Where are the Martins?

I flatter myself by thinking that the following conversation might happen at a cocktail party in Paris, London or Omaha. It would go this way: One guest would say to another, “Hey, do you know what happened to that globe-trotting senior couple from California? Tim and whatshername Martin?

“Oh, come on, you remember!,” he would continue in response to the woman’s blank look, “She wrote that Wall Street Journal piece about selling their house and flitting around the world without a home base, and then she wrote that book. You and I talked about them at Suzanne’s party last year.

“Do you mean those people from Cali? Yes, I read her book,” his female companion might say, “It was fun. Wonder where they are now.”

cheerIf I were at that party, wine in hand, munching a delicious cheese-laden canapé, I’d say, “Here’s the scoop: Lynne and Tim spent most of 2015 on California’s Central Coast, working on the forthcoming sequel to “Home Sweet Anywhere.” While they were at it, they segued into phase II of their unorthodox retirement plan and built the vacation rental they always dreamed of finding on the road. It’s compact, contemporary, and very comfortable. They’ll enjoy it as a home base when they are in California and as a rental when they’re away.

I would add in this imaginary conversation that we always knew that when traveling full-time, plus keeping up with writing and helping others plan their world adventures, we would settle in California. After five years it was clear that it was time to activate phase II of Home Free Living. Tim came up with the bright idea of putting into practice the lessons learned from living in dozens of vacation rentals, and in typical Martin fashion, we initiated the design for Creekside Cottage that very day! You know that we Postpone Nothing!

Great ideas for our house came from well-planned properties and remembering the mistakes of others was just as useful. For instance, I loved the galley kitchen in a condo we rented beside the Thames outside London so much that I based the kitchen design at Creekside Cottage on the one in East Molesey, Surrey. Although we love living in cosmopolitan cities, the sirens, construction havoc, and excessive neighbor noise made us realize that a quieter place was a better choice for a long-term establishment. A cottage half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco on a tree-covered rural road, close to two hundred plus wineries, excellent restaurants, and entertainment, but remote enough to insulate us from other people’s intrusion. There was no need for drapes in the living room because having deer, squirrels, birds and raccoons as our audience doesn’t bother us as all. I’m certain our guests will feel the same.

As a result of our experiences on the road, we were careful to include things that were missing in too many rentals: robe hooks in the bathrooms, clearly labeled clickers for every electronic gizmo, a keyless entry pad, liberal outlets and excellent lighting in every room. We even put USB plugs right into the wall! It has a plethora of windows with beautiful views of our forest and creek, total privacy, security, and peace and quiet, all top priorities for us. I even have a cozy writing area, with big windows overlooking the forest. It’s inspirational and certainly superior to working on ships, planes, noisy cities, and cramped apartments with noise-canceling earphones clapped on my head.

This will give you an idea of what we’ve been doing for the last nine months. Please click on the arrows.

Creating Creekside was a great experience, but a much bigger project than we had imagined. For months, I tried to write by night (when I wasn’t falling asleep on the sofa) and play Bob the Builder in the daytime. It was hectic, stressful, expensive and also great fun. Someday I’ll share war stories about migrating to eight rentals while enduring a two-month delay to the finish, digging a well that didn’t want to produce water, finding that the electric company required four thousand dollars to raise their pole so our roof wouldn’t touch the wires, and the day I discovered that the builders were banging up the wrong siding. There were times when the ringtone I assigned to my builder would make my heart stop. I knew it wouldn’t be good news and would probably cost us more money. But the experience did give us the time to reflect on our good fortune to have lived in so many marvelous places. After all, that’s what started this entire project and changed the course of our lives! Here’s a look at the interiors so far. Ferris Zoe, of Ferris Zoe Design, deserves a medal for helping us make Creekside Cottage a beautiful reality and gently guiding us to make good decisions.  

Getting back to those imaginary cocktail party guests, I would tell them that the Martins are working on their plans for 2016, now that the construction dust has settled. They have their eyes on Bali, Columbia, Ecuador, and Hawaii, and are investigating a big trip to Asia. But for the next few months, Lynne will concentrate on organizing the copious entries in her journal, and digesting the excellent stories others have shared, and finally writing the sequel to Home Sweet Anywhere.

And, oh yes, I will be regularly blogging, and Tim will be back in travel-planning mode, that is if we can stop marveling at our beautiful views and the rain that has finally come to California.

We wish you health, joy, and peace for the new year, and I promise to be in touch regularly! Thank you for being our friend. Let us hear from you, and if you haven’t joined Home Free Adventures on Facebook, please do. There are a lot of like-minded people who generously share their travel tales and tips.

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  1. Lynne

    Hi! So glad you’re out there having fun. You will just love Ireland. Keep us posted!!!

  2. Lynne

    Oh, David, we would love love to see you. Please let us know when you’ll be coming this way.
    Congratulations! The baby is absolutely adorable.

  3. Lynne

    Thanks so much for writing. I hope all of your phases are terrific and fulfilling!

  4. Lynne

    Hi Yvonne,

    Thanks so much for writing. We are very happy to be rooted again. Almost five years of living without a home base
    was a dream. We loved it, but it’s time for us to slow down a bit and establish a base. We’ll be out there again
    before too long. Please stay in touch!

