Saturday, October 27, 2012

Brisbane to Yeppoon - Day 1 of Britz relocation

WOW what a huge day.  700 kms from Brisvagas to Yeppoon.  The drive was great to Gin Gin and we made great time, but then came the roadworks grrrrr.
As we have never used a camper before, nore have we ever stayed at a caravan park, but needing to get to Yeppoon to meet friends it meant only 2 small breaks throughtout the day for 10 mins, so were pretty tired when we got in, and starving.
Note and important tip:  get in before dark on your first night or familiarize yourself with little things like where are the lights etc, thank god these are similar to boats as well we had our headlights - but these are things I'm loving about NINKERING, retirement and traveling being out of the comfort zone.
Had a great night with friends who provided a seafood platter hot and cold, wine and beer which we ate in the dark at one of the sites picnic table as we said " who would have thought "  generally we meet in 5 star places, eat at 5 star restaurants, drink top shelf but you know we had a fabulous time. NEW experiences are good for you.
Finally worked out the bed and after a great feed, wine and a long day slept like a baby. These things r airconditioned which is yet another bonus.
Staying at the Big 4 at Yeppoon, nice, clean will give more on these places on our return.

No bull we have reached Rockhampton

Yay for us

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Cruise Booked - An Asia we will go!

So we have been looking as I indicated in my blog this morning for something extra to do prior to Christmas and today we have just booked this cruise - great deal.

Why do we love the Princess Cruises - well because they are really so fun, you get to see exciting places, but you dont have to keep packing and unpacking all the time.  You can do great day and or overnight stays and experience everything you need but know you will come back to your room.

Also all the meals are included plus you get some great free time as well

Check out where we will be from 25th November:  Our Cruise Itinerary

Big thanks to Angela at Harvey World Travel Hope Island - so nice, friend and had a sense of urgency to get this happening so it was all done this morning given we are off on our adventure to Cairns first up tomorrow.  Harvey World Travel Hope Island FB site

Remember folks thought for today is:  Carpe diem

NINKERS: Week 4 @ a glance

NINKERS: Week 4 @ a glance: So what have we been up to this week.   Well as per one of my previous blogs started the week doing a small road trip to the Northern N...

Week 4 @ a glance

So what have we been up to this week.
Well as per one of my previous blogs started the week doing a small road trip to the Northern NSW beaches where everything was perfect.
Got home on Tuesday and really spent Wednesday and Thursday vegging out, a few naps, watching a few movies the weather was pretty average very windy - oooh and of course co-ordinating the next holiday.  Being the CEO of fun is hard work - tranching through holiday offers, looking for the best place to go and deals ..... not for the faint hearted (lol).
Good news was I found I had 100,000 odd QANTAS points I had forgotten about and this coupled with Dereks 60,000 (which we used some for our flights back from Cairns next week) and my Virgin points we have a few freebies on the way to use.
The great thing about NINKERing and being retired  is you can take up offers last minute and save - problem is there are so many great offers and so many wonderful destinations that its sort of like a labyrinth once you start and before you know it it has taken most of the day to do.  Just when you think you have found the best deal, in comes another email with yet another exciting offer.  Will be booking something today though - probably a cruise to ASIA as I would like to go to a few places in the area and after seeing my friends (  Darkskys photos) photos of  Cambodia etc I have a small hankering to go to this area and Princess today are having a big sale on ..... and herein lies a problem, rang them yesterday and the best deal was $2100 per person, today sale $1500 per person so will book this today. See how good I am at being the CFO as well I am saving so much money its nearly like earning money hahaha.
So today is getting ready for our motorhome relocation trip starting tomorrow to Cairns so will be packing etc for that today - wont blog during the week.
So the trip is relocating a motorhome from Brisbane to Cairns in 6 days- cost $1/day plus they give you $250 in petrol to get there the rest is up to you - while going on paid for holidays is ok we need to find things that continually keep us busy that don't cost the earth, so we have decided to give this a go and see what its like.  Watch out for my update next week.  So with our free flights back from Cairns next week so far the cost has been $25 booking fee - of course we will need to pay for van sites each night, but they seem to range from $30-$40 a night so it seems like it should be GV (Good Value). 

