How to Kick Off Retirement

After the parties and celebration dinners, how do you plan to kick off your retirement? Like most baby boomers, travel was a major part of our retirement plans. Both my husband and I worked in public education so taking a trip at the beginning of the school year seemed like a perfect way to kick off our retirement adventure. While our previous colleagues were developing syllabi and preparing lectures, we would be seeing beautiful sites and relishing our new found freedom. It felt like playing hooky, only without the guilt (not that I would know… of course). So, after the celebrations with family and co-workers, we planned a couple big trips to kick start our retirement.

Celebrating retirement with my four wonderful sons.
Fun family retirement party.

One of my bucket list trips was to go leaf peeping back East. Since we live in the Pacific Northwest, we do not get back East very often and neither of us had ever been on the northern end. It was the perfect start to retirement. We flew into Boston and stayed a few days, then rented a car and headed north. We drove up the coast of Maine then over to Vermont, back down to New Hampshire and ended the final two nights in Martha’s Vinyard. The colors and scenery were intoxicating, as were the lobster rolls.

Historic Boston
Acadia National Park

The second trip was a happy accident. The hubs was cruising the internet for travel deals and found a very inexpensive last minute trip to Thailand. My sister and her husband had been there recently and highly recommended it. We had time and so, in retirement fashion, we thought “why not?” We booked it through World Travel, which is a tour group. We had never done a tour group vacation before; we preferred to rent a car, drive on the wrong side of the road and end up lost more than found. But this seemed like a good way to visit a country where we did not speak the language and a common mode of transportation is is a tuk-tuk. There are pros and cons to group travel (perhaps another post someday) but we really enjoyed this one. It removed the majority of the planning and stress of traveling in a foreign county and we were ready for a little less stress and planning after so many years of that with work.

Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand.
Thailand floating market.

I am so glad that we took these two trips at the beginning of our retirement (well, semi-retirement, more on that later) in the fall of 2019, because that winter is when COVID stopped all travel in its tracks. Like the rest of the world, we hunkered down, played a lot of card games, learned Zoom and got creative while we waited COVID out; not knowing we would be waiting it out for over two years. (Probably best we did not know that.) So, take the trips while you can, you never know when illness, a family crisis or a pandemic are going to prevent you from traveling.

It is hard to beat the sense of freedom and adventure that travel provides. While many retirees are just looking forward to relaxing and sleeping in, you can enjoy doing that for the rest of your retirement. I would highly recommend a fun new experience or adventure to put an exclamation mark on the beginning of your retirement. Go for it!

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