This post “Dreaming of Retirement”, has been contributed by John and Bev of Retirement Travelers.
Dreaming of Retirement – Dreaming a New Dream
Several years ago, we made the move to sell our family home in Kentucky, but keep our winter home in Florida. We had been splitting our time between the two, going back and forth. However, we had grown tired of having two of everything, paying multiple fees and taxes to maintain the two homes and unable to tend to the issues that arose when we were away.
With retirement approaching, we knew we would be happier with less…less stuff, less effort, and less distractions. We wanted our lives to be simpler, streamlined, and minimalized. We took great care to organize ourselves regarding our estate planning, finances, and the organization of our home. Many of these things we had ignored or put off for years, so it turned out to be quite an undertaking.
In the effort to downsize, we probably gave away 90% of our things, and when we think back on it, we don’t regret getting rid of any of it. We only regret that we were not more mindful of what we purchased in the first place.
Dreaming of Retirement – Facing a Choice
This truly opened our minds to what our lives could look like. We thought about our situation and considered our heart’s desires. John was fifty-five and his dream of retiring early had come to fruition. Bev had been a stay-at-home mom to children who were now grown and married, living their own lives.
The choices were endless to what we could do. We could continue to fill our days with socializing, playing golf, and short travel excursions, but we realized that there was one thing we had always dreamed of doing, world travel. We began to formulate a plan, a grand adventure, which included experiencing the unknown, seeking new relationships, and building a memory base that would carry us happily into our old age.
Our overwhelming dream was to travel extensively, taste the cultures of the world, see God’s beautiful creation as well as incredible man-made marvels, including the great art of the world. We wanted to soak in the cultures of the world and absorb as much knowledge as we could about them. Most importantly, we simply wanted to spend quality time together sharing and pursuing a challenge.
The Covid Factor
Our plan in 2020 was to begin our adventures in Europe, but like everyone else, we got grounded by Covid. We thought about it for a whole five seconds and came up with Plan B. We’d buy an Airstream travel trailer and go on a US road trip, visiting all the National Parks in the lower forty-eight states. There are 51 in total, so it meant that this journey would take us two years to complete. We also had a few more states to visit to have been to every state in the US.
This plan was the perfect plan for us. We were able to travel with our trailer, our home on wheels. We slept and ate in our new home and social distanced by spending our days outdoors, hiking trails, and staying safe. It also gave us a new perspective and appreciation for what our beautiful country has to offer. We learned that each of our National Parks are unique places, and we are so grateful that they are protected for future generations.
Focusing on Our Goal Ahead
Our trip around the US, also, gave us the perfect opportunity to learn all we could about making YouTube videos, filming, editing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), analytics, and the social media that could help augment our channel. We had much to learn and still do, but we consoled ourselves that “if twenty-somethings could figure it out, so could we.” Truly, if you dropped into our many conversations, you would think this is our mantra!
Our goal with our channel is to create a vlog (video log) of our journey, but also create a beautiful, entertaining video that includes John’s humorous spirit and Bev’s positive outlook on life. We hope to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone and go see the world, too. In the end, we want to document our journey.
Our Second Downsize
We feel very confident that travel will open, and our next adventure awaits. After the first year on the road, we returned to Florida and made the big decision to downsize to just a couple of carry-ons and camera equipment. We sold our home, gave away the remaining items and resisted the urge to put anything in storage. We truly minimalized our lives and have zero regrets with this.
Our children inherited their treasures early, and they have taken possession of their childhood keepsakes and boxes of pictures. We learned that what we had held on to and hauled around during corporate moves was of little interest to them. Everyone is happy with what they received and even happier with what they didn’t have to take.
Our Ten-Year Plan
Our plan for the next ten years is to travel, EVERYWHERE! We are beginning with a month in Panama at the end of 2021 where we will attend a language school in hopes to become conversational in Spanish. We will then travel through Central America and Colombia.
After a trip back to the states for some vacations with our children and grandchildren, we are then heading to Italy, Greece, the Balkan States, and some Eastern European countries. We plan to ring in 2023 in Paris before we return to the states to visit with our family.
We are trying to plan at least a year out, but we are confident that as we travel, we will make less structured plans and leave room for serendipitous wanderings. We have a small dog that is old, and we know she only has a few years left with us. The plan is to go to dog friendly countries to begin.
Eventually, our overall plan is to journey to all corners of the world over ten years. We think it is doable. With our safety in mind, we hope to travel to some off the beaten paths and take our time to enjoy and interact with the people we meet. Some places we will travel fast and some places we will embrace the idea of slow travel. It will be a hodgepodge of experiences, some structured and some chaotic.
We also hope to include our grandchildren in our travels to expose them to the bigger world and leave them with memories that they can carry for the rest of their lives, as well. We are truly blessed to be able to share the world with them, and we hope this experience will influence their life choices with more compassion and understanding of others. Our plan is to include all our children in our travels, and we look forward to friends joining us, too.
Dreaming of Retirement – Outcomes
Do we have all the answers to what we will experience or what life will bring on the road? No, but we are wise enough to know that there will be many obstacles and challenges along the way.
We know that we want to leave our hearts open to what the world has to teach us. We know that we are different travellers / learners than we would have been as a young adults. We are embracing that fact and are forging ahead with the emphasis on learning. We are savvy beings who problem solve with a knowledge base of the life we’ve lived and a dream of a life we want to live. We are trying to not question every aspect of the unknown but to embrace the mystery of it.
Our travel motto comes from C. S. Lewis, who said, “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” We hope to do his quote justice.
LIFE CHAPTER 2: RELATED BLOG POSTS
Do you want to read more inspirational stories of those that have made a lifestyle change in their midlife? Check out all the stories in our Life Chapter 2 series below and be inspired.