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Big TripTo Transition Into Retirement?
Old 02-19-2015, 09:54 AM   #1
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Big TripTo Transition Into Retirement?

Triggered by the Gold Watch thread, that there are transition ceremonies and badges, when I retired I took a 'big trip' to celebrate and cement the transition.
From the time I was 13 through retirement I only had 2 three week vacations, one was between jobs and the other was after 25+ years of employment I took off three weeks to take a South Pacific trip to celebrate DWs surviving cancer surgery. So when I retired in 2008 we set out on a trip I had planned in my head for 40 years. We drove up from California to Canada on the AL-CAN Hwy but turned off at Dawson City and went up the Dempster Hwy to Inuvik, flew to Tuk and then went across Alaska down to Haines and took the Alaska Ferry down to Juno & BC. Took 7 weeks and 8K+ miles but it firmly established that I was now retired. It would be impossible to go back to work now.Our old travel blog: Driving to the Arctic
Maybe some folks here have made a retirement transition trip or a pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago?
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:15 AM   #2
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We went on a long road trip up the east coast and into Canada. It was supposed to be five weeks, but we were worn out after 2.5 weeks and cut the trip short (traveling with three young kids can do that to you...).

This was a trip I've been thinking about for over a decade. We stopped in DC, Philadelphia, and NYC, then spent a week in Montreal before heading to Quebec City where we cut the trip short. We missed out on Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls, but there's always a next time.

I haven't thought of the trip as a "welcome to FIRE" trip, but in a way it was since it was the first long trip we were able to take. DW is still working but is able to take off a month or three when she wants and she's about to quit too.

Summer of 2015 will probably be more slow paced with only a week or two on the road somewhere local (NC to Nashville plus a week in the mountains or on a lake somewhere between here and there).
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:27 AM   #3
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Back in November, I took a two week trip to Aruba. I usually go every year, but normally just for one week. One week never seems enough, but I figured two weeks would be a good test. First, to see if I would get bored with Aruba, being there for that long. And second, to see if I could adapt to a long term period of leisure...sort of a pre-cursor to how retirement might be.

Well, on the first note, I didn't get tired of Aruba after two weeks...instead, I found I was getting used to it...it was starting to feel kind of like a home away from home, and I really didn't want to come back to the US.

And on the second note, I think I'd have no trouble adapting to a long period of leisure! I know two weeks is hardly "long term", but the last time I took a vacation that long was back on my honeymoon, in 1995!

We did have the government furlough back in late 2013. I remember we got sent home at noon on Tuesday, October 1. We were off the rest of that week, all of the following week, and then came back Thursday of the third week. That didn't really seem like a vacation though, because we took it one day at a time, and never knew when we were going to be called back to work.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:42 AM   #4
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DW and I spend 2.5 weeks in Europe last fall just 6 weeks after I retired. To be fair, we had planned the trip before I knew that I was going to quit when I did. But going into it we had recharacterized it as a bit of a milepost. I am not sure how effective it was in acting as a transition, but that view may change as time passes.

It seems that what I most need to develop is some kind of routine so that I can feel like I have transitioned to something new. Almost six months in it's been, one month of catch up on home improvements, one month dominated by the Europe trip, two months of holiday prep and holidays, and now, two months of winter.

Perhaps the better marker of transition is my consistent 3 hours of music practice each day. Not ceremonial, but meaningful.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:54 AM   #5
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Don't know if it will actually work out. But my desire is to through hike the Appalachian Trail shortly after retirement. It takes roughly 4-5 months and would certainly be a significant transition.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:56 AM   #6
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When I retired in 2012, 5 days later I pack wife and kids into a 42' sailboat and island hoped for a year. We started in Ft. Lauderdale, then Miami, Bimini, Frazer's Hog Cay, Nassau, Rose Island, Allen Cay, Warderick Wells, Staniel Cay, Blackpoint, Farmer's Cay, Georgetown, Long Island, Cat Island, Spanish Wells, Hope Town, Man-o-War Cay, Fox Town, Great Sale Cay, Ft. Stewart FL, then up the eastern seaboard to North Carolina.

