August 25, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
Some North American retirees choose a different kind of expat life; instead of settling down, they hit the road and keep on truckin’
By David Wallis
Some call themselves “senior gypsies.” Others prefer “international nomad.” David Law, 74, a retired executive recruiter who has primarily slept in tents in several countries in the last two years, likes the ring of “American Bedouin.”
They are American retirees who have downsized to the extreme, choosing a life of travel over a life of tending to possessions. And their numbers are rising.
Mr. Law and his wife, Bonnie Carleton, 69, who are selling their house in Santa Fe, N.M., spoke recently by phone from a campground in Stoupa, Greece, a village on the southern coast of the Peloponnese. He explained that they roam the world to “get the broadest and most radical experience that we can get.”
They recently decided to fold their tent. “Hey, we’re getting to be too old for this,” said Mr. Law about camping out. But they intend to continue what he termed their “endless holiday” in a more comfortable and spacious recreational vehicle.
Between 1993 and 2012, the percentage of all retirees traveling abroad rose to 13 percent from 9.7 percent, according to the Commerce Department.
About 360,000 Americans received Social Security benefits at foreign addresses in 2013, about 48 percent more than 10 years earlier. An informal survey of insurance brokers found greater demand by older clients for travel medical policies. (Medicare, with a few exceptions, does not cover expenses outside the United States). While many retirees ultimately return home or become expatriates, some live like vagabonds.
Lynne Martin, 73, a retired publicist and the author of “Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World,” is one. Three years ago, she and her husband, Tim, 68, sold their three-bedroom house in Paso Robles, Calif., gave away most of their possessions, found a home for their Jack Russell terrier, Sparky, and now live in short-term vacation rentals they usually find through HomeAway.com.
The Martins have not tapped their savings during their travels, alternating visits to expensive cities like London with more reasonable destinations like Lisbon. “We simply traded the money we were spending for overhead on a house and garden in California for a life in much smaller but comfortable HomeAway rentals in more interesting places,” Ms. Martin said by email from Paris.
On her blog, http://barefootlovey.wordpress.com/, Stacy Monday, 50, a former paralegal and mediator who lived in Knoxville, Tenn., wrote: “I used to dream about all the places I would go as soon as I was old enough to get away. But then … life happened.” On May 1, 2010 — like many itinerant baby boomers Ms. Monday can quickly recall the date her journey started — she embarked on her dream trip. She “crisscrossed the U.S. three times” and visited Mexico, Ireland, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and many other countries.
“I sold everything I had,” Ms. Monday recalled earlier this summer from San Francisco before she headed to Las Vegas, Dallas, Memphis and Knoxville. “I paid off all of my debt. I have no bills and no money.” She estimates that she now spends $150 a month — sometimes less if she is saving up for a flight — and earns a modest income through “odds-and-ends jobs,” as well as the tip jar on her blog.
To stick to her tight budget, Ms. Monday volunteers for nonprofits and organic farms in exchange for room and board or finds free places to stay through Couchsurfing.org. The company puts its membership of people 50 and older at about 250,000.
Ms. Monday monitors ride-share boards at Couchsurfing and Craigslist for free or inexpensive transportation, and she travels light. “I get away with a couple pairs of jeans, a pair of shorts, a skirt and four or five shirts and a pair of pajamas,” she said.
When she answers the ubiquitous question, What do you do? Ms. Monday notices that most women respond with encouragement, while many men are less supportive. “They say: ‘You should be home. That’s not safe. You are old.’ I get that from a lot of the men,” she said.
Hal E. Hershfield, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of California, Los Angeles who studies the influence of time on consumer behavior, observes that many “pre-retirees” still assume retirement is a “decrepit, sitting on a porch, maybe playing golf, ice-tea type of life.”
But current retirees are “changing the way they think,” he said, “because they are still healthy and sort of young at heart.” In the last 50 years, retirement “wasn’t this period that we spent years and years in,” Mr. Hershfield continues. “It really, truly was the end of life.”
Galit Nimrod, a research fellow at the Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Aging at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, says an extended postretirement trip can assuage a sense of loss from ending a career. Travel can “act as a neutral, transitional zone between voluntary or imposed endings and new beginnings” and “serve as a healthy coping mechanism,” Dr. Nimrod said by email.
Gary D. Norton, 69, acknowledges that he felt “afraid of retirement” when he left his job of 34 years as a science professor at a South Dakota community college.
In 2002, he and his wife, Avis M. Norton, 67, a retired farmer, sold their house, bought an R.V. and started volunteering full time for two nonprofits: Nomads on a Mission Active in Divine Service, or Nomads, and RV Care-A-Vanners, an initiative of Habitat for Humanity.
