About Us

SilverTrekkers is run by us, Jo Ann and David, to show you how to live fully, with more joy and more freedom, by sharing stories, resources, and the amazing results. Because we’re old enough to know better.
 
  • Do you long to live in a foreign country but think you can’t afford it?
  • Would you like to move to a new community, one that better reflects who you are now?
  • Do you ever wonder how to wake up happier each morning?

We’ve done the first and will show you how – without resorting to a life of crime. We’re in the process of the second and will share our progress with you. The third is a lifelong quest; we’re still learning new ways to achieve it. (Tip – that’s part of the answer.)

A statue of a dog has a colorful garland of flowers around it's neck.
Perro de Arte, Valparaiso, Chile. 2018.

Welcome to the party!

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

What does living fully look like?

Santiago panorama with park, high rise buildings, and the Andes mountains.
Santiago. Chile from Parque Nactional. 2017.

In 2012 a feeling of pervasive dissatisfaction – a sense that life was passing us by – led us to first, get married, and then, to take a year off. We rented our colorful mid-century modern home in Portland, Oregon, packed our trusty 1999 Ford Explorer and hit the road, following a rough plan that took us to California, Texas, Virginia, New Jersey, Colorado, Hawaii, and Europe. We reconnected with old friends, made new ones and delighted in our freedom.

We were living fully and we wanted more. Returning to Portland the fall of 2013, we sold our house, packed up, and moved to California. Because our kind and generous friends, Kelley and Martha, had offered us a place to stay we were suddenly living in Carmel Valley. We spent the next four years exploring how to live fully, without the daily grind of a job. Or, as David put it, trying to answer the question, “What did we want to be when we grew up? “

Because we had long been fiscally responsible, we carried no bad debt and had put aside a modest amount for retirement. And we inherited a modest amount from family. We weren’t rich but we were thrifty. We were in our early 60’s, healthy and looking for new adventures and challenges. We’d like to share our discoveries with you, to help you live more fully too.

Man in bee suit and bee hive
Guess how many bees are in this box?

What's on your bucket list?

While Jo Ann has finally gave up her dream of participating in the Olympics, living in a foreign country has long been on both our lists. We didn’t want to dip too far into our savings so it needed to be a place we could legally earn a living. David wanted a break from architecture and we both wanted jobs we hadn’t had before.

It took us a year to get everything in place but we spent 2017 living in Santiago, Chile, teaching English. We’d never taught before, spoke un poquito de español, and didn’t have a job offer when we boarded our flight.

Two people at overlook, Santiago Chile
Two old dogs in Santiago, Chile. 2017.

However, we did have a plan and a budget. We had spent 2016 getting certified as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) instructors and practice teaching. Lots of preparation made the leap effortless.

Not that there weren’t some surprises. They don’t really speak Spanish in Chile. Even native Spanish speakers from other countries have difficulty understanding the Chileans. And we underestimated the impact of living in a city of 8 million people. But the richness and the personal growth we experienced made even being mugged (twice) worth it. Once again, we were living fully.

Whatever is on your bucket list,  we want to help you make it happen. You can, and should, be living fully, whatever it that looks like to you, instead of dreaming about it.

 

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'”
George Benard Shaw

Jo Ann's Living Fully Background

I was a horse-riding, barefoot running, tree climbing kind of a gal. My family was solidly middle class. We lived in a brick front three bedroom, one bath home in a brand new neighborhood. My father was a salesman. My mother was a housewife. My older sister was a girlie girl.  We were living fully.

Money was often tight but I never heard my parents fight. I had a collie named Woffie and a blue parakeet named Tweetie. Despite my lack of originality in pet naming, I had a vivid imagination and great courage. I defeated the closet monster in my room by leaping from my bed to the hallway in a single bound. Every morning. For years.
Young girl on horse, 1950's
Jo Ann 90 lbs. Horse 900 lbs. Texas, 1962.
Two young girls 1950's
The tomboy and the girlie girl. 1956.

Usually, we spent the summers camping our way to Idaho and back to visit my Dad’s family. To me, this was heaven; I’m not so sure about my sister. And while my parents loved the outdoors, this was more about economics than nature. The rest of the year, on Sunday afternoons, after church, we went to visit my mother’s family, who lived just outside of town, on a farm full of tomboy delights.

My life was a Walt Disney-Norman Rockwell collaboration.

Until Stephen King showed up.

Overcoming fear is part of living fully.

Then, in 1968, everything changed. My mother developed breast cancer and soon died. She was 42 years old. I was 16. Suddenly, everything I believed to be real and lasting was challenged. My darkest moment found me standing on the freeway overpass in front of our home, looking down. An occasional headlight briefly illuminated the pavement below. Was it high enough to end my pain?

I don’t recall how long I stood there. But some part of me understood that the pain wouldn’t end. It would spread to my father and to my sister. To my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and on. My mother deserved a different legacy.

So I began exploring what living fully meant. I questioned everything. I tried many things. I found some answers but mainly I found more questions. Fifty years have passed and I’m still on the quest. My mother continues to be my mentor and my inspiration to living fully. It hasn’t always been the smoothest path, but boy it’s been exciting. Thanks Mom.

Woman and boy dancing
My mom dancing with one of my friends. 1968.
"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Living fully: The road ahead.

A two lane paved road disappears into the mountains.
Colorado, on the way to Crested Butte.

Our journey has often been bumpy, obscured by fog and has run aground on one occasion. Together, we’ve lived in a town of six thousand and a city of eight million. We’ve traveled to over twenty countries (so far).  We’re masters of adventure, with advanced skills of reinvention and decades of experience leaping into the void. All in search of living fully. 

We’re not daredevils but we do our best to be fearless. Life is too short. Anyone, even you, can start living fully, today. And you should. Your mother would be proud.

Are you ready to start living fully?