Following last week’s post about my small emotional freak-out over selling all my Stuff to being a new phase, I thought it’d be fitting to introduce you to Annabel Candy. I met Annabel in person one rainy day in Melbourne, and her warmth and positive energy was infectious. Annabel is a serial dream chaser, so if – like me – you’re in need of a voice of reason to help you take baby steps towards a big leap, here are some words of wisdom from a brave woman who learns to swim by jumping in the deep end …

How to Quit Your Job, Sell Your Stuff and Move to a Tropical Paradise – By Annabel Candy

That’s what we’d all love to do isn’t it?

We all want to take a break from work, be free to move anywhere and experience life in our dream location, where ever that is.

But is it really possible? Do you really have what it takes to let go of your stable income, sell the things that are tying you down and set up home in a foreign land? And if so how do you do it?

It’s inspiring to pore over travel blogs searching for the ultimate lifestyle destination and it’s fun to read books about other people’s travel adventures. But what if you try and it all goes wrong? What if those horror stories people keep telling you about con men, tropical diseases and other travel disasters happen to you? What if the naysayers are right and you try it then fail then have to come back with your tail between your legs?

Adventurers all have those fears of failure. We’re all scared to give up our income and sell the clothes, cars or house we love. The thought of moving somewhere you’ve never been before thousands of miles from your friends and family is terrifying.

So let me tell you about how I overcame my fears and did it anyway.

I haven’t just done this once either. I’m a serial dream chaser who’s taken risks repeatedly that have allowed me to live in eight different countries and travel to many more.

So far I’ve lived in the UK (where I was born), France (several times), the USA, Zimbawe, Laos, New Zealand and Costa Rica.

I’m currently holed up in one of the world’s many paradises, Noosa on the Sunshine Coast of Australia and, although I plan to spend a long time here, I’m not done with travelling yet. My future travel plans include a six month safari in Africa and a big trip to South America. And that’s just for starters.

But now I’m just going to tell you the story of my most recent move, from New Zealand to Costa Rica, where me and my family spent 18 months, then on to Australia.

How I Quit My Job

Me and my husband lived in New Zealand for 10 years and during that time we set up our own business.

It took us many years to build up our business and earn enough not just to survive on, but to thrive on. We lived on stunning Waiheke Island with a work-from-home-in-tropical-paradise-lifestyle that was envied by all our friends.

But although we already lived in tropical paradise we wanted to try another type of tropical paradise. We were dreaming of abundant wildlife, the chance to learn a new language and the reality check that comes from living in a developing country. The jungles of Central America were calling us.

After endless months of debating about taking the risk of shutting down our business we decided to do it. We handed all our clients over to a friend who could help them and shut it down.

We knew if all else failed we could always come back and start all over again. Yes, we’d be back to square one but at least we’d have some great stories and unforgettable memories to fuel us into old age.

How I Sold My Stuff

We sold almost everything we owned starting with our home which had a huge garden with 16 different types of fruit growing, a (small) sea view and was close to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

When we bought it that house was a dive but we’d spent years of hard graft and money doing it up. It wouldn’t be easy to replace either because houses with sun, privacy and a flat garden are rare as hen’s teeth in that part of the world.

Plus there was an emotional attachment.

You see it wasn’t just me and my husband whose lives were going to be turned upside down.

We have three kids and two of our children were actually born in that house. In the Maori tradition we’d planted trees for them and buried their placentas in the garden.

Selling the house was hard but it was harder still to sell my children’s toys. Especially for them.

We kept about half a container of belongings including family photos, some very special pieces of furniture and a few treasured personal items in storage to be sent out later when we settled down.

Our children were aged two, five and eight so this move was also about us being the type of irresponsible parents who’d moved their children from a beautiful stable environment on a wild trip into the unknown. We planned to start our travels in Guatemala and one friend asked if I knew that Guatemala has the world’s highest incidences of child kidnapping. I did not. I wished she hadn’t told me either.

We encountered many naysayers like her along the way but we did the only thing you can do: develop a thick skin and keep your eyes firmly on your dream.

How I Moved to a Tropical Paradise

We picked Central America because it had the wildlife we craved and it was spanish speaking so our children would be able to grow up being bi-lingual.

Most of our friends, family and banking facilities couldn’t cope with such a vague destination – many didn’t know where Central America even was – so we told everyone we were moving to Panama. From our research, Panama seemed like the most-likely outcome although we planned to travel round Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica before settling anywhere.

We ended up spending 18 months in Central America and living in Costa Rica for over a year. During that time we visited four countries, lived in countless cabinas and in three different houses.

Our children went to four different schools and were soon getting 100% in most subjects at school including spanish.

The Costa Rican beaches are gorgeous and we learnt to surf, recognise and name most wildlife in english and spanish and appreciate the delights of ceviche – a local specialty made with raw fish.

Best of all Costa Rica exceeded our expectations when it came to wildlife. We not only constantly saw toucans, monkeys and coatis, we had them in our garden. I regularly shooed errant wildlife out of our house including giant bugs, beautiful humming birds and even a bat that I fished out of the toilet using one of the kid’s swimming flippers.

But there were two main problems with our new tropical paradise.

First the schooling was poor; our two oldest children attended a local school which ran for just three hours a day with had no books or educational tools. We even had to buy them a desk and chair.

Secondly we couldn’t get internet. Getting a mobile phone in Costa Rica is hard, and because we lived in a remote area, we couldn’t get internet. Since our main business is web design we knew that, with no income coming in, eventually we’d have to leave. The proceeds of our house sale wouldn’t last forever.

