Stephanie and Jillian live a life that many would probably like. After years of hard work, they have gained enough to be able to retire early and enjoy life. Two Canadian women have realized that life "from 9 am to 5 pm” is not for them and now they spend their days traveling the world and researching how much life costs in the world’s metropolises.
Both were born in Toronto, where they spent most of their lives. As they dreamed of working abroad, about ten years ago they made the decision to move to Singapore, and to continue building their careers there. After six years of extremely stressful work in corporations, but also a year of smart investment, Stefani in her forties, and Gillian in her 38th year, created the conditions for her to retire.
– That happened in 2019. We sold everything we had, packed up and started living another life, life on the road, in the company of our dogs – these two ladies say.
They have been traveling constantly ever since. The pandemic did not stop them either. They visited Poland, Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Croatia and Malta. They stayed in Ukraine for the shortest time, two weeks, while they toured Turkey for four months and saw Istanbul, Fethiye and Kas.
– For us, early retirement only means that we do not have to go to work to earn a salary. We have enough to live on… We retired when our careers reached their peak, and we still have many productive years ahead of us. So even though we are retired, we still love challenges and being productive. Retirement in our case does not mean that we will spend our whole life on the beach. It just means that now we can realize our wishes and interests – these two interesting women explain.
Is it possible to live well in Belgrade without costing a lot?
The desire to get to know new places, food and the history of a country brought them to Serbia. They spent a month in our capital and were pleasantly surprised how they managed to live relaxed, many Serbs would even say "on a high footing”, and that, at least according to their criteria, did not cost them much.
– If you are like us, then you want to make the most of whatever place you visit. That means staying in a beautiful Airbnb apartment, eating in restaurants, having the opportunity to get to know the culture of one nation, all at affordable prices – with these words, Stephanie and Jillian started their investment. They point out that this is not easy to achieve in Europe, because many destinations are popular among tourists, which everyone uses to "raise prices”. – At least that is the situation during the summer season. So we wondered if Eastern Europe might be a place where we could achieve our goal. We came to Belgrade for a month, we stayed in a super tidy apartment in the city center, we enjoyed restaurants almost every day and ate incredibly delicious food and now it’s time to draw the line and recalculate how much it all cost us – say Canadians.
They say that when they explored Belgrade as a destination, they had the impression that the budget they intended would take a long time, but they wondered if the investment would really pay off. – We were not sure what the capital of Serbia could offer us. We did not know what it was like in Belgrade today. We did not expect to find such a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city – the Canadians are honest. They stayed in the heart of Belgrade, not far from Studentski trg and Kalemegdan. They were looking for an apartment that would satisfy their wishes and needs.
– As we are constantly on the road, we want the apartment where we stay to look like home. We found it here. However, in every apartment we want to have a washing machine, a dishwasher and air conditioning. We only had the climate here – says Gillian.
As the kitchen in the apartment is really small, there was not much space for "serious cooking”, so they mostly ate outside.