FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Since I’ve been a homebody recently, and getting settled in Edinburgh, thought I’d do a post answers to questions that have been asked over the past few months. (If you have any follow up questions or a new question, please use the comments feature below, or email me directly at philipmarsh1879@gmail.com.)

What does the 1879 represent at the end of your email?  1879 is the year that my paternal grandfather, Glenn B. Marsh, was born. Someone else had already claimed philipmarsh@gmail.com and I needed a way to make my address unique – so used my grandfather’s birth year. He and I were very close and this gave me another way to remember him, and do so every time I use my email.

Why am I using Philip rather than Phil now?  The first answer to the question is that I never stopped using Philip. Really! Somewhere around my freshman year in high school, either people started calling me Phil, or I thought Philip didn’t sound very grown up. So then the confusion started, where I was still being called Philip (mainly by family), using Philip for formal documents, and friends and teachers calling me Phil. After awhile I didn’t care – and so it went for many years. About a couple of years ago, I made an effort to start using only Philip so my name was more consistent in all places, and to take back the name that I was given at birth. So, my name has gone full circle. As one of my grandfathers used to say, “You can call me anything you’d like, just don’t call me ‘late’ for dinner.”

Why am I traveling in Europe for 3 years?  The tipping point for me was when I found out how much it would cost for insurance (good insurance, not basic coverage) if I retired. Spending half of my income on medical insurance didn’t seem like a good value to me. When I found out how much it would cost to live in Europe, that sealed the deal.  When I am eligible for Medicare, then I’ll consider returning.

Am I coming back to the U.S. to live? I can’t say. Maybe I will come back full time, or do 6 months in the U.S. and 6 months in Europe. Or just stay in Europe. Too early to say.

Do I get lonely? Yes, I do at times – but don’t we all? Actually, I get along fairly well with myself. Also, friends and family keep in contact with me and can expect frequent contacts throughout the day. A big thank you to social media, texting, and for those who follow this travel blog and send me comments that I appreciate so much.  And, I’ve also met some terrific people along the way.

Do I have a travel plan? No specific travel plan at this time. I have an overall idea what I’d like to do and see, perhaps for the next few months.  But that is all. I like going with the flow and see where that takes me. Seems to be working out well. To recap, this is my tentative plan for the next 6+ months: Edinburgh: Until 30 November; London: December; Zermatt and Egypt: January; Budapest: February – April; May (Italy and/or Austria?); Dublin: June – August

Did you really sell or give everything away? Yes, most everything. Have a few items that family and friends are holding on to, but the remainder are in 15 boxes in my brother’s warehouse. Other than the items with me as I travel, that is the extent of my physical assets. Recently, I settled the ownership of the Hood River home with my brother, so that releases me from that responsibility. It feels good to travel light!

Do you have a permanent address?  Yes, my mail goes to a friend’s house in Portland and he sends me copies of anything that I need to see. He will mail my voter’s ballot to me.

How is your cat? He is doing fine at his new home and having his own adventures. His new family lets him outside in their fenced back yard. (Something that I could never do.) I get periodic updates, and pictures, from his new family who love him very much. Below is a picture I received this week:


Do you eat your meals in restaurants or cook at home? I have almost all meals at home. When looking for a new place to stay, I am now only seeking places where I can cook. Grocery shopping in various countries is both a challenge and fun at the same time. Then again, cooking in a unfamiliar kitchen, that may or may not have everything you need, requires some creativity and compromises. My guilty (food) pleasures?  At home: toast  Restaurant: McDonald’s cheese burgers

Favorite city or country so far? I don’t have one. Really! I am going back to Zermatt because I want to see what January is like and Budapest because my first visit was not long enough to see everything.

How is your health? Excellent. No sick days, though there have been a couple of days where I was exhausted, but seemed to shake it off after a few hours of rest. Also, as part of joining the new gym, I was given a health physical (BP, heart, weight, etc.) and everything checked out okay – though it showed I was a little dehydrated, so have been drinking more water.

