5Q :: Tom Marshall not your ordinary globetrotterIn his new book “Make the World Your Second Home,” thrifty retiree Tom Marshall posits that you, too, can spend entire seasons in such exotic locales as Coogee Beach, Australia, or Kinsale, Ireland.
Living in some of the most desirable locations on the planet never looked so easy. In his new book “Make the World Your Second Home,” thrifty Florida retiree Tom Marshall posits that you, too, can spend entire seasons in such exotic locales as Coogee Beach, Australia, or Kinsale, Ireland.
Feeling more than a little jealous, we asked a few questions of the worldly traveler:
Budgeteer: Your new book presents an interesting twist on taking extending trips. How were you introduced to using seasonal rentals?
Marshall: The idea came to me as I was getting ready to retire. I knew that I was not yet prepared to simply settle down. And although some were interesting, I found cruises and tours to be too rigid and not engaging enough for my interests. To test the idea before retiring, my wife and I took a month-long vacation — unprecedented for us — to Carmel, Calif., a place we like very much. It worked fine.
When we retired to Florida 10 years ago, we knew that each summer we would try to go to a different place in lieu of having a second home or taking a packaged tour. Our first place the year we retired was a three-month stay in Kinsale, Ireland, and that convinced us we were on to something.
What was your first extended vacation like? Was it hard to return home once summer was up, or were you getting a little homesick?
Our summer in Ireland was fantastic. We had a lovely townhouse in the center of Kinsale, walked to everything and took excursions all over the republic from that base. Because we were there almost as residents, we had the time to figure out moves that suited our interests, plus we had the time to make meaningful relationships. Also, we were able to delve deeper into the culture and history of the place.
Our landlords even came to spend a week with us in Naples, Fla., some years back. Now, how often does that happen?
In addition, because all my grandparents were Irish, I was actually able to ferret out records about some of my long-departed relatives; I found enough information that afterwards, on application, I was granted Irish citizenship.
It was a great first summer, from which we learned a lot about the process of applying our ideas, which are covered in the book.
This method of vacation has proven to be quite fruitful for you and your wife, leading to a number of books of experiences. How would you describe the mood of your earlier books? Are they entertaining/humorous, or are they full of tips too?
They came about more by happenstance. In our third year, we stayed for three months in Australia, followed by a month in New Zealand. I had just purchased a new camera and computer and began sending what I thought were annoying reports to many friends.
When I returned, I learned that the missives were well-received and I was encouraged to publish them. ... I published what I describe as a contemporary photo/travel journal simply recording our experiences and way of life during our summers in residence elsewhere.
I try to be frank, honest, non-commercial and, hopefully, provide those who might follow me some idea on what they might like to try.
This is a far remove from the commercially subtle writings of most travel journalists. They are “full of tips,” but not where to eat or stay so much. I only do that as part of the narrative, not to deliberately promote a commercial establishment.
On a similar note, what is the No. 1 location on your list of places to summer? Have you ever considered, say, Minnesota’s beautiful North Shore?
I have been asked that question many times. Honestly, I think the next place we will stay will be equal to the first. We have never had a bad experience. I do a lot of planning beforehand, and we have established a set of criteria that applies specifically to our interests, which helps avoid any bad experiences.
As for Minnesota, one of our lessons learned is to make the coming and going of each summer a part of the overall experience — not just fly or drive there and back. We call them “add-ons,” unlike the excursions we take once we are settled in a summer residence.
Driving back from a summer in Carmel, we stopped and spent several days with friends in Minneapolis and were very impressed with the Twin Cities, the climate and the cultural amenities. They beg us to return, and we may, but it is a big world out there. But understand, we look for a place to live for the summer, not just visit or vacation. In that regard, I think Minnesota, especially its summer climate, would be ideal.
Finally, what’s next for you? Another “Our Summer In...” book?
Last summer we stayed for 100 days in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. We made many friends and I became intrigued with our 23rd state. I have a book [in the works] called “Our Summer in Boothbay Harbor: The Marshalls Become Maineiacs.” It should be available soon.
Presently, we have returned to Maine, staying in Camden, about 40 miles further up the coast. I plan to write a similar essay on this fine New England village.
Next year we are thinking about returning to Maine for a third year, staying in Bar Harbor.
That likely would be all for Maine, and I might collapse the three books into one. … We also explore the rest of the state while we are here; this year after leaving Camden we will drive through Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and reverse course to Quebec City and Montreal — all part of the “add-on.” So, after three years, we should have a good handle on Maine and will look elsewhere.
NEWS TO USE
Learn more about Tom Marshall’s book “The World Is Our Second Home: A Travel and Second Home Alternative” at www.marshallpublications.com.