WHO AM I?
My name is Neville Shaun Richardson. I am known by my middle name: SHAUN.
I was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1958. In 1988 I emigrated to New Zealand.
I have a degree in Operations Research With Computing from Leeds University, England.
I have worked for most of my professional life as a Project Manager in the Information Technology industry.
I am now retired. My savings and investments provide me with a source of income.
I don’t qualify for a State Pension until 2024.
WHERE DO I LIVE?
I live in a 230sqm, executive, 4 1/2 bedroom home in Paraparaumu Beach on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.
My home backs onto a Golf Course and the beach is 2 minutes walk away.
On the face of it, it would seem that I am in a pretty good spot – but I am not… Paraparaumu is a small town and there’s nothing to do… and the weather isn’t really good enough for enjoying all-year-round outdoor living. At best, we get 3-4 nice months each summer.
I considered moving to Wellington (our capital city) but (even though there would be a lot more to do there) the weather is worse, the cost of living is much higher, and the costs of apartments (and the associated “body corp”) put me off.
SO WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT?
It is winter here and the heat pump is on all day. Last week I paid my quarterly rates bill (local taxes) of NZ$850 (US$640 / €510 / £425). This week I paid my monthly power (electric & gas) bill of NZ$500 (US$375 / €300 / £250). Yesterday I got my monthly Internet / CableTV bill of NZ$195… does this sound familiar?
Ignoring any mortgage repayments that I may have, it costs me NZ$1,200 (US$900 / €720 / £600) per month in standing bills. That is before I actually eat, drink, go anywhere or do anything. That’s NZ$40 (US$30 / €24 / £20) per day. That’s about NZ$14,500 (US$10,875 / €8,700 / £7,250) per year.
If I take a lady out to dinner in a mid-range restaurant, it costs me about NZ$100 (US$75 / €60 / £50)… and that is if we just have a nice main course each (at NZ$30 each) and share one of the reasonably-priced bottles of wine (at $40 a bottle).
It costs me NZ$190 to fill up my Pajero 4WD car. I get about 600km out of a full tank.
I came to a simple conclusion…
I CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!
I have traveled a lot in my time. In my early / student days I went Backpacking, in my professional years I tended towards the convenience of Cruises; but, I have always tried to slot in Flashpacking where I can.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself the most either Backpacking or Flashpacking. I have never really been a Package Holiday type person. I know what I am… I’m a GRANDPA who goes flashpacking.
… I call this GRANDPAcking…
… and I know that I can travel to and live in some beautiful places around the world on less than it is costing me to stay at home and do nothing…
SO, I FORMULATED MY PLAN …