|This our snow bird park model before we restored it to|
it's former glory. I don't have the after pictures
right now but I will add them later.
Back ever so many years ago Bob Lowry posted an interview with me called Being a Snowbird: Is It The Right Choice For You? The questions were all related to our snowbird lifestyle. That was when I discovered that being a snowbird is a total mystery to so many people and that surprised me. Even today almost 5 years later, I have people wondering about how they can do it and asking very good questions. Because we did not research "snowbird lifestyle" before we fell into it, I am amazed that people have so much foresight.
Retirement is almost symbolically connected with being a snow-bird in my world. My husband and I were both educators that retired before we were sixty. We were healthy and antsy! Like all retirees, it took many years before we settled in our retirement lifestyle. Each step brought us closer to being experts on a post retirement life.
I think our current way of life all began because we took up golfing a little while before we retired. It became clear that it was something we both loved to do and gave us a great outlet for our energy.
When we began to golf, we traveled a little to golf tournaments around our home town. The last year we worked we were invited to go to a tournament in Enterprise, Oregon. I remember meeting people at one of those tournaments that lived in Mexico on Lake Chapala for the winter months. It was 1995-6. At the time I did not know that people actually left their home and went someplace totally different for all of the winter.
This was back in the day before we owned a cell phone and the idea that people retired to live yet another life after retirement was totally foreign. I was around 50 years old. I leaned back in my chair at the post golf tournament dinner party and wrapping my mind around the idea that I might leave my house and family to travel for weeks or months. How could we do that?
My husband wanted a small trailer so we could hunt and fish in eastern Oregon. Our dreams were not big. Our children were just grown and we had no idea what they would do. We were very happy in our own little world.
It was the year we were in a motel at that tournament in Enterprise that the travel idea began to emerge. There was no coffee pot, no breakfast and no comfortable bed or pillow in that small town motel. I raised my head from my pillow and said to my husband that I wanted my own stuff. I wanted my coffee in bed. It occurred to me that I wanted to go home or be able to take my home with me.
His eyes popped open and I could see the wheels turning...it was what he had been wanting and he was just waiting for me to come up with HIS idea. Before long we owned a fifth wheel and a new pickup. Shortly thereafter we retired. I am still a little stunned to think that we flipped from what was normal to us to something so foreign in such a little time. I guess the timing was just right. We could hunt and fish and stay in our state's campgrounds AND take our house with us...and I could have my coffee in bed! Life was good.
We invited our adult children to join us on a couple of outing near their home. The fifth wheel make cooking possible with ease. We all loved it.
The idea of leaving for an extended time began to seem more and more appealing. It was the beginning of the cell phone age. We could stay in touch all of the time. My mother was in a nursing home near-by and we had very young grandchildren. The cell phone actually opened doors of possibilities for us.
We decided one day to travel across country. I think that was when we had traded the fifth wheel for a little Class C RV. We drove from Portland to Florida and back again in a little over 6 weeks. I was so anxious to get home after that trip I don't even think we stopped. We must have but I don't remember. It seemed like an eternity but WE DID IT! That was a big step in moving from a very small life to a life of travel.
But we did not arrive at the big moments for many years. Life is a lot more like eating an elephant...one bite at a time. We did not swallow the whole thing. First we went to California for a few weeks. Then Tuscon and into Mexico. The we went to Texas, Palm Springs and finally we settled in Tucson AZ. Our son and his wife lived overseas so he invited us to come see him. The game was on and we were eating that elephant in bigger chunks all of the time. In the end, we have become fearless...almost. But we have arrived here after many years of learning and watching. That is our style!
Yes, we did learn a lot. Sometimes we learned the hard way; sometimes we actually talked to people that knew what they were doing. A few things come to mind right away. These were some of our "Holy Cow" moments:
- Our motor home slide out slid out on the freeway.
- Our 5th wheel brakes lock in the parking lot...we could not move.
- RV parks did not keep their promises.
- Our cat escaped in the resort that does not allow cats...we were yelled at.
- We became ensnared with another couple and could get free.
- We could not figure out how to take care of business on the road.
- We discovered that you need to be quiet in your motorhome when there is no space and no privacy.
Fortunately we never broke down or were in a wreck. We have only lost all of our luggage once when flying and we have never gotten sick while traveling. But, we are prepared and we are flexible! If things go wrong, and they will, we just hunker down and move forward.
That is what is important.
That is what is important.
At the top of the sidebar on this blog you see a quote asking if you are living life by design or by default. If I were to answer that question about my husband and myself, I would have to say that we live right in the middle of those two. We travel the road of life, stop a each intersection and decide what to do. We do not plan for what we do not see. Does that make sense.
Life presents a lot of surprises and we are forced to make choices by default, but I suppose the overriding design for us is to make a change when the time feels right. Then we just go out and find a way to continue the adventure.
Please go over to Lowry's blog and read Being a Snowbird: Is It the Right Choice for You? Even though the post is several years old, not much has changed. You will find a wealth of information.
Have a wonderful day...may the adventure live on!
What is your dream?