So, here we are– retired. In, as they say, the third stage. Blissfully happy. Truly retired and rediscovering ourselves. Yep, there’s nothing like it.
So said my husband Jim and I to ourselves. And, poised on the brink of all this freedom, we found we had lots of questions. What will we do? Where will we go? When will we do it and can we afford it? And, most of all, can we emotionally manage to separate from family, friends and home for what might be long periods of time at this point in our lives?
All those questions and very few answers started a research project that is now in its third year. We are still evolving, thinking, talking, planning and enjoying all of it so much it almost seems illegal. Retirement, yep, nothing like it.
For the first two years, we travelled. With kids and grandkids in four different cities in three provinces, we had ample reason to be on the road. The first trip during this giant experiment consisted of hotels, more free time than we had thought possible and, unbelievably, – a tent! This mania over being free led to more mania when we thought we could exist in a tent at our age. That first trip actually did see us set the thing up eleven times, crawl out in the morning (who knew a body could be this stiff?) in nice weather, rain and yes, even snow. We braved it, stayed optimistic, drank a lot of wine and chuckled. However. hotels very quickly became beacons in the night radiating sanity, warmth and hot water. Even roadside motels started to look good.
Near the middle of the first trip, with a lot of tenting and hotel days ahead of us, we walked through our camping area. Scattered in our path, looking like the ultimate in high society living (from our lowly perspective, don’t forget) were about a dozen RV’s of various sizes and shapes. People were going in and out of them and seemed to be really enjoying themselves. They weren’t wet, cold, or dirty. They were laughing and lounging around with obvious comfort. They seemed to have showered, eaten more than fire-burned steak and were still cheerful. What did this mean? Where were their tents? Really, the big question was, what was the matter with us?