Also have been using Shopper Dockets from Coles to get 2 days free parking at Gateway Airport Parking - 6 days undercover $67!  GV!
So have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great Money Saving Tip - No 1

Did you know, becaue I didnt until last week that you can now convert your Fly Buy points into real dollars and then use your Fly Buy card as a debit card.  Converted 60,000 points accumlated over years of family shopping into $300 and didnt pay a cent for goceries last week, also bought a printer and a few t's at Target all on my new found FREE money. 
Will definately convert some more - probably around Christmas.
Over the years I have gotten giftcards etc  as points were expiring but to be honest sort of always felt they were not much really but converting them into hard cold cash is Good Value (GV) and  great NINKER value - think about that in advance of retiring!
Value:  5 Smiles!

What is a NINKER?

What is a NINKER?
A NINKER is - No Income, No Kids, Early Retiree.
This blog is for all those who have deciced that its time to live or for those thinking there is more to life than working.
It is decidicated to everyone who is or wants to live the dream and be free even if just for a while from the normal day to day of working when technically there is no good reason to be, other than to accumulate more, but have less time to enjoy life it self.  When you have realised or are beginning to realise that you are living to work and not the other way around.
NINKERS have done their bit, they have raised the family, looked after everyone else and are now saying "Hey what about me" (could be a song title - lol).
NINKERS know that life is too short, and there are things that they want to do, experience, feel and do it before they are too old.
NINKERS know that there are always great opportunities around the corner and have the confidence to say lets give it a go.
This blog is for everyone wanting to have fun, live, enjoy and maybe just take a risk or a chance for a time - after all you have earnt it!
Day 1 of the Journey
I hope NINKERS becomes a blog site where many NINKERS share their stories, provide encouragement to others who maybe contemplating becoming a NINKER, and to disspell some of the myths about being too young to retire, needing millions of dollars to retire, getting bored etc - all the things I have heard in the last few months.
NINKERS is my way of sharing my journey and hopefully others will tag along and share as well.
NINKERS is my way of sharing things you can do which dont cost a fortune and hopefully others will as well.
NINKERS is for everyone who is sick and tired of always being sick and tired, who want to smile everyday again, who are sick of being the responsible ones and more importantly the ones who always do it right all the time.

So what happened to Week 3

Nothing really, it just melded into week 2 and 4.  We started week 3 in Vanautu, came home, did the mundane as eventually I suppose we had to, clean, wash etc and then went out on the boat for a few days.

So week 3 was there and I suppose we had week 3 over 2 countries and 2 nice weeks away again.

The sunset on Thursday
For the full album click here:

Road Trip 1 - KIngscliff,Casurina,Byron Bay - Feeling The Sand Between My Toes

Monday 22 October beginning of week 4!  Do we know what is under our nose???

As always excuse any typos, spelling etc sometimes I think faster than I can type!

I am calling this post: The Sand Between My Toes - Why?  This is how it felt!

Day:  Perfect weather 5 Smiles

Trip:  Great roads now from the Goldy as well as Brissy took 30 mins to get to Kingscliff.  Both the tourist drives and highways were great not alot of traffic - just how I like it.

Cost:  4 smiles (overnight accommodation wasnt on the agenda but worth it)

Breakfast:  $40 at Chouxbox Cafe
Wine and Lemon Lime & Bitters (with real limes):  $11 Bryon Pub (dont know the name but right off the beach)
Petrol:  $30 in total
Dinner:  la Cucina di Vino $52 (more about that later)
Accommodation:  Ramada Ballina:  $150 - great room, spa, veranda overlooking the harbour
Few incidentals

2 great days for under $300 - 5 smiles

You know we thought about where we might like to head to as we continue on the journey of where to go next and then we said hey its been years since we just headed down the coast to the northern NSW beaches area (I personally had never been to Byron).

So we headed off about 8.30am and first stop was Kingscliff - a total of 30 mins driving on great highway.  So started with a walk along the beach and then back up to get some breaky - my silly NINKER mind had forgotten it was day light savings and said to Derek, look people are having fish and chips for breakfast only in NSW lol.  Then remembered it was 11 o'clock.

