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On this episode of the Retire Once Show, Johnathan and Melissa are joined by John and Bev Martin, also known as The Retirement Travelers. John and Bev retired early and decided to downsize their life so they can travel the world. After exploring the lower 48 states in an Airstream, The Retirement Travelers sold everything they owned and set off to explore the world while documenting their journey. John and Bev share their advice on how to retire early and become the ultimate @Retirement Travelers
Follow Their Journey
We Sold Everything - https://youtu.be/K_YCRLcHEuA
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- Johnathan Rankin CRPC® CEPA®, Founder & CEO
- Melissa Rankin - Wealth Management Advisor
- Theorem Wealth Management, Financial Advisor Dallas Texas
- Retire Once Show - 2022 Retirement Podcast Series
0:00 - Introduction
1:22 - Interview Starts
7:58 - Retiring During Covid
9:03 - Travel Ideas In the Lower 48
11:11 - Longterm Plan
13:03 - Planning for Retirement Traveling
15:23 - Retirement Transition / Downsizing
21:07 - Being Away From Family
23:19 - Budgeting/Cost
27:07 - @Retirement Travelers Advice
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Disclaimer: Johnathan Rankin is a Registered Representative of Sanctuary Securities Inc. and an Investment Advisor Representative of Sanctuary Advisors, LLC. Securities offered through Sanctuary Securities, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Sanctuary Advisors, LLC., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Theorem Wealth Management is a DBA of Sanctuary Securities, Inc. and Sanctuary Advisors, LLC.
Song: Can't Get Over
Artist: Ballpoint/Epidemic Sound
Uh, I think, you know, dream, dream big in retirement. Don't, don't just settle for it. It's one of the most important times of your life dream big, you know, do what you really want to do and, and go and go for it.
Hello, and welcome to the retire wants show the show designed to help you get to retirement, but most importantly, stay retired. I'm your host, Jonathan Rankin. I'm the founder and CEO of theorem wealth management. And I'm joined today by my lovely cohost. Hi, I'm Melissa Rankin. Thank you for joining us. And boy, do we have a great show for you today?
We have some special guests that we had the opportunity to interview, and I'm so excited to share that with you, Mel, why don't you tell 'em who we got today? So today we have John and Bev, the retirement travelers. It's amazing to hear their story. You're definitely not gonna wanna miss it. These two sold everything they own.
They only have 70 pounds worth of clothes that they travel the world with after they retired. And when I thought about what do most people tell us they want to do after they. Travel travel. They always say, I want to travel, but these two took it to the extreme and we are so excited to interview them and share their story with ya.
Uh, you can follow them along at the retirement travelers, YouTube page, Instagram or Facebook. Uh, but this is our interview with John and Bev. We are here. We are joined by John and Bev, the retirement travelers, and we are so happy to have you guys here. Uh, we really appreciate you taking the time to. I found your guys' channel on YouTube and I was immediately hooked and I showed it to Melissa and I said, this is the ideal retirement lifestyle.
If I had a choice and I have to figure out how to get these two on this show. So thank you so much for being here and, and for agreeing to do this for us. The decision to, to kind of travel around. I mean, I feel like that's, that's retirement goals at its finest, but you guys took it a step further and decided to do it in an Airstream.
I mean, that is close quarters. How did you guys handle that? It was now remember the, the Airstream, wasn't our first choice. Uh, we actually, I retired at the end of 2019, uh, after a long career in the mining and metals industry and, and bet stayed home raising kids. And when I retired, we had planned on going to Europe, uh, and doing maybe a three or four month trip, uh, and living a lifestyle of, of snowbirds, where we had a home in Kentucky and a condo in Florida.
And that was kind of the plan for retirement and low and behold, um, COVID hit. And so we had to make a complete change of plan. So we, we canceled our Europe trip and Bev had the idea of getting an Airstream and said, why don't, you know, why don't we go see the country? It's actually a great way to still travel during, during the pandemic and which it was.
So we set out on a journey. To, uh, hit all the, uh, national parks in the lower 48 and all the states. And yes, it was very tight quarters. um, you know, it, it, it taught us a lot. I mean, we, we were together all the time. We learned to communicate and work, uh, better together. And, um, so it was really, really a blessing.