How I Admitted Defeat and Moved On

We had to face it: Costa Rica wasn’t the right fit for us.

But we had a plan B to live to Australia where we are now. The beaches are picture perfect, the schooling excellent and they don’t call it the Sunshine Coast for nothing.

So what’s the point in this story?

The point is that we did what we set out to do. We quit out jobs, sold everything, moved to a tropical paradise.
Yes, we were scared about closing our business, selling our home and moving our children to somewhere we’d never been before with a language we didn’t speak.

Sure there were sacrifices like going from living in a four bedroom house to living in one room with five people.
We failed in our bid to live in Costa Rica, but we left rich with experiences. It didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but there were many successes along the way, like the love of spanish, surfing and wildlife which we took with us and the many life lessons we gained.

You can do this too.

You can quit your job and come back to it if you want or need to. There are always jobs around for risk-takers and movers and shakers.

You can sell your belongings. You can always buy them again if you really want to.

You can move to a tropical paradise. It might not be forever but at least you’ll have done it.

So what are you waiting for? What’s really holding you back?

We all have fears but we can’t be ruled by them. I decided to give fear the finger every day of my life and you can too. I’m cheering you on.

And who knows? Someday we might run into each other in some tropical paradise. How great would that be?

Annabel Candy has hitched rides on a fire engine in Turkey, a donkey cart in Tunisia and a gravel truck in Zimbabwe. She’s traveled the world to spot animals in the wild and ended up sharing her home with them. She lives with her husband and their three children in Queensland, Australia where she writes travel stories on her blog Get In the Hot Spot and shares blogging tips at Successful Blogging. You can catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook too.

What tropical paradise are you dreaming of?

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101 Response Comments

  • Bethany ~ twoOregonians  February 22, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Fabulous, fabulous! Bravo to you, Annabel, for taking the plunge. I am so grateful that my husband was a willing partner in our giant life risk: we’ve been on the road now since the beginning of the year, living life abroad, and discovering lessons around each corner. I applaud you for celebrating the unconventional and giving your children the gift of travel as well. Cheers, Bethany xx

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  February 22, 2012 at 5:12 am

      Hi Bethany,

      Fab to meet another brave adventurer here. Yes, we are lucky to have partners who are as brave/nutty as us:) I am grateful for that.

      A big thank you Torre for hosting my post and making it look gorgeous. I love the photo at the top. Take me there now!

  • Brit McGinnis  February 22, 2012 at 11:06 am

    This is such an incredible story!! I’m a student about to graduate from university, and I’m struggling with the desire to have a steady income and job (it is a Recession, after all!) with the desire to FINALLY travel like my friends who didn’t have to work through college. Any advice?

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  February 23, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Hi Brit,

      Hope you don’t ask your bank manager or anyone who likes to play it safe! I say travel:) Have fun, follow your heart. You can finance travel either by working while you are away or by working hard and saving for six months then traveling for six months. Repeat as desired:) Steady jobs will be there if and when you need them.

  • erin aka eef  February 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Wow! I’d always imagined that once I settle down and have kids, my traveling days will be over–you’ve given me new hope!

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  February 23, 2012 at 12:37 am

      Hi Erin,

      I imagined that too and it made me rather depressed – after I had my kids I thought my life and dreams were over. But they don’t have to be. You can still do it with kids. It’s harder but it is possible:)

  • Meg | One Love Meg  February 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I love the idea of exposing children to different cultures at a young age. I don’t have kids but when I do, I want them to live in foreign countries and speak several languages. There is no better time to learn, then when you are young. Thanks for sharing your story Annabel.

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  February 23, 2012 at 12:39 am

      Hi Meg,

      Yes, I think my kids are very lucky but of course they don’t appreciate that when you sell all their toys! I think they’ve got the travel bug too now but sadly no money to buy their own plane tickets:)

    • Steve  August 25, 2015 at 1:48 am

      Speak several Languages….I don’t know about this whole language thing , I speak 3 ,English , a bit of the stupid Afrikaans from South Africa and I speak Portuguese quite well , better than Afrikaans I live in Brazil now and my wife is from here… point is it’s taken 3 years of study and some practical , to get even remotley fluent in portuguese and you need constant exposure and practice, and I’m considered something of a prodigy with Brazilian Portuguese. Theres no way your kids are going to be able to speak 7 languages fluently from a little bit of time in each place, maybe a few words of each , I can’t even remember Afrikaans since I learn’t Portuguese , much better to focus hard on one new language , have them master it and them move over to another similar one once fluency is achieved. But with languages if you learn it fast then don’t use it you rapidly lose it

      • Ralf  August 26, 2015 at 6:44 am

        My kids learned Polish, one of the hardest languages, like natives, under 10 months.

      • elena  July 23, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Children learn languages extremely quick. I speak four different languages, apart from english, and all four I’ve learnt as a kid. And even though, I’ve been speaking mostly english ever since I was 15 (I’m 27 now), I can still speak all 4 languages fluently.That’s exactly why you hear people say that they want to expose their kids to different languages from a very young age.

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures  February 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I have goosebumps! This was absolutely inspiring!!! Your children are blessed to have such big dreamers as parents.

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  February 23, 2012 at 12:40 am

      Hi Andi,

      Aw, thank you! We’re not perfect parents but you can only do your best:)

  • Victoria  February 23, 2012 at 3:11 am

    It’s great to find other traveling families! We had a tough time when we sold the kids toys when they were 6 and 2.5. Toys come and go though. They are getting used to saying good bye to toys, and friends, and places we love. Annabel, I applaud your efforts to encourage families, as opposed to couples, to follow their dreams too! Sure we don’t get to see everything that the traveling couples get to see (like the view from the top of a huge hike), but we get to see a lot more than we ever expected. And on top of that, every where we go (since we left the US) people have been very happy that we brought our children.

