This is the latest in an occasional series of blog posts commenting on impending retirement.
You’ve heard about my plans to travel in a recreational vehicle with my wife throughout North America.
That’ll happen in due course. Some of it’s happening now as we take our fifth wheel out for long-weekend excursions. Retirement beckons. It’s coming closer every day and soon enough we’ll be free to hit the road.
However, we have some places we intend to see abroad as well.
My wife and I have compiled an official list of places we intend to visit once we decide we’re tired of working. More or less in order of preference, but not entirely so, here they are:
Australia: Neither of us has been close to the Down Under continent yet. I’ve been to Southeast Asia a time or three over the years. My wife has been to Taiwan twice with me. Australia is calling our name.
We have been communicating with a friend in Adelaide ever since we met this individual on another trip, in 2000, to Greece. We’ve indicated our desire to see him. He is receptive to our visiting him in the state of South Australia.
My fascination with Australia goes back to when I was about 13. My dad was entertaining a job opportunity in the coastal town of Rockhampton, between Sydney and Brisbane. I studied all I could then about Australia, anticipating a huge move. Dad didn’t pursue the opportunity. We stayed put. My interest in Australia, though, has remained high.
My wife has agreed that Australia should be at or near the top of our foreign destinations when the time arrives.
Greece: We’ve been there twice together already, in 2000 and 2001. I returned a third time in 2003. It is the land of my ancestors. My wife fell in love deeply with Greece almost from the moment we landed in Athens.
She has told me on more than one occasion: “Of all the places we’ve seen this is the one place I could return to again and again.”
It is magic. The scenic splendor is breathtaking. The antiquities are staggering. The people are charming.
We’re going back.
Israel: We’ve been there as well. We spent a week in the Holy Land after I had spent four weeks there leading a Rotary International Group Study Exchange. We stayed in Jerusalem and saw quite a few holy sites during our time together there.
We were unable to see a lot of other sites. We didn’t get to Galilee. We saw only a small part of Bethlehem. There were many other sites we left unseen. Time wouldn’t allow it.
Germany: Four years ago on a tour of Taiwan, I met a young journalist who lives in Bavaria, which I call “the pretty part of Germany.” He and I struck up an immediate friendship. We communicate regularly. He has invited us to visit him and his young family. Oh, how I want to see the mountainous region of southern Germany. We’ll get there.
Africa: I’ve long had a fascination with the wildlife of Africa. I want to shoot some of it — with a camera. The idea of a photo safari sounds like more fun than I deserve.
The Netherlands: The trip to Israel five years included my making some friends from The Netherlands. They traveled with our Rotary group. One of the Dutch group and I have remained in contact in the years since then and he, too, has extended the invitation for my wife and me to visit him there. How can I say “no” at the chance of seeing such a spectacular region of Europe?
We’re not yet ready to quit working. Indeed, I intend to keep writing for as long as I am drawing a breath.
It’s a big world out there and we’re excited about seeing more of it.