The other thing that taught us was we could get by on 250 square feet, we did not need two ho, two homes and a condo and the cars and everything. So we, we really began our, our journey of further min minimalism with, with that trip. So it was really, it all worked out for the best. So before, before you retired the plan wasn't to your guys' plan wasn't to travel the world is that, you know, was just to take occasional trips or was it to just, was this your old, your plan from the very beginning?
our plan was always to travel. Uh, like we had budgeted maybe a three or four month trip every year, or at least a two month trip where, because travel was really a passion of ours and we really wanted to do that. So, uh, we had planned to always. Do some traveling. And when we started this, I said, oh, well, I'll just blog.
I'll write, you know, being a stay-at-home mom all these years, I, with five kids, you know, my career kind of took a sideline through the years and, uh, You know, raising children became the priority. So I really wanted an opportunity to express myself and have an opportunity to be creative. So I thought, well, I'll just write.
And so when we started on this trip, we thought, well, write John said, I'll start a YouTube channel, how hard can famous class words. So, you know, that's kinda how, how we started on the, on. Prep. But then when we, it had to pivot during COVID and we really spent our summers outdoors and, you know, we tried to travel very safely and, and do all take all the precautions.
But we lived in our Airstream. We lived away from people in RV parks around the country. People were social distancing very well. Um, every, you know, national parks were not open the, you know, they, the park ranger would meet us outside. Oh, wow. We did. Had a great opportunity to get out and hike some wonderful trails and see some great things.
So for us, you know, our plan, we kind of pivoted after that and started just tubing. And I kind of gave up the blog for a little while and starting it back up, but that's kind of where, how we started that. And, and then. We transitioned into being, uh, our idea was to go travel the world after the first year.
That's right. You know, just being away and getting a taste of, of full-time travel. Um, we realized that we really we're kind of we're we're we're frugal people. We couldn't, we couldn't handle pen. Paying golf dues and HOA fees, you know, and being tra traveling most of the year and still paying all those.
Um, so we decided, uh, that, that just didn't make sense. So, um, very, also, also from a financial standpoint, we realized, you know, when you really add up, how much are you spending, uh, we were debt free going into retirement, but you still have a lot of costs with taxes and insurance and HOA and golf fees and, and all the things associated.
With that lifestyle. Uh, we decided we, we really don't need those things. Let's spend those resources on, on travel and we really couldn't afford to travel full time and keep that lifestyle. So we had to make a choice at, at some point we either had to, for us to go live our life, we were kind of young to retire.
Retire. We were, John was 55 when we retired. So we kind of ended up in Florida, uh, kind of a little bit too early, we thought, um, to just spend our life without a big goal or a big challenge. And we wanted a challenge. We wanted something, something else to do in at least for 10 years or so. And, and now, you know, who knows, but we are challenged beyond belief right now, but you know, the, the lifestyle.
Getting up and playing golf and doing the same thing four or five days a week. Uh, it was fun for a while, but we realized we, we did want more and, and believe me, this has challenged us, but it's challenging us mentally and we're, and we're loving it. We're learning so much about the world and cultures. Uh, we're, we're really having a blessed, we started off with a thought of, well, we'll sell our home.
We'll do this for 10 years and, and, and we'll move back to our neighborhood. And that was kind of the original plan. Now it. It's indefinite. We, we know that whenever we end this, we will come back to a much smaller place. Uh, but now we, we can't even think of settling down at this point. We're, we're loving this so much.
We'll probably just slow down. We might just slow down. And instead of spending a week at a place, we'll spend a month, you know, that sort of thing as we age. So take us back to, well, you retired at the end of 2019. COVID hit. Was there any concern at all from a retirement standpoint? You know, the markets were going crazy at the time economy was kind of in flux.
Was there any concern or hesitation around staying retired at that point? I'm really, really curious about that part of it. Cause, uh, no, we, we, we had budgeted, I mean, we're spending our money differently than what we had planned. We thought it was gonna be, you know, golf courses and HOAs and, and, and, uh, a snowbird lifestyle instead of spending our retirement income on that.
We're spending it on travel, but. We had planned, uh, for a long time, we entered retirement debt free. Uh, we have a, we have a great, uh, financial planner that we work with. And so we have we've run all the scenarios and felt very comfortable and actually. By selling our house and investing that money. Um, we're actually in a, in a stronger financial position than before we started traveling full time.