What about health insurance?  Yes, I have health insurance. My premium is around $130 per month, but doesn’t include dental. Yesterday, I passed a dental office and they had this posted in their window. Prices look reasonable to me. Also, found out that Budapest is a travel destination, many from the UK, who want good dental treatment for a low price. I’ll probably have my teeth cleaned before I leave Edinburgh and then again in Budapest.


Do I miss driving a car?  Nope, not yet. No plans to rent a car. I seem to do well with walking and public transportation.  When (or if) I return to Portland, I may not have a car.

What is it like being retired and traveling? I was surprised. Seemed to have taken to this new lifestyle very well. It is almost like traveling is what I’ve always done. Each time I land in a new city, it gets easier to settle in. Haven’t yet woken up and not know where I was – or where the bathroom is located when I’m half asleep. I try to get to bed before midnight, and wake up anywhere from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – though when I wake early, I generally get in a morning nap before heading out the door.

Is my brother visiting me in Edinburgh?  Yes, he will be here in late October or early November and think he will be here about 10 or so days.

Are you staying within your travel budget?  Was asked this yesterday. My answer was, “What travel budget?”  And that was an honest answer. In the big scheme of things, to travel to a number of cities, it does cost more – considering transportation costs. When settled in one place, travel expenses are much lower. (See next question.)

Is food more expensive in Europe? From my limited experience, there are several answers. Overall, I’d have to say, not really. For instance, I was expecting to pay much more for food purchased in a Swiss grocery store, but discovered the cost to be about the same as the U.S. Budapest was the least expensive. Here in Edinburgh, I have a store discount card that I’ve been using. Also, it depends on what you buy and where you buy it.

What do you do about clothes? Quick answer: make do with what I have. To be honest, it was difficult parting with my clothes when I left Portland. A friend has some of my clothes so when I visit, or perhaps move back, I have something to wear. My clothes have been a real game changer for me, since I probably had more clothes than anyone really needs – now I know that. After the cold weather, I will donate my winter clothes to a charity thrift shop as the weather warms so I’m not packing so many clothes from place to place.

You seem to do things that put you high in the air (tall buildings, paragliding, helicopter)? What’s next?  Next month, I’m traveling to an island in Scotland and the plane will land on a beach. Riding in a hot air balloon over the Nile river (January).

Any tattoos or piercings?  No. Haven’t up to now, and no plans to.

Why did you name your site: “Travel – Explore – Learn – Share”?  I wanted to name a site with something that tells the reader what to expect. While I’m traveling for my own pleasure and personal growth, I also want to share what I’ve learned and my experiences. It goes back to being in the flow. And sharing seems to be the right thing to do. Kind of like breathing.

“After pressing reset..” What does that mean? Did you “press reset”?  My vision, after retirement and in my travels, I expected it would be like pressing my personal “reset button” where my life changes. Thought it would happen when I sat down on the bench in St. James’ Park, but it didn’t – for that experience, it was more like turning a page. What I’m feeling now is that (metaphorically) my finger is still on the button.






4 thoughts on “FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)”

  1. You are correct, I did enjoy this posting. It answered questions I didn’t even know I had…;):) I just love it that you are living out one of my fantasies and are so gracious about sharing your journey. I am a vicarious cohort and enjoying every minute. What you’re doing is always what I thought the “golden years” were about. I can identify with your food weaknesses…we had a McDonald burger in Istanbul. I know a blog like this takes time and effort and I for one appreciate you for doing it.

    1. Thank you Connie! My blog is a labor of love and so glad you appreciate and enjoy. Just got back from London, and tomorrow I’m leaving for Munich. Will post London pictures later today and will probably not post again until I get back from Munich (Friday). Cheers!

  2. I’ve been enjoying your travel blog, Phil. Not having an itinerary that is set in stone is something that I really appreciate. Travel is an adventure, and a little uncertainty seems to make the journey a bit more enjoyable. I’m going to be watching your travels, especially when in Europe (Italy, particularly Sicily and the Aeolians, are a magnet to me). Maybe we will cross paths one day in the next few years!

    1. Hi Sam – Thanks for the message. Will keep you in mind as I head towards Italy. Let me know if your “in the neighborhood” (Europe). All the best!

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