What is it about me, as a retired person, and travel? I’m no sooner home after a three week tour of the Scottish highlands breathing a sigh of relief at it being over and the slightest little thing/s sets me off again. Forgotten are all the irritations and tribulations of the last trip and I’m starting to plan the next one. Go figure. To be accurate the next trip is a stay in a lodge on the Yorkshire coast to celebrate Mrs Summerhouse’s 70th birthday in December. Problem is this is so close to home (as she wanted it to be) it hardly feels like travel at all.
Maybe that’s why my thoughts have turned to our annual trip to Ireland even though this isn’t happening until next May. That’s what I’ve been doing this morning, booking our usual cottage overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in County Kerry. Truth is I feel driven to it, to do something that helps me believe that we still are the world travellers we once used to be. But it’s hard when seemingly all around us people are either about to be jetting off to the other side of the world (as is the case with friends we met up with on Monday, they’re off to Oz to see their grandchild) or other friends who’ve already been and are recording their already happened adventures.
The little prods keep coming almost as if somebody has lined them all up to upset me. Like the Trailfinders catalogue they keep sending me or the supplement that arrives every week (as above). And the unexpected prods. An ex-colleague sent me a link to a blog he’d written last week (at their request), for a well-known travel company. I don’t know whether they pay him or give him free travel or perhaps the payment is in being published. I don’t know but I know it’s the kind of activity I used to dream about before I was retired – being paid (maybe) to write about travel. He’s writing about South America, Machu Pichu, that type of thing. Sounded like bloody hard work, all that climbing up mountains in oxygen-reduced air but that’s just me being churlish. No denying it, I’m envious.
While we’re in that neck of the woods an Aussie friend, a retired psychologist, keeps posting on Facebook (or rather his partner does) about their various world-wide trips, the last one being a visit to the Galapagos Islands. No I don’t want to go, but again that’s not the point. I do, however, want to go back to New Zealand, probably our favourite country in the world (where else would it be?), and this week I received a Facebook message from a Kiwi friend, saying something along the lines of, ‘we talk about you guys often, come and play’. Doesn’t he realise how upsetting that kind of invitation can be to a man of limited means of travel and no, I don’t mean financially limited.
And while we’re still in that neck of the woods more or less, we get quite a constant stream of invitations to visit from number one son, currently based in Perth, another place we’d like to revisit from the time we used to live there. Ah, those were the days, footloose and fancy free (not true of course but everything looks rose-tinted through the mists of time). Of course you might realise, having read other blogs of mine that the elephant in the room here is not an elephant but a dog, two dogs in fact. We don’t want to leave them behind for the kind of period we would need to, to make a trip down under worthwhile. Again I repeat, go figure.
I could go on my own leaving the dogs and Mrs SH behind. We’re going for lunch with one half of the couple who I have written about, from time to time in these blogs. They were both in China now she has sensibly come back to the UK and while he has threatened to do so, he’s still there. They seem to get along just fine with this arrangement and I have to be careful what I write or the lunch invitation might be withdrawn, but it’s not for me. I’m just not very good on my own, there we have it, sad I know but true.
Some kind of icing on the cake of travel came yesterday when I stumbled across a blog from a fellow retiree. I say stumbled because I rarely look at other people’s blogs and now I know why. They’re unsettling. Not only might they be better written / produced / marketed than this one but they often describe their many travel adventures. This particular blog, aretirementblog.blog spot.com as you ask, detailed all the places this person had travelled to in the last five years since she retired. It was impressive. That’s me I thought, or rather should be.
Then I stop and I listen to myself and I say, would you listen to yourself – ‘should be you’, pathetic, just get on with your own retirement, it’s not that bad. Try and set up the travel experiences in a manner that is feasible for you and your family of Mrs SH and the doggies and stop moaning. This year, if all goes according to plan, we will have, in our retirement, visited, Scarborough, Ireland, London, Scotland and the Yorkshire coast, again. Not too shabby.
As for next year, well the big trip I alluded to once in this blog, seems unlikely but maybe there is a less-ambitious trip we could take, maybe to Europe. I quite fancy the Mosel valley in Germany because, from what I read, they grow grapes and make wine under somewhat similar circumstances to us. I could file it under research. That might do it. And it won’t be in a caravan either. I’m already looking at the atlas.
It still doesn’t address the big issue here – why do I so hanker after travel when we know better than many the reality of life on the road or in a different country (we’ve done this three times so I know what of I speak)? It seems to be a mild dose of, this grass is greener business. Another aspect of retirement about which I have written before and quite some time ago at that and what do you know, I’m still writing about it. Haven’t I learned anything about how to live a fulfilled retirement?