Life is now

a beach cabana near the sea with palm trees in Tulum, Mexico

In 2003, we met a German artist and sailor named Tasso von Jena. He lived on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. Some years he lived in a hut, other years under a tarp tied to trees. In his later years, he lived in a moldy old, dead and parked camper.

Most people may have thought he was crazy. We adored him, and some of his various philosophical approaches to travel and life.

A man sits on the stairs to a beach hut in Tulum, Mexico

When we first met Tasso, before he lived under a tarp or in a camper, he managed beach cabanas at a small boutique place in Tulum – the type of business that has vanished in recent years since the “Hollywood” and “New York” crowds invaded.

I’ll never forget the moment I laid eyes on him. I knew in that second we looked at each other – knew without doubt – he would have a profound effect on me.

Tasso rented us an oceanfront cabana “for a song.” That was March 2003. While in our Tulum oceanfront cabana for $20 a night, the U.S. invaded Iraq.

An artist named Tasso von Jena stands in front of his art at his beach hut

Back then we still worked in our careers. But whenever we could, we took budget vacations to foreign countries — often to Mexico.

Over the years during our Tulum visits, Tasso urged us to “travel now” before it was too late. Tasso and Tedly had many memorable, animated, and sometimes exhausting debates about when we might “quit the rat race” and take off into the sunset.

three people at an oceanfront cafe in Tulum, Mexico

Tasso had a unique world view. He was a young boy who remembered desperate survival efforts in Berlin tunnels right after the official end of World War II. He understood hate and holocaust. As a great artist, he lived for beauty and ardor. As a sailor and beach bum, he enjoyed his booze and oranges, and he loved Tulum’s beach and seawater.

Although we didn’t start this budget slow travel adventure as early as Tasso had urged, we felt right about our timing for early retirement.

And we think the artist and sailor would be proud that today we live his mantra: Life is now.

(RIP Tasso! See you on the journey of souls!)

An artist looks into the camera while shirtless on a beach

Retired budget travel.

Spend less. Endless.

“…excellent article on health care and budget travel…”

“Muchas Gracias Elena and Teodoro for sharing your travel throughout México, and for letting the world know that everybody can appreciate our beautiful country.”
Friend, Reader

“Part of Thailand I have ever heard of. Looks fabulous.”
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