Even though we made it to our RV resort in Yuma Arizona and immediately enjoyed all that our park and golf resort had to offer, we wanted to get to a remote area for an overnight in the desert. About a week after we arrived and attached our luxury motorhome to full hook-ups, we loaded up our Jeep with tent camping basics with the intention of roughing it.
We packed a cooler, pots and pans, sleeping bags and bedrolls, a cook stove, cots, rocking camp chairs, gas fire pit, and a tent. After all, we’re retired, we don’t want to rough it too much by sleeping on the hard ground.
We drove about 25 miles on a rough gravel road from the farmland and desert to the hills of Picacho State Park just across the Arizona-California border. Then we set up camp, pitched our tent, and went on a hike through the abandoned mining camp and town along the Colorado River.
The area is steeped in history and there are still working mines in the area. We enjoyed the interpretative signs that brought the ghost town to life. It was easy to visualize what life was like in this remote area just after the turn of the century.
We enjoyed a hearty dinner and settled into our comfy chairs and our cozy blankets around the gas fire. Our reason for coming was to see the stars in the dark night sky, but unfortunately just as we sat down, the clouds blew in and we were sprinkled by the rain. So much for seeing the stars! In January, the desert gets cold at night and the sun goes down around 6 p.m.
We put on headlamps and read for a while and went to sleep early. But part way through the night, around midnight, things got noisy and bright. I woke up to the sound of coyotes howling, lots of them and they were very close. Then I realized that someone was shining their car headlights right into our tent and it was completely lit up.
I got up and went outside the tent to see what was going on and realized that no, it wasn’t a car, it was the moon. A gigantic full moon! Which of course didn’t help with seeing the stars. Then we heard the hee-haws of feral burros. Hundreds of them! We were surrounded and they seemed to be everywhere.
I quickly went back inside the tent, zipped it tight, climbed into my sleeping back, and listened to the midnight concert in stereo of coyotes and burros under the bright light of the moon. I’m not quite sure if the burros were sounding the alarm that they and their babies were in danger or whether they were braying because the coyotes were howling at the moon.
But either way, I’ll never forget our night in the desert. While this type of experience was never on a bucket list, being retired and experiencing the sights, sounds, and even smells that night, especially those that were so different than what I’m used to at home in rainy Washington, made for an unforgettable memory.
Say what you will about social media such as Facebook and Instagram, but for retirees, it has been a portal for us to connect with old friends. Following a class reunion, way before the pandemic took hold and many of us retired, we shared our contact information or invited each other to be friends on Facebook.
In the intervening 46 years since graduation for the Class of ‘76, it was really hard to connect or know where people landed. But through the magic of having the ability to search for “friends finding friends”, we have been able to reconnect with people that we attended elementary school, junior high, and high school together. This has been a huge source of joy for us.
We reached out to two friends that retired much earlier than we did. We set up phone dates, asked them lots of questions, took our maiden voyage in our motorhome across the mountains to their home and spent a fun weekend golfing and planning for the winter.
There is something about reconnecting with people that have a shared life experience during retirement. We were in awe that it seemed like no time had passed since we had seen each other, even though it was many, many years. We caught up on family news and retold stories from our childhood. Mainly we laughed and laughed.
They wisely left a month earlier in mid-November than we did. Pro-tip in an RV: head south before the heavy rains and snow is flying. We followed them to Arizona and they were so great about sharing their travel wisdom. When we ran into travel challenges, it was so nice to be able to text them to let them know where we were and what was happening.
When we finally arrived, we were welcomed and shown around. Recommendations on where to eat, go golfing and sightseeing made us feel like locals. It was so nice to have friends in this new city we were trying out.
We met for dinner a few times and spent time sharing about classmates we have lost during the past nearly 50 years and shared some of our own health concerns as well as plans for the future.
If you are retiring soon or are recently retired, I encourage you to reach out to old friends if you can find them now, before it is too late. While it is wonderful to make brand new friends, and you definitely will, the richness of reconnecting with old friends, who know your story, share the same dating and family experiences, and usually have a similar perspective on life has been one of the most rewarding parts of retirement. How often during your working years did you have the time or ever make the time to reconnect? Find someone today and see what happens!
We are back again following Barbara Mock through her retirement journey. Barbara talks about what has been a summer of reconnecting so far.
Reconnecting with Family
In our last episode, Barbara was talking about cleaning up the yard in preparation for a graduation party for her niece. She has since had the party and talks about how nice it was to reconnect with family. Since the beginning of COVID Barbara has had other nieces graduate but their celebrations had to be virtual. This was a treat to have everyone together in person Barbara had a wonderful time with her family and it felt good to be together. She also talks about reconnecting with one of her uncles at the party.
