WHENEVER FOLKS declare that their goal is to one day write a novel, or get in great physical shape, or learn to speak Italian, my immediate reaction is always the same: If these were things they really had a burning desire to do, they’d have done them already.
Which is why you should be skeptical of the article that follows.
Now that I’ve turned 60, I’m thinking about how I’ll divvy up my time in the years ahead. Today, my life is lopsided—nine or 10 hours a day devoted to HumbleDollar, plus an hour for exercise in the morning, maybe a 30-minute walk in the afternoon, and the evenings given over to family. I like to think HumbleDollar performs an important public service, I get a lot of satisfaction from running the site and I have no desire to give it up. Still, I want to be a little more selfish in how I use my time.
What does that mean? My wish list for my 60s is a work in progress. It’s hardly the most exciting list. But here’s where things currently stand:
Work less. As I mentioned a month ago, I’m scaling back the number of articles posted on HumbleDollar. My hope: I can reduce my workload so the site devours my mornings but leaves the afternoons free for other activities. Still, we all need a sense of purpose in retirement—a reason to get out of bed in the morning—and, for me, HumbleDollar will be it. If I didn’t have work to do that I felt was important, I suspect I’d quickly find myself bored, restless and unhappy.
Travel more. Many HumbleDollar writers and commenters have emphasized that you should travel internationally in your 60s because, at some point in your 70s, long flights and foreign lands will seem too taxing. This is advice I’m taking to heart. One of my retirement goals is to spend three months of each year away from home.
I could imagine, say, staying for a month in the relative warmth of Georgia during the winter, a month in Ireland in June, and another month in France in September. The idea is to find an intriguing place where we can settle in and explore the area, but I can also continue to write and edit. Much of the internet may be a cesspool of damaging nonsense, but it’s also liberating for those of us who want to both travel and work.
That brings me to a topic that I’m currently negotiating with my thrifty self. Should I pony up for business class on international flights? I’m still fine squeezing into the cheap seats for domestic travel. But staggering out of the airport in a foreign city, after a night sitting upright in coach, definitely dents my desire to travel abroad.
Vacation home. While I can see traveling more in the years ahead, I don’t envisage my other spending increasing much. I find many of my favorite things cost little or nothing—playing with my grandson, watching the squirrels raid the bird feeder, drinking a glass of wine at the end of the day with Elaine, heading out for a bicycle ride.
But there’s one potential expense that would change all this. We’ve discussed buying a second home. I’m not sure we’ll pull the trigger because of the added hassle and because we currently prefer travel to committing to a single place. But it could happen five or six years down the road, once we’ve worked our way through our international travel bucket list.
One last athletic endeavor. Even as I add this to my wish list, it may be falling off. Starting at age 32, I devoted a decade to running, competing in everything from one-mile races to marathons. I loved that sense of being in top-notch physical shape, and I enjoyed some success in the races I entered.
But that phase of my life fizzled out after a decade or so. I developed problems with my right foot—something called insertional tendinitis. That led me to try my hand at cycling instead. Today, I bike outdoors or on a stationary bicycle almost every day. But I’m not competing. Instead, this is more about maintenance, trying to keep my aerobic ability up and my weight down.
But I have a yearning to push myself one last time, perhaps competing in a long one-day bike race. I have no doubt I could complete the distance. But could I do so at a speed that I’d consider respectable? My fear: I couldn’t put in the necessary training miles without my body breaking down and perhaps doing some long-term damage.
Read more. I’m a tad embarrassed by how few books I read each year. I simply don’t have the time—or, perhaps to be more accurate, there’s nothing I currently do that I’m willing to sacrifice. Still, I’d like to get back to reading fiction and histories because, whenever I do, I find it’s a great pleasure.
One reason to read extensively is because it helps you to write better. I wrote a novel a decade ago that some folks loved—one man sent me an email, saying he’d read it three times—but others hated it, including one person who dismissed it as “perhaps the worst book I’ve read in many years.” I may be an okay personal finance writer, but I’m not a gifted storyteller. Still, with work, I think I could be better, so I may try my hand at another novel. Maybe.
