Ellen + Tedly, slow travel, budget travel, travel in early retirement

About Earth Vagabonds: Slow travel in retirement

Last Updated on November 19, 2022 by Ellen

Hello! We are Ellen and Theo (Ellie & Tedly) – and we are experts at budget slow travel in retirement. We are “Earth Vagabonds.”

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

Instead of retiring and relocating to one specific place, as many retirees do, we wander. Full-time. We’ve done this since 2015!

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

Actually, we retired early to travel the world while we still were young enough — and healthy enough — to easily do it.

But everything – every single thing – on this site can apply to people of traditional retirement age. After all – we all have a budget to stick to!

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 retirement.

Life is Now is our motto.

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.

Is this long-term slow travel in retirement for you? Maybe you could test it out, like we did when we were still working. We took vacations and ‘lived like locals’ instead of wasting thousands of dollars in all-inclusive resorts.

If you are looking for more specific information on how to retire early and travel the world, we have another page you should visit.

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. There are no roads.

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

We’ve covered a lot ground since 2015.

  • 4 continents
  • 21 countries
  • 100+ cities and villages
  • More than 100 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 challenges during our travels. Chikungunya (a mosquito virus), broken bones, and breast cancer — to name a few.

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.

Life is now.

Ellen and Theo at a beach bar in Butterworth, Malaysia, a stop on their slow travel in retirement world tour.
Ellen and Theo in Malaysia, August 2022.

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.

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.

We invite you to look around, and explore the site.

This is an independent blog!

We do not work with brands or affiliates. 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.

The display ads you see help cover the cost of hosting this site and getting all of this free information to you. The ads are automatic, variable, and based on your browser history. We don’t control the ad content.

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

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




15 thoughts on “About Earth Vagabonds: Slow travel in retirement”

  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. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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! :))

  8. 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!

  9. 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 ?

  10. 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!

  11. 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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