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  March 13, 2012 at 12:22 am

      Thanks Victoria, it’s great to meet another family of adventurous travellers. We’ve been in one spot too long now – the toys are piling up – could be time for another garage sale:)

  • Still Served Warm  February 23, 2012 at 4:13 am


  • Vacay Girl  February 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Love this blog Annabel. My destination is next year to move to Cabo San Lucas for at least a year. This post just adds to the positive fuel that fires me up. Nobody I know has done this before so I feel like a loner in that aspect. But I do have several friends that I have confided in that are cheering me on.

    You hit the nail on the head, fears come in big or small sizes. I wonder how I will fare in my journey as well. Will there be danger, embarrassing moments, moments of more defeats than triumphs? And then within those same moments of negative thoughts I’m so anxious excited and overjoyed by my thoughts of living in a foreign country, learning the language and meeting new people. I know it will all consume me as I have a year of saving and waiting to go but as the time comes near my only fear of all fears is….telling my mom. So in the meantime I build up the courage.

    Love your blog! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  March 13, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Hi Vacay Girl,

      I know that feeling but once you hit the road you’ll meet plenty of like-mined travellers.

      Do you know what probably all those fears will come true. But you will survive them – after all, what’s a life without a little danger and embarassment?!

      Good luck with your mum though! Mine still despairs of me but she’s got used to my nomadic ways:)

  • Kirsten  February 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Great article!

    I love hearing and connecting with other people doing similar (or more interesting) adventures. …We sold our house, 1/2 our stuff and moved to Hawaii last year and haven’t looked back once. We’ve talked about going international for our next move whenever we’re ready to leave Hawaii. And reading this gives me inspiration and helps calm any lingering fears about the future.

    Kudos to you for living your dreams! And thanks for the inspiration!

    • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  March 13, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Hi Kristen,

      Your story sounds amazing. Hawaii?! I really want to visit Kauai:) It all goes to show once you’ve made the big move once it’s easier second time round:)

  • Jt Clough | Big Island Dog  March 13, 2012 at 12:45 am

    I had to read this because 11 months ago I did the same thing.

    I left a thriving business I had built over 10 years behind, sold my home, and most of my things to move to the Big Island Hawaii.

    Yes there was emotional attachment and it was scary… but…. oh how I love living in paradise. I’m building my business only with a new focus (need a habits coach… I’ve got some good stuff for you!). My dogs are here and I still get to work with dogs only in a very island way.

    You can do it too! I’m here to tell you at 48 years old, I’m so glad I didn’t wait.

  • For 91 Days Travel Blog  April 2, 2012 at 4:27 am

    We sold everything too (or put into storage) and are traveling now. The hardest part of this process is to make the decision and to follow through.

    And STICK TO IT.

    After making the decision to start traveling we had moments, thinking that we are insane! But we are now so happy we did!

  • Anne O'Connell (@annethewriter)  April 12, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Hi Annabel,
    I love the photo of the bat! I am currently living with my husband and cat in the island paradise of Phuket, Thailand (Torre, where in Thailand are you?). We left the snow and cold of Canada long ago. We’re here for the long-haul for sure. Kudos to you for following your dream…especially with 3 kids. I recently wrote a blog about the 10 things that expats get used to and would love your thoughts and additions!
    Happy trails,

  • Rob  June 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    This is a dream of mine too. However, one must need indispensible amounts of money, no? How would one pay for food, shelter, medical costs, etc? Especially with kids in tow. I think I would have to wait until my kids grew up and moved out before I could take such a risk. Even then, the cost, just getting to one of these countries you mentioned, would break me financially. Finding a job would just be defeating the purpose. Will hang onto the dream though 🙂

  • FrequentBird  February 14, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Too many people say they can’t do what was done in this post. They are restricting themselves unnecessarily. I have quit my job and sold my stuff in a huff too. I have not yet moved to a tropical paradise yet though!

  • Cassandra  May 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

    My husband and I are in the process of making the decision to move to Thailand. The hardest part for us is pets, we cannot leave them, they are our kids, so wherever we go has to be pet friendly. This makes it difficult for quarantine reasons, and also because we are limited with accommodation. But we are trying to make it happen!!

    • Torre DeRoche  May 23, 2013 at 5:29 am

      That’s really hard, Cassandra. Limiting. But I know exactly what you mean—they’re your babies! My dog is my baby too, but luckily she has a grandma to go to—my mum.

  • Annie  May 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I have lived in Australia and miss it everyday. but how did you get the OK to move there? I had a working holiday visa but it only was good for a year. Being Canadian the Aussie gov didnt understand why i wanted to stay as they lose ruffly 2,000 ppl a month whom move to Canada. I’m well educated with 2 degrees and bilingual. If you could give any advice i would love to hear it.


  • Summer Johnston  August 9, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. It is truly inspiring. I dream about your kind of life on a daily basis, but let the naysayers talk me out of it. You’re helping me realize I only have this life, and i should do what brings me joy in it!

  • Jay  August 23, 2013 at 4:53 am


    I stumbled across your page while doing research for a move i am getting ready to undertake, i know all about quitting the job and moving to a paradise, i live in one sorta.

