Vacation Where You Live or Travel to Vacation?
One of the fun, albeit stressful, decisions to make when approaching retirement is determining what kind of lifestyle you want and where you can best pursue that lifestyle. We knew that we wanted an active outdoor lifestyle with opportunities for hiking, biking, running, and kayaking. We also knew that we wanted to travel. Throw into the mix that we have family, most of whom live in Indiana, although a daughter and her husband live in Georgia.
We have friends who retired to Idaho near the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone and vacation every day. They take full advantage of the recreational opportunities available to be out most days - no matter the season - biking, hiking, running, or kayaking. They aren't doing a lot of other travel, but who needs to when you live in such a wonderful place?
Their experience caused us to ask the question, is it important to live someplace where you can have outdoor adventures daily, or do you live close to family and friends and travel to vacation? One offers consistent opportunities to play outdoors, the other offers the opportunity for family time and a diversity of travel experiences.
We still haven't resolved the issue completely but here's how we are breaking down the decision.
Full-time or part-time RVers. We determined pretty early on that we didn't want to be full-time RVers. We may try it for a year or so at some point, but it isn't going to be our primary retirement plan for a variety of reasons.
Co-habitation. If we were going to travel for weeks at a time, we needed to be certain that we could spend that much time together in that small of space. Campers, no matter how large they are, are smaller than a house. I'm happy to report that we have been out for four weeks at a time and lived to tell about it!
Fun? And we like it. It's fun to be out on a new adventure. When the camper is sitting in the driveway for an extended period of time, it's common for one of us to say to the other - don't you think we should go camping this weekend?
Is location everything? Was our motivation to see new places or to be active in a place that we love? Our favorite spot is the beach, specifically St. George Island. For nearly 30 years it has been our primary vacation choice. Whenever we talked of retiring, St. George was always in the mix. This would be our version of vacationing where you retire. But also expensive. We tested it out the past two years renting a house on the Island for the month of January. The only conclusion we came to was to rent the house again another year. Do we want to spend most of our money to live in a great location, but then not have enough to travel to other places or only back to Indiana to visit family?
Family considerations. This is complicated. We are retiring at an age where we are active and healthy ready to take advantage of extended periods of time that we haven't had since we graduated from college. But it's also a time in our lives when our one remaining parent is getting older, and our granddaughter is young. Should we stay in Indiana? What if our daughter who lives in Atlanta has a baby, how do we also spend time with her and her family? Staying in Indiana allows us to live near family. We could move from where we live in rural Indiana to Indianapolis and have greater access to recreational activities. And since living in Indiana would be less expensive, we could spend a chunk of our time traveling.
Decision time is drawing closer. Pat is fully retired at the end of 2022. So stay tuned for where we land and if you have any suggestions or advice to offer, we would love to hear it!