Connecting with New and Old friends
Barbara and her husband met new friends while they were traveling in their motorhome. They were able to get together with them recently and spent 3 days in their home. They enjoyed riding bikes, golfing, and swimming. Barbara doesn’t remember a time when she met people during her travels and then actually reconnected with them later down the road. It meant a lot to her to foster the new friendship.
She also talks about getting together with friends they have had for many years.
Reconnecting with Grandkids
With their recent RV travels, Barbara and her husband haven't been able to spend a lot of time with their grandkids. Since returning, Barbara has been able to enjoy being a grandma and spending a lot more time with them. She feels fortunate that she is able to see them more than just on Holidays as she now has the time since she is retired.
New adventures on the horizon
7 months on an RV journey! That is what Barbara will be doing as of September. They will be going to South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, and Colorado. And who knows where else they may wind up. We discuss the planning for the trip which has been a fun but massive undertaking. Barbara is excited to get back on the road in their RV but does mention that there can be some cons when it comes to traveling this way. You never know what the weather will bring, sometimes the views aren't as picturesque as you would imagine and the cost can be pretty significant sometimes.
I know I look forward to hearing more about their travels and it will also be interesting to see if 7 months straight with Barbara and her husband traveling together will drive them bonkers! 😊
The Go-Go Years vs The Slower-Go Years
Barbra and I talk about trying to have discussions in advance on what you see for your life during your 60’s, 70’s, 80's, and beyond.
A very dear friend of mine who was in my synchronized swimming class with me said “don’t wait until you are 80 to figure out where you are going to go because if you do, you are going to wind up in a crisis. Start thinking about what you want to do. Don’t wait and figure it out. This is very good advice.
All though I think it varies for everyone The Go-Go Years are typically ages 65-75. These are the years to focus on family, travel, etc. Anything that may be on your bucket list and requires an active lifestyle.
The Slow-Go Years are typically ages age 76 to 85. They may look a little different as many people are still active but at a slower pace.
Photos and Memories
During the graduation party, Barbara's father came to visit and was searching for photos and scanning them into his iPad. He wants to remember things from her and her mom’s younger years. This got Barbara thinking about her own photos. So she is now tearing apart her old photo albums and getting digitized. It has been a trip through memory lane for her.
In a previous episode, Barbara talks about a gift from her daughter which was Storyworth. Her story is completed and her next project is to go through her mom's journals and create a Storyworth of her Mother's memories and photos. She passed away over 20 years ago and until now Barbara has never read these journals.
I think most of us lived in the era of disposable cameras and going to pick up our pictures at the store. Maybe you have photo albums or boxes of photos. Perhaps take the time to not only digitize your photos but turn them into something that people can look at. Work on capturing the memories for future generations to look at and read about.
Websites mentioned in the episode
Trusted Housesitters– If you use this link, you'll get 25% off your membership, and I'll get a couple of months added to mine
Shortly after purchasing our brand new motorhome all of our plans for touring the Oregon and California coast on our way to Arizona quickly fell apart. For 21 days we were in limbo as five different technicians worked to diagnose and fix the problem, namely that our motorhome wouldn’t start. Not even a click when we turned the key in the ignition.
Never mind that it was the middle of winter in the Pacific Northwest, including ice and snow storms and relentless rain. All of our plans to start our snowbird adventure were suddenly canceled.
What I learned during this time is that in retirement, flexibility is key. Keeping a positive attitude, choosing to view challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, and sticking together as a couple when the situation is tough helps you endure some hard days.
I also learned that it is possible to live very simply without the many creature comforts we’ve come to enjoy. While we were living in a beautiful motorhome, we were essentially “boondocking.” We had no power, water, or sewer hook-ups for seven days. We were in survival mode and resorted to getting through this time by taking it one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Focusing on how to get through the day and keep smiling was often a challenge. Meals, showers, and sleeping took more effort than we expected.
We both decided to take the high road and not take out our frustration on the people who were trying to help us. We discovered that having patience, encouraging each other when we were discouraged and feeling a little hopeless, and even laughing about our situation helped make the time go by faster.
When the problem was finally diagnosed we still had to endure. Due to weather, supply chain issues, and delivery challenges we waited five more days for our parts to arrive. During these days we looked for chances to make the best of the situation. It was fantastic that in spite of not being able to head south as planned, we were able to unhook our Jeep and went out on two local hikes when the rain stopped and the sun finally came out. A big highlight was when we decided to take two days and a quick overnight to see the Redwoods in Oregon and Northern California.
We were truly grateful that we were able to make the best of our situation and check off one of our bucket list National Parks. Before we knew it we were finally on the road again, heading to the sun. While we will never forget this time, we are proud that instead of turning on each other, or worse, turning on the people whose job it was to get things fixed we endured and chose forgiveness and grace. Now when we sit around the campfire at various RV resorts and share our story with other RVers we are able to laugh about it.
