Experience the Journey as well as the Destination
Some people travel and others do not. By travel I mean, experiencing the journey as well as the destination. What can enrich us more than seeing, touching, tasting, smelling and hearing the experience of a journey into new territory? Travel begins as a time constrained hobby that leads to a lifestyle for many in retirement.
Travel is not Disney World. (How to become a real traveler)
First, pick a destination acceptable to your peers and worth your expenditure of vacation time. We’ll use the Grand Canyon as an example. Look at maps and familiarize yourselves with anything of interest between home and your destination. Being new to travel, you’ll probably want to drive directly to Grand Canyon National Park.
Upon arrival at the canyon, park the car and walk to the rim. After saying “wow” and “it looks fake” several times, take a deep breath and feel the air. Walk along the rim and, at that perfect spot with perfect lighting, take the perfect selfie and panoramic shot. Post these photos to Facebook. Your friends will be envious even though you didn’t go on a cruise. Now, the trip is a success!
Now that Business is Taken Care of, You can Begin to Travel
Take a walk below the rim. It doesn’t matter how far. You’ve entered a different world. Listen to the sounds unique to the canyon. Feel your exertion and heavy breathing due to the altitude. Maybe your lips will chap and your nose will bleed from the dryness. Watch the curious deer and the tiny people traversing the canyon wall. When you make it back to the top (and I’m sure you will), explore the museum at the visitor center. Learn the history and ponder the exploits of men like John Wesley Powell. Shop for gear at the general store and dine on the local fare. For lodging, take your pick from five-star El Tovar to a modest motel to campground accommodations. Be free to hike a trail, ride the shuttle bus or take a moonlight stroll along the canyon rim.
After assuring yourself that nothing of vital importance was missed, proceed with the trip. (Once, I forgot the Grand Canyon Imax movie, but caught it on a subsequent trip.) On the trip home, you’ll be searching for interesting history, geology, archeology, and culture. Your journey may explore a particular topic or a potpourri of whatever is in the region. Some may want to shop at malls or at art dealers. Others like hitting all the amusement parks and tourist traps. I like history and natural wonders, so my suggestions may be slanted toward my preferences.
Now that you’re a traveler you can:
-Explore a huge meteor crater and a petrified forest within a barren windswept desert.
-Traverse a rugged lava flow to find a hidden lava tube.
-Discover a town living its history of Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County wars. (You’ll want to kick yourself if you pass this up.)
-Learn about UFO’s and extraterrestrial encounters in the town synonymous with flying saucer crashes.
-Go deep underground to experience one of America’s premier caves. Watch black clouds of bats leave the cave for their nightly feeding activities.
This is just a tiny sampling of activities for one short trip. Just imagine the possibilities if only you didn’t have to be back at the office on Monday! If you traveled correctly, the only reason to go to the office is to bankroll the next trip.
Now that you’re hooked, how do you make it a lifestyle?
Watching people’s rigs on the highway, we used to ponder this dilemma. Would you rather work until you were able to travel in the luxury bus or retire young and healthy, traveling with a modest camper? Even though you may be old, fat and sick if not dead by the time you can buy the bus, it would impress your friends and relatives. The kids would be spared the embarrassment of having vagabond parents traveling in a hippie van. My answer was always to retire young. My wife always agreed, but thought the big bus would be nice too.
While talking personal experience, most of my traveling was done in my forties. Our decision was to move to where we vacationed. Work was secondary and never over four days a week. For a long while, we have lived on vacation in an amazing place. I still have to pinch myself sometimes. With a more relaxed schedule, it seems the urge to hit the road is growing once again.
Living in the crown of the continent, we encounter quite a few travelers. Some have found their place and just enjoy travel. Some are searching for that special place, or places, to settle. It is common to find retirees living in a modest home in paradise most of the year and RV-ing for pleasure or obligations the rest.
The benefits of travel for the Rebel Retiree
As an explorer, the knowledge, not only of the world but of yourself, gained in your travels will prove invaluable in manifesting a successful retirement. Unlike many of your peers, you can visualize a happy ending for any eventuality. When the financial system collapses, you’ll know where you want to be. The same is true when you win the lottery. You are free to retire today or to choose another day. When your cruise tripping friends fret over their portfolios, just feel that inner smile of contentment.