We stopped and had a great Breakfast at Chouxbox Cafe - 5 BIG SMILES - the service was so good, the food delicious and all overlooking the beach. - will definately put something on trip advisor for this place.  I will say we did have a breakfast there a few years ago and either its under new management or its because generally it was family holidayers with under school age kids or NINKERS - but everything was perfect all the girls working yesterday, friendly, helpful and more importantly SMILING!

High recommend the watermellon, pineapple and mint freshly squeezed juice for $5.50 - beeeeautiful!

After breakfast we went to Casurina Beach - yep did something we have not done in a long long time - just parked, with only a towel (and yes of course the mobile and camera) went swimming/surfing in unpatrolled waters, and sunbaked for a few hours  (yep not a bottle of water or anything to be seen) Derek said he felt like he was 18 again, you remember what it was like when you just did things on impluse - nothing more  - you didnt need to think you just did and I had to agree - there we were doing a bit of surfing - no one in sight and just laying on the beach without a care in the world - no where to be, nothing to do, no one asking for food BLISS!  We stayed here for a good few hours and it was just glorious.

As I was laying there sunbaking I looked up and noticed the cobwebs on the tree we were under - so beautiful. Thats what I love about photography, it just makes you look at things.

But sun, surf and sand sure makes your thirsty so eventually we did have to get up and go - because I really needed to have a drink - but this is what NINKERing is about remembering what it was like to be anywhere you wanted to be at any time and happy to get up and go because there were no timelines needed, no deadlines, no we cant stay here because we have to be at x place in 2 hours.

We made a couple of little coffee , nibbly and swim in rock pools stops along the way to Bryon.

Headed to Byron Bay - as I said earlier I have never really been there and I have to say it was lovely, much better than I had always imagined - I dont know why but I had always thought it was full of dope smoking hippies but it definately wasn't.  Again walked up the beach and felt the sand between the toes again (I suppose that is one of the things I love the sand between the toes) and headed to the pub, again th NINKER mind forget we were in NSW and I said - looks like you can have a drink and smoke and then remembered NSW (bliss) I have to wonder looking around the pub at all the people having a smoke how much tourism Qld has lost by its rules of no smoking anywhere - and I know for all the anti smokers its great but just like when we were in Vanuatu I am always amazed that non smokers can seem to put up with it without the snooty looks and comments when they are in places where its allowed.  Anyway enough about my rant - had a drink, soaked up the atmosphere and headed for the lighthouse.

WOW is all I can say great views, great experience - you know I thought to myself we travel all around the world to see great things - we get on plains, trains and automobiles and yet alot of what we see overseas we can see here - in fact this place just reminded me of Sorrento in Italy and Santorini in Greece (with the lighthouse being the white and blue colors highly used there).

The weather was hot hot hot and the walk a little exhausting but all well worth it.

By now its getting on to 5 oclock NSW time and we were looking for the air conditioning of the car but the weather was still great so said to hell with it, lets head to Ballina for the night.  Australian summers what can you say - heat all day and in come the afternoon storms, before we hit Ballina in came the winds 80 km per hour and storms.

Checked into the Ramada at Ballina that was lovely and reasonably priced and again great service.  In a lovely spot that overlooked a harbour, had a nice walk and overlooked the old court house, restuarants, bars where in the precinct so a greal locale if the weather had of changed but it didnt.  Had a lovely spa bath and a bit of a relax before heading for dinner.  The room was new, modern and really nice.  The staff all friendly and very nice - a refreshing change.

Had dinner a la Cucina di Vino - and again enjoyed fantastic service, good food and great atmosphere.  Being NINKERS we obviouisly can't afford to eat out all day everyday so we have started to look at ways we can continue to enjoy good dining without paying a fortune and to be honest I wasnt all that hungry after that huge breaky at 11am so we decided to do some NINERing and we ordered:

Garlic and Herb Bread:  4 big slices so good value at $8
Olives and Fetta:  came with bread sticks (yes the carbs are important when dining on a small budget) but these with the bread filled a big hole and had heaps of great and yummy tastes $8
Followed by a Pizza - not the worlds largest pizza but tasty  $16

Wash this all down with a few nice house wines  each (not NZ ones as is standard so this was a welcomed releif)

Total cost $52 and we were happy little campers

Service was great:  5 smiles
Food:  5 smiles
Value for money:  5 smiles
Ambiance: 5 smiles

Went back to the Ranada bar called the Point and had coffee and yes another wine all paid for in small change so good value.

