November 18th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s been a busy few weeks. Fall is definitely here, and with it comes the usual PNW climate for this time of year – grey, clouds and rain, the days getting shorter, and the much cooler weather. Quite a change that happened rather abruptly. I’m glad I will be able to get away soon to see some different and better weather.

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter Angie flew into town with her mom and they picked up Alexis and came to my house for a visit. We went out to the coast to see the Hoh rainforest and get on the sand at Rialto Beach. It was a really nice day and perfect weather for going out that way. My trailer makes for a nice extra room for people that come to visit.

I got back from the hospital a couple of days ago after another surgery (unrelated to the shoulder). It was something I’ve been trying to get handled for a while now so it is a relief to have it taken care of finally. I actually spent the night in a hospital which I haven’t done in decades. Needless to say I am glad to have this finally done but I am really glad to be back home. Surgery went fine and the doctor felt pretty good about the outcome. Waiting on lab results, though, before getting too relieved!

While I was gone I had to board the dog at a kennel. It was strange to do that since I just got him home and he was looking at me like “WTF is going on here?” as he curiously went with the strange (to him) woman. I’m sure he did fine since he is pretty laid back and likes almost everyone he sees. I can’t wait to see him (and not smell him!).

I’ll find out in two weeks how much longer my physical therapy will continue. It sounded like I am close to being finished with it when I was at my last visit. I will still be doing exercises but will be on my own since I still do not have full range of motion. I don’t know if it will all come back or not but I will keep working toward that goal.

It will be very nice to not have to be somewhere weekly and I can start getting out and about on some long-awaited and much-needed adventures. I try to not get too excited yet since I am still recovering from this last surgery and I have to be mindful of that. It is hard to not get excited about going places, though – I was unable to do much of anything the last six months so yes…I am ready to go someplace. I do have some big plans coming up in the future!

Being retired is quickly becoming more real. All of my options are wide open now so I  have a few things to ponder. I find the classic “Pro/Con” list is such an effective way to help you make some informed decisions of this type. I started doing this when I began thinking about no longer working so now I need to go to the next step and consider what the next chapter is. Of course, my main focus was looking at if I could even think about retiring financially.

The biggest difficulty is deciding where to call your “permanent home”. The US laws enacted after 9/11 say you must have a domicile; you cannot just wander about and be a “citizen of the world” (well, at least, not in the US). You also need a domicile address for things like getting mail (“General Delivery” at the post Office is only supposed to be allowed for 30 days), vehicle licensing and income taxes (And no, it is NOT legal to just go live in the National Forest despite what everyone thinks and does and posts on YouTube and other social media; in fact, there are limits on length of stay in the forests that vary in each National Forest so you need to check into that before you set up a camp in the forest – even if you are just on a vacation.).

That means you have to think about things like taxes on your retirement on top of statistics on crime, politics (I guess those two are the same), cost of living, climate…whatever things you consider when wanting to live someplace. Some states have no state income tax (like WA) while some tax retirement/Social Security over a certain amount (like CO), and some tax it all (like KS). This can be frustrating to try to figure out because you may live in a place you like with no taxes but the cost of living is high and want to escape to a cheaper place. Some places (like OR) have no sales tax but are not retirement-friendly financially otherwise. The combinations are infinite so you have to figure out what best suits you.

One last thing…I want to post a link for Scott’s Cheap Flights (NOTE: Clicking on the colored link and joining the website gives me future discounts on my membership and may help me win a vacation!) . This website is one I pay to be a member of and it has saved me money on many flights (but you can just join for free). My first flight to Europe a few years ago was found through this website and I ended up paying only $373 for RT tickets on Icelandair to Amsterdam.

They do show you how they search for stuff on your own, but I still pay to be a member because they will find and send you cheap flights you may not think of. For example, they sent me an email a couple of months ago with a mistake fare for Bangkok, Thailand with stopovers in Viet Nam, Singapore, or other cities in Thailand. This ticket was on the top couple of airlines that fly to the Far East and Asia. Price? It was less than $300…for a $2000+ fare! And it is really cheap enough for the savings you get.

To make it even easier they give you all the steps to get the flights, what cities, airlines, and the normal prices and there is even a search link at the bottom of the emails that already has the info filled in – click the link and it takes you to the search!

That’s today’s update.

September 30th, 2019

Adventure, Just things, Travel, Uncategorized

It was a big day today. I decided that it is time to retire.

I plan on spending more time with my family and doing some traveling when I finally can get away from the doctor and physical therapy appointments.

Retirement

Just things

Bald eagles

Bald eagles

Someone asked me recently if I was retired.

I got this question a while back and did not think about it too much. The last time, however, I was not sure how to respond and I even had to ask myself if I was retired because I really do not know for sure. I guess I kind of am, even though I am doing some volunteer work for a little bit of money to help offset my bills.

It is interesting to think of oneself as being “retired”. Most think of retired people as old and not doing too much except playing around doing needlepoint, fishing, fiddling in the yard or workshop, etc…. the list is endless. When you change careers it is just that, and you go do something you REALLY want to do with your life as long as you are not working for some raging asshole like your last boss or doing something that you no longer want to do even though the money is good. But when you change careers, and essentially do what I am doing being a volunteer, am I really what anyone considers as “retired”?

I just do not know the correct answer for certain.

Perhaps I am what most people would consider “retired” since I do not fit in with the typical “real job” people.

All I really know is that I feel freedom like never before. Am I getting rich? Hardly, and I am definitely not wealthy but I am doing okay (but I will take donations!). There is much more to life than money, however, and there are actually many people who aspire to be more than wealthy. Does money really buy happiness? For me, no – all it bought was more cars, guitars, a house… more shit you probably do not REALLY need. We are all imprinted to make more money so we can buy more stuff… but does that really make us happy?

This is not to say that it is bad to get toys you want or to deny yourself of things. I am a firm believer in if you want something well then, goddammit, by all means go and get it – it is YOUR life so live it how you deem necessary. I am guilty in the past of buying new cars every year or two, multiple guitars, and wasting money buying lots of shit I did not really need – but I had the money to do so. I do have my toys – a new iMac, iPhone, iPad, guitars, and I just bought a motorcycle for a good price (yes, it WILL be fun but it will save me money on gas). Other than those things and a few personal possessions I really have nothing else, not even furniture, so my worries are few.

As I stated early on in this blog, after many changes in my life earlier in the year I got rid of nearly everything and sold my house and left Colorado after 16 years. For me, this has enabled new things in my life by giving me the freedom to go do things with my life that I really want to do as well as experience new things yet to be seen. It also gives me the opportunity to work in a great place that is absolutely making a difference on the plane, and I get to be a part of that as well.

That, in turn, brings me my happiness.