Having retired at the age of 38 in 1991, Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, world travel, and medical tourism. With the wealth of information they share on their award-winning website Retire Early Lifestyle, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They are the authors of 9 books on finance and travel, available for purchase on their website and at Amazon. Continuing to journal and photograph their world travels, Billy and Akaisha have home bases in Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States.
The Kaderlis have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule, Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Clark Howard, Bankrate.com, SmartMoney, FOXBusiness, US News and World Report, MarketWatch, Nerd Wallet, and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide.
TA: How many years have you been traveling and what got you hooked?
Billy and Akaisha: Before we married, we both traveled extensively. We think that both of us were born with one foot in the road. After we retired in 1991 at the age of 38, we have been traveling the world ever since: almost 3 decades now.
TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?
Billy and Akaisha: Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person: the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
We enjoy an independent, slow style of travel, focused on adventure and meeting the indigenous of the world. With our restaurant background, we also enjoy fine cuisine, local eats, wineries, and breweries. We love to learn about an area and incorporate ourselves into the community through volunteer work and social events.
TA: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Billy and Akaisha: Since travel is our lifestyle, we don’t exactly “vacation” anymore. If we want to go somewhere, we just go. That being said, we certainly enjoyed the five Barefoot Cruises we did in the Caribbean when we were working. We loved it because it was adventurous, unpretentious, we had the balmy weather during cold northern winters, and we met bold and enterprising people on the 256 ft, triple-masted ship on which we sailed.
We sailed throughout the Caribbean visiting Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Vincent, Palm Island, the Grenadine’s, and more.
TA: What’s one place you’ve always wanted to visit?
Billy and Akaisha: The world is a big place and there are so many places to choose from. We have already been all through the US and Canada, to Europe, Asia, Mexico, and Central and South America. We’d like to return to Europe and visit Greece, Spain, and Italy once again, and take a look at Eastern Europe as well.
TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?
Billy and Akaisha: Have a skeleton plan but go with the flow. Stay flexible and just sit in a tiny café, watch and listen.
TA: What are some of your favorite travel blogs and communities?
Billy and Akaisha: Ours, of course, (Retire Early Lifestyle) and we also check out YouTube for destination information, as well as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides online. We’ll sometimes take a look at Trip Advisor if we want to know how certain excursions or restaurants are rated. And if we want to know history and minutiae, we’ll look at Wikipedia.
TA: Where was the most unusual place you’ve ever stayed?
Billy and Akaisha: In Vienna, Austria we met a guy whom we dubbed Felix (the messy one). He invited us to stay the night in his house.
The place was a mess! Dishes in the sink, items all over the counter and his bed. He threw everything off his bed and said in his broken English, “you sleep here.” It was one night and out the next morning, but he was a nice guy and we have never forgotten it.
He even made a “hot toddy” for Billy’s cold!
TA: What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten overseas?
Billy and Akaisha: In Cumana, Venezuela, we were invited into a local’s home one evening and they served us a specialty of Venezuela. It contained large black ants inside a bottle of salsa! We were a bit shocked, and they were surprised that WE were surprised, since this salsa is common place in that country.
Of course, since we have spent years in Asia, we are much more familiar with insect cuisine now…
TA: Do you have any good airport or flight hacks for people traveling by plane?
Billy and Akaisha: Carry travel food and water, just in case your flight is delayed or stranded on the tarmac.
If you are separated from your luggage due to flight chaos or changes, it can create havoc in your life. These tips will make that situation more comfortable:
- Always carry your necessary medications with you in case you get separated from your luggage.
- Pack the items of most value (digital equipment) with you to carry on the plane. Do not place in your checked bag.
- Put an ID and a little extra cash in a pocket so at least you have proof of who you are, and some cash in case you need a meal, or to pay for transport or hotel until things settle down.
- Do not let go of your baggage claim tag even if you are rescheduling your flight and you get a new print-out. Get a tracking number for your gear.
TA: What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever been given?
Billy and Akaisha: Don’t wait: travel while you are young.
TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?
Billy and Akaisha: We think many people try to visit all the “bucket list” sites just so they can tell their friends they visited there. Meanwhile, they miss the treasures of their present surroundings.
TA: What’s a travel scam travelers should be wary of?
Billy and Akaisha: Once in Vietnam, we purchased fresh, cold coconuts from a street vendor. We knew the going price of this item, as we had purchased them previously in the market. The vendor was overly nice, polite, smiley and so on…and when he gave us the coconuts, his price was TEN TIMES the amount we would have paid in any other location. When we balked, he started screaming, making a scene, so that we were embarrassed. He wanted to draw a crowd and that was frightening to us. Lesson learned ALWAYS ask the price before purchasing anything.
This has never happened to us, but a common scam is for beautiful young women (they will work in pairs or groups of three people) will go up to a single man. They will bump into them, or squirt mustard on his shirt “accidentally” and begin to apologize and wipe off the mustard. Making a big scene. When all is said and done, the man’s wallet and other precious items have been taken.
TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?
Billy and Akaisha: France has to have the best food on the planet, but when it comes to street food, Mexico and Thailand are tops.
TA: What was the most romantic place you ever visited with a partner?
Billy and Akaisha: Calle de Romance, in Morelia, Mexico. Sweet. Not spectacular, but a good memory and good photos. Also, take in a sunset at Chacala Beach, Nayarit, Mexico.
TA: What is the most beautiful and affordable city you’ve ever visited?
Billy and Akaisha: There are SO many beautiful and affordable locations around the world. One might be Oaxaca, Mexico with all it has to offer including Monte Alban ruins and Mezcal!
TA: What’s one way people can get the most out of their cruise experience?
Billy and Akaisha: Don’t go unless it is a barefoot cruise. They are the most fun, and the most authentic way to meet other adventurers.
TA: Have you ever met someone while traveling who changed your life?
Billy and Akaisha: Captain Ray Gaines.
He was a real adventurer! He was in his late 70’s and we met him in Chiang Mai, Thailand traveling with two of his teenage grandsons. Ray’s wife passed away and she instructed Ray not to give the grandkids money, but to pull out a map of the world and let them decide where they wished to travel. These two wanted Thailand.
What memories they made!
TA: Have you ever taken a class while visiting a foreign city? If so, can you tell us a bit about the experience? And would you recommend people take that class?
Billy and Akaisha: I took a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand and would recommend it. We learned how to make curry and also how important it was to have a Happy Heart when preparing a meal. It leads to tasty food.
TA: What’s something that other tourists do when traveling that drives you crazy and why?
Billy and Akaisha: Not trying to speak the language at all and becoming frustrated when they cannot communicate.
Another annoyance is when someone brings their politics to a new destination. They invade the calm mental and emotional space created by travel by pushing their own particular political unrest.
TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?
Billy and Akaisha: Not telling…we want to keep it special.
TA: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to travelers your age?
Billy and Akaisha: Keep moving. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. An object at rest, tends to stay at rest.