Friday, August 24, 2007

Adventures of A Lifetime

Business Week's Annual Retirement Issue had a segment on the Adventures of Lifetime, which described 10 exciting destinations to consider in (early) retirement. The list was was somewhat exotic and I had not been to any of the locations. After reading this article, I decided to put together my own short list of completed Adventures of a Lifetime and start considering future possibilities

Completed Adventures
  1. European tour. Right after graduating from college, a friend and I backpacked for two months through western Europe. We realized that we would not have an extended vacation for many years and delayed starting work until the fall.

    We used an eight week Eurail pass for most of the trip. We initially stayed in youth hostels, until we learned that there were many low cost hotels for about the same price. We traveled to Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain and Portugal. I particularly enjoyed Paris, Rome and Athens. It was the best trip that I had done up to that time.

  2. Japan residency. We spent 3.5 years in Japan due to a company assignment. During that time, we saw many famous temples, visited Hiroshima and the close by island of Miyajima, experienced the Sakura (cherry blossom) festival, traveled to Koya-san and participated in many festivals, including a New Year's celebration. In addition, I climbed Mount Fuji (12,388 ft) with a couple colleagues from work.

    We also learned about and immersed ourselves in the culture, living as the locals would - food, transportation and shopping. I tried the learn the language but only mastered enough to get by in restaurants, barely. My wife was much better and could ask for directions, if needed.

  3. China adoption trip. While living in Japan, we had wanted to visit China but never did. We did get the opportunity again when we traveled to China for two weeks for out daughter's adoption. We toured Beijing, Chongching and Guanzhou during that trip. One highlight was climbing the Great Wall. Of course, the main highlight was seeing our daughter for the first time.

In selecting my adventures of a lifetime, I realized that one of my criteria is to have an extended stay in the location, of at least two weeks. We've had some one week trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Maui, Alaska (via a cruise) and Thailand which were excellent trips. However, for me, they didn't make the adventure of a lifetime list.

Future Adventures
  1. Road trip through the US. There are many places that I still need to visit in the US. Among them are natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. It would be great to spend a month or two driving, visiting these sites and stopping to see friends along the way. We'll probably need to do multiple road trips to see the sights.

  2. Other possibilities. We haven't thought much past a U.S. road trip. Some intriguing options would be an African Safari, or an extended trip to other parts of China. I expect we'll find other opportunities once we start seriously looking.

My father-in-law has warned me to expect much higher travel expenses during retirement. Based on potential options, I think he's right :-)

For more on Reaping the Rewards , check back every Friday for a new segment.

Photo Credit:, JW Blonk

This is not financial, travel or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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