Get to enough. The truth is, I have enough. As I mentioned in recent articles, I’ve saved too much for retirement and I have pretty much convinced myself that I’ve had enough career success. But even if we know something intellectually, it can take time to change our thinking. I continue to invest heavily in stocks and, indeed, I boosted my stock allocation during the past year’s market swoon. But such risk-taking suggests I’m not content with how much I’ve accumulated.
That may be part of the story. But I think it’s also that I sense I have greater tenacity than most in the face of market downturns, and it would be foolish not to take advantage of that. At the same time, there’s a danger that this extra risk could blow up in my face—and I’ve been bargaining with myself, trying to figure out when and how much I should reduce the risk in my financial life over the next few years.
Give more. Money, I believe, can buy happiness—but you don’t necessarily have to buy anything. Indeed, money can boost our feeling of well-being simply by being there and providing us with a sense of security.
Money can also bolster our happiness if we give it away, either to charity or to family. I feel I have, at this juncture, done enough for my two kids. On the other hand, I’ve been eyeing Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax, which creates an incentive to give them more money now. Meanwhile, I’m funding my grandson’s 529 college-savings plan, and I’m committed to helping with the college costs of any other grandkids who come along.
But the topic that’s really got my attention is charitable giving. I have a few organizations I contribute to every year, but I’m wondering whether there’s a way to be more focused and more effective with my giving. I don’t have an answer yet. But it’s on my wish list.
Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar. Follow him on Twitter @ClementsMoney and on Facebook, and check out his earlier articles.
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Hello Everyone: Posting my first comment. I really enjoy reading the various topics everyone has shared. I find each article to be helpful whether it be about retirement, travel. health etc. Thanks for all the helpful advice and candid advice.
“I’m wondering whether there’s a way to be more focused and more effective with my giving”
On that note I would definitely recommend checking out Effective Altruism: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/
“I may be an okay personal finance writer…”
While I appreciate and tremendously respect your modesty, calling yourself “okay” is inaccurate. In my opinion, you’re one of the best there is. I’d guess plenty of other readers on this site would agree.
From your prior posts it appears that you live a modest lifestyle for your level of wealth which is admirable. However I hope you will consider the environment costs of your purchase decisions including travel.
It seems like the income from your work is simply causing you to dream of new ways to spend it. When people dream of future things (possessions or travel) it often suggests that they are not currently happy or fulfilled in their current situation.
I wouldn’t be afraid of true retirement but instead see it as opportunity to reinvent yourself. You might discover something truly meaningful.
As others have said, there are many parallels in this article with my own situation and outlook. So, this morning I had my wife read it, figuring we would find food for discussion. Result, I will be doing more cooking and laundry. Thanks Jonathan 🙂
Great article (as always), Jonathan. A few thoughts…
Since my spouse and I hate to travel (all the planning, hassles, costs, etc.), that option is an easy one for us. We enjoy our simple home-based routines, and all the more now that the whole world is virtually–literally and figuratively–only a few clicks away from the comfort of our home.
Having more than one home would be such a burden beyond what I can even imagine. Even getting rid of our second car recently was such a relief and so freeing.
I was most interested in your comments on charitable giving. It has become an increasing source of happiness for me. Having recently arrived at the magical threshold of 70 1/2 to make Qualified Charitable Deductions (QCDs), it has already proven to be a prudent way to give. I like to give to smaller (and often local) all volunteer or mostly volunteer organizations whose missions most closely align with my values, and where my even modest donations can make a big difference and are so appreciated. My giving is often used as leverage (in the form of matching gift funding) to incentivize others to give. With no children (and our dog having no plans to pursue higher education), the goal of my investing interests is now mostly motivated by my ability to increase my charitable giving.