Oh, that's amazing. So where's your favorite place that you were, that you visited in the, in the lower 48? That is one thing that we talk about traveling with our kids and we say, I don't know where we'd want to go. That might be what's the number one place you said you gotta see this. What would that. Oh, my gosh, there are so many things, but first of all, let me just add something.
If you mentioned your children, our, our firm belief is that children should travel as much as you can do with them, especially when they're young, especially while they're home. Take that time to go see as much of the us as you can. But if, if we had to pick just a few places, I would say. Go to CA lake in Texas.
It is one of the most beautiful places. It's the largest, um, uh, bald site, bald, Cypress, uh, forest in the world. It, you can rent a, uh, pontoon boat that will take you out at sunrise and you can tour around and through all of these Spanish Moss. It is one of the most beautiful places. And I think a lot of people don't even know it exists.
It's on the Louisiana, Texas border. Really? It's it's Northeast, Texas. It's not real. Um, it's south of Texas, Canada, about two hours, maybe interesting near Jefferson in Jefferson, Texas. You probably heard of it. It is the bed and breakfast, um, capital of, uh, of, I believe the us. So it has a lot of bed and breakfast.
It's a beautiful old town. There was a riverboat. Um, it was a riverboat town that, so, yeah, that's a beautiful place. So we, we got to see beyond. The, um, you know, we have kind of our favorite national parks, probably Utah, Colorado, California area, but we saw a lot of cool state parks. Mm-hmm , uh, some that come up cattle lake is amazing.
Um, uh, Custer state park in South Dakota is amazing. And we really like Jack O island and Georgia. So, you know, there's lots of great state parks as well. Uh, you know, but. Just some amazing parks. Well, Melissa, we've got a, we've got a lot of traveling. I've got a list going now of places that we must see . So what is, what is your long term plan you mentioned at some point, you know, slowing down a little bit.
Do you ever, do you, does it ever make you nervous that you don't have anything right now that if you want to just say, I wanna stop traveling and just settle down. Do, is that something, is that a process that, you know, you feel like you could just do immediately? Or do you just think that's down the. . Yeah, no, I think we could do it immediately if, but it is way down the road.
Uh, someone asked us recently what would cause us to slow down in obviously our health. Um, if we were to get sick or if one of our children or grandchildren were to be sick and they needed us, we would certainly go home in a heartbeat. Um, That's Def that's a definite, but for us, I think we just really, um, you know, we still have a journey to go on.
We wanna go as many countries as we can, and we're not just counting countries. We really do want to experience the countries and we want to. Taste the food and, you know, meet the people. The people are the, the charm of travel for us. It is who we meet on the road. Besides the locals we meet, we meet fellow travelers.
We meet just the most interesting people. So we just, yeah, just two days ago we met a couple, um, at a bus station in, uh, bra off Romania. Uh, they're backpacking the world, uh, did something very similar to us and we've just been hanging out the last three days, you know, trading, travel stories and tips, and it's been, it's been great.
So we, this has been going on for, you know, months now, where we meet people and, uh, you know, they they'll end up staying with us at an Airbnb or we go to dinner or, you know, we have lifelong, lifelong friendships developed, uh, through the people we've met both online and in person around the. So you do, you mentioned Airbnb.
Is that how you guys are staying from country to country? Is it Airbnbs or is it hotels? Is it a mix? Walk us through that part. Well, we're staying right now. We're staying in Airbnbs and we had pretty much booked up our first year on Airbnbs. Uh, we, we kind of over-planned we really have regret it from the time we started, because we really wish that we had been more VA Bondish and there are, there are.
People out who have you meet that travel? And they'll say, oh, did you go to this town? And we're like, no, we, we don't have that on our schedule, but we, next year we definitely are gonna do that. We're not gonna book ahead. We're gonna go. We book our overseas flights, but then kind of fill in the gaps, uh, a lot less, uh, Planning involved.
Yeah. But we did more Airbnbs this year. Uh, we've been a little disappointed in Airbnb just because the pictures are always better than the experience, but, um, so we've had some really, really wonderful ones and some not so good ones. Uh, you know, it's hard when you've. You know, you're traveling and you just, you just can't tell by the pictures, but probably next year we'll be in, we'll be in Southeast Asia more.