The couple typically rebuilds houses damaged by natural disasters, projects that usually last several weeks. Mr. Norton, who now specializes in drywall finishing, and his wife, who studied carpentry, say they cherish the chance to give back to society while seeing the country. “Now what we’re doing is so satisfying and fulfilling, even though we have some health issues, we say we don’t want to quit,” said Mr. Norton, who estimated that he and his wife had repaired damaged homes in 28 states.
The chance to volunteer on international conservation projects and the opportunity to live like a local inspired Danila Mansfield, 58, and her husband, Chris Gill, 64, to sell their house in San Jose, Calif., last year. They got rid of nearly everything they owned — the exceptions being two suitcases, clothing and a pair of guitars (Mr. Gill’s prized Gibson ES-335 electric guitar is stowed at a friend’s house, but he totes around a travel guitar) — and do not even rent a storage space.
The purge of possessions was “a little nerve-racking” at first, but ultimately “hugely liberating,” said Ms. Mansfield, who is currently in South Africa. She and her husband plan to volunteer on game reserves to protect endangered species and then study great white sharks.
So far, their travels have surpassed expectations. They drove from San Jose to Florida over five months, before cruising to Europe. High points included meeting a judge at a bar in Amarillo, Tex., who invited them to visit his drug court, catching crawfish with locals in Louisiana’s bayou country and making new friends in Austin, Tex., who invited the couple to stay with them in South Africa.
But Ms. Mansfield has also hit bumps in the road. In Galveston, Tex., and New Orleans, an acute respiratory illness required three visits to urgent care centers. “It was really dragging me down,” she recalled. At one point she cried for home, but then managed to brighten her mood. “I kept telling myself, ‘This is home,’ ” Ms. Mansfield said. “Where I am is home.”
This man isn’t a world traveler, except as he participates in World Games, but I have carried his magazine article around with me for several years. His name is Raul Guarro, and he’s now in his eighties and a liver transplant survivor, winning medals in track competitions. The following has been translated by Google and I see that his name comes out to be Raul Piggy, as that must be the meaning of his last name, Guarro. Well, this skinny little piggy is certainly going to market these days.
High Magazine: Life stories of people transplanted – June 23, 2014
Raul Piggy receiving a medal at the World Games for Traplantados XIX Durban, South Africa. It noted that in July last year, the Ministry of Health of the Nation, Aerolineas Argentinas and INCUCAI signed anagreement that establishes procedures for air transport of organs, tissues, cells and involved in the development of trasplantológica activity. The agreement is intended to promote opportunities and quality of life for people who need a transplant and strengthen the federal health system.Below, we share the life story of Raul Piggy, transplanted liver and sportsman, published in the Journal Alta, Aerolineas Argentinas (pages 186/187).
In life, many personal victories depend on a positive attitude. Raul Piggy proves it and his story is an example of struggle and overcoming. Born in San Juan Mendoza but by choice, it is closer to 80 than 70 and is known among athletes transplanted as “the grandfather of the Argentina delegation.” His record of achievement starts in 2007, a year after liver transplantation with whom he left behind nearly 35 years of illness made. He embraced life and participated in the Argentine Games in Mar del Plata and won his first gold medal. He was excited. Since 2010, in the VIII Argentine and Latin American Games won 10 medals in athletics and swimming (9 gold, 1 silver) and scored a record 100 meter sprint.
As part of this event it was that was awarded to the athlete “more attitude to life”, voted by his peers. The following year he crossed the ocean and was part of the XIX World Games World Transplant Games in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he won five medals. In 2012 he encouraged the Argentine Games IX and VI Latin for Athletes Transplanted and returned home with 10 gold medals.
But there were still huge challenges along the way. In February 2013 he was able to fulfill one of his dreams: to display the flag of transplantation in Cruce de los Andes, Gesta Liberation Sanmartiniana San Juan forwarding – Chile. Feat accomplished by crossing the Andes at an altitude of 5000 meters. mule and become the first transplanted to reach the summit was recognized by the Government of the Province of San Juan. Later, in July, he participated in the XIX World Transplant Games to be held in Durban – South Africa, where I had an excellent performance.
