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Guest post from Inka Piegsa of GlamourGrannyTravels.com
Most of our life we have slaved away at our jobs, brought up the kids, paid off the mortgage always with a vision of glorious retirement waiting as our reward at the end. Whether we are male or female, married or single, our days have been structured by the requirements of our jobs. What bliss when the day finally arrives where no alarm clock clamours, no boss is looking over our shoulder, in short, and we can do exactly as we please.
You won’t believe how fast this bliss can turn into misery and boredom if you haven’t made decent plans as to what you really want to do with all that free time. Travelling the world is one of the most exciting things to do. See all the fabulous places you only ever have read about, delve head on into new cultures, meet like minded people and make new friends.
"At 50+ we are fit, have some money and all the day to day obligations of our working life have faded away."
I’ll tell you my own experience. For many decades, I was a lawyer, running my own firm. I have travelled professionally to many exciting places, and seen... absolutely nothing. From airport to hotel, to other offices and meetings and back again. If it weren’t for climate and unfamiliar sounds, I sometimes wouldn’t even have known I was abroad.
One day, I woke up and told myself: enough is enough. I sold my firm, bought a much smaller apartment just to have a pied a terre to come home to, exchanged business suits for leisure clothes and went on m first, long trip to Turkey. I have been at it ever since and have no intention to stop until my health fails to such an extent that long distance travel won’t be an option anymore. Hopefully, this day will never come. During the process, I even discovered a new occupation: travel writing and photography. I just love to share my experiences with others and encourage them to go out and see the world.
Of course, full time travel isn’t for everybody, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include some exotic trips in your retirement plans. A good way to get into the spirit of things is to go on a cruise. A floating home from home is a delight, no dragging your suitcases from one hotel to another and seeing fabulous things with land excursions. I have been on two, one in the South Pacific and the other through the North Atlantic. Both were great and I have met fellow passengers I’m still in touch with.
Don’t worry too much about seasickness. Modern cruise ships have stabilisers and there are plenty of drugs around which help you if you start feeling queasy. Just ask your doctor before you leave and if it gets a bit rough don’t make the mistake of lying down in your cabin. On deck you are much better off.
There are two other things to consider before embarking on any kind of journey. Make sure you have good health insurance and bring plenty of your necessary medication with you. They may have another name in other countries or not easy to come by, so pack enough plus your prescriptions.
Money matters. Start building up your travel funds early on. When you go, take credit cards, but only of the major companies and a good supply in cash. You get better bargains paying cash but never ever change into local currencies on the black market. Not only is it illegal but also dangerous. Traveller cheques are a thing of the past, don’t bother with them. Carry your cash in a pouch on your body at all times and a small amount in your purse.
Lastly, familiarise yourself with local dress code and customs. How often have I seen tourists running around in a town or supermarket in beach wear. It’s disrespectful and something you would never dream of doing in the UK. So, why do it abroad?
Now, stop dreaming, start planning and make your retirement the beginning of a whole new lifestyle. You’ll stay young and active forever never mind you actual years.