    , I was born in Lewiston maine USA, and spent a good part of my life as a radio broadcaster, eventually I transitioned into the world of information technology, after spending a few years in Washington DC and living the city life not to mention visiting phoenix, LA, Houston, Miami, Dallas and other big cities, I decided to slow my life down, I picked Key West florida as my home and have been living here for the past 2 years. The environment here is beautiful, and tropical, we have a beautiful reef located 6 miles offshore, lots of palm trees, tons of roosters, and sadly lots of tourists, we see as many as 20,000 a week, with the cruise ships (4 a day) the bus tours from Miami, the major airport bringing in 5 plane fuls a day, and the people who drive rent a cars to the island, this place is overly saturated

    ON my way to key west I journeyed across the usa on a scooter and saw many wonderful things it was an amazing trip which you can read about at , and among my talents I am also a professional photographer. On my way to the keys I made a stop at the Everglades International Hostel, where I became the kitchen manager in exchange for my fee to stay with them, I stayed there for two and a half weeks soaking up the everglades and the surrounding area, before I sadly said goodbye and moved on to key west (my final destination)

    I have been searching for some time for a place to go that is quiet and laid back like key west but without the tourists, a place where I could live frugral and not have to deal with the hub bub of the normal life

    SO now after long last and a friend putting the travel bug inside me again i am getting ready to leave this tourist soaked town, i have set my sights on a small village called cahuita in costa rica on the coast, it will be much like where i live now, the reef, the sea, the weather, the wildlife, but without the tourists, i plan on going over for the month of december and if i like it return to the states and plan to move for good, things are so inexpensive over there it almost seems to good to be true,

    I am a photographer, i also do technology support for my clients and i own a web design and graphics comapny, on top of that i am principle partner in an etertainment business startup, not to mention i am 50% partner in an advertising magazine, i fear not though, these businesses will continue to go on long after i am gone, so i wont “quit” my business, just move away from it

    I dream even now of a night when i can fall asleep in my little bungalow in that village listening to the sounds of the howler monkeys and the waves crashing on the reef……

    soon the road will be calling me again….

  • Paula H  November 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Your story is very inspiring…I have grown my whole life in Denver Colorado, I may have an opportunity to move to Florida, but I know no one there…Id sell all I have (so I don’t have to cart it there) and move…I have roots and a great job here but I feel God wants me in Florida, how do I overcome my fear of not making it and having to come back to people and ask them to help me because I made a wrong decision?

    • Diane  June 27, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Paula.

      I want to do the opposite (FL to CO). I have been living in South Florida since 1971 and I am totally sick of it!!! Not much to do here other than go to the beach or pool or the pool or beach. There are no hiking trails, no fresh water creeks, no cool places to camp, no white water rafting, no Spring & Fall and NO beautiful mountains and its summer 11 months out of the year. You are stuck in the a/c all the time. I hope you like the heat because the cold fronts last 2 days. AND, there is only 1 season – Summer.365 I am ready to sell it all and get out of here. My son is in Boulder, CO. I was wondering if you ever sold it all and made the move to FL. Denver is very hot in the summer, so I would move to Summit County if I were you! My lease expires 5/31/19 and I will not be renewing it because I am putting my plan in action to be living back in the 4 Seasons again which is a promise I made to myself as of today!! Diane

  • Kim Bradford  December 9, 2013 at 1:57 am

    This is exactly what I want to do! But I have to wait until my daughter graduates in 6 years. (Her dad and I are divorced, so I can’t take her and would never leave her.) I have time to save money and travel and decide where I want to live. I’m almost debt free, don’t own much and don’t know how I would support myself overseas. I’m continuing to explore options and do research. I can always clean rooms at a resort or be a caretaker for vacation property owners. It will just be me, so not a lot of money is needed. I want to live in a shack by the beach with vegetation in my backyard! Food growing all around me would be great! I admire you and your husband taking the risk and raising your children the way you saw fit, despite the naysayers! I’ll keep up with your blog and look forward to your next adventure!

  • Dale McSherry  January 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I have dual citizenship (Australian and American) and have lived in Hawaii for almost 30 years – most of my family is in Perth area – but we want to come back home but not necessarily West Australia. I’m a chiropractor and film maker as well as writer (finishing up my Master’s in Creative Writing) but want a Hawaiian like environment as well as great place to live and school for my 11 year old son. Not sure if I could pass the chiro boards but want to work or do something. How are the homes and prices there?

  • kim  January 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I have been wanting to move to the West Coast of The USA and I haven’t because I don’t have the financial backing or the money to do so. Even if I sold everything I owned (which isn’t a lot) I wouldn’t have the cash and Id have to quit my job as a housewife to do it anyway so I cant see a way to do it. I feel stuck and I want to be near the water but I would need to live frugally. What ideas do you have?

  • Amanda  February 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I think you and I are soul sisters. You’re speaking my laungage. I am ready to do this same thing! My husband and I are always dreaming of living on an island but are held back by in-laws that don’t even like us that much and fear (of course). We have two boys 5 and 7 and my husband is a techno dj who has been in New Caledonia for the last 11 days. I have always dreamt of taking myself and family a few backpacks and leave this winter waste land (Northern Wisconsin). My business is not thriving in this small town and I’d like to make the push.

    Thank you for your inspiring article:)

  • Lena  April 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm


    I would love so much to do the same!

    I have no husband or anyone to support me in this. I have nothing to sell, no savings meaning I have no money to start with. My current job is paycheque-to-paycheque and easy to quit, no problem here because there is no obligation from their side.

    So having this all this in mind can I still move to the island? Any suggestions?
    Much appreciate

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  • Stacey Martin  May 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I dream of a tropical paradise with waters blue as Jamaica coastlines…fishing, swimming, gardening, and cooking! I want to cherish every moment with my family and working 60+ hours a week is really killing that for us!

