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Thursday, August 15, 2013

How baby boomers choose to retire.


We watched baby boomers for decades, as they changed rules, moved to suburbia, drove SUV's, made shopping a sport. They knew quality, demanded respect, were bold in their lifestyle choices.

None of them anticipated a major recession just before retiring. Yet, their spirit and creativity are breaking ground again, in the way many of them choose to spend their  retirement years.

We are meeting many new retirees who choose to be full time RV residents, moving around, volunteering a few months at campgrounds or at State Parks, visiting relatives and friends they might not otherwise see often. Their goal is to the see the fifty states or as many of the fifty states while their health is good.

Just yesterday, as we were hiking along the Elk River,  we met a couple from Iowa volunteering at the Elk River Hatchery. They described the work they do and how much they enjoy staying in different places, learning the lay of the land, the history of the people they meet, trying new skills and new hobbies and how they could continue this lifestyle for many more years.

They have few possessions except for the RV. They do not shop at Nordstrom or any other name store. They have stopped shopping altogether. They now collect stories and hints of what's beyond the horizon for their next adventure. They are not afraid to stop and talk to strangers, to share their background and lifestyle with anyone who is willing to listen.

We exchanged phone numbers and facebook info; should they need to evacuate in a hurry, they know a friendly face a few miles from their campground.

The funny thing is we were all strangers before this conversation.  

14 comments:

Brian Miller said...

oo when my time comes i would love to live out of an rv traveling around spending a little time here and there...that sounds fun to me....

mxtodis123 said...

Ah, that has always been my dream and. alas, it will remain a dream. With hubby's illness, we need to be near his doctors. So, I am living out my retirement as best I can, enjoying myself and loving every minute of it.
Mary

Cynthia Pittmann, PhD said...

What a wonderful way to live...the couple you describe has independence, courage and something to offer.

Tom Sightings said...

Baby boomers or not, it's great to reach out a hand and meet new people. Good for you!

Linda Myers said...

I love meeting strangers! We do that on our road trips. This week we're hosting a couple from Tennessee we met one night last year. Such a broadening experience.

yaya said...

I have a "pie in the sky" attitude that most people are really good folks just trying to get by everyday like we are. When we were in Alaska we met many retirees who worked at the shops during the summer and then moved south during the winter. I think my hubby would love to travel around like that during retirement...I'm more of a homebody! Who knows..we may show up on your beach one day!

Lisa said...

I missed my life on the water. Yachties are the most wonderful people. It is amazing how you bond with strangers in one conversation, knowing that your paths will never cross again.

Lydia said...

I love the connection you made on the trail. Their independent lifestyle sounds exciting, while at the same time, having your phone number was sweet assurance that there are those who care. Pip pip to all the vagabonds out there!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I would love to do this one day. At the moment my travel tends to be short trips (a few weeks at most) and I have a wonderful home to come back to, but I do dream of this kind of slow travel, having the luxury to spend weeks or months in each place, and understand the different ways of life around the world.

Amanda said...

i love hearing stories like this. we have been domesticated in our culture to consume things. these people of whom you speak are instead consuming life experiences - good for them.

Rob-bear said...

What a delightful meeting. For the longest time, I've not gone very far, mostly because of my health. Now that I'm feeling better, I might make a bit of a traveller. But since we want to be close to family, I don't think we'll be part of the nomad life.

Blessings and Bear hugs!
desert.epiphanies@sasktel.net
Bears Noting
Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

Velva said...

Traveling, meeting people, having new stories to share, discovering, new journeys at the end of the day really tell the story.

Velva

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Vagabonde said...

This sounds very nice and the way to go for many people. My father died at 65 after health complications from a head-on collision with a drunk driver. He never traveled as he wanted to wait until retirement to go all over Europe with my mother. My mother told me “don’t wait - travel as much as you can now, as you can’t guess the future.” I did and I am pleased because now that my husband as onset Alzheimer, it is not very easy to just go and volunteering is out of the question – but I have traveled to 58 countries, without a great budget, so I don’t feel so bad.