Boatsetter Features Founder of LifePart2: Jonathan Look

We got to chat with Jonathan Look, the founder of LifePart2, a travel blog specifically for early retirees. Learn how Jonathan chose his path and the incredible boat trips he’s taken, plus advice on how to travel and boat more.

As an international traveller and retired expat living abroad, you write specifically about travel for retired Americans: for those who haven’t read your blog or about page, what inspired you to blog about this?

Travel has always been my passion but, before I retired, I thought I was trapped in that unhappy cycle of making more money to buy more “stuff” and not having time or money left to enjoy the things I dreamed of doing. As I approached retirement, I decided that I was going to break out of that rut and live my dreams of seeing the world. So I sold everything I owned, took early retirement and began my odyssey of living in different places and having some adventures. I started; to demonstrate that a life of travel and adventure is available to almost anyone who actively chooses that lifestyle.

What are some things you’ve found missing for you in travel blogs or websites not directed specifically towards boomers?

There is a lot of information about the mechanics of travel on the web, but not enough about the potential of travelers; especially adventurous “mature” travelers. Sarah (my partner) and I certainly have a lot of fun, but we do like to go deeper into destinations and explore off the beaten path. We like to take our time and meet people, eat the local cuisine, try out undiscovered places and push the edges of our comfort zones a little bit. Variety; be it sleeping in a hut on a straw mat, or in a king size bed in a five-star hotel; is what is most important to us. We like trying it all.

For somebody who’s just reached retirement and has never travelled abroad before, what advice would you give them for their first trip abroad?

Get your feet wet and trust your instincts. In spite of what is shown in the media, the world is a welcoming place and once you discover that, there are no limits. Go out; get lost; grow your confidence; and you will never look back.

You’ve taken boat trips before and lived in beautiful boating destinations like Mexico and Portugal. Could you talk about some of the advantages of travelling on a smaller boat trip instead of a large cruise?

I have traveled on all kinds of boats, from enormous ocean liners to one-person kayaks. To me, the intimacy of smaller boats allows for a much more fulfilling and immersive experience than being aboard a floating city. When a huge ocean liner disgorges thousands of people into a port, it changes the character of the place so much that it is almost impossible to find an authentic experience. With small boats, that isn’t as much of a problem. Of course, smaller vessels allow access to locations that the monster boats just can’t go. 

In selling all your things and retiring early, you’ve chosen a life of experiences and adventure over material things; if others are wondering how they can start living more and work less, what are some tips you have for them other than selling everything and moving their whole life overseas?

It all begins with awareness of your situation. Buying things for the thrill of acquisition is a losing game; because after the thrill is gone and what you bought is gathering dust somewhere, you have to start looking for something else to buy to replicate that feeling. Henry David Thoreau said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it,” and that is exactly right. Nobody thinks of the hours of toil that they do to make a purchase. They also forget about the opportunity cost; that new little bauble you just bought could have gone toward a plane ticket!

After the Great Recession of 2008, many people, especially Millennials, starting embracing experiences instead of items, and minimalism became more popular. As somebody who writes about minimalism, early retirement, and travel for baby boomers, how do you think boomers are tuning into this lifestyle shift? 

Many people I know are reaching the peaks of their careers and earning power and asking, “is that all there is?” They may have taken care of their finances, but they haven’t figured out what to do after they get off of the treadmill. The boomers are starting to ask themselves, “now what?” They have been so focused on their careers and distracting themselves with “stuff,” that they forget to ask themselves, “why?” 

A wise person once said, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” I would add, spending money to expand your horizons is money well spent. 

You’re also a scuba diver–what’s been your favorite place to dive and why?

I have seen a lot of places, but SCUBA diving in the waters of Bali, Indonesia near Pemuteran, and the majestic sites of Menjangan Island National Park is astounding. Great visibility, healthy coral, lots of colorful fish, and sponges the size of mini-vans. It doesn’t hurt that Bail itself is such an interesting place. 

To read about Jonathan’s boating adventures in further detail, check out his blog here.


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