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  • Matthew  June 22, 2014 at 2:31 am

    You’re awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  • Melanie  June 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Every day I dream of selling my home and possessions. But, when the offer comes I turn it down. My kids are grown and gone. I am afraid that I will end up a bitter old woman stuck in my big house, dreaming of the opportunities that I missed.
    Can you help me to sign this offer and move on?


  • Connie Roy  June 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for the article. My partner and I really want yo move to a tropical island in the next 6 years. Between us we have 6 children and by that time all but one will have graduated. Both of us are not tied to any material things so selling everthing thing will be the easiest out of the adventure. My biggest concern is my son who will be moving with us has a rare metabolic disorder so I we will need medical needs. Any tips for planning? We have time just want to be prepared.

  • Heather  July 3, 2014 at 5:06 am


    As I lay in bed tonight, with my garage full of boxes and a huge estate sale sign in the yard, I walked in my kids room, looked at them sleeping and asked myself “am I do the right thing, I must be crazy?”

    In the last 3 month’s. I’ve received a promotion, accepted that promotion, gave up that promotion, then quit my corporate america job, started an at home business and then failed.

    As of today, my house is on the market, we’ve sold all our furniture, withdrawn cash reserves and we leave for Hawaii next month to find a lifestyle I which the big city isn’t screaming “hurry hurry, deadline, I’m late” .

    I don’t know what came over me, I thought I was going crazy dreaming of this far out simplistic lifestyle to enjoy my time here on this earth with my three boys and husband.
    But after reading your blog tonight, I realized, no I am not crazy, I’m fearless. I can do anything I set my mind to and I want to thank you for that. Good night.


  • blaire  August 1, 2014 at 10:18 am

    this is a great fantasy story. but it alienates a vast majority of us who don’t have a rich envious life that we can sell and use to fuel our travel spirit. and really? at the end? … “so what are you waiting for? What’s really holding you back?” well uh…. u had a bunch of money. i don’t. i’m 24 and i want to leave the US and move to south america and dont have more than eleven hundred dollars in my bank account. so after hearing YOUR story, and how you failed with a BUNCH of money, i guess THAT is holding me back.

    so stupid. i have little money and this made me feel even worse.

    • Pooh 2 u  August 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      I agree with you Blaire. I don’t have a huge bank account to fund me while I travel the world. I guess I’m waiting for more money.

  • Pooh 2 u  August 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for the story Annabel! I would love to move but I’m so scared. I’ve been working the same old job for 13 years. I’m tired and ready for a change yet, I don’t know how to go about doing this.I tried to make myself feel better by going back to school but, this isn’t working. How can I get over my fears? I’m so scared my move will go wrong and I will regret it. Please give me some advice. Thanks

  • Tammy  August 26, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    This is such a great way to do LIFE!!

    I dont have much to sell, I have a husband and 9 month old daughter. How do i get into these awesome countries with them? I have a Hospitality Diploma.

    Any Suggestions for me to take the first step?

  • Julie Jones  September 8, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Hi there, I really enjoyed reading about your travels. We have been recently considering a move to Central America, Costa Rica or Panama but having spent some time in Africa over the past ten years, have made the decision to move to South Africa. I was curious as to how you made the move to Australia however because that was a destination we considered but ruled out because of the difficulty in emigrating there. Would love to hear from you. Thanks again. Julie

  • rudy  September 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    what do you do for work?

  • Marsha  October 18, 2014 at 1:27 am

    I’m ready!!!! To walk away from my life here. I’m just a little scared to do it. Please advise.

  • Lisa  December 2, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I am inspired by your story. I have been talking about doing this for years. Having two young boys myself (6&10) I feared it couldn’t be possible, and I would screw up their education. I am deeply touched to have read your experience and maybe we will find each other in another country on a wild adventure! Thank you for sharing.

  • lux8x  December 18, 2014 at 1:28 am

    I work from home so I don’t need to give up my income, and I started selling everything a few days ago!

    After a lot of time thinking about this, I took the decision and I’m finally doing it! I’m reducing my belongings to a couple of bags (and a laptop to keep working) and following my dream of traveling freely around the world.

    I can’t even believe what I just typed. It still sounds like part of a fantasy land to me. Any suggestions welcome of course 🙂

  • Lindsay fisher  January 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    My husband and I, with our 1 year old daughter, are seriously considering selling everything and heading to Hawaii. The last decade I’ve felt like I’m just spinning my wheels, going nowhere, and making life decisions based on family and friends. Although it also scares me, the idea of selling everything and movin somewhere totally different sounds so liberating! The regular run of the mill life in America is not what my husband and I want for our life. We want experience and to truly “live”, not just survive. We are in our early 30’s, so most people are saying we are “too old” to give up everything and move somewhere we have never been, with no housing or a job lined up. Most even use the word “irresponsible”. But I am tired of living the life I’m told by others I am supposed to want. Because I don’t want it. But my fear of leaving my comfort zone is almost paralyzingly at times. Maybe I need to just give my fears the finger, because what so I have to lose? Is rather regret doing something than regret doing nothing.

  • Agnes  February 8, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    This is not hard to do even for the most technically challenged.
    Taxi driving in Sydney, oor any place is a service business.

    Fanpages that will make you money are those with a “passionate” (or “motivated”) group of fans.