Unfortunately the winds and rain didn't stop overnight and so we headed home early, but I know if it had of been a nice day we would have spent the morning walking around this precinct and overall it would have been lovely.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Book Review 1 - The House of Memories

The House of Memores - Monica McInerney

Wow what do I say about this book, other than it was just a great read, easy to read and kept you wanting to read.  What a lovely, sad, tear jurking story it was.
A part of my retirement journey is to do things I never got the chance to do and that is do some heart felt type reading not just business reading and this was the first book - I picked it up by chance at the airport when going to Vanautu, and I am so glad I did.  Yes it left me in tears but I just couldnt put it down (ask Derek in my face from the moment I picked it up).
A girls own type book I suppose full of emotions I suppose over our lives we have all felt (although the loss of a child is not one I have had nor wish to have - but it was told in such a wonderful way) that love gets us through.
If you are looking for just a lovely lovely read one that has it all then I do recommend this book, I loved it and will look for more of her books.
High recommendation
Smiles:  5 smiles or in this case 5 tears

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The most fabulous adventures of Lil' Ted - Episode 2 -Ted meets a Pelica...

Week 2 - Vanuatu

Overview: 5 smiles

Cost: 5 smiles (a great destination without breaking the bank)

  •  $2000 - flights and 5 nights accommodation with Breakfast - The Grand
  •  $480 - $36,000 Vatu's - converted at the airport (this lasted us the full 5 days)
  • $920 - drinks, food, tours
Easy booking via:

Length of Time:

Wednesday 10th October to Monday 15th October

This is probably a good length of stay, you can do lots in this time as well as relax


Hot but not too hot, in fact it was perfect around the 28 degrees  

Funometer: 5 smiles
Valueometer:  5 smiles
Accommodation:  The Grand - 5 smiles

What a great overseas destination - quick and easy to book via Virgin and quick and easy flight less than 3 hours, but you get all the fun of the overseas holiday.

Yes it is a little different when you arrive - the place is definately not polished up but that is a part of the  attraction, the glitz and glammor has yet to arrive in Vanautu.

You definately feel very safe and there is heaps to do and generally most things are free or reasonably priced - it does take a little getting use to paying thousands of Vatu's for things but then when its all converted its quite reasonable ie:  Helicopter ride $20,000 Vatus each - but thats about $20 each for a great half hour flight.

Snorkelling is fantastic - the waters are so clear and the colors of the fish and coral is brilliant.

There is heaps to do, or you can just relax and soak up the sun and veg out.  Check out my pics by clicking below.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 1 - a bit late - but as the saying goes better late than never

So already I am into week 3 of retirement - I cant believe it.  It has gone so fast. 

So what have we done or what have we learnt  - after all this is what this all about.

The first thing I have learnt is that all the new and wonderful technology really needs some good knowledge to link up and hook up, especially when overseas or out on the boat - have to get an inverter on the boat to cope with the large amounts of power needed to charge everything up, hence the reason why this entry is so late (but I wasnt going to let that phase me). 

But dont sweat the small stuff, sure I would have liked to have recorded daily the things I was starting to experience, but hey not getting stressed out by the small things that dont work is what this journey was about, who the hell cares!

I have the time to work it out, I have the time to remember and I have the time to go back and remember so its all about taking time to smell the roses and remembering - it will happen.

