Around the World in 69 Days - Fall 2007 travel blog




It could be argued that we live in a resort. That's exactly what active adult communities are designed to feel like. Our home is surrounded by a small yard that we never have to mow. We have the freedom to plant flowers in the beds surrounding our house, but we never have to weed them or prune the bushes. We have thrown away our snow shovels; this odious task is also taken care of for us. We feel safe here; if you wanted to visit, the gatekeeper would not let you through the gate without our permission.

The locus of most activity is the clubhouse, a building housing an indoor pool, health club, library/computer area, ceramics room, billiards/table tennis room, and great room that accommodates theater performances, dances, meetings, exercise classes, etc. Just outside the clubhouse are bocci ball and shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, horse shoe pits, the outdoor pool and lakes stocked with fish. Residents often gather outside to board buses which take them to events in Chicago and neighboring communities. Anyone with an interest or hobby can start a club for others with those interests in common. Every month an ever growing newsletter lists all these oportunities for fun, service, or exercise. On the perimeter of our community a paved walking/biking path runs past the golf course and is a popular spot for people who want to work off that bowl of potato chips.

Why would you ever want to leave such an idyllic spot? Because there's an exciting world out there and that there's just no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes. We've found that we can appreciate the tranquility and beauty of our community and the opportunities available there much more after we have spent some time away.

So once again we find ourselves with suitcases over packed, new passports with visas in hand, and a ream of papers printed as we planned and reserved this trip around the world. Packing has been a challenge. We are headed for many new spots and I would love to bring a reference book for everyone of them. It's hard to find clothes that will work for the heat of the equator near Singapore and the cold of Alaska and November in Ireland. Cruises require a level of fancy dress that is hard to justify schlepping in these days of strict airline baggage weight regulations. I'm sure they'll feed us well no matter what we look like. After a month on a cruise ship, we may be more worried about our own personal weight - will our clothes still fit?

We are delighted to be sharing most of this round the world journey with novice retirees, Keith and Susan. We have found that a number of our friends have not leaped into the retired status with as much joy and enthusiasm as we have. Common worries are loss of identity and self concept, and financial concerns. We have made it a personal mission to shepherd these reluctant geezers into this blissful state of using your time as if it really is YOUR time. Sharing favorite spots in Asia visited long ago and discovering new ones together will be twice as much fun with these adventurous friends.

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