What makes it even better is that we have now learned that “everyone” has an RV story to share. When a house is built on top of a truck chassis and then you roll it over potholes and bumps down the Interstate and highways, things break, appliances vibrate and nuts and bolts come loose. It is just all part of the adventure. Now that we are on the road again and our first round of warranty work has been completed we are loving every minute of our retirement journey in a motorhome!
Losing a loved one tends to be a traumatic, life-changing event. You’re likely to be overwhelmed by grief and pain. If you shared your home with them, that makes it harder still. You’re inundated with memories of them and your time together in every room and around every corner – all this while you try to somehow manage your day-to-day duties and chores.
Sometimes the best option for your overall health and mental sanity is to move house and seek a fresh start elsewhere. While it probably won’t take away from your loss, it will, at the very least, help you to function better.
This article offers advice on starting somewhere else anew after the loss of your loved one, including all the critical considerations you need to make before the move:
Fewer painful memories: You won’t be confronted with specific memories of your loved one anymore, whether of your time spent together at home or outside in your old haunts.
New connections: You will have a chance to meet new people, with different life stories and histories, who may help take your mind off your loss.
New experiences: A new home in a new city gives you a chance to have a new start in life, and maybe do all things you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off.
Which of your loved one’s possessions should you keep?
Your loved one may have left some possessions behind. These may include meaningful items and non-meaningful ones. You may want to keep the ones that they – or you – cared about as a keepsake and donate the rest. It’s impractical to keep everything, not to mention giving stuff away can help you come to terms with the loss.
If you’re having trouble letting go of some items, you can put them in storage until you can decide what to do. Some storage centers offer discounts to new customers, so it’s not always unaffordable. For instance, there are a lot of options for storage units in San Diego, CA for as low as $77 per month.
Prepare your house for a sale
If you own a house – or your loved one did – then you will probably want to sell it before you move elsewhere. There are several steps involved with preparing the house for a sale, especially if it was owned by the deceased:
Check the legal status of the house.
Get all parties with a stake in the house to agree upon a sale.
Figure out your potential profit minus expenses.
Figure out how much tax would be owed.
See if maintenance and upgrades are needed.
List the house for sale and consider staging it.
Accept an offer and close.
Note that selling a house can take months. You could rent a new place in the interim if you need to move.
You can hire services to make the move easier
Professionals can make your move simpler. For instance, a good real estate agent can sell your home and also find you a new place. Other professionals you might want to approach include cleaners, handymen, and movers. Kerb offers a moving expense checklist that should help you figure out the potential expenses involved in making the move using professional assistance.
Moving your business to a new location
Moving a business to a new location will be a challenge, to say the least. It’s a good idea to minimize the disruption as much as possible. To this effect, some suggestions are early planning, labeling boxes carefully, setting up a remote work facility, hiring reputable movers, and having a “staggered” move – keeping your old worksite open until the new one is set up fully.
Consider your family’s safety
You’ll be starting a new life in an unknown neighborhood, in a new city or town. You can make your family feel – and be – safer by purchasing some gadgets or items like sleepers, window guards, safety gates, home security systems, baby monitors, and safety locks. It’s always a good idea to read in-depth reviews and family care advice from unbiased sources before you make any purchase to avoid problems down the road.
Don’t forget to look after yourself
Losing a loved one is stressful, as is moving. You need to prioritize your well-being. Some suggestions are finding ways to de-stress, taking plenty of breaks, going out in nature, exercising, and asking for help. A good self-help regime will make the whole move easier and you’ll be able to settle in faster. It can also assist you in overcoming your grief.
Keep in mind that moving might not be the best option in all cases. Grief and Sympathy advises against it if you have physical problems or don’t have social support at the new location. Consider the pros and cons carefully before you make a final decision. If you do decide to move, make sure that you plan things out a few weeks in advance to make it as stress-free as possible.
About the Author: Sharon Wagner is the creator of SeniorFriendly.info and the author of the upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Senior-Friendly Workouts, Fitness Gear, Healthy Recipes, and More. With both her website and her book, she hopes to provide helpful tips, tricks, advice, and product recommendations that help seniors stay active and engaged as they age.
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Kathe Kline has been working with retirees for over 25 years. She discovered that retirement is not just about money and insurance, but is also about: Social & Family; Adventure & Travel; Volunteer & Philanthropy; Spirit & Soul, Sexual issues, and Sandwich Generation issues or helping your family members as they age
This site will host the podcast interviews that we will do with people who are Rocking their own Retirement, or who provide services to you so that you can Rock Your Retirement!