Slow Travel in (early) retirement is how Earth Vagabonds roll

Hello! We are Ellen and Theo (Ellie & Tedly) – and we are experts at budget slow travel in early retirement. Our dream lifestyle has been a reality since 2015 when we began to wander the planet full time.

We haven’t stopped since then! Not even during the pandemic — we stayed in the Philippines and did some humanitarian work during those crazy years.

If you’re wondering how to retire early and slow travel the world — on a budget — visit this page. Otherwise, keep reading for an overview of who we are, and to get the general gist of what we do.

Vagabond: (n) A person who wanders from place to place without a home or job. (adj) Having no settled home.

ellen and theo in india in 2022
Ellen and Theo in India, late 2022.

More about Earth Vagabonds

Ellen quit her career at 43 years old. Theo retired at 52.

Early retirement was an intentional decision. It took years of planning, saving and investing, and wise spending. It also took a shove from the universe.

As we got closer to the time for a decision about early retirement, Ellen’s company laid her off. So, after some months of debate, we looked at that life-changing event as a shove from the Universe to live our dream of slow travel in early retirement.

Life is Now is our mantra.

We have a good pep talk for anyone debating a budget slow travel lifestyle through FIRE (financial independence retire early).

ellen and theo in xcalak, mexico by the sea in 2016, one of their early stops during slow travel in retirement
Ellen and Theo in Xcalak, Mexico, in 2016.

Our early retirement dream

We always loved international travel. While working, we looked forward to global wandering.

This dream motivated us to set goals and make lifestyle decisions that allowed for more savings. Frugal choices led to financial freedom before traditional retirement age.

We lived below our means, put money into retirement accounts, made other investments, didn’t have children, and we didn’t buy junk we didn’t need.

Do you want to retire early and travel the world? Check out this page.

Is this long-term slow travel in early retirement the right fit for you? Check out this page.

Afraid of health care overseas? Don’t be!

Our special guide on global health care shows you:

  • 7 easy steps to find the right doctors and hospitals
  • Specific price examples for various medical services
  • What to know about medical visas
  • And more!

We go without travel health insurance, but many of the principles apply to those with coverage.

Giving back

We usually stay in one place for a month (or two or three) at a time.

But in the first two COVID years, we were in a rural area of the Philippines a short ferry ride away from the famous Boracay Island – the crown jewel of that country’s beach tourism.

We used our unspent travel budget to help local Filipinos survive without tourism.

We also helped the indigenous Ati tribe with sustainable community projects in partnership with kind overseas donors.

This self-appointed volunteer experience changed our perspective on the world – and on travel.

Ati men carry supplies up the mountain footpath to Kurong Village in June 2020.
Ati men carry supplies up to Kurong Village atop a small mountain in June 2020.

Then, in 2022, it was time for us to move on. The Earth Vagabond ethos.

But we still do humanitarian work. We often don’t publish the details, out of respect for the dignity of those we help.

We do share when our work is out in the open and it’s obvious what we are doing, as with the indigenous Ati tribe, or with a disabled young man in Pokhara, Nepal, or at a (now closed) refugee camp in Greece.

We believe in human unity, and in giving back.

We’ve covered a lot ground since 2015.
  • 4 continents
  • 27 countries
  • 100+ cities and villages
  • Hundreds of apartment rentals & hotel rooms
  • Countless beautiful friends
  • Endless unbelievable experiences

Medical challenges during slow travel in retirement

This site also shares personal experiences with medical experiences during our travels. From mosquito viruses to broken bones and breast cancer — to name a few challenges we’ve had.

Yep. In our third year of budget slow travel in early retirement, Ellen was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer following a routine mammogram in Croatia.

She had a double mastectomy in Zagreb — without reconstruction — in 2018.

Ellen now travels the world as a fabulous “flattie” – with no evidence of disease since the surgery.

We kept traveling after her surgery abroad because travel makes us happy, and this is the lifestyle we always wanted.

To anyone on the fence about traveling the world now or later, we say do it now. The clock stops for no one and we live for today (with a plan for tomorrow) because Life is Now.

Ellen and Theo in Auroville, India, 2024.

Health care is one of the reasons people delay slow travel in retirement, and we totally understand that.

However, we also have much experience with mundane health issues, like eyeglasses and dental visits and preventative care in several countries around the world. Most of our medical care experiences have been excellent – and affordable.