We are also considering increasing our charitable giving, or rather, we are increasing it, but trying to figure out the best way to do so.
I’ve looked into DAFs like another commenter mentioned, and there are some good things about it. If I could find a low-cost option, I might do that.
Currently, our best idea is to create a trust fund administered by our town’s trustees, and hopefully write the trust document strictly enough that the money will go where we want and loose enough to handle future changes that we haven’t thought of yet.
The main purpose for the trust fund will be for private music lessons for kids in our town. We will have a committee that will choose the kids each year and the amounts, etc. Hopefully, as the money grows, it will eventually be more money than can be spent on our small town’s kids so we’ll have some secondary priorities to fund other things in town. I understand that our town/school district has more trust funds than average for a town our size, so I don’t know what normal is, but I just read through all of the wills and other documents that created the ~60 funds and it is pretty neat to see the different causes that people cared about to leave money for others. We are now planning to start it now rather than when we die so we will get to see some fruit of it.
wow we are all on the same merry go round. My wish list is remarkably similar and I have the same saved too much but never feel like I have enough invested mania. If I may offer some insights since I have already tackled a few.
A second home- had exactly the same desire and ended up buying a second home in Sedona to get out the Phoenix summers. Found myself not wanting to face the crowds, the drive etal and ended up making it an Airbnb. It has become an outrageous money maker but it was never intended as an investment. My advice, don’t do it- it sounds romantic, adventurous, successful to have a second home but I suspect you will grow tired of it. The only reasons I think it makes sense is if you are facing Minnesota winters and want a break or have family you want to move closer to.
I am now 62 and did every event you could think of when I was younger, marathons, tri s, tough mudders, you name it. But I absolutely understand the need to compete or test yourself. Now I am happy to have a hard workout and leave it at that. I know now if I really chase the ring at this age, I will badly hurt myself or be down for several days. Don’t kid yourself, you will not bike to finish, once in the arena you will fight to the death.
sorry for the long diatribe, but it was almost off putting to realize we are so alike as retired humans.
“Once in the arena, you will fight to the death.” I feel seen.
Sounds like you have a great plan for the foreseeable future. In my humble opinion, Business Class travel is worth it. I consider it a reward for having saved.
We are thinking of a second home and found it makes financial sense for us. Can’t wait for the enjoyment to follow.
Where are you looking at for your second home?
Jonathan – Thanks for the article. You’re only a month older than I am so I can relate. To go on a bit of a tangent, if much of your HD work is edit-related, you can use a new tool like Type AI that can do much of the editing work for you. In fact, all writers here should consider using in my opinion. It’s $20 a month and the improvement in my writing is significant. I am using it as I work on my second book and it blows my mind. Artificial intelligence applications can enhance and speed up various writing and editing work that was more laborious in the past.
AI-driven editing? Yikes, I’m starting to feel superfluous!
Rest easy, there isn’t an AI model or algorithm in the world that will ever compete with a Clements edit!
Probably better to have the glass of wine after the bike ride…. Safer that way. For all the injuries out there from physical endeavors, as a physical therapist for 30 plus years….. all l can say is ice, ice and more ice, don’t heat it. It’s just not a good idea!
I’m a regular partaker of ice — at this juncture, a good friend for many decades.
Sounds like you’re well prepared with dreams, goals and resources. Good luck!
Jonathan I’m reading this before I head out to Europe today. Premium economy is all I go for but I do recommend the American Express Centurion Club or its equivalent. Waiting in the lounge before flights not quite like First Class but helps a lot. I plan my trips to force me NOT to play pickleball every day-lets my body recover. Its amazing how many injuries healthy people have!
I try to read about 1 book a week and I get them from the library’s “new book shelf”.
At 68, I play pickleball 2 to 3 hours mon thru fri and take weekends off, (usually). After a severely pulled hamstring that kept me sidelined for 4 months I’m very diligent about warming up and stretching before playing. Now if could only play better! Summer RV travel limits our pickleball to where we can find it occasionally.
