Saturday, February 9, 2013

Snowbirds: Can I be a Snowbird if I'm Single?

I always thought when my husband and I retired we would be “snowbirds”.  Unfortunately, he died in Sept 2011.  I don’t know if it’s realistic to contemplate “snowbirding” as a single person. 
Do you think you could do it if you were on your own?

Dear Marlene,

This is our parkmodel. We plant the flowers in the front.
I do love it when I get such a thought provoking question from a reader.  This is a question that all of us that are living the snowbird life with a spouse or companion ask ourselves. Would we or could we do this if we were alone? For me the answer would be a resounding yes. 

As with all the choice we make in this life, it is entirely up to the individual. But it is very possible and in fact a wonderful idea. My husband and I live in an RV resort in Tucson AZ for 3-6 months of the year. We have a home in the Portland, Oregon metro area. 

The resort is home to spaces for recreational vehicles and park models that are parked semi-permanently. My husband and I own a very small park model...12 x 35 feet. We rent the space where we are parked. Before we bought our current winter home, we lived in an RV for the winter months.  We find that we love the small space and simplicity that this life style brings. I think that this is the perfect answer for a person that is a single. It allows for privacy but provides activities for socializing. 

View from my compter desk.
We enjoy the snowbirding in a RV resort because it gives us a consistency of good friends and built in opportunities for the endless activities. AND many of our neighbors are living alone. But, because we are all family when we are here, they have a wonderful support group. 

Most of the single individuals living here have chosen this location because they know someone. They have family close by...a child, niece or brother. Some are here because they have friends from home or a large group of people their region of the USA or Canada. There are many that were here with their spouse/partner and keep coming back after they passed away. And there are those that have come here as a single and have found a wonderful life. We have both men and women singles and even have a singles group that meets in the park.

Our dances are very like a the dynamic you would find with teens. The dance floor fills with singles and couples for a large percentage of the time. Line dancing is very popular and lessons are available. 

People gather to bead, carve, quilt, yoga, work with silver or crafts and they even have had a group that were writing their biography for their family.  We have a weekly jam session for musicians and cards of every imaginable variety are played from morning to night.  MahJong is a great favorite and the group is growing. We also have a couple of pool tables.

Pickle ball and bocci ball are great favorites. Everyone is welcome. These are not couples activities even though some couples do participate with their spouses. The mix of men and women of all ages is very social and comforting for us all.

Bocci Ball Court
The opportunities for volunteering in the park help people learn their way around and give them a chance to get to know people. The possibilities include everything from cooking for events to guiding RV's to their parking space. You can do as much or as little as you want.

If a person is an early riser, the coffee room is the place for them.  Hot coffee, the newspaper and quiet conversation fill the space as early as 5:30 a.m. (I am told).

If I were a single and trying to decide if this were possible, I would rent in a park for a month or so.  Then I would make a decision based on my experience. Having a contact like me in a park can help. But the people in the offices at parks like this are friendly and helpful. They are the information gatherers/givers.  Our social director is very helpful as are the volunteers that work in her office.

So, in the end, the single person's decision is based on preference for location and financial consideration. RV resorts usually include park models that is available for rent by the park owners or individuals.  The family that owns Rincon Country have both an Eastside and Westside location. The Eastside location is near Pantano Wash, 1 mile from a golf course, near a library and close to shopping and restaurants. That is where we are located. Several of the parks are out of town a ways and are very self contained.

So Marlene, I hope this is a help. Let me know about other questions. Thank you for the contact. A list of snowbird articles from Retire In Style Blog can be found here.


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  1. My husband and I are snowbirds this winter, for the first time, in a different Tucson park. Your description is accurate for us well. We rented a park model for two months and wish we'd decided to stay longer. We love the many activities, the conversations, the new friends, and the time for together and solitude. There is a singles group here, too. I do a couple of activities (swimming and handbells) without my husband, and a few (discussion groups) with him.

    I think coming here alone would be fine.

  2. It's wonderful to hear of other single travelers out there. How do you go about finding places to rent in different areas?

  3. I agree completely, Barbara. I can't think of a better place for a single person(whether widowed or never married) than at the type of resort you call home in the winter. The range of activities is absolutely overwhelming. If someone is bored at a place like this then they chose to be.

    I think Marlene lives in the upper Midwest. Even though we've have a cooler than usual winter season this year in Arizona, I'm pretty sure it beats Wisconsin.

  4. Thank you for comments Bob and Linda. This life seems to be getting better and better.



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