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Share Your “Best of Retirement” Experiences – Cruises, Grandchildren Trips, Vacations, Bucket List Item

Category: Travel

September 13, 2016 — Maybe the most fun thing about being retired is the chance to do all the things you have been postponing for so long. Now that your boss has to get along without you, the kids are out of the house (we hope!), and (maybe) you have to money to do something with all your free time, you have the green light for new experiences.

One of the suggestions we’ve heard is to give more emphasis to activities and experiences in retirement. To that end we would like to develop a “Best of” article for all kinds of categories, but we need your help to do it. Could you please pick of a couple of your “Best of” experiences in retirement and a quick description in the Comments section below. We promise to take what we get and try to arrange it in a readable fashion for a future article. Your item doesn’t have to be a luxury extravaganza, in fact simple and inexpensive ideas are even better! You can give your best idea in any category you want – from travel to volunteer activities to hobbies to part time job – whatever has been a “Best” for you.

To get you started, here are some examples from either our own or other peoples’ best of lists:

Galapogos – Many people claim the exploration of these islands west of Peru is one of the most exciting nature trips of all.
Costa Rica – This stable and friendly country in Central American has amazing eco-tourism opportunities.
The National Parks – Now that you are retired you can go in off season – even winter – and beat the crowds. Buy a $5 senior pass and you and everyone in your car go get in to any park – for the rest of your life! Camp or go in an RV and do it even on tight budget.

Grandchildren activities
One grandkid at a time – Our friend takes each kids on a separate trip when they turn 12 or 13. They get to pick from a range. Talk about a chance to bond and create memories.
Share a hobby or activity – If you can figure out what your grandchildren like to do, there is no better way to share time together than to enjoying a mutual hobby (visiting baseball parks, fishing, etc.).

Volunteer jobs
Feeding fish in an aquarium – with SCUBA equipment!
Tutoring or mentoring kids or new immigrants – Can be very satisfying

Bucket List Stuff
Parachuting – George H. W. Bush sure liked it
Hiking all the peaks – in your state or region
Learning a new skill – how to play a new sport or musical instrument
Knitting a sweater – or sewing a quilt for all your grandkids
Following Lewis and Clark’s footsteps – or some other historical pilgrimage

Down the Rhine, Danube, or Mississippi
The Adriatic Sea and Greece
Around New Zealand

Please add your Comments! OK, that’s it for some basic ideas. What have been your personal “Best ofs”? We are hoping to see lots of ideas for us all to share and savor!

For further reading
Best Baby Boomer Road Trips

Posted by Admin on September 13th, 2016


  1. Great idea. The lifetime senior pass is now $10 in person at a Federal recreation site or office, or $20 by mail. Best deal ever!

    by Jan Cullinane — September 14, 2016

  2. Best volunteer experience: Walking dogs for the local animal shelter. A great opportunity to be outside. Fantastic exercise for me. (I’ve lost weight since I started dog walking.) Also the dogs are so happy to be out and to have one-on-one attention. They really do give you unconditional love.

    by Kim — September 14, 2016

  3. We are stuck here in expensive Long Island for a while, but both my wife and I are determined to have a ‘quality’ retirement.
    My wife helps out with the local church. She does some volunteer administrative type work at the grammar school where she used to teach. She has taken up knitting as a hobby and attends a knitting class once a week. She also reads a book a day.
    I have joined a harmonica club and an astronomy club, and I am dabbling in drawing and sketching.
    We both belong to health & fitness clubs to stay, well, … healthy and fit.
    We take two and three day driving excursions in the Spring and Fall.
    If we knew retirement was going to be this good, we would have done it 40 years ago!

    by Frank Ryan — September 14, 2016

  4. Love the idea too, and will enjoy suggestions. In our case, spouse and I had talked about our bucket lists when I was in early 40s, due to unexpected family deaths. We decided to focus the bucket lists, with careful saving. Over a 10-year period:

    We renewed our vows in a church in Sitka, Alaska
    Spouse went deep sea fishing in Argentina, and skiing in Colorado
    We went to Hawaii in February when whales were everywhere

    Spouse was diagnosed with a degenerative terminal disease in early 50s. We then arranged a ceremony on a cruise ship in the Caribbean with our family and some friends after his diagnosis, where we all made commitments to each other about the future we faced. He is gone now, but I’m grateful he got to do the things that he dreamed about. I’m a firm believer in bucket lists, and not postponing the things that you’d like to experience too long. You never know what life will bring.

    Category Trips: I want to see the Grand Canyon and the giant redwoods someday. When I retire, I want to take a road trip across the U.S. to see them! It may sound a little depressing, but I also want to find the cemetery and visit where a set of grandparents are buried. They died when I was a small child, and are buried in a distant state. I’d like to visit the hometown where I grew up too.

    by Kate — September 15, 2016

  5. Kate, Not depressing to visit the grave of your grandparents at all. I’m sure they would be honored even though they never really knew you. When we make our travels away to western destinations (even in-state), we often go out of the way to visit the gravesite of parents at Mtn. Home National Cemetery in east TN. I never leave feeling depressed, but instead it’s as if we continued in some way to share a life.

    by Rich — September 15, 2016

  6. Kate, go for your road trip! I did that after I retired (was curious to see if I could stay awake driving all day!) I did–just stopped if I felt tired and walked around a bit or got a cup of coffee. Got to visit friends all over the country, went to the Grand Canyon for the second time–it’s quite different in the winter–and had a wonderful time. Went to many other national parks as well.