We'll probably stay in some more hotels. If you're traveling in a country that is very low cost, like Romania. Or in Southeast Asia or those countries, you can get a hotel for inexpensive with breakfast. So I mean, 50, $50 a night with breakfast hotel, even, you know, $30 in some cases that that are probably just as good.
I mean, it's really cheap over here where it's costing us about a fourth of what it costs in the. In the United States to stay here and to eat in a restaurant. I mean, the dollar's on sale right now. So, you know, it's the do right now, the dollar and the Euro are the same. And usually it's a little different, so that probably helped out a little bit.
Hasn't it? It has. Yeah. And two things have helped us on, on our journey so far, we feel a little blessed that the dollar is doing well over here. And while we were traveling across the country, gas prices were, yeah, we're now we're not pull up pull now. So we had a hard time with the toilet paper this second year.
But other than that, you know, that was it. So from a retirement perspective, is there anything that you would've done differently? You know, looking back so far, your. Still so fresh and you're just really starting out over the past couple years, but anything that you guys would've done differently. from, from a retirement standpoint.
Yeah. Just for that, that transition to retirement or even the first few, you know, I'd say years on you guys's journey. Well, yeah, well, you know, going into retirement as I moved up in my career, LA later in, uh, later in my career, uh, we would make some moves around the country and we, we look back on it and we over, over bought homes, you know, we.
Homes bigger than what we needed. And it kind of was a little bit of a lifestyle creep if we had it to do over maybe the last five to eight years of my career, we would've started downsizing way earlier. Yes, that's true. And because our children, when we started moving around the country, they were in college.
We didn't even need the bedrooms we had. And, and instead of going smaller, like we should have, we kind of went bigger. and we shouldn't have done that. It was a big mistake. Yeah. As far as financial planning for our retire. Was it a big adjustment to start getting rid of things? Was that hard? Just, I, I think of would you sentimental things?
I mean, yeah, just to down, well, here's what we did. Here's what we did with our sentimental things. Uh, we, we tried to be, have a good attitude about things. Um, we. Create, especially, well, we gave a lot of stuff to the children. If they wanted something, they could have it as far as pictures and keepsakes that John and I had as the child, we took boxes and we created a box for each child.
We gave them our keepsake that we wanted them to have. We divvied up all of our family photos into five boxes and we sent them to all of the children and we told them with a stipulation. You do not have to keep any of it. But I went through probably, you know, how this small moving box we had about 12 boxes of those full of pictures.
It took me a whole week to go through all the stuff like that. It was so much. Stuff. And, and I had already done the children's things, you know, when they moved out of ho out of the house and they got married, it was like, here's your stuff. So you take it, it's on you. And, and so we had kind of done that through the years, but still it was, it was a process.
It took, you know, three years or so. Like I said, we, we were had a home and a, and a condo. And we found that we were buying two of everything and then we, we stopped that and, and just decided to go to Florida. But even then we overbuilt, I mean, we had a, we, we built a large walk-in closet in our bedroom.
For a bunch of clothes that we hardly ever wore. Yeah. You know, it was just, it was, it was madness when you think about it. Yeah. And, and so we went, we had all, I had probably 25 pairs of golf shirt, shorts, and you know, 30 golf shirts and all these, you had 50 golf shirt, shirt. It's so many, it's like, oh, I've got, 'em all lined up.
And, and now people laugh. I, I have one golf shirt and that's it. That is basically all we own. Well, we have a couple of, uh, yeah, a co jackets. We have a suit, a suit at my jacket, but we free everything that we, that we have that 70 pounds is all we carry. And that's pretty much all of our clothes and wow.
You know, we, we just recently did a packing video and basically. We packed for a week and wash her clothes and move on. Yeah. Uh, you don't need to carry all this stuff with you, but when we, when we downsize, the thing we had to remember is that it is just stuff and the more we travel and the more, it, it probably took us a few months.
We talked about that a lot. That was the biggest thing we talked about. And we started our journey. Abroad was we don't have. Stuff, because by that time we had sold the Airstream and we don't have any stuff. And it was the topic of our conversation at dinner. It was, it was the thing we talked about and we really kind of went through through it with the idea, the idea that, you know, We were so much happier without all of that stuff.
