Creative Retirement Planning

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Travel In Retirement

                                (page 4 of this website)


Is Life Fully Lived Without Travel?


How does one get the most, make the most of traveling? I’ve had this question on my mind for quite sometime. For me it is all about getting into the flow in distant places and returning home changed in some small way.

I come from a long line of travelers. My travel background consists of having lived in Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Washington State, California, Colorado and Florida. I’ve also had the good fortune of visiting every major city in the United States along with most of Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Last month my travels have taken me to Europe. Upcoming trips include Australia and New Zealand.

Having lived outside the U.S. myself I can tell you from first hand experience that the decision to live abroad is a big one and not for everyone. Too many well intended folks romanticize living abroad. I recommend practice runs and development of a written, concrete, re-entry to the U.S. plan. I encourage folks to vacation (over one’s lifetime) in some of these different destinations perhaps eventually selecting and visiting a particular spot multiple times. Future retirees can then reasonably entertain the option of living outside the U.S. armed with first hand knowledge and personal experiences.

The Meaning of Travel

I’ll never forget how I spent 10 days with an old friend on a private Island in Fiji who managed to make himself quite miserable while we inhabited absolute paradise. I apologize if my posts somehow imply that my travel experiences will be yours. Ultimately you will determine your experience traveling to the places I’ve written about?

By simply pointing out the places within the places that possess the right conditions for success, I serve as a guide. Naturally each of us must decide for ourselves when and where to go, what to do and how to best do it. As Hemingway famously said regarding living in Paris in the 1920’s “and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any others.”

Some people travel to forget, to- get- away. I travel to remember, to discover, to learn, and integrate new ideas with my current understandings. At the end of the day I aspire through travel to understand how I can live better today and tomorrow.

”Serendipity Travel” simply means I can change my plans at anytime without financial penalty. I choose this travel strategy or approach for a myriad of reasons. Since I’m retired, I’m flexible and use my time as a resource helping to reduce my travel expenses and lengthen my stays. Naturally I’ve budgeted properly for travel in retirement but I can’t help myself, I want as many great trips per year as possible given my financial resources. I strive to stretch my travel dollars further while maximizing value. I’ve also begun trade my time and expertise for travel benefits much like an avid golfer would trade time at a local golf course for green fees.

Serendipity Travel is not for everyone. Perhaps one should first travel as I do, in pursuit of serendipity as an experiment in a very comfortable, close to home scenario. Based on real life outcomes one can then better determine under what circumstances one would enjoy traveling in search of serendipity and when one would not.

If it’s Tuesday it must be Brussels. Not. When traveling I awaken each morning with a singular purpose, to get into the flow, in distant places. Future posts will cover the best practices of Serendipity Travel. Experimenting with Serendipity Travel for the first time in July or August in Spain, France or Italy is a nightmare in the making.

A great story illustrating the benefits serendipity travel was shared with me by a dear friend when she and her husband were wandering likely lost in a maze of narrow cobblestone streets in France. Unexpectedly they popped into a random bar. Over drinks they met two gentlemen who invited my friends to join them on an adventure of a lifetime.

Riding in the back of a vintage World War II jeep my friends watched and listened to these U.S. Veterans as they retraced their part in the actual invasion of Normandy France in World War II. Frequent stops, stories, French wine, bread and cheese turned lonely battle tested hilltops into roadside cafes. The wild jeep ride, incredible sights, and personal stories produced emotions and memories my friends will never forget.

I could give dozens examples of this kind of thing from my own travels but I’m reluctant to preach any further on the subject. Ultimately each traveler (s) must decide how they can make the most of their time on the road. Being happy and relaxed in distant places is different for everyone.

Maybe you pack light like me; itinerary free ready to change plans at moments notice. Perhaps you bring suitcases filled with just in case items rely on a porter, and car awaiting your arrival at every stop. Maybe you’re armed with an iron clad itinerary bursting at the seams, hurrying you to check the next item off the list. Maybe you travel somewhere in between. All that really matters is that you have a great time and are looking forward to returning again.

In my humble opinion if one returns home changed even slightly by travel then that is icing on the cake. Travel is a great excuse to get out of the constant glow of one’s smart phone, I pad or computer screen. Perhaps in travel we get to temporarily disconnect from our current world just enough to create a space for something new, something unexpected that we connect with sans technology. Often times it seems it matters less what one is getting away from and more where one is getting to.

Romance in Rio

Back and forth like Samba. Back and forth like Bosa Nova.

Fusion in the rain; We are out to lose ourselves. We float on a melody.

A man and a woman soon become the beat, a beat born in Brazil long ago.

Once in a lifetime a man gets what is often referred to as a “Big Love,” so I keep my face straight, check to the power, then check again, meet and raise, sandbagging like hell. A man gets but one chance to play for all it’s worth. In the business of love, he who misses the big hand sweeps the butts and rinses the glasses after the big boys go home.

