In all our travels the past two years we have had on our to-do list finding the ideal retirement place once we tire of our RV lifestyle. I felt as though I would really miss having a community and a routine so I try to keep a watchful eye wherever we go to see how my peers live everywhere we go. It has been really eye opening observing how our peers choose to live out their “golden years”. Our first experiences in this observation process came in Florida when we happened to book stays at communities that had a mixture of permanent residents in manufactured homes and designated spaces for RV’ers like us. We learned that in many of these places the permanent residents were former RV’ers who chose to live in these locations either year-round or seasonally. These park models often come with beautiful lanais and excellent floor plans. Many Floridian seniors buy them and don’t even bother to insure them because they say if a hurricane takes it, one can easily buy another. In one such community we saw park models advertised as “free”. This, we learned is because there is a Homeowners Association Fee within these communities and those wanting to sell often are happy just to get out from under the yearly contracted HOA fee. These communities intrigued me because I loved the community feeling I received visiting their clubhouses and participating in the community activities. Often there are fantastic amenities such as state of the art gym facilities as well as beautifully maintained tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, horse shoe pits, etc. I could begin to envision myself barely using our car as I could spend my days tooling around in my adult tricycle with the drink holder on the handlebars comingling with other residents. However like John after a month-long stay I would find myself becoming a little bored with the routine and ready for adventure on down the road.
Another retirement experience we observed was in hearing how some of our friends live at a working ranch in Kerrville Texas. This retirement community is built around a working ranch. Cowboy Ranch-hands work the cattle and horses receiving their salary from the resident home owner association fees. These residents enjoy the ranch life and tell us they love seeing the cattle and horses from the windows of their home. It is a gated community and also has a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, etc. but the most attractive part to these people is the ranch experience. Communities we found in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas were more centered around golf and line dancing activities. In both settings the residents were delighted to partake in these activities everyday and although I found it very interesting, I could not see myself in either setting.
Next I tried to envision living in places where we really had a lot of fun such as Key West Florida, Portland Oregon, Camden Maine, Cape Cod, and Abbeville Louisiana. Each of these locations are beautiful and fun but weather can be a big limitation at certain times of the year. Add the fact that generally after a month and falling into a routine I find myself actually wanting a new adventure. Therein came the revelation. I already have what I have been searching for… that sense of community and routine is in this RV lifestyle I am living. I have a community of friends old and new that interact with me daily either on Facebook or on the blog. We often visit family or friends along the way and have had the pleasure of crossing paths with new RV friends sometimes more than once. No longer am I in any hurry to settle down somewhere. I love the comfort of my home on wheels and the time to experience new places with my best friend and spouse. Since retirement I have rediscovered how interesting and fun John is. At the end of the day it is such fun to relax and reminisce about our day or to eagerly discuss what’s ahead. I find I am truly blessed in that I am right where I want to be!