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!
…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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
AKAISHA HAS ALSO SHARED
- Written and formatted by: Akaisha Kaderli
- Compiled and edited by: Krista Beauvais
- Photos: all photos are courtest of Akaisha Kaderli
- Early Retirement Date: 1991