About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement –Only the Beginning. Dave has written three books to date: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". He has been quoted in various articles and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, The Times of India, Prevention Magazine and Erickson Tribune. Dave lives in sunny California with his wife and a shared passion for the San Jose Sharks.

Looking for Something to do in Retirement? Consider a Road Trip!

Written by Samantha Jones

A lot of people can find themselves stuck when retirement is looming. After all the effort that has gone into preparing for their second act they’re not quite sure what they’re going to do with all that free time! Well, I’ve got a suggestion: how about a road trip? For many retirees there is no better way hit the road than in a RV. Here are some important points to consider if you envision a road trip in your retirement plans:

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Permanent or temporary?

A retirement road trip sounds like a great idea. But a lot of people will want to take that further. The RV lifestyle can be so cost-effective and you’ve got more freedom. This leads some to wonder if they should just take up this lifestyle indefinitely, as a new form of retirement living. It gives you an amazing opportunity to see so much more of your country than you had time to do before.

It’s definitely something you should consider. But it would require a lot of work. You would, of course, have to downsize considerably. You’ll be moving from an entire home to a much smaller space. You’ll probably find that a lot of the stuff you have is just junk you accumulated over the years. But even then it’s a big task!

If you are considering choosing a free-roaming RV life as your retirement plan, you should at least try a road trip first. See if the lifestyle could suit you!

Picking the right RV

You’re going to need to do your research here. A lot of people think that all RVs are the same. But there is an incredible variety of choice out there, and some will be better suited to your purposes than others. There are Class A motorhomes, pop-ups, fifth wheels, and more. A fifth wheel is popular because it can easily be detached from the main vehicle. This allows you to park it somewhere and explore a territory with a “regular” vehicle. You should look through a wide range of quality fifth wheels for an RV.

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If you’re looking to have a more camping-oriented experience, look into pop-up options. The problem with these, however, is that they’re really suited to short excursions instead of road trips. Big motorhomes are a great choice for retirees, given how spacious and comfortable they can be. Just remember that motorhomes aren’t really suitable for off-road adventures!

Remembering your health

I very much doubt that you need to be reminded, but I’m going to say it anyway. Your average retiree simply isn’t as healthy as the average mid-twenties person. You’ll have to give a bit more consideration to your health requirements if you’re planning on going on a long road trip.

The problem with road trips is that they will often take you quite far away from emergency services. You may also find yourself frequently in areas where mobile phone reception isn’t as sharp as nearer the cities. Still, how much this affects your average road trip is usually exaggerated. You should also keep in mind any medication you’re taking. Make sure you have a plentiful supply. Also be sure to read the fine print. Medications sometimes don’t last long in certain temperatures or climates. A road trip across the country will see you venture through many different climates. Make sure your meds can be kept safe!

Staying Independent in Retirement

If things go as hoped my plans for retirement include living where I want in the house of my choice for as long as I can. I value my independence – the freedom to do what I want when I want and in this case, where I want. It has taken a long time to get here and now that I have arrived I want to make the most of my second act. As long as I am able to maintain my garden and keep up with maintenance on the house and safely exist without jeopardizing myself or others I am going to retire in place.

That said a retirement community has certain advantages. Those living as part of a senior community benefit from regular scheduled activities, near proximity to everything from gyms to pools to golf courses, plenty of people to interact with, and a certain safety in numbers. I am not saying I would never consider it just given the option and based on where I am today I prefer to live independently.

If we hope to stay independent in retirement there are a variety of considerations to address. Not all are within our control but we are able to influence our destiny in some cases to at least some degree.

Stay healthy and aware

No one debates the importance of good health not only to remain independent but also to experience a quality of life. Maintaining a good diet, working out, avoiding things that are bad – I think we all get it. But it is also important to be smart when it comes to tuning into a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is good but we should also pay attention to our body. If something hurts stop doing it. Contrary to the old no-pain-no-gain motto that drove us to extremes in younger days, as we get older our recovery capabilities are reduced.  If it hurts we may be doing damage.

Likewise if something feels off or not quite right, don’t ignore warning signs. No one knows our own body better than each of us. Chest pain, numbness, dizziness, confusion all are examples of the body trying to tell you something is amiss. Tune in to what your body tells you and pay attention – it just might save your life.

Look ahead

As we change with age so does the road ahead. Planning for what will be helps keep us ahead of the curve. For example if you make changes or improvements to your house and surroundings keep in mind the aging you and your needs down the road. During our recent kitchen remodel we added easily accessible drawers to store plates rather than the customary overhead shelves. It’s easier to lift plates at waist level than struggle with those stored shoulder height or above.

Little things matter when it comes to convenience and safety. Handles are easier to manage than knobs. Adding sliding drawers to shelves and closets allows you to make full use of space and access things previously lost way in the back. Good lighting, minimal stairs to climb, whatever you can think of to make your retirement safer and less physically challenging is worthy of consideration.

The more we can do to make our lives easy and safe the better our chances to stay where we are.

Three Old Ladies

Get to know your neighbors, not just their names

Being comfortable with the people living in your neighborhood not only enriches life but also provides a safety net in the event of emergencies. Beyond friendship, beyond someone to borrow a cup of sugar from, there is great peace of mind knowing those around you watch out for you and you for them. When you are out of town it is good to have multiple sets of eyes keeping watch. If you need assistance moving new furniture help is a door knock away. And should anything out of the ordinary occur, neighbors who know your habits and lifestyle are often the first to notice and take action. The reality is you can help assure your own independence by learning to depend more on those around you. Asking for help should not be considered a sign of weakness.

Stay on top of your game mentally

It is unfortunate but as we age some of us will have a harder time when it comes to our mental state. It is entirely normal to experience a slowdown as we get older. If we want to remain independent we need to stay as sharp as possible. I am not sure of the benefit of playing memory games beyond making you better at those games. And although I see advertisements about wonderful drugs that improve memory I figure if they really worked as promised none of us would have any problems.

I do think there are things you can do to help stay more alert and with it mentally. If you brain is a muscle then working it out should be beneficial. Here are some things I add to my routine in efforts to keep the old brain cells firing:

- I have always been bad at remembering names (not exactly a plus in the career of a sales guy!) Now when reading a book I do my best to remember each and every name. Before resuming my read I mentally review as many of the key players as I can come up with. I am actually getting better – at least a little.

- I was never into geography while a student so as a retiree I make up for lost time by memorizing all the countries across the globe as well as the US states. Every few days I take a mental trip around the world reciting the name of each place while visualizing it in relation to neighboring lands.

- While listening to history DVDs I do my best to remember specific events and associated dates. Then as I take my walk I run through the centuries trying to remember as much as I can.

One nice thing about brain exercises like these is you can do them wherever and whenever – driving down the road, waiting in line, sitting through mindless 5-minute long advertisement slots on TV or walking your favorite park trail. This convenience allows for a quick workout with no fuss. I know for me if it is a hassle I am less likely to engage. What things can you add to your day to give your brain a good workout?

Staying independent in retirement is a full time job but well worth the effort. Although we may not be paid in currency the freedom to live our life as we choose is beyond measure and something we all deserve.

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