And it, it was a, it was like, it was like a balling chain. I'm telling you it, it was, you know, when you're, when we were gone on the RV trip was, is vote. Okay. Is it gonna get hit by a hurricane? Oh, who's taking care of this. Now we have, we have those types of, of, of issues or worries. We can just. Focus on the things that, that are important to us.
And, uh, so, you know, and, and I would say this, if you're thinking about all the stuff you have, you can, there are so many great videos online and YouTube about, about downsizing and organizing your things. But I was a good organizer. I organized a lot of. Stuff that we didn't need. I was a good organizer. So I mean, I had all my spice bottles that I hardly ever use, but I watched this video once that showed this woman with this, her daughter's closet.
And she went through every item in the closet and, and she talked about how paired with different things, but the little girl only had like seven little dresses and, and that was so moving to me that I didn't need all the stuff that I thought I needed, but really. It's the stuff managing your lawn and where who's gonna mow the yard and planting your flowers and all the things you have to do that we don't have to think about.
Yeah. All the little details kind of get overwhelming. I'm sure it was freeing kind of like, ah, We're done. We don't really have to think about that at all. You, you guys are making me wanna sell everything right now. I'll tell you. I have to ask, is it tough being away from the kids and the grandkids? Yes, yes, yes, yes.
It, it is. But you know, we, we are, we FaceTime with them. We try to FaceTime with them every week. Um, we have eight grandchildren and that is, that is tough. We, we text with our kids almost daily. I think our kids have been such great sports. And they've said, this is your time to go see the world. Um, you know, you're still young.
You can do it and good for you for doing it had if they weren't that way. And they weren't as supportive, this would probably be harder. And, and they're spread out across the country and we were in Florida away from them before. So we typically, you know, would see everyone two, three times a year. Anyway.
Right. And we're, you know, our plans are to shift up our travel some and, and be able to return to the us, you know, multiple times and be able to, to see the kids. And then, you know, our long term vision is as the grandkids get a little bit older, we, we wanna give the gift of the world to them. And our plans are to take them with.
Uh, you know, in the summer times to give them experiences all over the world, uh, that, that most kids in that, you know, nine to nine to 15 range don't get to do. So that that's our, that is kind of what drives us to keep going, uh, to do that for them. And we are trying to teach our grandkids about the world.
Uh, we've sent them all Globes. They know where Grammy and Papa are. They ask us, so where are you? And, uh, the other day we said, we're in Romanian. Do you know where that is? No. Let me go get my map. Let me go get my globe and find it. And so. You know, our ch our grandchildren are learning about where we are.
We send them postcards every week. So, yeah, it's a little bit harder. And like John said, we're, we're trying to get home probably next year. We'll be home three times and, you know, they're spread out. So we'll, uh, and plus we, we, you know, meet up with our kids. So we just met up with them in BA in The Bahamas and on a cruise.
So, and one, one of our daughters she's come into Paris for, for new year's and meet us. We're gonna, that's amazing. Getting extra visits. Yeah. Yeah. That is amazing. So do you find it hard to be on travel and stick to, you know, like a defined budget or do you budget or is it just, Hey, let's just try not to go over this for the year.
You know, how do you handle that aspect of it? We don't really have a budget. Um, do we, what do you think? Yeah, it's, it's. Super defined budget. We know what we can afford and what we can afford. Like we, we will, we will spend money on a, on a, on an experience that might be extravagant, but then again, we take public transportation and, and trains and, and go to the grocery store and cook in the Airbnbs.
You know, we're very, very frugal in some aspects, but we want the experiences. So the, the other, the biggest factor we're actually putting together a video on world travel costs because we get this all the time and it's very much like, um, how much does a house cost? Well, a lot of factors go into that. How much does world travel cost?
A lot, depends on the country. Uh, how quickly you go. Um, you know, uh, how you do your transportation, how many times you eat at restaurants, all those things can, can drastically change, uh, how much it costs. So we try to balance high cost and low cost countries. You know, the year that we've been gone, we've probably spent more time in low cost countries and high central American Columbia is dirt, dirt cheap, but we, you know, we loved it down there.
You know, Italy, you know, we couldn't handle a year in Venice. Okay. that would bankrupt this. Um, but you know, we, we got to see it for a few days. And, um, and, and we were in Greece during the shoulder season when things were, we had a good prices on our places, so, yeah. Yeah. That's the other thing, don't go with the peak at the peak season and you can get some good deals.