Premium economy pretty much exists for the traveler that can’t decide if they want to pony up the extra $$$ for business class or just fly economy. Just keep in mind that there’s some variation to how airlines treat PE–for some it’s more of a juiced up economy class, while others treat it more as “business lite.” Premium economy (which the airlines have different names for) is a separate class of service–not just the economy seats with a few extra inches of leg room. Happy travels!
As the old saying goes, “aging is a series of losses.” This has certainly proven true in my case. My running career ended at 40 when my knees began to bother. Tennis ended at 70 due to arthritis and cycling came to an abrupt end due to a serious crash at age 73 that required surgery to repair. At present, my exercise routine mostly consists of swimming and time in the gym, but I a aware that this may also change/end with time. As other readers have noted, it is important to keep moving as we age, to whatever extent that is possible, for as long as possible.
Nice article Jonathan. Every article I read of yours, I feel you and I are alike in most aspects except your wonderful writing abilities. I think you should purse novels no matter what someone said. A few comments about what I have been thinking about charitable giving – my alma matter has a gift annuity option which I am considering (after all I owe my college for educating me). Comments on giving money to kids – I am planning to leave stock instead of money that way they can leverage stepped up cost basis on the stock and I do not have to pay capital gains taxes. I never funded 529 – instead gifted stock to kids on an annual basis and supplemented it with more stock if they got scholarship during college (added incentive for them). With one of the kids, this neatly turned into sufficient funds for down payment and helped her invest in a house in California – to unblock the challenge of coming up with down payment on your first house. Thinking of doing the same with the 2nd kid. I ride bike as well and try to get 20 to 30 miles a week. You will be surprised that you can keep going once you get on the bike – its always the next day you feel your age 🙂 I also plan to spend 6 months in a year in a different country to experience the culture first hand and to see if I want to live in a different country, All this has to wait till my wife finishes her PhD in a few years. I have shared several of your wonderful articles with my kids and friends as well. Keep writing your articles – one thought, is perhaps you can collaborate and coach some of us to do the same. My reading unfortunately is all on computer – have to hit the books someday. I am 64 and still working – someday soon I have to quit.
It is hugely important as we age to maintain our health – including active exercise and lots of movement. When you hit 60, you can expect that maybe you have 35 years left. But you also need to expect that the first 20 will be a lot better than the last 15. You should do whatever you can to try to fix that (extending the good years, or making each one a little better) with attention to your health.
As I’ve posted before, I took early retirement at 53 so I could travel, and when I was grounded by rheumatoid arthritis and then Covid I was very thankful that I had done so. I got in fifteen years of international travel, and although most of it was at ground level, I highly recommend business class for long haul flights. Some airlines are better than others – do check that the flight you are considering has lie-flight seats (use seatguru ) and has airport lounges with showers. However, I have only once paid cash for business class. In the US I charge pretty much everything to an AA affiliated credit card, and use my FF miles on OneWorld carriers. This site has all the info you need on choosing cards with travel perks. (Make sure you have cards that do not charge foreign conversion fees for use abroad, and look up the Dynamic Currency Conversion scam.)
That said, I don’t necessarily bother with business class for the US east coast to Europe, at least to London or Paris. Definitely economy plus, but my jet lag cure going that way is three or four hours sleep in the afternoon, dinner early evening and my usual bed time. I’m synced the next morning. I have been posting for many years on the forums at Fodors (as thursdaysd), and there are a lot of helpful people there when you start planning. I also recommend Rick Steves’ website and “Europe Through the Back Door” for newish travelers to Europe.
When I sold my one house last year, I was extremely relieved to no longer have to worry about the maintenance or updating. I can’t imagine being responsible for two. Plus, with a second home you would be stuck vacationing in the same place.
BTW, the other Georgia is well worth visiting, and extremely cheap.