So week 1:

Overview:  5 smiles (yes eventually I will learn how to put some smiley faces in here but not today)
  •  normal weekly shopping costs:  $300
  •  petrol (because we were somewhat stupid - and roamed around aimlessly this was higher than anticipated or what would be standard so lets say $500 $300 for stupidity)
Length of Time:
Saturday 29th September to Thursday 4th October (I think) so 5 nights and 6 days
Cloudy, and a bit too windy for alot of the time, but generally OK got better over the weekend
Funometer:  5 smiles
Valueometer:  3 smiles
Saturday:  29th Sept
So there we were all ready to rock and roll, boat loaded, everything ready and first up Saturday we headed off for our very first large trip.  No real plans, lets just go where the wind takes us (and it took us further than we thought), find some nice places to settle for the night, do some fishing, play some scrabble, read etc.

So while the following Video wasnt taken on the weekend we headed on the journey we have done this part of the treck many times so here is a little of what we see when we head out.

Crusing up the Coomera River

This all played well, there we were with Lil' Ted and we found a lovely spot at Slipping Sands - we took a nice slow chug taking us about 3 hours and then I headed for a well earnt afternoon nap (something I havent really enjoyed for many years).  As you can see nice and isolated, great beaches and no hussle and bussell just us and no one insight just how we like it.
After we headed for a bay  that was a bit more protected because the southerlies where coming up and had a fabulous night of fishing, chatting, and scrabbling.  Derek caught the first of the nightly feeds (lol no we thow them back).  So windy though we lost a chair off the back of the boat (too funny)
What I love is what you see while at the beach!
Day 2:  Sunday:  30th Sept
Woke up the next morning and decided to head for Tangolooma - a big chug - nearly 5 hours only to get there and the winds where terrible and the seas very rough with no real protected bays to stay in.  So we took Ted off for his designated wee and poo break, had some lunch and decided lets chug back (hence the stupidity factor petrol money).
We learnt alot - dont follow the map, follow the navigation equipment, because the 5 hours there probably could have been 2 hours if I wasnt following the map - but hey we learnt alot and yes it was all a bit scarey because the seas where quite big and OH DEAR only quarter of tank of petrol left.
Got into a nice bay at the back of Peel Island and had a nice night - we were a little worn out and it didnt take much rocking before we were fast asleep.
Day 3:  Monday:  1st October
OK need petrol desperately - lets head for Redland Bay Marina - got all nav equipement and maps on the go and finally got there (tank now showing just about empty), but shock and horror no Petrol (note to self establish Marinas that sell petrol).  So now we were on a very very slow chug to Raby Bay and at about 11am with the tank now dead on empty we finally got the much needed petrol to allow us the freedom to go where ever we wanted to go and $800 later but to the credit of the Raby Bay Marina they did give us a discount of $50 which I thought was nice, given they are already cheaper than Gold Coast City Marina by about 20 cents a litre - anyway it was all sort of fun really, we learnt alot and decided to head to yet another new destination which was beautiful and closer to the Broadwater.
Had a great night, lots of beach walking, fishing and generally just relaxing and having some fun after what seemed like quite a stressful day (still windy and seas still quite high)
Day 4:  Tuesday:  2nd October
Everything back to a bit of normality again, in waterways we sort of know ie:  close to where we are use to being and a full tank so can literally now go whereever we want to.  Decide to head for Tiger Mullet Channel with a few nice stops along the way. Generally had a lovely day, weather better, no wind, water lovely and nearly swimming weather but not quite a jump off the back of the boat yet.
Into Tiger Mullet and had a lovely afternoon doing all a bit of the same as above, out on the tender discovering some small islands, out walking on the dunes and casting the odd rod out.

Day 5:  Wednesday 3rd October

So chugged over to The Pin beacause the weather and winds were much better now and settled in for some lovely swimming, walking, photography etc - yes it is all much of a much but some how the days go so fast I cant believe it.  Great Sunset tonight

Day 6:  Thursday 4th October
Everything perfect, and our perfect beach walk is calling us so off we go with Lil' Ted for a few k's walk along some of the most perfect beaches you would find anywhere in the world some of the photos below were taken at another time being there because silly me - my memory to take a camera eluded me.  Generally it was fabulous weather and the first swim or jump off the back of the boat into the water weather sooooooo glorious.

