10 Long Road Trips

Deserted long roadAh, the great American road trip.  Lots of fun has been poked at them but I have to confess that I love them.  My wife and I have been doing them all our lives, even when we were young and money was very tight.  Anything can happen and does but that makes for great stories years later.

So, let’s throw out some ideas to get you thinking…

Cross Country and Back

Just pull out an atlas (you have your Rand McNally atlas, right?) and pick a spot you always wanted to visit.  That can mean all the way across the country or just a few hundred miles.  Then start researching and planning and just go!

Alaska

Did you know that you can drive to Alaska and that people do it every day?  This is one I definitely haven’t tried yet but may someday.  You need a good vehicle and you’ll put an insane number of miles on it but you’ll be talking about it forever.

Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is another destination I haven’t tried yet but can’t wait to try.  The area is beautiful with incredible national parks and scenery.  And the whole world wants to move to Portland and I want to see why for myself!

Florida Keys

Everybody raves about the Keys and it is supposed to be a great road trip.  Just watch out for hurricanes!

Up the west coast

This one is supposed to be incredible and you could do the whole thing or just a portion.  California really is like a whole country and the variety of possible stops and activities is endless

Giant Circle around outline of US

Anybody can drive across the country, right?  Well how about tracing the outline of the United States?  This is one for people with a lot of time obviously but I can picture a whole blog devoted to this adventure.

Yellowstone and surrounds

This is what people think of when they mention national parks.  The place really is unbelievable. Wildlife, incredible scenery, hot springs and geysers, there is something for everybody.  This one is somewhat crowded in prime season and takes a little planning for accommodations but it is worth the effort.  Having been there a few times my suggestion is to make a point to get 100 yards off the road.  The crowds disappear and you really begin to appreciate the park.

Southwest

We love the Southwest.  Wide open spaces, more great scenery, nice people.  The climate varies greatly with the altitude.  Last year we left blistering heat near Tucson and climbed into the mountains a few hours later to a snowstorm.  To me the desert is beautiful, but the mountains can be green and lush.  Give it a try!

Texas

Texas is another one of those states that can be its own country.  The place is huge and diverse.  While I’ve been through the state a few times the state can support numerous road trips on its own.  Do your research, and go for it…

Sante Fe and North

This is one of my favorites and I know “and North” is kind of vague.  Sante Fe is a great little city.  It is easy to visit and easily walk-able.  There is a huge downtown historic square dating back hundreds of years.  This place was active before the Pilgrims even landed!  If you like art the place is heaven, with hundreds of galleries and the world famous Canyon Road, which houses some of the most exclusive galleries in the US.  You can stroll along and see all kinds of art, even if you don’t have a spare $100,000 to bring home a souvenir.   The “and North” can take you up to Taos (another artist mecca,) or into Colorado, or even west into the Four Corners area (Look it up!)

Hopefully this list has got your wanderlust working overtime.  Go for it and let me know how it goes!

10 Mini Hobbies that can be done in 1 hour a week

Model railroadingYou might ask “Isn’t the idea with retirement that I have lots of time to do the things I enjoy?” “Why do I need hobbies that only take an hour a week?” Well, think two themes – variety and adventurism.

It is great that you can take a hobby that you did before retirement and expand it using some of the free time that retirement hopefully provides. However studies have shown that variety creates the mental stimulation that we all need as we get older.

And we need new adventures with our hobbies. Who knows where a hobby that takes one hour a week can lead. Maybe it will become your biggest hobby because you simply love it. Perhaps it will enable you to connect with new friends. It might even provide a side income someday.

So, let’s start looking at some possibilities to give you some ideas:

Astronomy

Astronomy can be as simple as going out on a clear night, sitting in a comfortable lounge chair and looking up. Then you do some internet research and buy some books to learn about the constellations and movement of the planets. Eventually you pick up some binoculars or even a telescope. Be careful, this hobby can be addicting!

Coin Collecting

You can start this one just by looking at your loose change. Try saving a penny or a nickel for each of the last 25 years. Check out the internet and books and learn about mint marks and the history behind your coins. Surprise yourself when you find all the 100 year old coins you can purchase for very little money. Some coins might even be an investment.

Writing

If you are reading this on a computer chances are you have everything you need to become a writer. Start a blog on a subject you like and write a short post every week. Write a short article on anything and offer it to another blog. Of course you might get the writing bug bad and start that great new novel!

