What is retirement? What is it all about, beyond quitting your gainful employment? We have been retired for almost 12 years and retirement has taken on several different forms in that period of time.
We have traveled a lot in our RV, spending time in 44 states and eight Canadian provinces. And there are still so many places to see in this wonderful country of ours. Most, if not all, of the states we have visited still have lots of areas we haven't seen or spent time exploring. Hopefully, we will find the time to visit all those we haven't been in--except Hawaii. It would be hard to get our RV there.
We have been work campers in 12 different locations. We have really had the chance to explore those areas during the two to five months we spent living in one location. We came away with a better understanding of the people and how they live in a couple of locations near urban areas and in lots of remote places. With a little planning, living far from a grocery store or Walmart works fine. And the peace and quiet of Bryce Canyon or Wamic, Oregon, or Giddings, Texas, or Cannonville, Utah can't be beat. Since I was born and raised in Denver and have lived most of my life in larger metro areas, it was a new experience for me--and I really enjoyed it, for part of the year.
We have become pretty good at helping people decide on a good place to hike or at leading tours of bath houses at Hot Springs National Park. Having never been interested in Native American history, we came to really enjoy explaining a 700 year old caliche building constructed by people of the Hohokam culture in Arizona. We also learned a lot and had fun conducting tram tours of a wildlife refuge in Texas. We have spent time clearing trails and making signs, cleaning campsites and restrooms and changing beds in various state parks.
All of this was so very different from my work as a journalist and secretary and John's positions in police work and as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Not to mention, it has been different from owning and operating a funeral home.
Another avenue for learning has come while spending time in RV resorts for active seniors age 55 and above. Developing skills in pottery and woodworking have been great opportunities for us.
However, not everything we have done during retirement has been a total change from our working life. John still assists in local Episcopal churches. I have continued writing by producing a blog about our life since 2006. In addition, we are still able to spend time with family during our travels and our summer visits back in Colorado, as well as when they come to wherever we are.
Retirement can be a time to sit back and relax. And/or it can be a time to reinvent yourself, learning new things, going new places, meeting new people. We certainly feel blessed to have the time and financial security, the health and freedom to spend our retirement this way. What do you suppose the next five, ten or twenty years will bring?