Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

My new goal.


Well, I’m not one for crystals and dream catchers or “putting things out there and letting the universe decide”, but sometimes there are massive coincidences that seem to be telling you something. This happened to me a couple of days ago and now I know what my next big goal is. I’m so excited!

A couple of posts ago I sent a shout-out to my Antarctica reader/s (?). It always gives me a thrill when I see that they’ve hopped on to have a read. Anyway, Penguindancer! commented on that post. I have to admit, I had a little fangirl moment. I sent a reply, saying that I’d love to go there one day, then hurriedly left the house. It was Thursday, my day off, and my hairdresser doesn’t take appointments. With hairdressers now allowed to open after a couple of months of being locked down, I knew I’d have to get in early to avoid a long queue. The whole of Melbourne is clamouring to get our hair cut so we can look human again.

I got there soon after 8AM and was 4th in line. The guy who was number 1 was talking with number 3 about travel. He said to her, “By far the best trip I’ve taken was to Antarctica.”

You can imagine how my ears pricked up at this.

I joined the conversation, telling him about my new best friend Penguindancer! and before I knew it I was looking at photos and film of icebergs, penguins, seals, and I was taking down the name of the boat and tour company he used. I was able to return the favour – Frank had no idea you can travel to North Korea and his eyes lit up when I mentioned I’d been.

He also gave me a fabulous tip – on the way to South America, stop off at Easter Island.


As the door opened to the hairdresser, he said, “I hope you’ll be able to go one day.”

“Oh, I WILL go!” I said.

“I warn you… it’s not cheap,” he said.

“I don’t mind spending money on things like this,” I said. “You only do them once, so it’s worth it.”

Newly-styled hair

A few hours later I arrived home with all of those strange silvery hairs – surely impossible for one so youthful and dewy to grow??? – all disappeared. I felt like a new woman. Over lunch I pulled up my Feedly blog reader and saw that Bonnie from 43 Blue Doors had written a post about Mission Beach, right in the far north of Queensland in the tropics. I settled down for a read.

As I was reading, she included a link to this post about her trip to Antarctica.

Are you KIDDING me?!?

Three times in the one day?

What are the odds of a blog post talking about Cassowaries and the tropics in Australia linking to a post full of photos of Antarctica? Add to that the odds of having conversations with Penguindancer! and Frank on the exact same day…

Clearly I need to get my good self down to Antarctica.

The last two days I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of exploring all the possibilities.


If you go from South America, this is basically the no-frills route that most expedition ships seem to cover. You can get tours that go to the Falklands and South Georgia as well, but this is the area that most tours seem to go. I want to sail on a smaller ship, as they seem to be able to let people go onto the land. I can’t see the point of going all that way, only to merrily sail all around the area without being able to physically set foot there.

However, South America is riddled with covid at the moment, so I’m not in a tearing hurry to pack my bags and leave this instant.


However, as Penguindancer! wrote in the comments section this morning, there is another option. Leaving from New Zealand. Prices are eye-wateringly more expensive, but the covid consideration is practically non-existent. Plus I guess the cost might work out roughly the same when you take the shorter flight into consideration. (I haven’t looked at flights yet – no point really since our borders are closed to all except New Zealand.)

The islands they visit on the way have had vastly fewer tourists see them. Hmmm…

So, here’s what I’m thinking at the moment:

  • The open water part of the trip is much less in South America. I don’t know good a sailor I am.
  • No one knows what’s going to happen with Covid. New Zealand is far more viable a destination in the near future than South America.
  • The boats from NZ take fewer passengers. That could be either a good or a bad thing, depending on who else is on board!
  • Easter Island would be only a short hop from South America.
  • I like to have something to look forward to. What if I set this trip as a goal for my 60th birthday? That’d mean I’d have 3 years to save up for it and plan for it.
  • I could work some CRT and exam invigilation over that time. That income could be stashed in an account to help pay for it. Frank was correct – this will NOT be a cheap trip.