In all, about 1600 miles by boat--going 5 mph!

We home schooled our kids and restrengthened our family after some tough years in the career world.

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Old 02-19-2015, 12:15 PM   #7
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Travel was definitely part of my transition. We went to the beach for several days immediately after I retired - wonderful way to get out of the w*rk routine. Also, a Panama Canal cruise was on my bucket list and we booked that as soon as I had decided to retire - it was about 2 months later but was the real celebration of ER.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:25 PM   #8
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We signed up for a photography trip along the coast of Oregon which was scheduled like a week after the retirement date, and added a few days for exploring on our own.

It was a great thing to do. Eye opening in many ways as well as a celebration. I discovered I had a knack for serious landscape photography, in particular composition, and how it really could be. The guide chided us for bringing one tripod to share, but I had never tried doing any "serious" photography before.

I think we happened to chose a very good trip for us to go on. Photography and birding trips we really enjoyed. If it had been one of the few other more general group trips we tried later I might have been very disappointed.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:40 PM   #9
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Awww, yakers, I loved looking at your old blog, since we did a 6,000 mile Seattle to Yukon and home last summer over 5 weeks (but I'm still working!!!). Even saw you mentioned going to Laird Hot Springs. We stayed in that campground a few nights...what a cool place! I wanted so much to keep going up the Dempster Hwy, but we couldn't get all of our peeps time schedules to work out, since one had to fly out right after Laird. So jealous!

I plan a trip for my 50th (girls only) to do the Santiago. Or maybe the Lycean, if the Santiago looks like a superhighway full of tourists by then. That will be my trip to mark what I'm calling the end of my prolonged adolescence and when I finally decide I'm going to have to act like a grownup. That gives me 5 more years of trouble-making.
Though at 52, DH doesn't seem to have the same problem.
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Old 02-19-2015, 03:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by yakers View Post
Triggered by the Gold Watch thread, that there are transition ceremonies and badges, when I retired I took a 'big trip' to celebrate and cement the transition.
From the time I was 13 through retirement I only had 2 three week vacations, one was between jobs and the other was after 25+ years of employment I took off three weeks to take a South Pacific trip to celebrate DWs surviving cancer surgery. So when I retired in 2008 we set out on a trip I had planned in my head for 40 years. We drove up from California to Canada on the AL-CAN Hwy but turned off at Dawson City and went up the Dempster Hwy to Inuvik, flew to Tuk and then went across Alaska down to Haines and took the Alaska Ferry down to Juno & BC. Took 7 weeks and 8K+ miles but it firmly established that I was now retired. It would be impossible to go back to work now.Our old travel blog: Driving to the Arctic
Maybe some folks here have made a retirement transition trip or a pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago?
Sounds great..
I always took vacation but for my retirement took the kids and grand kids on a cruise ..
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:12 PM   #11
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We took the Big trip before retirement. It was sort of a "getting ready to pull the trigger" kind of expedition. Actually, it was getting ready to pull both triggers (if you're familiar with a double barreled shot gun.) We wanted to know if we should retire and if we should move to Paradise.

I saved up vacation and we spent 6 weeks "living" in Hawaii. Yes, we were in a hotel (bedroom and living room w/kitchenette) but we tried to figure out what it would be like to live there as well. We learned where were all the good (as in tasty but affordable) restaurants, box stores, resale shops, doctors, hospitals (including insurance coverage), post offices, senior centers, churches, beaches, gas stations/service stations, etc. etc. We still did a few tourist type things, but mostly we scouted the entire Island of Oahu to be certain it was where we wanted to live. We also got some sense of just how much (or little) space we could occupy and still remain friends, lovers and spouses - MORE than one br/lr/kitchenette as it turns out, heh, heh.

We also found out we could afford paradise - even as retirees. Whoopie!

So, upon return, we pulled one trigger at a time. ER a bit later that year and Paradise the next. We considered the trip a good investment in our future and I think it paid for itself many times over. YMMV
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:32 PM   #12
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I really wanted to go to Australia and NZ after retirement, with no constraints on how long we stayed. I also tempered any thoughts of travel after retirement with the reminder that DH was 15 years older so there were no guarantees.


