Home Lifestyle Things I learned while driving around the world and sailing.

Things I learned while driving around the world and sailing.

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Nomadism isn’t always easy. These are some things I learned while driving and sailing around the globe.

My wife and I moved from Chicago to live and work in 2003. We then started pre-retirement and began sailing around the globe. This was a huge shift for two middle-westerners, who had never been on a boat before and were also far too young to retire in the traditional sense.

Our original plan was to sail the globe, then sell the boat and move back to Chicago to start a new life. We would be four years old, have many great stories, and could then retire the traditional way, after more years of hard work.

We realized something while sailing that there was a vast world out there with lots to see and explore. We weren’t interested in returning to the American way of living any longer.

This realization is not enough to answer the question of what we would do to earn a living to support a life of world travel for many years or even decades. But we did it. We took what we were good at (trading/investing), turned that into an ongoing source of online work .

We also ventured into other endeavors like writing magazine articles and books. We also learned how to enjoy this lifestyle fully, and not just how to finance it.

It sounds idyllic to live a nomadic lifestyle, but it is not always easy. These are some of the things that made this lifestyle more enjoyable and sustainable for our family.

We all want the same things

We’ve traveled to the most wealthy and poorest places on the planet, but one thing stands out: people around the globe want a happy family, good food, and shelter. Anyone can find happiness with these three items.

When we feel self-doubt or doubt about our choices, we can remind ourselves that there are three things we have. Recognizing how great you are can erase any unhappiness or imperfections.


One afternoon, a year and a half into our journey, my wife and I were lost in Bangkok. We found a bench in a park, sat down and took out our guidebook and map. Our goal was to keep it low-key while we figured out where we were and where to go.

The young man saw us and turned to make a run for it. He said he was learning English and asked us if we needed any help. For all the world, he looked and acted like a smooth-talking hustler who concocts a tourist into believing he is a fraudster in a straight-to-television B-movie.

He insisted that we be fine and took our map. Then he proceeded to circle about half a dozen locations around the city. He assured us that all of these sites were extraordinary and would not be found in any guidebook. After he had walked us to a taxi, negotiated the price for him to take us there all, shook hands with us, and then continued his journey.

We toured some of Thailand’s most stunning sites over the next few hours. We were driven by a taxi driver who was patient and drove us back to our hotel without any extra charges. It was a perfect day in Bangkok. We owe it to an anonymous stranger who convinced us to relax.

We talked about the day that had just passed and agreed to assume the best of everyone from then on. Unfortunately, this is what most travelers do. They assume the worst and are only surprised when they get the best. It is better to expect the best, and then be surprised by the unexpected.

You will never be disappointed if you trust that people are kind.

This new mantra was put to the test soon after.

Now we were in Sri Lanka, where locals were playing the board game Carrom. After playing for a while at local bars, we decided to get a carrom board on our boat. As we were looking for a board in the local shops, a local man overheard us asking where one could be found. He quickly loaded us all into a tuk tuk and we were off.

In secret, we wondered just how far this “trust everyone” thing would take us. Soon, we found ourselves in a tiny building in the middle if nowhere. We found a couple running a small factory that makes carrom boards.

They gave us a brand new board and we headed back to the city. The lady gave him 60 Rp on the way out. Although it was very little, I thought that there must have been some kind of commission to bring us there. We stopped at several shops on the way back to find the necessary pieces. Our new friend promised to get us some the following day and would still not be able to find any.

We returned home satisfied with our board and with our decision not to trust. We were both curious about the angle, but we could not help but wonder. We were both curious to know what this man was going to ask us the next day.

We each grabbed small gifts as a thank you gift, and we set off to the next day. The carrom pieces were waiting for us, as our friend was still waiting. The price of the box was 60 RP, which I immediately noticed. The money that he received the previous day was only for the pieces and not a commission. Our friend was given a hat and a tip for his assistance. I was confused when he looked at the money. He then returned the money and said that he had only helped us because of his desire to.

After a long conversation, he took off his hat and smiled, before we said our goodbyes. We spent quite a while talking to him because he was proud of Sri Lanka and wanted us all to have fun, be happy and share our love for the country with the rest of the world.

We could have easily wavered him off when he first approached, but instead we made the effort to trust him.

Living small is really living big

We have lived in three boats and a VW bus over the last twenty years. In addition to visiting seventy-five countries, we also stayed in two motorhomes, two motorhomes, and an Airstream trailer. Only one of the boats, and the VW bus, were as a couple. The rest were all for a family of four. The Airstream measured only 22 feet in length.

Living small is a choice and not a necessity. We have learned that happiness is possible with very little. Living small allows us to easily pivot to what we want to do next.