Jonathan, I completely agree that reading widely can help make one a better writer. Certainly, there is much to learn from reading superbly crafted prose that floats off the page.
I’d also add that people may also learn to improve their writing style after plodding through a poorly crafted work that feels like walking knee-deep in mud. I’ve suffered writers who like to string long passages together connected by semicolons, or who favor relatively obscure words when simpler words would do.
The way you edit the HumbleDollar postings makes them a pleasure to read. I hope you find the time to continue supporting the site. It has certainly helped me improve my financial affairs as well as my personal life. No doubt, the site’s numerous visitors would say the same.
Two suggestions- go ahead and pull the trigger on Business Class, and only buy a second home if you eventually plan to sell your current home and move into the vacation home later. Instead buy raw, farm land and rent an RV; i.e. reduce the hassle factor as much as possible.
Jonathan you should check out the Gran Fondo in Cozumel Mexico it might be what you are looking for. Cozumel is beautiful and the ride is flat and fast.
Also if you haven’t check out Zwift it’s a indoor training game changer.
Buying a second property will pin you down and it will require maintenance so really think that one through as it will conflict with the other goals you have.
As the saying goes, been there done that-almost. Take heart, Jonathan it’s all doable.
While not in the same way, HD is a big part of my retirement too. Every morning I’m checking posts and comments and then I am looking for ideas to write about and then I am eagerly awaiting your edits. What retirement could be better?
Travel is great, but don’t give up too soon. My wife was 81 when we had our South American COVID adventure, cross country travel last fall was great. I will be 80 this year and if it were not for my wife’s bad back we would be off to Iceland, but perhaps we will anyway.
Yes, travel first class, it is worth the money – or accumulated points which I have used a few times.
About that vacation home, why not? We never travel in the summer so we spend June through August mostly at the vacation home and in addition, throughout the year, including New Years Eve most years.
As far as reading goes, my wife says I don’t read books enough, but I do read – on the internet I read about history, other topics of interest, I’m reading the history of English kings at the moment – a real book.
I say there is no such thing as saving too much for retirement plus there are always opportunities to spend – on charity and family once you have more stuff than you want, but you all ready figured that out.
I have a few extra grandchildren and you are welcome to contribute to their 529s if you want.
60 years old and on my 8th month with insertional Achilles tendonitis. I’ve tried ice, heat, topical ointments, heel drops and several other ideas to no avail. Did anything work for you?
After a year of conservative treatments for insertional Achilles tendonitis I had Achilles debridement surgery in 2010. I was only on crutches a few days – my surgeon wanted me walking right away. It was painful post surgery and I went through two courses of PT. However I am painfree to this day, 13 years later. I do calf stretches every day and wear supportive shoes.(Not Hoka because they are a zero drop shoe). Not sure what you mean by heel drops but if you mean hanging your foot down off a step I would not recommend that. See a PT, podiatrist or possibly orthoped. Most ortho surgeons don’t know much about Achilles however so you need to find one who does.
I had been a competetive runner for decades but was no longer interested in running by the time insertional Achilles developed in my early 50s. I suspect I would not run at the level I had after this surgery. However I am still winning rowing and swimming competitions in my 60s but more importantly I am pain free , can stand on my tip toes which I was unable to do before surgery.
Thanks. By heel drops I meant basically the second part of calf raises (only the lowering portion). I’ve worked with podiatrists and PTs. Every morning I wake up and think this is the day and of course it is not. Thanks for your comments. Just need to learn patience.
Have you also worn a boot? I did that for about 9 months. I also had two cortisone shots that only worked for a few days. As I mentioned after a year of doing everything possible I had surgery in Boston. The recovery was long and painful but I was told I had to start walking right away. At first I wondered whether I did the right thing but now I know I did. My surgery was 13 years ago , maybe technique and post op treatment is better now. Very best wishes to you- I know how much this wears you down ..