  • Kelly  February 16, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I am so VERY glad that I stopped on this link and read your article! I am a single parent who has a 9 ur old son and a 17 yr old daughter. I have been DREAMING a of doing something like this for a few years now as I am one of those people who seriously just can’t sit still. I also believe that while education is THE MOST Important thing for us all, it doesn’t just come from inside a classroom and I REALLY want my kids to experience the world. However, I don’t think my daughter is quite as excited as I am! I am very nervous about doing this format reasons, but mostly because It is just me and the kids. No husband/significant other to speak of and I worry that I won’t be able to handle everything on my own. Any advice fore regarding this?! Anything would be appreciated as the only “supportive” people that I have in my life, really don’t support much of anything I do. Thanks for the help!!!

  • Tressa  February 18, 2015 at 1:32 am

    Hi Everyone, My dream/wish is to live on a Cruise Ship for one-year and go to several different Islands, meeting new people, learning their Foods/Cultures and do Every possible Excursion there is. I am 52 1/2 years young and still want to run, jump, and play while I can. But, I do need to return home when All is said and done as my children and grandchildren are here and I want to spend my final years with them and making Family Memories…Ahhhh, what a GRATEFUL LIFE that will be :} Happy Trails…I will be Blogging along the way. MayGod Bless ALL

  • Samantha  March 13, 2015 at 1:26 am

    I loved reading this! My husband and I have just decided to move with our two small children as well. Although we are not moving out of country we are moving far. We are moving from upstate New York to New Orleans. We are selling everything and just moving. There are many people that are against it but we are excited for a new adventure. It was so nice to read your story and know there are other likeminded people out there!

  • Gwen  March 29, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Please help me, I know I’m a little late for this conversation but I am in need of it. I’m at a point in my life where travel would bring me much happiness. I don’t want to end up back in Wisconsin though. I love my family and al the things here but I want to move to a different place. I am looking to live somewhere warm but not boiling and secluded and spacious. I’ve always been an adventuring risk taker type and this has been a dream of mine for some time now. Ideally I would be on a tropical island selling my art to make a living. I have no idea how to do it. Did a google search and still have no idea where to go or how. Any advice for me on how to pick a place when I’ve never left the states? Or advice on anything really.. I’m freshly 21, no kids, in school but thinking about either switching to online for travel purposes or dropping out because its not really for me if you catch my drift…

  • Kathy  April 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Your dream is mine, except I only have social security, child support and food stamps
    How can I do this , I am 71 years old
    Daughter 43
    Grandson 8

  • Kathy  April 9, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Your dream is mine, except I only have social security, child support and food stamps
    How can I do this , I am 71 years old
    Daughter 43
    Grandson 8
    I think I would like to live in Panama on the water,

  • Papa Githiomi  April 12, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Hi I am currently going through a divorce and thought about a drastic change to my life and I want to be happy and live a simple and easy life. I am not wealthy but I can work my ass off and to be free would be it’s own reward I am African origin specific Kenya live in Florida at the moment but I want a change a big change. Any advice? How do you move with a wing and a prayer


    Papa Githiomi

  • Jill Murphy  April 15, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Any place warm.

  • Ray  April 27, 2015 at 3:07 am

    How much money do I need for a single guy like myself to take a leap?

  • Nicole Gordon  April 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Love your story… Wish I had a boyfriend that would be as adventurous as me! I’d go alone but we are expecting a baby.. Someday! You are inspiring!

  • Matthew  May 4, 2015 at 4:57 am

    That’s a shame plan A didn’t work out but you went for it and still got one heck of a adventure! I have been wanting to move for sometime now maybe not forever but definitely for 2-5 years. I have no ties and i don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this dull state called Michigan located in the USA. Though I was wondering where do even find/arrange this? i looked n looked but i cant even find where to begin. i looked into Raivavae “french polynesia” but found out its almost impossible to get a visa. Soo my questions are…where are the best candidates that will allow me a visa and where do i find cheap real estate/land? Please help me

  • Heather  May 11, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Loved your article! I need advice for my nagging brain that wants to run away. I have a very small business in the fitness industry and my husband works in public works as a foreman building new roads or fixing old ones, grading,paving etc. He works over 60 hrs a week plus a two hour commute. I have 13, and 15 year old kids that are in 7th and 10th grade. My kids are very college bound and are doing very well but even at their young ages are very stressed about GPA etc.

    I feel like we are all hamsters on a wheel going nowhere just working to maintain our possessions and I feel like we are missing out on a life available that is unknown to us. I have a desire to sell everything and get out of Southern California and my husband is not opposed but probably thinks it’s another hormonal phase I am going thru.
    I long for the sun and ocean and tropical fruits and not worrying about shopping at Nordstrom.
    My number one concern is schooling for my kids, and working to maintain an income enough to keep us happy on the island without getting back on the hamster wheel again.
    I cannot wait to hear from you and your readers for tips! Thanks so much.
    What resources do you recommend that could prepare us for what different locations would mean for all of us

  • Jennifer  May 27, 2015 at 3:32 am

    My husband and I (with 3 kids and a dog) are planning a move to the islands. Our goal is one year. We are full of fear but our hearts are full of hope. Stories like yours are so inspiring!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Farah  June 14, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    I love this story and this is what I want to do with my husband . Where are you living now.

