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Building Your Next Adventure

Yesterday, Betty, our dog, Bailey, and I left on our RV trip. We will cover over 5,000 miles while driving through 11 different states. We will meet up with family and friends, one of whom we haven't seen in 40 years. We will spend time with folks I have only met through blogging. 

Already this year we have had a tremendous week with friends at the Palm Springs Film Festival and taken our first Alaskan cruise. We have been to Flagstaff for cool weather and a cute B &B experience. We rented a house three blocks from the beach in San Diego for a fabulous week of family experiences. We discovered a great getaway place; Silver City, NM. In early December it will be back to Disneyland with the grandkids.

Now, a long RV trip. It has been a busy year. But, there are things we give up. We will miss family. Our grandson will have his 10th birthday before we get home. Our youngest daughter will be packing up for a move to a different part of the Phoenix area. A lot of life will have happened at home that we won't experience.

That is a tradeoff we are willing to take. The time we spend on the road, seeing new places, gathering new experiences, taking (thousands of) photos, and spending it together in very close proximity, 24 hours a day for 7 or 8  weeks is time we value. The reality is our health is fine now, but won't be forever. When I am no longer comfortable steering 15,000 pounds of metal and fiberglass down the road is when we park the motorhome for good. So, we burn up the miles while we can.

All of this is to get your travel and creative juices flowing.  It seems appropriate to ask you to think of what your next adventure in your satisfying retirement might be. Do you have plans, a road map, a dream that waits to be fulfilled?

Importantly, the scope and cost of that great adventure doesn't have to break your budget. Adventure comes in all shapes and sizes. What Betty and I have been able to experience this year is due in large part to the financial cushion from my parents' estate. In a "normal" year, we would not have had the freedom in our budget to do nearly as much.  

What qualifies as as an adventure? Certainly a trip to Europe or Hawaii would make the list. A cruise, a long RV trip, a road trip to visit family in some other state. But, what about adventures that take less money and less time away? I will suggest a few, and then ask you to add to the list. You may give somebody an idea or the motivation to turn your comment into their next great adventure. 

Most of us live within driving distance of a National Park, National Monument, or National Historical site. This year is the 100th birthday of our National Park Service. What better time to pull out a map and spend a few days visiting these tremendous examples of what makes America so beautiful. If you are over 62, the Senior Pass is the best bargain in the country. For $10 you get a lifetime of free admission to over 2,000 Federally managed sites.

Pretend you are tourist to your home state. Pick a section you haven't been to, and go. Do some Internet research to find out what tourists do, and then play along. I use Trip Advisor as a tremendous resource to point me toward things to see in each town we visit.

Would you ever consider a long distance bus trip? Modern coaches have WiFi, movies, and bathrooms. The fares are low and the chance to meet interesting characters is pretty high. How about Amtrak? It has problems with schedules and equipment, but long distance train travel is a very special way to experience the country. 

Volunteer at a a National Park or Historical site for the season. Workkamp at an RV park to earn money while you enjoy nature up close and personal. Volunteer at a local concert hall or kid's museum. Go back to school for that degree in law or English Literature or nursing that you have always dreamed about. At our age, attending classes, reading, writing, and studying at a college level is quite an adventure!

Set aside a week or two, pick a general direction, and just jump in the car and go. Let your whims, sights, and interests determine the route. When your time is half over, turn around and come home a different way. Are you a hiker or biker? Plot a route that stretches your limits and do it.

The opportunity to build an adventure into your life is limited by your imagination and willingness to take a bit of a risk. Budget  plays a role but don't let that be an excuse. Family responsibilities may limit, but don't eliminate, what you can do. 

Tell us...what is your next adventure? Can we tag along?


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