Exploring life after work

| January 22, 2013

Retiree and self-confessed NINKER Julie-Ann Crossley, tells of how she swapped her suites for sarongs to discover the nomadic benefits of life after work.  

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be free as a bird? With endless opportunities to travel and do things you have always dreamt of?  Is this sort of freedom meant only for the young? Or should those of us who feel young at heart take the time to travel and explore?

I remember the exact moment my husband and I decided it was our time – we were celebrating his 55th birthday in the Plaka, Athens, drinking wine, basking under the sun, and smiling more and more as we ate our way through the entire gamut of Greek cuisine. We had just completed a Holy Land Cruise and as the last days of paradise were looming large and the dread of returning to work came over us, we asked ourselves, “What are we doing?”

It was at that moment we decided enough was enough. We had been part of the sandwich generation for long enough – looking after both our parents and our children – while working long, hard hours to pay-off the mortgage and accumulate more and more assets instead of enjoying the fruits of our labour.    

The kids had left home, we’d paid off all our debts, and now had access to our superannuation. 

It took about a year before we were ready to live the dream and in July 2012 we both handed in our resignations and became NINKERS – No Income, No Kids and Early Retiree.

We changed our suites for t-shirts and thongs and made a list of all the things we would like to do in our newly found retirement state (however long it may last). While some people like to call it a bucket list, I prefer not to use that term as it infers to an imminent death and we still have a lot of living to do – being a NINKER is about doing things that keep us feeling young and alive. It’s not just a time to holiday, but to learn and experience things we’d previously only dreamt of, and to do so while we’re still healthy and fit. 

We’re pretty lucky and have a boat, so our first week was spent out and about on the waterways of the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay, which was incredibly relaxing, but we already had several more adventures planned. 

First up was a trip to Vanuatu. The price was very reasonable and only a three-hour flight, which was great because we enjoyed the excitement of an overseas holiday without the dreadful jetlag.

Then we went about relocating a campervan – a great way to get around and explore on a budget.

We also like cruising, it’s a fun way to visit new places and met new friends without having to constantly pack and unpack.

We are currently on the look-out for van relocations from Christchurch to Auckland and around Australia. We also put our home on Home Exchange and have had a tone of offers from people in a number of different countries. We’ve been lucky enough to be offered a house for three months in the UK during their summer, so we’ll drive around the country and explore different parts of Europe to cap off our first year as NINKERS.

Life after work is possible and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We’ve discovered a whole new meaning to travel and look forward to our wandering future.


Before becoming a NINKER, Julie-Anne worked in sales and information services. Now however, she considers herself the CEO of fun, travelling with her husband Derek and documenting their adventures on her blog. When she’s not globe-trotting, Julie-Anne relaxes at her home in Brisbane.   



  1. ramblingaway2

    January 25, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Sydney is beautiful during the summer!

    There is no doubt that Australia is a beautiful country to travel and of all, I think, Sydney is the most beautiful. So, let's just get out and enjoy!

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