If asked, his family is the source of hope and reason for each effort. Each new conquest is devoted to his children and grandchildren and the memory of his wife. Is your next challenge? A full training for the World Games to be held in 2015 in Argentina. -organizados Games for TransplantGames World Federation (WTGF) with the aim of spreading the importance of donation- summon thousands of athletes from more than 50 nations competing in 13 different sports including athletics, swimming, tennis included table, badminton, bowling, cycling and volleyball. In 2013 the event took place in Durban, South Africa and next year will be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
August 5, 2015 by admin · Leave a Comment
Here’s an account of my experience during my second Around-The-World trek through the Southern Hemisphere in 2012
This actually took place in a very nice hostel in Wellington, New Zealand, but it could be representative of hostel life anywhere.
Two of my roommates were shy, silent German girls who never said a word to anybody. Their English was good and they conversed between themselves, mostly in whispers, but didn’t acknowledge other dorm occupants. This usually created an awkward silence among all of the room’s residents.
Here I am, an old lady in anybody’s book, but such an experienced hosteller that I usually don’t encounter anyone with whom I can’t converse. However, in the course of a few days, I’d only succeeded in learning their names. At last, after making my ongoing reservations to travel south to Nelson, New Zealand, I learned that they were taking the same route, at the same time, to the same hostel, the Paridiso. We might even be travelling together. Fun!
I apologized for haunting them. They shrugged. Frankly, I was the disappointed one to learn these travel facts, as I usually prefer rooming with looser-goose people. Here’s an example of how bad things were: I few days before, I’d entered our stiffly-silent room. These young Germans and a Canadian girl, named Sarah, were stretched silently in their bunks. Later, thought Sarah might be dead, because she spent all day lying with her notepad computer inches from her face. Sometimes, the ipad was collapsed upon her eyes or nose.
One afternoon, Sarah lay on her side with earbuds on, maybe watching a movie on the sideways computer contraption. I could see her eyes this time, wide open and fixed upon the screen. I said to her, “Do your eyes actually work sideways? I don’t think mine do.” No answer! There was no movement or acknowledgement of my entry. Catatonic, maybe? That’s when I thought of the Dead Analogy. Some people die with their eyes open.
Last night, I entered the room and saw one encouraging change. A blue blanket was strung across the front of Sarah’s bunk, like the privacy shields that I create around my own lower bunk with sarongs. I credited her with a move towards privacy, rather than the meek, German girls’ denial of sharing the room with a dead body. Anyway, this time, I decided to ruin the stiff silence by asking if anyone had gone to the nearby Embassy Theatre, location of the famed Hobbit premier held there just two months ago. Yes! Sarah had just seen the gorgeous decoration of the theater’s interior and she highly recommended it.
Wellllllll? That simple interchange broke the ice and the three girls introduced themselves and started talking. I snuggled into the cave of my sarong-shielded lower bunk, but I heard Sarah inviting them to go bar-hopping in half an hour and they accepted and went. Voila!
This morning was as quiet as ever, so I figured that it’s their normal set point. Dead Girl Sarah was actually up and getting dressed! She, in her silent, almost-zombie way, has made me think about the future. I believe that I’m seeing the evidence of a future medical nightmare tsunami by watching the constant incorporation of this generation’s use of their digital gadgets. Even to the future permanent neck crick that comes from focusing on the little phone in both hands, texting with two thumbs, and the hearing loss associated with hours of earbuds for music and sound track. This was probably why they didn’t respond to my conversational attempts.
Or, spinal curvature from the odd slouch, when the weight is on the mid-spine against the couch and the neck or head is at right angles; with again, the two hands supporting the vital instrument, usually with thumbs in play. It’s endemic! It’s epidemic! Spoken by an observer of many, many countries. Generally, the subject’s age is around twenty, which means that this generation was born in the early nineties and has grown up with something captivating in their hands, always carried near their bodies, which they answer automatically at a ring or a click. The human race is growing a new, electronic appendage.
I just read a news item about gorillas and chimps who are using such devices now as a part of some scientific experiments. These lucky primates are even developing an individual fondness for certain apps and games. They don’t communicate over them…..yet… but they can entertain themselves. Just like today’s affluent human toddlers.
August 5, 2015 by admin · 1 Comment
MY FIRST TRAVEL VIDEO – A PREVIEW OF THINGS TO COME!
Here’s my traveling video….. a sizzle reel produced by Rock Richardson of Warrior Films, LCC, to entice a Reality TV Series into following my travels around the world when I set out this Fall for my
“Around The World In 80 Years” epic adventure
to travel for two years straight, solo backpacking, until I turn 80 in 2017, and then to keep going for at least two years after that.
My time in Santa Fe has been great, but is coming to a conclusion in mid-September. After a nice long visit with my family, I’ll take off to travel solo throughout the Caribbean Island chain, Central and South America. Throughout that long journey I’ll be filming myself with my new miniature camera and its gadgets.
So, stay tuned.