  • christopher a pakarinen  June 15, 2015 at 3:17 am

    hey my name is christopher and im a writer i love to write novles and scripts and screen plays please i am begging i am being slaved in my country and i have always dreamed of going to the tropics i live in the north of canada and have not much going for me here but disability i promise you if you assist me -i will write you 20 novles for yourself please i need to get away from this country i cant take this they are frameing me up and sexuly slaveing me my hopes were to end world hunger but they wont pay me for the work that i do so i cant get started in sloveing this problem if you assist me i will make you richer then you can ever emagiane please help me get away from this alowe me to crash on your beach for acouple months and i will give you novles you can publish yourself for your pocket please im beging almost in tears if not for todays beers lol sorry the choise is yours i just need some real sunlight for a change help me and ill help you please and thank you

  • Loizos Panayi  July 6, 2015 at 11:34 am

    still searching… Any suggestions? I thought about Maldives since its closer to my country Cyprus ! I would prefer something cosmopolitan but peacefull at the same time, without many buildings, more traditional, more natural, more palm trees and beauty of nature

  • Salvatore  July 13, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    This was an excellent read. It gave me even more motivation to do what I have been saying I was going to. I’m 29 years old and I have had my fair share of stressful jobs but too me having a stressful job just to make a career out of it so I can afford to have a family of my own one day and provide for them is not what life is about to me. Life is about being happy, in my eyes. What brings me happiness is relaxation and feeling comfotable. I was a bartender who recently took a promotion to bar manager. My dream is sort of a Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” dream. Move to an Island and bartend. The only thing holding me back is a little bit of fear. I don’t want to move without having a job lined up or a place to stay. I don’t know how to go about any of that. but i am sure if i continue to research I will be able to find my way down to the Carribean or Bahamas one day where I can stay and maybe even “retire early” Thank you for posting this as it had inspired me to take the “leap”

  • reta saffo  July 15, 2015 at 6:09 am

    I do this about every 7 years (get the itch). We’ve all heard it said that life is too short. I say it’s too long. Way too long to just stay in one spot for too long… and just settle for the status quo. Not sure I’m a serial dreamer, but definitely a serial lover of life– seeking to learn more… and see what all is out there 😉 Moss never grows on a rolling stone, right? Be a rolling stone! Hey, who’s life is in anyway? Yours!

  • Donna Coto  July 15, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Hi, I currently work as a Dental Assistant and my husband works as a Firefighter. We have had with the stress of the Chicago land area. People are no longer the kind and caring type we grew up with. On the business side of things shall I say it is cut throat. The quote it from something someone shared with me” It’s not personal it’s just business.” We feel we just can’t live like this anymore. I told my husband ” It’s like watching a crack form. It starts out small and now that crack is getting bigger and wider.” It is taking a toll on my mental and physical health. I wake in the morning with anxiety so bad I throw up. My husband gets bad chest pains and shaking spells. The doctor said its just stress. Something is going to give. We have only talked about doing this. For a long time. Now I think we are ready. We want, no need paradise. I am going to start selling off everything we don’t need. I ready to start anew some were else.

  • Sophia Greer  July 27, 2015 at 11:57 am

    My husband and I, we decided to move to Hawaii because of my husbands job. I think that it is a great opportunity for him and for me too because I want to move there from a long time ago. My best friend lives there and I visit her from time to time and I am really in love with this place. Thank you for the interesting article!

  • sam  July 31, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Hi Annabel,
    Your story gives me such inspiration. For the last 10 years I’ve been living and working in England. For the last 4 years I’ve been dreaming off getting away from everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends, I just want a new adventure.
    I’ve been thinking about Wales and Scotland, but now I’m thinking about Italy, Japan and mainly America. But the problem with America is visa’s etc. I keep thinking that if I can go there for a holiday, what’s stopping me from settling (remotely). Any advice would be great.

  • vincent paul rodriguez  August 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I can truly respect your choice on living your dreams.. i recently had the experience on vacationing to Alaska, Puerto Rico, Hawaii twice and Mexico. I love tropical weather and island beaches. i do photography & video as a hobby. so it would be awesome to be able to do what you have chosen in your life to adventure out in the world. i myself am tired of just living this life of mine. i want to live life an venture out to beautiful tropical places too. i have thought of selling everything i own and just do as you did. i don’t own a home and my daughter is 26 yrs old and lives and pursues her dreams in L.A. the only thing is my girlfriend of 6yrs has her 3 children of 22,18 and 13yrs old witch the two youngest live with their father full time. the oldest lives and works 3 hours away out of town with her 6 yr old son on her own in the town were her father lives with his new family. i just think if i’am being selfish if i get up and go… i love Jessica my girlfriend and would love for her to venture out with me but i know she would not especially right now because of her youngest son Eddie. i understand her situation but i am 46 years old and i am not getting any younger. she just turned 40 herself and is a amazing women. but this thoughts has come to my mind many times over the last 5yrs and i am tired of my life here in this state. i need more and want to worry less. i have a chronic back injury for the last 25 years and have back pain from all this stress just living here in this rat race. when we are on vacation my back dose not bother me at all! what do i do….?

    • Lala  September 12, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Hello I am a 27 yr. Old married woman my husband and I don’t have any children we have been together for 13yrs married 3. Anywho we are originally from Houston Texas we moved to Miami Fl. Due to us searching for a new life. Well from there we left and now reside in California my husband is a bartender and I’m an artist painter/ tattoo artist. No we don’t have our own business but also don’t have a lot of money saved. We are an awesome duo who just wanna travel the world have no fear of starting from rock bottom. Is it every so possible to seriously pack a bag and leave? I mean we have the guts we aren’t scared by far but we don’t know where we aren’t looking for city life…we hate it we really don’t have family it’s just us what do we have to loose. I’m so desperate for something else I even thought about Africa to go and help out some kind of way… I don’t know please help. Thank you hope to hear from you!

  • Pierina  September 15, 2015 at 3:03 am

    Hi, you are really inspiring! I just turned 28 and have always travelled as much as I can. I was born in Ecuador, always exposed to the outdoors and Nature. I now have lived in Florida for many years and find it everytime, that I need to be close with Nature and experience more! I want to be brave enough to move somewhere else like you did, and have those experiences that make life amazing! I just don’t know what should be a good first step. I am an Artist and get inspired by traveling and enjoying Nature.