I retired last year at 61 and we already had a 2-week trip to Alaska, including a week-long cruise scheduled for July. That was a nice intro to retirement; no office e-mails to monitor! Sadly, Australia/NZ isn't in the cards; DH tends to pick up bad respiratory bugs on long-hauls and they wear him out for months after, and it happened again with the Alaska trip. He's great on road trips, though, so we may head for California in the fall.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:49 PM   #13
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... Sadly, Australia/NZ isn't in the cards; DH tends to pick up bad respiratory bugs on long-hauls and they wear him out for months after, and it happened again with the Alaska trip. He's great on road trips, though, so we may head for California in the fall.
Athena, have you considered something like this? https://www.freightercruises.com/sea..._news_1109.php Don't know if it would be my cup of tea or not, but seems like a possibility for someone like your DH--at least if both of you would be content with a long period to catch up on some serious reading.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:55 PM   #14
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Athena: I've taken my elderly mother on flights to Europe - same concerned. While she could still fly, we flew business class to make the flight easier on her - more room, fewer people in close proximity. It is expensive, but better than not going. One one trip, we flew a charter airline that had "club class" - Air Transat in Canada. It is about the same cost as full fare economy on a scheduled airline, but bigger seats, more space.maybe there is a US equivalent.
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Old 02-19-2015, 05:22 PM   #15
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I plan a trip for my 50th (girls only) to do the Santiago. Or maybe the Lycean, if the Santiago looks like a superhighway full of tourists by then. That will be my trip to mark what I'm calling the end of my prolonged adolescence and when I finally decide I'm going to have to act like a grownup. That gives me 5 more years of trouble-making.
Though at 52, DH doesn't seem to have the same problem.

I know of no such requirement to act like a grownup...

Not quite as adventurous as you, but I have taken a few trips, many of which never left the farm...


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Old 02-19-2015, 05:54 PM   #16
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Plan now is to retire end of August, go on our normal labor day camping trip, and then spend a month in Florida.
Never slow down, never grow old.

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Old 02-19-2015, 06:13 PM   #17
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Plan now is to retire end of August, go on our normal labor day camping trip, and then spend a month in Florida.
Never slow down, never grow old.

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But what if Cards go deep into the post-season? :-) (Fellow St. Charles native here, from back in the day)
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:22 PM   #18
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yakers - your trip sounds similar to one my dad took when he retired. He drove, in a pickup with camping gear, a mountain bike, and a kayak on the roof, from San Diego to Bellingham (where I lived at the time) - then up into Canada and used the ferries to island hop up the coast - then over to Denali, then into Alberta, then down through Montana, Wyoming, through the deserts of Utah, over to Denver to visit my brother, then down to Arizona to visit my aunt (his sister) then back home to my mom.

It was a trip he'd dreamed of, and one my mom had NO interest in doing... and since she was still working, it worked out well for a first retirement trip for him. He took about 3 months for the trip.

My "big trip" is happening a year after my retirement... I retired last June, this June we're doing 9 weeks traveling around Europe by train. I'm hoping I don't have a Fuego experience and get tired because of the kids... It's the main reason we're renting apartments - so I can have space to get away from the boys when they're annoying me. 11 cities in 9 weeks - should be lots of fun.
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:25 PM   #19
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Spent the week immediately after my last day moving my daughter from DC to Chicago, then a couple of weeks exploring Chicago. From there to Phoenix and Las Vegas for a month playing in baseball tournaments. That amount of time of being busy without working was a great transition.

When my wife retired, we spent two months traveling around New Zealand in a campervan. Also a nice transition trip for her.
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Old 02-19-2015, 06:58 PM   #20
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Good point! We get spoiled here with the play offs. Obviously the cards will be in the post season ! We were in northern Florida in 2013. Hard to find a place with the game on. Maybe we spend more time in the spring at spring training. Did that a year ago. It was a good time.
FYI, I am a transplanted Bostonian , but that was 35 years ago. Cards are my team now, but is was hard watching the series with Boston.
Anyway, if you are from St Charles you will be happy to know Main Street is hopping!

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