Then we headed home - ready for a family weekend! More about that later!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last day at work

Friday 28th September 2012 - last day in the office already over a week ago (where did that time go?).
Yes it is a strange and funny feeling - telling people you are retiring, working your notice and then thinking hey tomorrow I have nothing to go to, but already in just over a week I have felt alive, relaxed, and just a bit lazy I will admit, but that is so good.
The last day didn't last long but it was an emotion filled morning - so excited to be embarking on a new life journey.  Saying goodbye to people and company that had over the years become an extended family - completed the few small things I had left in the inbox and by 9.30 was gone.  Driving home I felt a true sense of calm (wasn't sure if that's how it would be, but it was).

Today I officially became a NINKER - No Income, No Kids, Early Retirer

 First job - change the wardrobe, get rid of the suites, court shoes they don't live here anymore -   shorts, t shirts, thongs are now the required dress standard - we like to call it our Toddler Wear.  Cathartic to say the least.
Did the shopping so we could get out on the boat on Saturday and off we went.

How do I feel - this probably sums it up:

All we know about the future is it will be different, but perhaps what we fear most is it will be the same, but we must celebrate the changes, everything will be alright in the end - trust me!  So it begins.

Getting Started

Lets be honest, deciding to retire is hard and just a tad scary, but if you think back on your life to where you are now, you had to do alot of scary things, leaving school, finding new jobs, getting married, having kids so generally you have done this 100 times before. 

If we all had it all over again we probably would never have decided to have a family, because back in the 80's 90's there wasn't family bonus's, there wasn't maternity leave we just lived on one wage - so think about it-  would you really have had kids if you really knew what it would cost?  Would you ever  give that wonderful moment, days, years up - probably not. So whats changed other than your own need to have more.

So retiring is really not all that different - its just that life has changed once again, we enter into the great unknown. I bet there are 100's of things that have changed over your lifetime - great unknowns, things that you could never had imaged would be but are, and we continue to evolve, but to some extent I believe we are all conned into believing we have to have millions to enjoy life after work - that's financial advisers life blood - don't retire you will die, don't retire you need $200,000 a year to live - who lives off that now working??????

Today I start the journey we have been on for some 3 years and yes sometimes you have to plan in advance but are we the most wealthiest retirees - NO!  But we started the journey 3 years ago.  The dream, the saving, the paying down of debt so we could be in a place when the time was right for us to say - had enough, need to have a break, need to recharge the batteries, need to learn and grow in other areas and try new things.  Does it mean we will never work again - No, we will need to eventually - but sometimes you need change to help you understand what you want to do for the last part of your life.

This is our story and I hope others will begin to tell theirs and share these journeys so everyone knows it can be done, you can explore new things, feel somewhat out of your comfort zone and begin living!

Does being scared scare me - well yes it does and no it doesn't - it is what it is.  I know I have to be honest to myself and I know I need a break.  I know that in the greater theme of things we have everything, and for so many people working 90 hour weeks we have to think about it in the greater theme of things.  Some people no matter how hard they work will never have what we have, and live, survive and enjoy life, and for others they may never image life without spending 100,000's a year, but for most standard 50'60's kids we have good equity in our homes, we have worked hard, and some decent super.

The question is how much better off are you now than you ever thought you would be???? There in lies the mighty question - yes we have gotten greedier over the years, we must have this, we must have that - but sit down, take a deep breath and ask yourself 20-30 years ago, what did you think you would own, how much of that mortgage did you think you have paid off - times have changed, in the majority of peoples cases we are all asset rich and cash poor, why because as a generation we cannot help ourselves, we have a need to pay off the mortgage and yet it is so small as compared to what generation X and Y seem as acceptable. We  have a need to continue to work long hard hours and accumulate cash and or assets and of course both the kids and the parents expect us to look after them, we are the sandwich generation - we are expected to look after everyone - well let me tell you - let them look after themselves, just like we had to and ENJOY the fruits of your labor;

These are the cold harsh realities you have to come to terms with, think about, and go - bugger it all even if I can only get 6 months to a year living without working and have to go back again and do it under my terms am I not better off?????

We think the answer is YES and we are here to share that journey, after all as the old saying goes, life is a journey not a destination!

I hope you enjoy our journey in life!

JAC and Derek!