  • Anna  October 19, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    We be great to team up somehow with a group and do it together. Um in my fifties and it sounds like a wonderful thing to do. You live life fir your kids and it sounds like you had it right you live life with your kids Bravo

  • Ricky  October 21, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Going through a separation and I’m sure ultimately a divorce I would love to just leave so I can find myself again, but, it definitely is a huge risk and fear for me..

  • liz Barrera  January 3, 2016 at 7:43 am

    I want to along the Carribean somewhere……only place I’ve been is Cancun, Mexico and I fell in love .

  • liz Barrera  January 3, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I want to live along the Carribean somewhere……only place I’ve been is Cancun, Mexico and I fell in love .

  • Viviane  January 13, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    We are also moving to get a new start and experience in life as we are joining a new life with our kids dog and nephew who’s coming also. Any tips on how to organize things for an example to I look for a job first or a home first? thanks love your story and I totally agree we can’t live in fear or we become paralyzed.

  • Keith Gosdoski  January 13, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I just finished college and would love to get away and live somewhere new. I would like to live somewhere tropical for a year and see how it goes. I’m an outgoing person and able too adapt to any situation. I have money saved up but my problem is where do I start looking for a place to live and job I can land. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Thank you

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  • Cydney  January 30, 2016 at 5:55 am

    thank you for the wonderful blog on getting out of your rut and experiencing life else where. I have recently been looking at relocating. I work a ton of hours and feel stuck in the daily grind of a never ending life of nothing. I have been doing so much research on how try to move aboard, weather it is to a lovely beach or to northern cold of Scotland.. as I am in my 40;s with no higher education but I work for a multimillion dollar company as a local sales rep. I’m finding my lack in education and my age has hindered me from finding a working visa, either waiting tables type of job. either for short or long period of time. any suggestions on how to emerge myself in the right directions on living abroad for a simpler life outside of the Usa. if anyone wants to share there experiences with me and give some great ideas…

  • Renee Luther  February 5, 2016 at 2:17 am

    I need to get out of here and start over-again! I want to live my own life, away from commercialism. I want to live in the woods, an island, I don’t care-anywhere but here. I live in what is considered Paradise on the East Coast of North Carolina. There is nothing for me here. I have a great job, making more than enough money. I would give it up to just live my life, but I need to find out what this means!

  • Ahmed  April 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Amazing. I really like your courage and risk taking and most importantly the implementation itself.
    There is an inner call deep in myself continuously tell me to move abroad and travel a lot.
    I was wondering if you could give me some advice regarding how to stay legally in such countries and find work to cover expenses.
    I’m 28 years old from Egypt.

  • Michelle curran  April 25, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I lost my husband last November and am wanting to sell up with my children and have a better life xxxx

  • Matt Jewell  April 30, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Annabel, just read a quick entry of yours sitting in an airport returning from a cruise. Not in any way indepentdent, just a vacation. My wife and i have been tosing this idea around a bit lately. Were sellng our house when we get home to help grow our business. Im ready to pull the proverbial plug on the j o b, but i think my wife is getting a little scared. Im so ready i cant hardly stomach one more day at work. Your story was so inspiring i cant wait till this is finally our reality also. Take care and live free.

  • Libby Wallace  May 3, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I am sooo happy i stumbled across this blog….just yesterday i quit my “secure stable job”, last week i sold all my belongings, and in 4 weeks, myself and my youngest daughter are embarking on a journey to The Sunshine Coast!

    I will not know a soul…Jess and i will just have each other…sounds quite perfect

    I think i am slightly mad…irresponsible..but i am excited, for the first time in a very long time.

    Maybe our paths will cross? I hope so

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  • Nicole  July 25, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Your story is the very first one I am reading in my quest to sell everything and move to the Bahamas…I live in Cocoa Beach but crave more isolation and the island lifestyle. Any advice from any other island travelers is much appreciated!
    Luckily, my family is excited as well to take the plunge-we have two kids 10 and 11 years old. LOVE your story!!!!

  • James Martel  September 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

    i quite everything to go

  • Janie  October 30, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I needed this! Thanks for the true “reality check” — the one in which there are no guarantees and living life too close to the vest is in itself foolish. We’re about to sell our house on 3 acres in Georgia and move to Hawaii, Big Island. I’m a freelance writer with some steady gigs, and my husband is a craftsman who’s a job magnet because he’s done and will do anything. Yeah, it’s beyond expensive. Yeah, we realize the schools are poor and not all native Hawaiians are real keen on people like us moving to their paradise. But we want to learn and contribute and remain respectful of others, and hope others will do the same. I’m busting butt right now stashing money for two years of private school for our twins, age 8. This is just to have as an option in case the local schools don’t work out. If they do, awesome. They have charter schools too, which I love. My problem is I’m sensitive and I take things to heart. I do some pretty fearless things — like marry a man 14 years younger than I, and have twins at 43 — but people’s ignorant comments and judgments tend to get me anyway. I need to get over it. Posts like yours help so much! Thank you!

  • Stephen  November 15, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    how can me my wife and kids move to a island

  • Stephen  November 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Me and my wife and son want to move to a island how can we do it

  • Kern  February 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Great article. Great read and great story. Impressive bravery. Great read after being away traveling for a couple months myself. Thank you

  • Abram Pretorius  February 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I would like to relocate to a small island Can you guide me and give me some ideas


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