crawling pace. And, at the time, it’s just what we needed in order to slow down.

There were plenty of times along the road where we could have given up, could have dissed our dreams and settled for a life that did not make our hearts sing. But instead, we followed our inner push to do something different.

In 1991, everyone we knew said it couldn’t be done, but we weren’t designing their dream, we were creating ours. And after 23 years of world travel, we are still here!




4 responses to “Unexpected Challenges on the Road to Financial Independence

      • Hi Akaisha, I’m sure it will! I love how you’re showing very clearly that fear – and working through it – is a real part of making huge change. Pursuing the life we want often goes hand in hand with worries of the unknown – and I love how clearly you show that. Yet, you put one foot before the other, and kept walking, dealing with things as they arose; journeying with faith and optimism. And look where it’s gotten you! Almost three decades of pure and total freedom to live your days exactly as you wish! How many people can say that???

      • There are studies which show that people are more afraid of change than they are of death. What if change were a GOOD thing? What if we became more? What if we expanded? Learned something new? Became stronger? What if our dreams were right on the other side of the “block” we call change? What if we could make little changes and moved forwards anyway?

        We can’t stop change, we can fight it or move along and work with it.

        What do you want to do in your life? 😉


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