In July 2013, Michael and Debbie Campbell rented out their Seattle home, sold their sailboat, packed a suitcase and set out to see the world one AirBnB rental at a time.
Since then, the couple—who dubbed themselves the Senior Nomads—have stayed in more than 150 rentals in more than 68 countries. They share their experiences in their book, "Your Keys, Our Home," and on their blog. We caught up with Debbie Campbell while they were in Paris to ask her about life on the road and some of their favorite places.
What has been your best trip so far?
Our lifestyle has turned into one, very long trip but we can tell you that we had a wonderful time in an overlooked part of Europe that is really beautiful and currently in the news, the Baltics: Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Your favorite AirBnB rental?
That's always been a hard question to answer especially since we have stayed in 156 homes. I can give you our top three, and they would be in Strasbourg, France; Beruit, Lebanon; and Syracuse, Italy, on the island of Sicily. Almost all of our AirBnB stays are listed on our website under "Travels."
You have a $90 nightly budget goal. Has it been a difficult to keep?
It's funny, we set that goal before we left Seattle four years ago and it was a guesstimate. But as it turns out, if you take all of the expensive places we've stayed like Oslo, Norway, and London, England then add in the affordable places like Yeravan, Armenia and Amman, Jordan, the average price per night comes to $89.35.
What's your spirit city?
I would say Paris because not only is it rich in history and so beautiful, it is home to our three youngest grandchildren. Michael's answer is Amsterdam. It feels like home to him every time we visit.
If we visit there, what is one experience we can't miss?
In Paris, we love the area around Sacre Couer in Montmartre and the Marais; be sure and take a free walking tour of both areas. In Amsterdam, rent bikes and tour the city like a local.
What is the first thing you look for when you arrive in a new city?
The grocery store. We can cook a lot of meals in to stay on budget, plus having a few comfort foods in the kitchen and fridge helps us feel at home.
What do you do when you are not out exploring?
We keep running scores for our Scrabble, backgammon, dominoes and Cribbage games, plus we read like crazy on our Kindles. And here's a tip, we download our books for free from our local library in Seattle!
You can only have one type of regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?
We love the food in Italy, but also fell in love with the roasted pork dishes and Weiner Schnitzel in Bavaria.
Best thing you've discovered on your travels?
Besides the fact that it's okay to eat ice cream for breakfast? It would be that we've discovered some things about ourselves through all this travel. We have become brave and are eager to try new things and explore new places. We've also become more flexible, kinder to one another and have come to realize that experiences far outweigh possessions.
Something that's always in your suitcase, besides the essentials?
We travel with our bed pillows from home. At first we thought that seemed wimpy but those trusty, fluffy friends provide us with a sense of "home" wherever we lay our heads.
Where are you off to next?
We are currently in Paris and plan to spend three weeks with our family here. Then we are heading home to Seattle for a bit. No doubt after the holidays we'll be on the road again, maybe to Australia.