    And congratulations on working on your bucket list prior to retirement!

    I second the recommendation for the National Parks senior pass. Best deal on the planet. It costs $25 just to get into the Grand Canyon.

    by Linda — September 15, 2016

  7. The best retirement activities for me have been the simplest: relaxing with coffee in the peaceful, unrushed mornings, having time to be active (walking) and go to different kinds of fitness classes (yoga, tai chi, Zumba, and more), doing fun things spontaneously (lunch with a friend, go to the beach). I’ve travelled and still have lots of places I’d like to visit-from river cruising in Europe to the National Parks. Taking Master Gardening classes. Learning something new every day. Most of all I’m focusing on daily contentment and appreciation. Find joy each day and enjoy as if it’s your last!

    by Jeanne — September 15, 2016

  8. Jeanne that sounds idyllic to me.

    by Stacey — September 15, 2016

  9. About earlier posts re: senior passes for lifetime access to national parks – I was pleasantly surprised to find that the park service gives free lifetime passes to disabled people (even if not yet seniors). I discovered that about six years ago on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We were also allowed to use our vehicle to drive along the South Rim rather than board the bus. For my disability (multiple sclerosis) this arrangement was a godsend. I love the national parks and to visit Yellowstone and Olympic someday.

    by Tom — September 17, 2016

  10. My wife (soon to join me in retirement) and I are considering pursuing the RV lifestyle for the coming 2-3 years; possibly by late 2017, early 2018. Neither of us are familiar with this type of lifestyle and would encourage any feedback about what and how to learn the basics of being a mobile consumer of parks and generally any experiences related to that type of living.

    Note from Editor: We have had a number of Comments and questions about the RV Lifestyle. Because it was a little hard to find, we are moving our 6 Part series written by Betty Fitterman over to the Blog, where people can Comment and ask questions. Here is the link to Part 1:

    by Peter Callanan — September 21, 2016

  11. Peter, it is important to know where you want to live and when you want to live there in your new RV. However before you got to concerned about where to go and when I would put twice the effort into researching RV’s. There are hundreds, if not thousands of choices. Pull trailers, Fifth Wheels, Type C motor homes and Diesel pushers. We found that the quality of the coach far outweighs all the other reasons to buy an RV. Also, know that you will need a nice large well stocked tool box and the ability to fix what breaks as it breaks, if you let things go they only get worse.

    My wife and I are very lucky in that we found an excellent RV and one that didn’t need too much work from the get go. A few miles is always good (61,000 in our case) on them to insure that most of the small things that go wrong have already gone wrong and you can now reap the benefit of someone else’s travels. I would hesitate to buy new for that reason and of course price. Also the quality of most of the new coaches is not what it was even 10 years ago. Ours is an 03, had 61,000 miles on it, (I was told by the mechanic that checked it out that our motor breaks in well at about 50,000) two slides (bedroom and living/dining room), 43 ft long and has lots of storage capability. The bigger the storage tanks the better, especially the fresh water and black. We pull a 22 ft trailer with our car and misc items in it as well (70 ft overall) so if you intend on towing you will need to make sure you have ample horse power. Our first coach was a bit underpowered, I can tell you from experience an underpowered coach will do nothing but frustrate you when pulling the hills and you’ll find yourself wanting to trade it in for bigger one soon. Ours is a Blue Bird Wanderlodge but there are many good ones out there, here is the website that you can check out for the Blue Birds, not sure where you can find some the other makes and models,, the man that runs this site (Randy) is extremely knowledgable on Blue Birds and can help you allot, there is zero pressure to buy anything. Personally I highly recommend a Blue Bird (yes the same Blue Bird Company that makes the school buses), the quality is amazing and workmanship is beyond comparison. There is a very good dedicated website, the owners of these coaches stick together like glue, if you ever do have an issue there are many people that will walk you through it. We love our Wanderlodge and would never own another make. That’s just my two cents worth, I’m sure there are many others that can help out as well. On the location thing, my wife and I have traveled the west coast (Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona) so far. South from Tucson AZ (which is where we are now) to north of Seattle, where we make our summer home. We are looking forward to making a trip east to GA in March or April of 17 to explore even more areas of interest. Good luck on your search, feel free to write should you have questions,

    by Dick Pierson — September 23, 2016

  12. This comment came from Dave:
    Hey, I noticed on your “best of” a listing of some cruise ideas. Well, my wife and I found the Alaska inside passage on Holland America to be the most relaxing week we can ever remember spending! Isolation from media, cell phones and few, if any children on the cruise made for an absolutely wonderful week. And if you have the time, there certainly is lot’s more to see and do up there, as well…Danali, Vancouver, Seattle…just a wonderful place to spend some time in the summer!

    Dave Balius

    by Admin — September 23, 2016

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