No, nothing worked. I still stretch my Achilles every morning, but that simply ensures I can walk without issues. I declined to have the surgery, in part because I would never be able to run at the level I once did. My 30-year-old son has the same issue — and he had the surgery last year. The recovery was grueling, but he’s pretty much back in one piece and can do moderate running.
I agree with comments about a second home being a less than brilliant financial move, but I will tell you that my 88-year old father-in-law has had a beach condo for decades and loves it. He had an escape from lockdown at his CCRC during peak Covid, and he has a community at the coast for bridge and other activities. Most of all though it’s given him a distinct draw to attract visits from children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. His beach place has a busy calendar every summer. The wife and I hope to have a place at the shore ourselves if we can swing the costs.
Jonathan, thanks for the thought provoking article. This seems like a good combination of wishing and planning. Interestingly, all this topics would be great things to write about – I know I would enjoy your take on each of these topics.
I very much enjoyed Jonathan’s novel, and recommend it. I would encourage him to consider another!
I have it from the library right now!
First off, HD is a public service – so thank you! One of the few blogs I recommend to friends and family. If you’re looking to participate in some competitive bicycling, you may want to consider doing time trials. You against the clock and then see how you compare to others. Group racing at the beginner level can be dangerous as many get squirrely in a pack being so close and going at high speeds resulting in crashes. Not something I do anymore at 64. Also, depending on the course, if you drop too far off you get pulled out. Enjoy!
I no longer fly coach internationally, too much of my younger years were spent on long flights (work trips) twisted like a pretzel. I would rather take one international (business/First class) trip a year than several in coach. If I can’t afford it then I don’t go.
I agree. After a 15 hour coach flight to Australia years ago I vowed never again to fly coach internationally. We earn frequent flyer miles from our credit card and they are only used for international business class, nothing else. I don’t feel it’s worth paying for a business class ticket so we only go when we have the miles. Another idea: take a repositioning cruise instead of an international flight. No jet lag and a relaxing start or finish to the trip.
I’ve read about those, good point!
I love how honest and transparent you are, but one item left off your list is working more on your faith. This is a big one for me. I assume it is maybe too personal for most to post, but at this age we all should make it a priority. My wife was in a serious motor car accident recently, not injured but banged up pretty bad. We are also at an age where more people we know are dying. So we are more committed then ever to our faith and where we will spend eternity (Please take time off, we will wait for you!)
Great summary. I find myself in very similar shoes. With respect to your last point on charitable giving, I’ve found that using a donor-advised fund (DAF) is a convenient tool. Along with effective and efficient current giving, it serves a dual purpose of legacy planning.
With a DAF, you can name a successor(s) for your account who will take over the responsibility (after you are gone) of granting funds to specific
charities. In effect, you will have earmarked a piece of your heirs’ “inheritance” to be used exclusively for charitable purposes.
Jonathon, two questions, if I may? Previously, you mentioned setting aside some cash for a major home project, as someone whom dreads the entire home improvement process, calling contractors for estimates, hoping they show up as promised, etc., I am curious, could you tell us some details on that project ?
Also, what location(s)are you thinking about for the second home?
I am not very religious, but, I will be praying for your remodeling project to go well, without too many snags, etc. I guess anything is possible.
I plan to write about it in the near future. But, yes, we’ve got a contractor lined up and the work should start at the end of next month — revamped kitchen and bigger windows both downstairs and up. Because of cost, we took some things off the table, including converting the upstairs bathroom into two full baths.
Jonathan, I’m looking forward to your writing on this. We’re starting to plan a major kitchen remodel and imagine we can learn a lot from your insights.
As for locations for a second home, we’re still exploring possibilities. We thought about Florida, but took that off the list. Next January, we’re slated to explore the Georgia coast. But it may turn out that the exploring is enough — and we never bite the bullet and buy.
You have considered the heat and humidity in the summer, right? If I were looking for a second home in the southeast (which I am definitely not), I would head for the mountains. I live two hours or so from the coast at Wilmington, NC, but I only go in late fall or winter.
