The Bucket List Boomers


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Trisha and John Parker

 

Tips For Seniors Traveling Abroad

Having recently returned from an incredible travel adventure to Italy and France, I thought it might be beneficial to share a few travel tips for those considering such a trip.

1. If you plan on driving while in a foreign country, make sure you check in with your insurance agent. In most cases they will advise you to purchase additional coverage from the rental car company in the country you are visiting. This is important because when renting a car in the U. S., if your coverage is like mine, the rental car’s coverage is typically not necessary.

2. When possible, book a hotel in the middle of the cities you want to visit. Most foreign countries have rapid transit much better than ours and you can travel easily through most of them. Often, the entire country is connected by efficient rail systems. On our recent trip to Italy, we became very familiar with the Milan train station as we traveled through it several times. Of course, the way most foreign cities have been centrally designed, once there, you can walk to most of your destinations.

3. Because we are all connected to our smart phones, don’t feel you have to get expensive extended coverage while abroad. Most hotels, restaurants, coffee houses, etc., have free Wifi. To stay in communication back home, we simply sign up for a $10 universal texting plan. It gives you peace of mind in case you need to contact a family member or friend. Otherwise, forget you have a phone and enjoy your trip.

4. As a senior, there is a registration program the U. S. government offers that will also provide an extra sense of security while abroad. Here is the link for registration. This will give your family members an extra way to communicate with you in case of emergency. Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

5. Take your personal safety and security seriously. In most countries you will visit, you probably won’t have to worry about major crime. The fact is, petty crime such as pick pockets, etc., exists in all cities. Keep your passport, credit cards, cash, travel tickets, and I.D. in a hidden travel belt. I have always resisted this suggestion, but during our long recent trip, I decided to wear one and found it quite convenient.

6. If you have any other questions about your health and safety in a country you plan to visit, here are two more links that will keep you informed:

Current Travel Warnings and Current Travel Alerts

Bon Voyage

 

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Bucket List Category: Reconnecting

As readers of this blog know, I believe people of retirement age should spend their time doing exactly what they want to do. That means continuing to work if they so desire (or must for financial reasons), traveling, taking care of grandkids, lying around by the pool, golfing, fishing, volunteering, or pursuing any of the items on their bucket list.

While my wife Trisha and I have been taking a break from many of our normal activities over the last several weeks, we have been able to pursue a few of our bucket list goals. While we did spend a lot of time taking long walks and relaxing in the Florida sun and traveling to historic places in the southeast, it was our bucket list pursuit of reconnecting with old friends that really made our time away special. 

During the Viet Nam era, I served in the United States Air Force. After my technical school training I was assigned to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas. After that, I was assigned to a NATO base in a remote area of southern Italy. My friends and co-workers were all young and it was a crazy time in our lives. A few of us got married and we all supported one another. With little money in a small Italian village, it was a no frills life to be sure.

Of course, that was a lifetime ago, but during our recent travels we were able to reconnect with some of those wonderful people from our past. First, we met Duane and his wife Barb at a Daytona Beach restaurant in the shadow of the raceway. It was for lunch, but we spent over four hours catching up and telling war stories. He and Barb had married since we last saw Duane so many years ago and he is now retired. She was terrific and we had a great time getting to know her and hearing about their family and life together.  

After a brief time in Savannah, we traveled on to South Carolina where we met our friends Dan and Marian. These folks were newly weds when we first met in Texas, and we later lived in the same little apartments over an electronics shop in the Italian village of Mesagne. That was over 40 years ago, but we were able to pick up where we left off as though it was yesterday. There wasn’t enough time to catch up completely, so after another week of travel, Trisha and I invited them to Florida where we spent four days having fun and simply spending time together. It could not have been better.

Of all the categories on our bucket list, catching up with friends and family is certainly one of the most rewarding. Is there someone in your past with whom you would like to reconnect? Get to it. Let me know how it worked out.

 The Bucket List Boomers

 When a person loses such a good friend as my wife Trisha and I did last week, it makes you stop and re-examine your own life. That’s a good thing. At any time of life, but especially as a senior, its beneficial to assess where you are and make the necessary changes. Here is a chart I created to make my own assessment:

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Alright, it’s a funny chart, but it does have some validity. As one ages, and/or retires, it becomes very easy to fall in to ruts, misdirect energies, and even disregard  passions. While it’s often complicated at this time of life, given family and other responsibilities, Trisha and I have formalized the process planning and pursuing our personal bucket lists. I guess you could call us “The Bucket List Boomers.” 

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On our lists we have a number of places in the U. S. and the rest of the world we would like to visit. We also have a number of “crazy” activities such as paragliding off a mountain in Brazil, and more free base jumps as the one we did in Auckland, New Zealand last year. But we also have other interesting activities. We have a couple of great charities we love and set personal goals for our participation. I’ve also made a list of all of my childhood heroes that are still living and have been actively trying to communicate with them in the hope of meeting them in person. I’ve already met and/or communicated with a few and its been great fun.

Other personal items on my list includes becoming more proficient on my guitar, and possibly learning another language such as Italian. I use the term “another language” loosely because I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish, but can make it work when in Mexico. 

A bucket list can be whatever you want it to be. Such a list is beneficial because it helps you focus your time and energies in a productive way, and Trisha and I have found it to be very motivational. As C. S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream another dream.”

Let’s all become “Bucket List Boomers.”

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