Are you doing anything outrageous?


retirement (Photo credit: 401K)

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.

VENICE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 19:  A gondolier sail...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

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.

Districts venice - dorsoduro with giudecca

Image via Wikipedia

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?

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Micah February 13, 2012, 12:35 pm

    Excellent. Get busy living or get busy dying. I think you’ve turned a page here.

  • Bill Murney February 13, 2012, 12:46 pm

    Ralph, sometimes our children see things entirely different to us and this can really effect our positive atitude. On the other hand it can be great advice and in your son’s case he may be right on blogging about your forthcoming trip.

    I can only speak for myself but I do enjoy reading about us wrinklies getting out and doing something that may not be outragous but certainly showing that they still have some spirit of adventure.

    To answer your last sentence, number 1 on my bucket list (Mt Kilimanjaro) is booked for July and although I am looking forward to the experience I also have great fears that I may not be up to it any more.

    Bill Murney’s last Blog Post ..Weight & Retirement

  • ralph@retirement lifestyle February 13, 2012, 2:54 pm

    I know just what you mean. Frankly I don’t think I’d be up for the Kilimanjaro trip although I like the idea of it. I think just starting it is a great adventure. After all, not all the Mt. Everest climbers go all the way. How many people never manage to start. Looking forward to hearing about what it is like at the top.
    ralph@retirement lifestyle’s last Blog Post ..Outrageous Retirement Wishes- Who do you want to spend time with?

  • Ralph February 13, 2012, 2:57 pm

    OK, son!

  • Hansi February 14, 2012, 7:05 am

    You’ll love going to Europe. Never been to Italy. Amsterdam was cool but filthy, loved Germany the best. Have some fun, drink wine and eat well.
    Hansi’s last Blog Post ..Valentines Day

  • Ralph February 14, 2012, 8:05 am

    Amsterdam is filthy, eh. Those Dutch run a great PR program. All that hype about those tidy Dutch haus fraus must be bunk. I think wine and eating well are requirements in Italy. If we can just get them to turn the heat on.

  • Bob Lowry/Satisfying Retirement February 16, 2012, 8:33 pm

    My wife and I loved Venice. The Grand Canal is dramatic, but the real city is in the back streets and small canals. It is easy to get all turned around so have a good map.

    Don’t miss the fabulous farmer’s market held every day or the crystal glass shops. And, take lots of photos.
    Bob Lowry/Satisfying Retirement’s last Blog Post ..What’s Best: Aging in Place or A Retirement Community?

  • Bill Birnbaum February 17, 2012, 9:42 am

    Hi, Ralph… Yep, I know what you mean. From time to time, each of us needs to get “outside the box” to experience the adventure. Wendy and I look back fondly on our time in South America — both our volunteer work in Peru and our “drifting around” Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. Bill

  • Ralph February 18, 2012, 2:39 pm

    You inspire me.

  • Ralph February 18, 2012, 2:41 pm

    We plan to do all those things, maybe even ice skating on the canals.

  • dkzody March 15, 2013, 7:32 am

    I hope you post from Venice, with day to day insights as to how you are managing. It sounds like a fantastic trip and one you should share as you do it.
    dkzody’s last Blog Post ..Feeding the neighborhood and the soul

    • Ralph March 15, 2013, 8:06 am

      Actually you are commenting on a post from last year. The Venice trip was wonderful but it was last year. I didn’t post daily although I did put up pictures on Facebook. I like the idea of sharing while on the trip but the reality gets a bit more complicated.

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