How to “Retire” Straight out of College

Not everyone dreams of living a simplistic lifestyle filled with beauty and adventure. Some strive to work their way up into successful businesses, careers and lifestyles. I respect these people because of the stress levels they endure chasing the things they believe in. They are the doers, the ones who create empires for generations to come. This is what has built America into what it is today. However, Im not here to tell you how to become one of these people. Im actually writing this to do just the opposite. I want to tell you how I slipped through the cracks of corporate america. I am an outcast. I hope that even if my words do not reach most people, It reaches one person who feels so stuck in their current life that they get the courage to change it because of this.

I wake up every morning, to the sight of the suns rays laying ever so neatly lined up against my curtains. Once opened, there is a 180 degree view of 5 islands, the crystal blue Caribbean Sea, infinite skies and the city lights I live high above. The sight is a constant reminder that i did it, I am here, and damn how lucky I am to be here. It has come to the point where getting up in the morning is exciting. Knowing I can do anything from diving the depths of the Caribbean ocean to relaxing at an infinity pool overlooking the beautiful world I’ve been blessed to be surrounded in. Something people pay thousands of dollars a week to do here. How did life get to be this way? How could it have happened to someone like me? But luck only goes so far, doesn’t it? There has to be something I’ve done that has permitted this lifestyle…right? I realize the root of living a “rich” life doesn’t come from money. As a matter of fact, I live with hardly any need for money at all. I find myself running over these questions constantly, and it truly sends chills down my spine when i realize the reality of my discovery.

Here is the story of that discovery.

Moving to an unknown place is never easy at first. I get that. There are risks, variables, and evidently there is possibility of failure. This is what I’ve learned to be the #1 reason people do not leave. Fear. There is most likely job security. You’re comfortable, aren’t you? You know that the job you have will keep a roof over your head and money in the bank. It will allow you to save money so that one day, when you are old and need to retire you will have enough money to sustain your living situations without relying on others. But why? Sure, living in a beautiful place when you’re old would be great, but at that point you’ve got restrictions because of your age on what you can do in those places.

What if i told you, you could live like you were retired, starting right now.
Moving to a place, for example a place that strives on tourism seems like it would be expensive. However, living in such a place is entirely  different than visiting. When you are a tourist, you are at the mercy of your cab drivers, the internet, and the hotel you choose to stay at (which is insanely expensive on its own). When you become a local, you learn to live the way people have for hundreds of years. Think about it, not everyone living in tourist destinations are rich, quite frankly, they could be quite the opposite. It IS possible. and whats even cooler, is that its easy to do once you learn to trust in other cultures.

Let me put it in perspective for you. Now normally I won’t use numbers for comparison however in this situation I feel it is necessary. A one bedroom apartment in a city such as Raleigh, NC is between $700-1200. However, a one bedroom in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. is exactly the same if not less. Those who are working in the hospitality and tourism industry can literally make 3x the money they are on an island because it is what the island strives on. Suddenly you wake up one day realizing you are literally working less, and living a dream in the meantime. You are literally living in a destination people pay thousands of dollars a week just to visit. All you had to do was wake up there? Air BnB and Couchsurfing are both incredible websites for people like us looking to get started somewhere new while you get your feet on the ground. Go search your dream destination and you’re going to be pleasantly shocked how simple it is to get a roof over your head somewhere.

Granted, Im using St. Thomas as an example because its where I’m living now. But this concept works for places all around the world. Don’t believe me? I will be testing this theory yet again when I up and move to Cape Town, South Africa in a month. No matter where you choose to go, holding any job that is just enough to pay the living costs in that area is all you need to literally live the life you dream of. Except you don’t have to be 70 years old to do so.

I don’t want to fool you into believing it is EASY, by no means is it easy. But I’m here to tell you that its worth it. Every person you meet has some sort of value to add to your life. I encourage you to research the most magnificent places you’ve always dreamed of living, because I guarantee you will find that there are people your age, with your skill set, working jobs you are now, happily living in those amazing places. You can be one of them. All it takes is a plane ticket, the willingness to learn other cultures, an open mind, the drive to meet people, and a little planning. 

“We are told from infancy, that love was, is, and should always feel like coming home. These nomadic months spent above the clouds and far from the walls that hold me, i now know actual and honest love is the joy of running far away into the wild beyond. In the delirious place that comes only with adventure. Glancing at the horizon, seeing home, coming to you.” –TKG

4 Replies to “How to “Retire” Straight out of College”

  1. Wow! Just what I needed. My husband and I have been really considering moving to St Thomas for the past couple of months now. Its not a matter of if for us but when. You have to live like there is no tomorrow! I would love to pick your brain…if you have a minute to email me.



  2. My dear Caitie, I love reading your blog and seeing the way you are looking at life. Your willingness to experience new things and a new culture with such a sense of adventure and enthusiasm is so inspiring. I just want you to know that even at my age, I am experiencing new things too! Three weeks ago, I took Refuge as a Buddhist at White Sands Monastery .a Vietnamese community of the most loving people I know. Their teachings are kindness, compassion, mindfulness and living a simple life doing no harm to animals or our planet. Just wanted you to know that it is never too late to experience new things, although it is wonderful to do this when you are a young adult and have your whole life ahead of you! I am so happy for you. Love, Grandma PS( Will be seeing you for Thanksgiving and can’t wait!)


  3. This is so true! We’re spirit twins haha. I worked on a luxury cruise ship traveling to over fifty countries for FREE while guests paid up to $100,000! Love this post, going to go read through your other ones now 🙂


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