But imagine seeing something like this in real life? This is why I’ve worked so hard to free up my time – the world is full of incredible things to do and see.

So I’ve set my newest Big Goal. I thought my next big trip would be going back to the UK and Europe, but sometimes life offers up attractive alternatives.

You wouldn’t be dead for quids, hey?


  1. Shaun

    I love when these thoughts of things happen.

    Travel has a wonderful way of making all your sacrifices worthwhile.

    Looking forward to your travel posts from Easter Island and Antarctica.


    • FrogdancerJones

      You’re assuming I’m going the Sth American route!
      Jury’s still out. I suspect how Covid goes will be a big deciding point.

  2. Latestarterfire

    I’m putting my hand up if you are looking for a travel buddy! Visiting Antartica is in my 10 year goal. Been aware how expensive it is so saving a little towards it all the time. And yes, it’s cheaper via South America but let’s get the vaccine first ….

    • FrogdancerJones

      Looks as if we’ll be travel buddies!

  3. Miranda

    Sounds wonderful! What a great goal.
    Did you hear that the Vic govt is looking for ex-teachers to tutor kids next year (given the difficult year they’ve had this year). I saw that and thought it might interest you – a little bit of part time tutoring in your first year of retirement could work well. Nice little side hustle for the year. And you could stash away the money for this trip!
    Enjoy your last few weeks of work.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Funny you wrote this – I just finished putting my application in!
      I had to write a resume for it – I’ve never had to write one before. All my jobs before this were by word of mouth…

      • Miranda

        Oh great! I hope it works out for you. Seems like a nice transition plan.

  4. Michelle @ FrugalityandFreedom

    Awesome! I bet your brain’s “reticular activating system” will now make you see Antarctica references everywhere. Excited to hear how you go with saving and planning.

    • FrogdancerJones

      My God! This comment just had the word “Antarctica” in it!!!!

  5. Budget Life List

    Keep sharing the deets on this endeavor! Antarctica is also on my life list and is the most expensive expedition outside of a cruise around the world.

    Also, what does “dead for quids” mean? I am learning so much today! 🙂

    • FrogdancerJones

      “You wouldn’t be dead for quids” means that life is so exciting, you wouldn’t choose to be dead even if you were paid a lot of money to be so.
      It doesn’t really make sense when you spell it out, but it really means that LIFE IS FANTASTIC!

  6. Doug

    You could always get a seasonal job at McMurdo Station and work there for 6 months. McMurdo is a scientific research station in Antarctica, also where some of those cruises visit.
    When my mother quit teaching she worked as a cook there for 3 or 4 summers. The bonus was the company that hired her gave round the world airline tickets when she left every year.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Ugh. Had a look. You need to be a US citizen to be eligible.

      • Janelle Bennett

        What about the Australian Antarctic base? A friend of a friend worked over the summer at the new Zealand Antarctic base. Sometimes they had to go and round up penguins. ???

  7. Jackie

    Oh, definitely go! I went several years ago (with a side trip to Easter Island) and it’s still by far the most amazing place I’ve ever been. I did the “skip the Drake” option with Antarctica XXI during shoulder season. We had great weather, and even got to see the first baby penguins of the season. So awesome.

  8. June Garden

    I like it warm. 25 degrees celcius is just perfect from my point of view. Just a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops. Why any hassle with multiple layers of clothes and still fingers turning blue?

    So when my then husband suggested taking a trip to South America and Antarctica (Same route you posted) I was sceptical. Boat cruise? Ice? Snow? Me? Not cool. But then there is this built in wanderlust and curiosity…

    What can I say?

    It was the most beautiful and the most awe-striking place I have ever seen. Antarctica has been my number one trip until this day.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Great comment!
      I’m exactly like you. I whinged when rain fell in England and my friend Deana had to lend me a “summer jumper”… what a horrible concept.
      I’m pinning my faith in the garments they provide.

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