So, you know, bargains are, are, you can, you can travel reasonably. We Don. Do the, you know, the Rick Steves type tours, uh, we do all of our own planning. So we, we save a lot of money in those areas that enables us to travel a lot more. Yeah. Wow. That is amazing. And is there one place overseas that you've found as your, your favorite that you, you know, eventually might go back to?
Cuz I know you wanna see more places. Is there anything you want to go back to? Oh gosh, that that's, well, there are a few places, so we love lake out. Telan in GU Guatemala. We had a lot of naysayers who said, don't go there. Uh, it's dangerous. And it was pro we felt the safest when we were on that lake. Oh, it is incredible.
It. Incredible. You got it's it's a mile high lake up in the mountains of Guatemala with three volcanoes around it. Oh wow. It's it's an amazing place. It was, it was amazing. We went to Goro. It's an island about 45 minutes from Santorini. And we were there in the off season. So it was the shoulder season, right before Easter.
Uh, the place was covered with wildflowers and there were a million hiking trails and we just never saw anyone the whole time. There were rock wall terrorists all over the island. It was be, we, we had an. Be on the side of a cliff, like a 500 foot cliff overlooking the, a GNC, you know, with the turquoise waters.
It was, it was unbelievable. So that was a great place. And then, um, the whole Balkans have been amazing. Uh, Lule Slovenia and lake bled are just, should be on everyone's gorgeous places. And we could probably go. There as well. Yeah, that is, but we love Romania. We, we are shocked at Romania and how beautiful it is.
Um, right now we're in Bucharest and we have been in coll and Tim shore and Brak, and just, just got back from DRAs castle yesterday. Well, I have one last question for you. If someone watching this who's maybe they're not retired yet, or maybe they just retired and they could take one thing away from your guys' journey.
What would you want them to just. Take away and learn from. uh, I think, you know, dream, dream big in retirement. Don't, don't just settle for it. It's one of the most important times of your life dream big, you know, do what you really wanna do and, and go and go for it. You know, that's, that would be our advice is don't don't set boundaries for yourself in retirement.
You got so much, so much potential you're, you know, hopefully you've learned a few things over the years, use the knowledge you've gained and, and go for. That is great advice. Absolutely. Thank you. Both John Bev. Thank you both so much for taking the time to join us today. Uh, we really appreciate it. I know that we're probably gonna get a lot of questions and I might reach out to you to say, Hey, we, we got a couple questions to follow up on, but thank you so much.
We wish you guys the best on your travels and yes, absolutely safe travels. We will be following along. Can we share it with everybody? How can everybody follow along with you? they can subscribe to our YouTube channel retirement travelers. Uh, we. Posted video every week we are on Instagram, Facebook, we're working to redesign our website.
You, if you want to reach out to us, you can do so on one of those platforms. Um, but everything is retirement travelers. Yeah. We really want, we wanna have a website that, that re you know, retired people can go and kind of be a, a central resource for, you know, everything travel related, as far as destinations, how to travel, et cetera.
We try to inspire people to get out and, and, and see the. You guys are very inspiring. Absolutely. Yes. And thank you so much. We really appreciate it. And, uh, good luck on all the travels. We'll be falling along. Thank you guys. Okay. Bye John Bev. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us. What a great story.
And I'll tell you, Mel, I think that I wanna sell everything and just travel the world. What do you say? Absolutely. I mean, I don't know about the Airstream. I'm still, I don't know if I could handle the 200 square feet roughly. No offense. Is it because of me or is it because of the kids? The kids. Yeah, we'll go with the kids.
I mean, I could travel with you forever in an Airstream. Just the two of us, assuming that you don't do the driving. Oh, well then we wouldn't make it forever. Anyway. well, we are so happy that they were able to join us and make sure that you subscribe one to our channel. So hit the subscribe button now, but also check out the retirement travel.
Check out their YouTube page and their Instagram and Facebook as well. Uh, we wish them all the best on their endeavors. We are going to be following them along as they continue to travel the world and give us all envy and, and hope that we're gonna be living vicariously through them for the time being.
Yes, we will. Thank you again. I'm Jonathan Rankin and I'm Melissa Rankin. Thank you.
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