That settles it: Australia, here we come

This is another in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on the onset of retirement.

Honest to goodness, my wife and I declared some years ago that our first overseas trip after retirement would be to Australia.

A recent study listing the world’s most livable cities confirms our choice to be a wise one.

http://news.msn.com/world/melbourne-worlds-most-livable-city-damascus-least

The Economist Intelligence Unit cited Melbourne as the world’s most livable city. Also on the top 10 list of desirable cities were Sydney, Adeleide and Perth.

With that, I’m quite certain now that we’ll head way, way west and way, way south for our first trip abroad once we decide to quit working for a living.

It takes a good bit of time to get there by airplane. I hear it’s about a 24-hour journey all told, counting stops in, say, Los Angeles and perhaps Honolulu en route.

Even better news is that we have a friend who lives in Adelaide who I am hoping will extend some hospitality our way when the time comes. We used to be acquainted with a fellow in Perth — in Western Australia — but we’ve since lost touch with him. Too bad, I guess.

Our overseas travel plans also include a return to Israel, where we have several friends we want to see again; we hope to return to Greece, where we visited together twice in 2000 and 2001 — and where Kathy once described as one place on Planet Earth she could see again and again; we’ve also acquired friends in The Netherlands and Germany who already have extended invitations to us.

Australia, though, has been a Land of Mystery to me since I was a kid. I have wanted to see it up close since the time my father actually considered taking a job opportunity in a coastal city, Rockhampton. I was about 13 or 14 at the time and I read volumes of material about Australia thinking — no, hoping — Dad would take the job. He didn’t.

“We feel immensely proud that Australia’s fastest growing city has again been recognized as the most livable city in the world,” Agent-General for the Victorian Government in Britain Geoffrey Conaghan said in an emailed statement to MSN.com.

The Economist Intelligence Unit survey cited the city’s health care, infrastructure, culture and environment as factors contributing to its livability. That’s good enough for me.

The least livable cities in the world? How about Damascus, Tripoli and Cairo — all torn to shreds by civil war and bloodshed?

I will need no persuading to stay away from any of those hellholes. We do, after all, have our travel vehicle set to take us to view the splendor of our very own continent.

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