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This Time It's Real!

December 5th, 2009 at 05:18 pm


The day after I retired in August 2008, I took a part-time job at a local university supervising student teachers. Then my dh decided to retire in July 2009 from the same university. But he went back to work full-time for the Fall 2009 semester under a program allowing retired faculty to work 50% for up to five years.

My part-time work brought me full-circle... I began my career as a teacher and I ended it as a teacher. In between, I spent more than 15 years as an administrator but teaching has always been my passion. The most enjoyable aspect of my "retirement job" was working with my students, a dedicated and passionate group eager to begin their teaching careers. And while the job helped me transition from intense full-time work to retirement, it also prevented me from doing some things I really want to do.

So, when my dh decided to opt-out after just one year in his post-retirement program, it was my cue to bow out too. Now it's official... as of yesterday, we both are completely work-free and 100% retired. Our goal is to take time for some serious traveling so we can decompress, regroup, and reflect about what we want to do for the next 20 years or more.

So now we are free to travel the world without the encumbrance of jobs, and we have made plans. At various times in the next year we will be somewhere else: Panama, New York, Peru, Mexico, Hawaii, Bryce Canyon, Brazil, the Amazon... and maybe other places not yet dreamed of. So far, 120 days are scheduled. Some trips will be on our own, some will be cruises, and the Peru trip will be with Exploritas, a travel program formerly known as Elderhostel. We are also looking into a volunteer trip to Latin America through Habitat for Humanity, if the dates work around other commitments.

Some people don't like to travel at all, but it's always appealed to us on many levels. We learn about other cultures and people, and in the process we learn more about ourselves. And, although it's the perfect escape for some people, we're not the types to spend all our time sipping margaritas under a palapa on a beautiful beach somewhere. Well, maybe I could handle it for a day or two, but that hedonistic life would eventually get old. We especially want to see places that are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

So how will we pay for all of this, especially now that we're retired? We didn't hit the lottery or inherit money. Travel in retirement is NOT as difficult as one might think... it's about choices, planning, saving, and of course, dreaming. We've gotten into the habit of saving something every month, plus any extra money that comes our way in our travel savings, so our 2010 trips are fully funded and then some. Our frugal lifestyle helps... we live comfortably, but below our means and saving is easier because we are debt free (except for a small mortgage).

To keep in touch with family and friends, I've started a blog that focuses on different aspects of travel, including some money-related topics. I'm encouraging dh to blog along with me, and he seems open to the idea. If you're interested in reading our travel blog or if you'd like to write a guest post about one of your trips, share photos or travel tips, please visit Sage Travelers. My last post was about the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

9 Responses to “This Time It's Real!”

  1. zetta Says:

    Congratulations! You are living my dream for 22 years from now when our girls finish college. It is inspiring to see someone make it happen!

  2. Analise Says:

    zetta, I have no doubt you will achieve that dream. You are doing great financially. I've always been impressed by your accomplishments and enjoy your blog.

    The one bit of advice I'd like to give, if I may, is to try to do some of this while you're young, and take the twins and your son along. My girls got to see a lot of the world before they even started college. They lived in Japan as exchange students in high school and we went somewhere new almost every year until they got summer jobs at age 16.

    Yes, plan for the future but don't forget to enjoy the present.

  3. John DeFlumeri Jr Says:

    Hi Analise, we recently retired at ages 60 and 66. The first 9 months I have grown used to no alarm clock and no schedule. But I still feel "guilty" about not working. However, I do not want to return to a regular job ever. Now my work is my blog about money matters. It's a lot of fun.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  4. lizajane Says:

    Enjoy!!!

  5. Apprentice Bliss Hunter Says:

    Thanks so much for this post and the Link to your Travel blog...

    I have a very similar mind-set to you when it comes to travel... however I havn't yet travelled as much as I would have liked... getting out of debt and generally setting a good financial foundation are my priorities at the moment.

    I do and will save for retirement but I also, as you said, plan to enjoy a lot of travelling in the medium term (next 2 to 5 years). I'm single with no kids so I have no excuses really.

    Oh and congrats on your Real retirement ! :-)

  6. gamecock43 Says:

    I agree traveling teaches you so much. I also plan to travel more when my time off increases!

  7. monkeymama Says:

    Congrats!

    I think it's awesome that you have set your (important to you) goals and achieved them.

  8. DeniseNTexas Says:

    Awww, congratulations! If your travels bring you to east Texas, let me know. Smile

  9. Jerry Says:

    UNESCO sites are definitely worth visiting! We were in the Old City of Nesebur, Bulgaria, this past summer, and the history was breathtaking. It leads to greater understanding of the world and it really makes for interesting travel. It also gives some insurance that you will experience something important on your travels! Enjoy your trips...
    Jerry

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