See our free guide to health care without travel health insurance.

Budget slow travel in retirement is affordable

We enjoy showing people that nonstop travel can be a real possibility. And, it can be ‘endless, if you spend less’.

We share our monthly and yearly budget breakdowns from our slow travel in early retirement. Budgets are relative, but ours is $2,000 a month (outside Europe).

We also share money-saving techniques in places all over the globe – whether you are retired, or early retired.

See what it costs to retire early and travel the world!

Check out our popular monthly budget breakdowns.

This is an independent blog!

We do not work with brands or affiliates. There are no ads here. We don’t use AI to write a single word – every thing we write is experiential — real life stuff. And we are not trying to sell you anything.

Unlike other travel bloggers, whenever we review a restaurant, hotel, or some other service or product, we get nothing in return. Nada. No free dinners, no kickbacks, no free rides, no discounts of any kind.

Maybe one day we will see you out here somewhere on this fantastic planet Earth.

theo and ellen look at the himalayas from a small village in nepal
Theo and Ellen in Hyjangkot, Nepal, March 2023.


Vagabond: (n) A person who wanders from place to place without a home or job. (adj) Having no settled home.

slow travel

Long-term stays; use buses and trains with infrequent flights; the faster you go the less you see.

early retirement

Stay on budget
Financial freedom
Active learning
Global citizenry



Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Earth Vagabonds destination during slow travel in retirement.
Zapotec ruins in Oaxaca, Mexico.


15 thoughts on “Slow Travel in (early) retirement is how Earth Vagabonds roll”

  1. Satish Iyengar

    Hello Ellie,
    I am Satish from India, Got to know about you from Karen. It is certainly a pleasure to know about you. Looking forward to see you in India.
    All the best for your future trips and may all the desires be fulfilled.
    God Bless you with good health and wealth so that you can travel the Globe.

    1. Hello Satish! It’s a pleasure to virtually meet you. I look forward to the day we meet in person. We will get to India eventually. I’ve always wanted to see your country!

  2. Kristie Villanueva

    Ellen, I just can’t believe that I am your 1,900th follower! I am so incredibly MOVED bye this blog, I have always admired you and this just amplified it the the 100th power!! I am glued to this site and I am truly in awe of your courage, inner peace and LOVE. Thank you and Tedly for sharing your incredible journey on this beautiful and fascinating planet! I am looking forward to seeing where you will land next!

  3. Glad I found this – you guys are my role models! I say (probably too often) my dream job is retirement. Not because I hate my work, but because I crave the freedom of not being tied to it.

  4. Ellie. I answered your question about finding protein powder in Mazatlan and the health food store at Plaza Zaragoza. Anyway, I sent you a Facebook message, but you may not have gotten it. I am a lifetime “vagabundo” backpacking around the world since I graduated college in 1971. I am arriving at my condo in Maz on November 3rd for the winter. If you guys are still around, I would be happy to show you the best non-tourist places and secret beaches. Cheers, Chuck

    1. Wow – thanks Chuck! I did not see your message. I’ll send you a friend request so future messages aren’t missed. We will still be here when you arrive. Safe trip!

  5. Guys – Nice job! My hat is off to you! I can relate – at 48, I too gave up the yolk of the “real world” 24-7 rat race a year and 1/2 ago and moved overseas. You are spot on! :))

  6. Allan Hildebrandt

    Love your blog. Inspirational! My wife and I have been full time for the past couple of years as a travel nurse and now plan on doing as you do. Travel slow and easy, enjoy the sights and local flavor. We plan to go to Mexico as well as tour the US. Hope to see you on the road, how cool would that be ?

    1. Thank you Allan! It would be great to see you out here! I’ve met some awesome people on our travels. Good luck to you and your wife!

  7. Love your blog! So beautifully written! Very inspiring to someone like myself who hopes to someday reside in Mexico. Thank you for sharing your life!

  8. Wow, wow, wow! I have stumbled upon a gem of a blog! I can’t even begin to tell you how I wish I had had your guts at your young age (or seemingly young, compared to us!) Congratulations on following your heart and your spirit! As Jeremy and I trek along our Encore Voyage, we are learning precisely the things you seem to have already discovered! We find ourselves thinking, “If only we had known then what we know now.” I have enjoyed catching up to you and will follow along eagerly!

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