Monday, May 27, 2013

Traveling After Retirement

Another myth of retirement - you say you want to travel but you won't.

Recently at Red Butte I met a couple from PA who were traveling the continent as they had wanted to after retirement. They still had a large house on a lot of acreage in a rural area where they had lived many years and raised their family. They had owned a travel home of some kind for several years and said until the husband retired, they had used it for annual vacations to here and there, but nothing really far away from their home because they didn't have that much time for travel.

The husband retired in 2010, and they said the intended to take off on their dream long trip, but things happened, including illnesses in other family members, and they just didn't do it. The myth in action, right?

This year they were out on the road. Their dream was to attend a big series of events including things like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Calgary Stampede, the Rose Parade, and several other things. So they had this meandering itinerary that got them to their events in due time but also got them to various stops along the way to places they had never seen like Salt Lake City. The plan also included going back home for awhile here and there. (The husband talked a lot about how much it cost to hire out the lawn mowing on the property. They both said they could travel more if they didn't have that big expense back home to consider, so part of the plan included being at home a fair amount during lawn mowing season.) They had two years more or less planned out now and after that, weren't sure what they would do.

Then a friend was telling me about two friends of hers who were taking their "big retirement trip". In this case it was going really slowly down the left coast from somewhere in BC to somewhere in Mexico with a lot of ocean side time in California. They also had a travel home.

One friend's brother and sister-in-law sold off their home, bought a Class A motor home several years ago and have been traveling ever since. They tend to go someplace or another for a season and stay there then move on to the next place. This couple doesn't have any kind of plan or theme to their travels, but they are having a good time and don't regret the loss of the big house at all.

A few years ago I met a couple from Texas at a laundromat in South Dakota who had done the same thing.....sold the big house and bought a Class A vehicle. They were part of an organization called "Workampers". They would get short term jobs in various places, usually tourist type spots. In South Dakota they had a summer job of taking care of all the plants and flowers planted in public places by the city of Deadwood. They got a small stipend and free space in a nice RV park as compensation. Who knew there was a job such as this? They had had many jobs all over the country, and said they loved this lifestyle. They especially loved that they got to travel to all kinds of interesting places that they may very well have never had the opportunity to see ... like South Dakota.

I am pretty sure a travel home is in my future. Unless something untoward happens to her, Smokey Rose will be alive when I retire, and I will not be leaving her behind so that I can travel myself. If I hit the road, she goes with me. The only really practical way to travel with Smokey Rose and to stay in places for more than a day or two is to have a travel home, I have concluded.

I'll be able to afford that especially because I'll be talking about one of the smaller kinds (Class B or C in the lingo) not one of the large Class A ones or a fifth wheel. And I'll be fine with a used one. I don't have to aim to actually ever own one outright. I just need to make payments for as long as I decide I want to use it. I'm pretty sure that giving up my city apartment and all its related expenses, I'll be able to afford the vehicle payments, insurance etc. just by substitution.

This idea both excites and scares me. The scary part is driving and maintaining the vehicle. I am not used to driving large things. I sometimes convince myself that I "can't" do it. Of course I can. I just have to overcome my fearful mental attitude. I'll need to explicitly learn new things (how does the plumbing work and what do you have to do to maintain it?) But that IS learnable, and I'm guessing it is not all that difficult.

Once I have gotten my mind into the place that says, yes, of course, you can do this just fine, then I start getting excited about the possibilities that owning a travel home will open up for me and kitty. Right now, I can't tell you where I want to travel to except "all over". That can come later . I really like the idea of being a Workamper. I would love to become a VIP for the National Park System. Traveling all over to see my many friends sounds like a pretty good idea.

I intend to travel after retirement.  I just need to be sure that reasons not to travel to do not turn into the excuses about why I never did it.

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