If we got a second home, it would be mainly for the winter months, not the summer.
I’ve heard that Savannah is great, but we haven’t yet visited.
We were unimpressed with Jekyll Island. Nice, but not where we saw our later years unfolding.
In January, we have a few nights in Savannah and a week at an Airbnb on Saint Simons Island.
This is a great summary. Our lives have several parallels, Good luck with your slow-down process.
One can stay in innumerable great resorts for the costs of a second home where after the gloss begins to dull, you end up like at your primary home, you the handyman and mama the cook and both of you the cleaning team.
Actually, you can do both..I have had a vacation home for 36 years and never did handyman jobs – because I am incompetent and dislike tgat kind of work.
I like that philosophy. You also have options on where you stay. Right now we like a little variety.
Jonathan, have you had any more thoughts about planning a meet and greet/one-day conference at a Philly-area hotel for some of your writers and devoted readers? I think such a thing would be very successful and fun.
Yes, it’s still a possibility — but, given the organization involved, probably won’t happen until spring 2024.
You could always have it in Omaha during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting weekend. Then everyone would get two great meetings.
This article rings a bell for me. I retired in 2015 and turn 65 this summer. Like many of your readers I’ve been tight with a buck my entire life (the benefit of having Depression-era parents). My wife and I travel frequently but always looked to scrimp and save. Now, however, I am ok adding another 10% or so to the cost to smooth over some of the rough spots. Here are a few things we have tried:
Fly premium economy to Europe (reclining seat, more legroom, upgraded meal) and then regular coach home. We probably slept 5 hours on recent JFK-Zurich flight. The upcharge was about $300 per person. Worth it to not arrive feeling like a zombie.
We also fly (from Cincinnati) to JFK (Newark and Boston also work) and fly early the next morning to London. Depending on the airline there is no additional cost for the stopover in NYC. The added cost is a night in a hotel near JFK and a second night near Heathrow. I find the jet lag is minimal with the daytime flight, so we go coach both ways.
We rarely take cabs overseas, but I have begun to crack open the wallet for a taxi or car service when going to an unfamiliar city – recently Sofia and Istanbul. Before Covid I learned a lesson when we took the subway to downtown Beijing and then spent over an hour trying to locate the hotel (finally had to break down and ask for directions at a tourist oriented restaurant). Nonetheless we always get comfortable with public transportation and take the bus or subway around town and back to the airport.
Sometimes we will also pay extra for upgraded accommodations. Last summer we paid a few hundred more for a balcony cabin on a transatlantic crossing. And last month I upgraded our room during a ski trip in Finland to include the hotel’s water park. My wife does not ski so this was a big hit with her.
I’ve taken the daytime flight to London from NY a few times. It definitely helps with the jet lag. But unfortunately, from Philly, all the flights to Europe are overnight.
Between balancing cost, going direct, & departure times, European travel can be challenging. We tend to arrive early afternoon which means:
1. Our hotel room is never ready.
2. You’re tired, hungry, and likely ornery.
3. You take the plunge, give the bellhop your luggage to hold, (after removing anything you don’t want to lose for good), then you start exploring your new city/terrain. You get a second wind, find a cafe to fuel up, and become proud you made the most of these 1st precious hours.
4. Return to your hotel, now that your room is ready, and clean up, take a nap, and if you’re lucky it becomes more than a nap! Get a few hours of snoozing in, then head to dinner and more exploration, & plot your next day’s timetable!
5. Next day, arise bright and early for more adventures!
PS Comfort Plus is our new favorite travel class. It supplies precious inches. I never sleep on flights, so I watch movies, read, and purge emails and texts. Save your points for a business or 1st class splurge.
PPS Learning Italian is on my bucket list. You made me laugh…and cringe.
I’m 77 now and I never look back on my life and wished that I had worked more. My advice is to spend your time where it brings you the most joy. You have earned the right to do this. I enjoy your newsletter.