Today I got my “Big Love.” Today I must keep my face straight and check to the power. My idea is not a blinding flash….it is more of a gentle glow growing into a grass fire, like from an evening of vodka stingers. The beat in Rio is dope.
Arguably past/current Brazilian musicians have contributed to the planets greatest musical hotbed. Music in Brazil is a fusion of influences. Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. It developed distinctive styles, among them samba, MPB, choro, Sertanejo, brega, forró, frevo, maracatu, bossa nova, and axé. Famous musicians include Gilberto Gil, Daniela Mercury, Sergio Mendes, Ary Barroso, Rosa Passos, Chico Buarque, Vinicius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Donato, Eumir Deodato…

Here are few my current favorite Artists and Albums (CD’s) in no particular order:

Seu Jorge, Samba Social Club, Farofa Caricoa, Maria Rita, Vinicius, Eva, Acoustic Brazil – Putumayo, Samba Bossa Nova – Putumayo, Impenenma Lounge, Brazil the Essential Album, Joao Gilberto-Amoroso Brasil, and Getz and Gilberto.

I’m reminded of the ground-breaking Stan Getz Bosa Nova album which I listened to repeatedly (my Dad’s favorite) while living in Mexico in the mid sixties. Rio was popularized by the hit song “Garota de Ipanema” (The Girl from Ipanema), composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes and recorded by Astrud Gilberto & João Gilberto, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald. It is also the main key song of the bossa nova, a musical genre that was born in Rio.

Brazil a growing, soon to be a “Super Power” is well on its way to becoming the world’s third or fourth biggest producer and exporter of oil. Their oil is aimed primarily at quenching China’s growing thirst for the black stuff. Brazil is also the third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer in the world, and the fourth-largest aircraft producer when including business jets into account. The Brazilian people with good reason bow to no one. They are to South America what the U.S. is to North America.

Barra, as it is popularly known, will host most of the venues of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which will be the first edition held in South America. Brazil A global power in agriculture and natural resources enjoys a growing middle class, significant technology based manufacturing, and successful regional trade agreements all of which enabled Brazil to tackle its massive poverty issue directly.

The positive progress in evidence on this front is due to President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Portuguese: [luˈiz iˈnasju ˈlulɐ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ] (clip_image004[4] listen); born 27 October 1945 , known popularly as Lula,[2] served as the 35th President of Brazil, from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010.

He is often regarded as the most popular politician in the history of Brazil, and at the time of his mandate, one of the most popular in the world. Social programs like Bolsa Família and Fome Zero are hallmarks of his time in office. After surviving a tough decade or two Brazil is in better shape than ever before.


Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China and the United States, and third largest in the Americas; with a total area of 8,514,876.599 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi),Rich with natural resources arguably the lynch pin in the earths maintaining of the balance of the world wide web of life. 90 % of the earth’s oxygen originates in Brazil

clip_image008[4]                                   Copacabana Beach

Rio is indisputably the most glamorous spot in Brazil. New Years Eve in Rio de Janeiro is a must-do-once-in-one’s-life. The first thing I noticed crossing the street from my hotel over-looking Copacabana Beach was the gigantic speakers dotting the Malicone (cement boardwalk) guiding one all the way around this large horseshoe bay. I’m Immediately listening to Seu Jorge…. smelling seafood, salt air and suntan lotion. Ice cold beer is offered from colorful carts. Rio is a beach.

The beat of Rio follows one from the beach back to the hotel, into the lobby and elevator, into the restaurant, again in the lobby, in the bar, back on the Malicone, on the beach, and in the night clubs until magically it resides squarely within.

Rio’s night clubs feature fine acoustic performances by Brazil's’ leading musicians. Inspired sing-a longs are the rule not the exception as is dancing or at the very least swaying. To dance in Rio one must literally shake one’s bootie. Typically from about 11:00 PM till the first sign of morning light. Rio is not exactly a mellow night out sprinkled with soft conversation. One learns to move and keep moving to properly last-the-night-a-way in Rio.

After New Years Eve on Copacabana beach I recommend spending time at a jet setters and favorite Argentine spot (Barra) for a day or two. Then it’s off to Búzios for some real R&R in tranquil paradise, followed by a stay at famed Impanema Beach on one’s second to last night in country. Please read my next post detailing these unique experiences and my story of romance in Rio.

When shopping in Rio be very careful with your purse/wallet and bags filled with purchases. Poverty has produced some of the smoothest pick pockets rivaling those of any in the world. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a trusted driver while staying in Rio. It is too difficult and even dangerous to get around in a rental car or by bus. A driver is bit more expensive but well worth it in Rio. Typically I befriend one of the bellman at my hotel and ask for two or three recommendations of potential drivers for half and full day hire.

Usually after spending a half day with your driver, say on a visit to Corcovado, and feel comfortable with your driver you can easily coordinate future pick-ups and returns according to your needs. Check out your cell phone provider coverage and rates in Brazil. It is easy enough to rent an in country cell phone delivered to you at your hotel. I always tip big, a good driver knows the right people to gain access to the most popular attractions often times avoiding long lines. A good driver knows where to be and not to be at a given moment in time in the city. Traffic is a factor. For shorter day travel any taxi outside one’s hotel will do nicely.

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