Getting into Nature

This can be as simple as taking a walk in a peaceful place once a week. Are you traveling somewhere? Why not add a nature component with a short hike or wildlife viewing. Do some research on an environmental concern and see how you can help.

Music

Try listening to some unknown performers and find one you like. Find them on YouTube or other online services. If you don’t know where to start talk to a young person. They are probably an expert even if they don’t have your same taste in music!

Crafts

Make something small, clever and easy. We’re not talking an artistic masterpiece here. Anything that is fun!

Collect Something

Stop at one or two yard sales and find something collectable. Or renew an interest you had years ago. I’ve heard Beanie Babies are pretty cheap these days!

Reading

Browse Amazon and add a couple books to your wish list. Figure out where your local library is and pay it a visit. You may be surprised how much they have changed but most still let you borrow books for free. And while you are there drop off a book you have already read as a donation.

Travel

Search the internet and build your own wish list of places to visit. Make a list of all the places you can visit for $1000. Make a list of weekend trips. Or make that travel bucket list and start researching destinations on the list. If you do this a little every week you are sure to turn some of your research into concrete plans.

There are many other hobbies you can begin exploring with very little time. Do some research and use your imagination!
Until next time…

Common Retirement Goals

Live Your Dreams BlackboardIf your idea of retirement was sitting in the easy chair and watching TV twelve hours a day you may have a problem. Not that there is anything wrong with making some use of that easy chair but too much can lead to boredom and assorted health problems. There is even evidence that the “easy chair” lifestyle can lead to a decreased life span!

We need goals, and retirement doesn’t mean the goals stop. Some may prefer the term “themes” as goals have a way of adding stress. Let’s take a closer look at some common retirement “themes” to get your brain thinking.

Travel the world

This one may literally mean world travel. Or it might mean taking some of your newly found free time to discover the world around you, even in your own town.

Write a book

Lots of people have this one. Maybe you should start with some articles or a blog and work your way up to a book. The Internet and newer self-publishing options make writing a book more possible than ever before.

Take a class

For some this may mean going back to college. But it can also mean simply taking a class on some subject that interests you. There are both online and offline options.

Teach a class

Why not teach a class on some topic that you know well and have an interest. Again there are online and offline options and even the possibility to earn a little income.

Take up a new hobby

There are thousands of possibilities. Many are free or low cost. The internet makes it easy to connect with others that share the same interest.

Spend more time with kids / grandkids

This is certainly a common one. Now finds ways to really do it! Make it fun for them so time with you becomes an exciting adventure rather than a duty.

Hike the Appalachian Trail

Oh yeah, many of us have thought of this one and some may even do it. (Those on the west coast of the US may think of the PCT.) This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. You can start with short day hikes and work your way up as your abilities improve.

Fix up an old car

This is a common one for men. It doesn’t have to be a 100K muscle car. There are plenty of 20 year old “cool” cars that you can fix up like new!

Cruise around the world

This is another one that some will really do. Others can save up for a more attainable cruise of a shorter duration. Then again there are those of us that consider a cruise to be taking out a kayak on a local lake on a bright sunny day.

Move to the country (or the city)

I think many that live in the city want to move to the country and many that live in the country want to try an apartment in the city. Go figure! My suggestion is to try and find a way to try the lifestyle on for size before you fully commit.

Volunteer

For some this means the Peace Corp (in the US.) But there are plenty of great causes out there that are just dying for some volunteer help. This might be just occasional or a full time job without pay!

Exercise more

This is one that should be on everybody’s list. So if it isn’t add it and find something that works for you.

Buy a motorhome

Who can resist the urge to spend a half million dollars and cruise down the highway in your luxury rancher on wheels? Again, some will do just that and many will do a more measured variation, like a small travel trailer or just some old fashioned tent camping.

Learn to play a musical instrument

Another common one and some of us will even stick with it. But just because we may give up doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You may even find the passion of your life!

Move to somewhere warm

Another case of those in a cold climate want to move somewhere warm and those in warm climates say they miss the seasons. Again my suggestion is to try to find a way to try your new locale on for size. Some will even prefer a “snowbird” approach where they move south for the winter.

Hopefully this article has given you some food for thought.

Until next time…