I wish you the best in your pursuits. Let me suggest a physical challenge…riding your bike up Mt Evans in Colorado. https://www.bicyclerace.com/. I did this in 2019 to celebrate with a friend turning 60. It took me 5 hours up and 2 hours down. I trained on New England hills for about 6 weeks while working full-time so definitely doable. The top is spectacular.
As a cyclist, you might want to try doing some bike tours. There are plenty of tour outfits that have multi-days tours around the globe. They will transport all you stuff or if a bit more adventurous you can try a self supported tour. In the Northeast US there are lots of rails to trails routes where you can tour pretty much car free.
My brother Nick and I have done a trio of tours on the East Coast, though none in recent years. We particularly liked this group:
Still working on my nest egg (57) so I’ll be with Megacorp for a while yet. I’m loving it when the work is enjoyable/under my control and hating it when bureaucracy and self-inflicted issues dominate – it’s craziness right now. Lockdown helped me to reflect on activities (like reading more) and things I wanted to do outside of work. I started repairing coffee machines for family, believe that! YouTube will teach you anything! I then picked up the old guitar I hadn’t played in 30 years. Got a teacher and use YouTube – now I’m thinking I should have become a rock star instead of a businessman! Lovin’ it (my family is very patient and forgiving)!
Travel and Fitness
Ever consider combining the two? For example, we enjoy going to a beautiful quiet village somewhere in France in summer. I’ll go on wonderful bike rides (thanks to Garmin/Wahoo) every other morning and otherwise explore the region with family. You can find great and cheap places in the countryside. Eat lunch at the restaurants and do dinner at home. Get yourself fit and if you want a challenge – head over to Ventoux or Arenberg Forest or other crazy stuff!
It’s like your own little private training center – after 3 weeks, you’ll be a lean, mean, cycling machine (without hurting yourself) Ride, rest, eat, drink, be merry. Repeat.
Save money that way and pony up for a direct flight with premium economy!
Spoiler alert: I live in Germany so only a car ride to France but spectacular cycling all over. I can only speak enough French to say that I can’t speak French. We all laugh and it is at that moment when our sense of humanity arrives.
In 1973 I was in the US Army stationed at a base in the Black Forest. A one day trip sponsored by the enlisted men’s club by train to the Strasbourg cathedral was the travel highlight of my military tour. I had very little discretionary money back then and having a vehicle was off the table financially for a E-4. I had a bike in Germany and my memory is that you could safely go anywhere in Germany (except crossing into the part then controlled by the USSR) by bike and you could take your bike with you on the train. The bike paths were everywhere. My limited ability to speak German consisted mostly of asking where the toilet was and ordering a beer. My experience was the German people I encountered frequently also spoke English and wanted to converse in English. I know I wasted my opportunity to learn speak German.
Love ❤️ 😍! Sounds stupendous! Wishing you the best as you wind down your time at Megacorp! You are living Carpe Diem well! Extended time in France & Italy are our desires, but what to do with our naughty, untrained lovable dog?!! We are determined to make it work, but he wont be at restaurants, that’s for sure.
Thanks for commenting. Wherever we go, I try to rent a bike. It’s a great way to explore a place — slow enough that you can take in your surroundings, fast enough that you can cover a lot of ground and see areas far from where you’re staying.
I have traveled extensively in retirement to SE Asia and Europe, now 75 and in Europe, always flying “steerage”. It isn’t great, but I fly in a day or two early to adjust for jet lag, then get a good night’s sleep. Giving is a great idea, I so very much miss my International Habitat for Humanity builds.
I wouldn’t buy that 2nd home at this point, there is probably more than enough to do maintaining your current one. If bike racing causes concerns, perhaps try bike touring. A nice trip across your state or the country.
I agree on avoiding the second house. More trouble than pleasure, in fact handcuffs come to mind. With VRBO and Airbnb, use someone else’s second home & enjoy comfort, flexibility, & peace of mind.