Ellen Williamson retired in 2007 after 36 years of Federal service with the Department of Defense. She was also a professor for 15 years as a “jobby”. I love this combination of hobby and job, or a hobby with pay!
Anyway, she continues to consult with firms interested in Federal Government Acquisition on an ad hoc basis.
Although she has varied interests, including travel, hiking, charity and cultural events, we spent most of our time talking about a senior services club she belongs to called GetOffYourRockers.org.
I took the liberty of going on the website to see what this senior services club was all about. Here is a list of currently available activities:
Biking. Every Monday
Bowling. The second and fourth Thursdays
Foot Golf (I'd never heard of this before now!)
Hiking (once a month on Fridays)
Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Ushering (volunteering at a theatre)
Walking (every evening)
If you can't get your heart's desire with GOYR, then you are a tough nut to crack for sure!
Not only does this senior services club help her get out and do what she likes to do, but it also helps her keep in touch with friends, and make new ones.
In addition, it provides support for people who are recently retired, or just thinking about it. You can hang out with someone who's already retired, and you can talk to someone who can help you recognize that retirement doesn't have to be scary.
Ellen reminded me that change of any kind, including retirement, can take up to a year and a half to be OK with it.
We've had many guests say the same thing. I think joining a club like this is a great way to go.
But what if your town doesn't have a senior services club like GOYR? You can start one of your own. These days, Meetup makes it easy, and we've had other episodes that talk about Meetup. Go check them out and then start or join a club of your own.
John Brocato will talk to us about traveling solo.
John had the fortune (or misfortune) of growing up a Kansas City Royals fan living in St. Louis Cardinals territory. John’s two primary hobbies are baseball and travel. He decided to write a book about his adventures which is called Road Trips, Routes, and Royals.
John is the first to admit that he is difficult to travel with. He likes to go “off the beaten path”. This is one of the reasons he began traveling solo. John has some fascinating stories to tell about his travels and he gives a TON of great information in this episode.
John mostly travels to see baseball games, and works other travel around those games. He also likes to visit Presidential Libraries. There are still three he needs to visit.
Here are some of the tips John talks about in his interview for traveling solo and “on the cheap!”
Start close to home to build your confidence
Be loyal to certain hotel chains which will allow you to get points or rewards for discounted prices or even free nights
Strike up conversations and talk with other travelers to get their recommendations for attractions or places to eat
Know what you absolutely have to include on your trip first BUT also allow for spontaneous excursions
Limit your driving to no more than 300 to 400 miles per day
John also talks about being a member of Rewards Network who is partnered with a number of different reward programs. You can earn hotels points, frequent flyer miles or other various incentive programs. He also uses the program to find obscure restaurants in various cities he visits.
If you would like to contact John check out his Facebook page where he posts his travel pictures!
Medical tourism can be defined as the process of traveling outside the country of residence for the purpose of receiving medical care.
OMG, I had two guests on this episode, so you get two for the price of one! Or is it double trouble? I’ll let you decide.
I brought Billy and Akaisha Kaderli on the show for a couple of reasons. They retired when they were 38 years old. Yes, you read that correctly. So they have now beat out WENDY HOLT for being the youngest retiree on the show. Or should I use my new word Time Shifter? you can read more about Time shifting on the Rock your Retirement website. Billy and Akaisha are experts in a lot of areas, including Medical Tourism which is another reason I wanted them on the show.
Billy and Aikaisha feel that the medical care they receive outside of the US is better than the care they receive in the US and at a fraction of the price. After 5 weeks in Mexico, Billy needed a new crown. He was able to see four different dentists and get his issue resolved. It only cost him $4,900 pesos or about $250 US dollars!
Things you may not have known about Medical Tourism:
Many doctors train overseas and then practice in the US
Medical providers usually speak English
Or you can get a translator that does
Thailand has the best Medical tourism
According to the Kaderlis
You'll know in advance what your medical procedure is going to cost
Some providers offer concierge service
They'll come to you!
You can get same day service
We also spent some time talking about:
How they decided to retire so early and how it affected their relationship
Living outside of the US and how they dealt with the culture shock.
I spoke with Tammie Ferguson who owns Love in Action Travel. Don't you just love that name? Tammie talks about socially responsible travel. Tammie created Love in Action travel for people who want to combine their love of travel with their passion for serving others and making a positive difference.
We spent a good amount of time talking about “Voluntourism” Trips. They plan itineraries to different countries such as Guatemala, Haiti, and Puerto Rico. People can sign up and join on the trip. These are 9-10 day itineraries with 5 days of that being spent building a home.
Some of the projects they work on are:
Habitat for Humanity global village home builds
Creating Healthy Home kits, including smokeless stoves and water filters
Why Responsible Travel?
Great opportunity to meet new people
Explore a different country
Learn a new skill
Although prices vary and can change, Tammie has a trip planned to Guatemala in June and the (2017) fee is $1,870. The trip fee includes meals, lodging, any cultural activities, ground transportation, the community service project that you will be involved in, and even travel medical insurance. You pay for the flight, money for souvenirs if you want any, and bring extra for that massage after all your hard work!
Tammie also talks about the other trips she plans which include Agritourism Experiences, Cultural Tours, and Fathom Cruises
Henry and Rod had a great discussion about living this lifestyle, caravaning and how free it feels. He asked them how they started (after all, moving into such a tiny movable space isn't something that you do every day for sure!) The Holts started small. They new that they needed to acclimate themselves to this lifestyle so they started with short trips to get acquainted with living in an RV, and then they decided to see every corner of Australia. That's when they began RVing across Australia.
During the interview Henry gets them to discuss issues such as:
How to choose the right RV for you
Important issues to look for
Where to store your RV
How to stay safe on the road
The pleasures of going where ever you want to go
Rod took control of his life at an early age, and this allowed Tina and him to design a life around their own priorities. They were more concerned about their lifestyle than getting a good education and then working for the rest of their lives.
Rod cares more about freedom, meeting new people, and exploring!
If you want to learn more about how to include RVing into your Retirement lifestyle, or how you can actually live in an RV, check out Rock Your Retirement Episode 48, How to Live in an RV.
What about you?
Tell us about your experiences in an RV in the comments below.
Diane Valenti loves to travel and is especially enthusiastic about philanthropic and sustainable travel.
She is the founder of Llama Expeditions, which gives private guided trips to South America. These trips are for the young at heart who looking for life changing perspectives. Oh, and for her 9-5 corporate job, she consults with Fortune 500 companies to design learning experiences that help employees reach their potential at work.
In 2008 Diane and her father took a trip to Machu Pichu to fulfill one of his bucket list items. It was a magical experience that really moved her. Diane decided she wanted to create these experiences for others.
With each tour she makes a donation, and she also gives the opportunity for her guests to donate.
She chooses the organizations who get her philanthropic attention by researching them at Idealist. Diane wants to leave a trace…but the right kind of trace.
This is not what some people call “voluntourism”. These groups are not painting walls, only for the next group to repaint them. (Yes this happens!)
These are trips where you really get to know the people. And you get to see that your donation makes a difference.
And that's how you can participate in sustainable tourism. It's Philanthropic tourism at it's best.