Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what my blog is doing. The gurus all talk about a niche but that often relates more to marketing products and services than writing a blog. I’ve struggled over my years as a blogger, veering widely through the range of topics without making much of an impact or finding my way. What I have learned along the way is that the bloggers that I relate to most strongly get personal from time to time. Even the ones with the technical knowledge. I know that I take more seriously the words of someone that I can relate to. I like knowing something about them and that they struggle from time to time just like I do. The perfect presenter of unimpeachable advice is someone, I go to for the answer to a specific questions, not every day. The people I look forward to reading are relatable and human- and as a bonus they give me good information that I wouldn’t have known I needed.
I have always seen my blog as a diary of my life adventure but as a practical day to day guide, I’ve never been comfortable finding the right mix of personal experience and practical knowledge. Sure I see my life as a laboratory where I experiment with creating what I call an outrageous retirement lifestyle. I don’t mean that what I think is the right lifestyle for me will be right for somebody else. What I think important is thinking outside the box and living the way you want to live, not the way somebody else thinks you ought to.
This creates a problem for me.
I’d love to be the inspiration for a completely different lifestyle from the one I am pursuing and so when it comes to talking about my life, I hold back. I don’t want to tell anybody else what to do anymore than I want somebody to tell me. It’s apparently turning me into the kind of blogger, I don’t follow. The guy that preaches and proclaims without revealing who he really is.
My son asked a question.
My son checks out my blog from time to time. Most of the time, he doesn’t find it very engaging. But he does comment from time to time and once in a while he’ll try to straighten me out. Like yesterday.
“You know, “ he shared across the kitchen counter, “for all the talk about outrageous retirements, your blog is pretty boring. ”
I looked up ready to dismiss his objections.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
Then he patiently explained that after all my words and philosophical posturing about living an exceptional retirement, it was all talk and no action.
“After all,” he confided “Nobody likes a lecture. Why don’t you tell them about about something real? Like your upcoming trip to Venice.”
I had to stop and think.
After all, traveling more while we still have our health is one of our goals and testing our acceptance of the stresses and stimulation of life in a different culture is important. So this upcoming trip is an adventure and an experiment in lifestyle design. This trip is not business as usual. It is pushing the envelope.
So why the heck am I not writing about it?
We’ve been planning this trip for six months. We decided that we had to get started before it is too late. My wife and I discussed destinations quite extensively. The idea was to visit a city for two weeks staying in an apartment and enjoying the sights, ambiance and life experience. I suggested Rome or Amsterdam. My wife was resistant and then we both agreed on Venice. We needed to do the trip before Little League starts (my wife photographs kids playing sports). We read about visiting popular tourist destinations in the Winter and decided that it wouldn’t be that cold and it would make the city much more accessible without the crowds.
We scouted apartment rentals on the internet and booked one. They post great pictures. We expected dreary choices but the apartments were all attractive and well appointed. Much superior to hotel rooms and the high-priced tourist services that hotels provide. We didn’t know much about the different parts of Venice and made an educated guess to pick Dorsoduro across the Grand Canal from San Marco. Everyone says that Venice is so small that you can easily walk from one end to another. We will find out soon. Even though I spent several days in Venice 40 years ago, my memories are so fuzzy that I can’t remember much about the layout or getting around..
Nothing we have learned so far suggests a problem with our plan and it turns out that we can take a cab from the airport to within a five minute walk to our apartment which will be important after traveling for 24 hours and a nine hour time shift.
To me, this trip is what outrageous retirement lifestyle is all about. It’s what I fantasize about becoming real. What is outrageous is that I pushed myself out of their routines of my normal existence and indulged in something that is new and exciting. I think that is what retirement should be about. It isn’t important what that fantasy is, just that you have one and that you take some action to make it happen. Have you got an outrageous retirement lifestyle idea? And are you doing something to make it happen?