My children and I used to live on our 43-foot sailboat. We traveled all over Pacific Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. We loaded our entire family’s belongings into four plastic containers when we decided to sell our boat and purchase a motorhome in America. We boarded a plane to continue our lives, but now we are traveling on land.

All of us are conditioned to be consumers from our birth. But breaking this cycle allows us to have more experiences with more people and in more places.

As I write this, I am currently in the process to sell my boat in Aruba and move to a boat in Mexico. Although our family has more than they have ever had, we will still be flying out of Aruba carrying only a few boxes of valuable belongings and ready to start the next chapter.

This was our decision to change boats and sail around the globe in just a few days. Friends joked that it takes them longer to decide what breakfast to have. We don’t doubt it. It is true that if you live small and are willing and able to do without possessions, you can move quickly and fulfill your desires without being held back by them.

Be smart, but fearless

A person can easily become accustomed to the American Disneyland feeling of adventure while growing up. Fences often block our natural beauty and keep us out. The signs indicate that it is for our safety. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to do certain things or even the idea of doing them makes them impossible.

We often find things around the globe that we don’t think would be possible in America.

There are likely legitimate reasons why no insurance company would accept the risk.

Be smart but be fearless . We have done things over the years that we were repeatedly warned not to. They are almost always the best experiences. These can be organized or unorganized activities.

We sledged down Class 4 rapids in New Zealand. You basically sledge yourself in a river with a small plastic toy sled that you can hold on to. The sled will take the rocks and keep your boat afloat as the river tries its best to get you out. It’s great fun.

After considering all options and the potential problems, we decided to sail through “Pirate Alley” between the coasts of Oman & Yemen.

We spent a very raucous evening in Aden, Yemen. There, we sang the Russian National Anthem together with a General of the Yemeni Army, several ladies, and a Detroit taxi driver who had just been deported.

We rode buses that were only for locals through Egypt, stared down an angry Israeli Navy gunner, and cliff-dived in Galapagos. Then we hiked up to a mountaintop fortress on Haiti’s Mount Fortress. We have sailed all over the globe, driven a 1958 VW bus from Alaska, crossed every inch of Mexico on motorhomes, and circled the Caribbean with our trawler. Our travels have been full of adventure and we’ve taken many risks.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. If you’re being warned that what you’re about to do is dangerous or stupid, you should first look at the source. Although most things in life don’t seem as crazy as they appear, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t as fun.


There is no need to live forever. Retirement is not a new concept. Only a few people would have retired from work 100 years ago. Although times were different back then and most people didn’t live to retirement age, the fact is that retirement as we think of it today is still a relatively new concept. It is still a mystery why we seem to have agreed on the definition.

It’s important to be open to changing things. This is something I have always tried to remember. Over the last twenty years, I have lived on a boat four years, a Volkswagen bus for two years and a boat four years. A motorhome for four, a boat for four, and a boat for six. I have worked for many years, had many years off, then continued to work. I am not yet fifty years old and still have a ways to go before retiring.

The fact is that we are more likely to live a healthy, long life . This is a great opportunity to take advantage of it. Live your life to the fullest. When you feel like something isn’t right or your savings account needs to be topped up, you can switch things around until you feel the life you want.


A life filled with adventure and travel is life well lived. Twenty years later, I don’t regret the choice I made and the path my family chose. You don’t have to sound like a Nike advertisement, just do it. You must work hard to realize your goals as soon as possible so they don’t slip by. Open your eyes to all possibilities and go out into the world. Be open to all possibilities. Have fun.

Pat Schulte started his career as a commodities trading pit reporter for the Minneapolis Grain Exchange at the age 25.

He showed great promise and was soon promoted to the trading floor as head clerk and then broker. He was quickly taken under the wing a small group successful traders who would become his mentors.

He had little money and sold his car to put the $5,000 in a trading account. He never looked back and never needed another deposit.

He moved to Chicago two years later to trade in the Soybean Options Pit. He traded side-by-side with hundreds of pit traders and managed his risk. Within a few years, he had enough profit to quit the 9-5.

Pat set out to live a life of adventure and freedom. He spent the next four years traveling the globe on a 35-foot catamaran called Bumfuzzle. His adventures did not stop there.

After circumnavigating the globe in a boat, he began driving around in a VW bus. He then entered and won a race across America in his vintage Porsche. You can read more about his adventures on his blog Bumfuzzle.

He and Ali were ready to settle down and had two children in Mexico on their second boat. After that, they loaded them into a vintage motorhome, and traveled extensively around the globe.

The family returned to the Caribbean waters in 2017 aboard a trawler. Pat has been trading stocks for a living for more than twenty years. His trading of stocks has helped him sustain an adventurous lifestyle. He and Lorin now share their knowledge with others about how to live the Wanderer Financial lifestyle.

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