  5. Lynne

    Hi Bonnie and Chuck,

    So nice to hear from you! I’m glad all is well and love you for keeping in touch. Have fun and
    be safe!

  6. Lynne


    So happy for you. Have a wonderful time. What a great plan about the cats. I love how inventive you are.
    Have fun and please stay in touch.

  7. Lynne

    Hi Sweetie,

    Thanks for the kind words. You always encourage me. xoxoxo

  8. Lynne

    Wow, I’m so excited for you! It’s a wonderful itinerary. Enjoy and keep in touch!

  9. Lynne

    Hi Dennis and Linda,

    I’m so excited to hear this! I know you will love Paris as much as we do. Please keep in touch and let
    us hear about your adventures.

  10. Dennis andLinda Ritchie

    We’ve finally made it to our Phase 1 of gypsy travels. We’ve on the island of Phuket in Thailand. What a place! Great people, food, and adventures. We even curled up with 3 different full grown tigers at Tiger Kingdom. Exciting! Phase 2 is Paris for April and May. Glad to hear you’re going to travel again.

  11. Steve & Tracey Schlabra-Livingston, Texas

    We are starting our phase II of our world travels…less our children. We are renting a car and traveling the back-roads of Ireland/Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. 3 month trip. Inspired by you guys!

  12. Bill Ingalls

    Thousands cheer. Crowds go wild. It’s good to hear what you are up to. I really, really, look forward to eventually reading what you are currently writing. Life can be fun, which you have already proven many times over. Keep it up.

  13. Laurel Barton

    So delighted to see you back! We’d wondered where you’d gone! We have “Base Camp Barton” established in Rome as we travel all over Europe. (We had to have a place to park the cats while we travel.) Friends and family have been coming to stay while we are away, making sure “the girls” are well-cared for.

  14. Bonnie & Chuck Headlee

    So happy to hear from you and glad everything is on track for a fabulous 2016! We’re still in Nice, France, using it as a home base to see all of Europe and parts of Africa. Next stop: wherever! Happy trails…

  15. Yvonne Schenk

    Congrats on your new home! John and I just returned from a 20 month on the road in Europe and a little of Asia. We enjoyed it immensely, but after a while it gets tiring to keep on living out of the suitcase and adjusting to new apartments, so we decided to head back home. Now we are figuring out what to do next! There is still so much to see of the world!

  16. Robyn D

    So very glad to hear from you! And so excited that you’re still adventuring. I will probably do phase 2 1st – selling my country home and getting a better situated rental/homebase. Of course my phase 1 is the full time rving, I guess. That would make overseas my phase 3!
    Can’t wait to hear more from you!

  17. David Foster

    Linda and I have enjoyed the construction updates and we love the pictures of the finished cottage. We are planning a visit to see the CA. Fosters sometime in the coming year. We would love to see the Creekside Cottage in person. We are glad that all is trending well in your adventure.

  18. Mel Breakfield

    So good to hear from you and Tim again and get the update! Glad to hear you will be back on the road again soon. We are currently on adventure #2 of our Phase I. Living in Nice, France for 2 months and absolutely loving our 4th floor walk up on Rue Bonaparte. Thanks for the tips for Ireland; which is where adventure #3 will start.

  19. Joan

    We loved your book and the details of your adventures in numerous countries. We also decided to follow in your footsteps but switched your phase 1 and phase 2. While my husband wraps up his last year of work we did a drastic downsize and moved into the city and into a small 2 BR condo that we can rent out while we are gone. Just an idea for those who are not excited about being totally homefree but wanting to loosen the reins of a too large home and too much stuff. Now we just have to decide where to go.

  20. Diane Clark

    Thanks for the update Lynn! Yes, hubby and I have been wandering where you and Tim are these days. Glad to hear everything is on tract for your next book and more travels in 2016. Looking forward to hearing about your new adventures!

  21. Sharon Patocki

    Looking forward to your next book! ?
    Safe travels in 2016!

  22. Marti Sullivan

    You inspired us to sell all and start traveling two years ago and we are loving it, although we too are feeling the pull to have a permanent home base. Our first year was spent as a tourist, moving all the time. Very tiring after a while! Our second year we are spending a month or more in each location. Like others, we keep family and friends posted on our adventures via ThruMartisEyes.blogspot.com

    I’m so glad you are continuing to evolve your plans and are willing to share them with us.

  23. Margo

    We are currently in our Phase I thanks to your article in WSJ and book! We have begun to live the dream! Keeping our family abreast via our blog: werenotcrazy.com (What are we, 65? is the post that specifically speaks of how we found your article/book as our platform.) We truly thank you for all the knowledge you shared. We are no where near retirement, but thanks to hubby’s IT job, he can “work from home” and home is now anywhere we want it to be!

  24. Holly

    Well Lynn, as one of your followers from Omaha, I can tell you that we HAVE had that conversation at parties. Although since I follow you on FB, I have an unfair advantage of knowing more about what’s been going on! I love the new place and I CANNOT WAIT for the new book to come out. I thought that your design inclusions from past rentals (we keep a list like that) were spot on. So fun to see what your next adventure may be…

  25. Laura Taylor

    Another experience checked off the bucket list and more adventures ahead! Perfect for you two.
    Congrats! LT 🙂