Tag Archives: Travel

The Last Wedding Of Summer, And A Full Moon Over Annapolis

A kiss is still a kiss. And yes, people keep getting married, despite rumors to the contrary. Someone is getting married nearly every hour of every day, someplace, somehow.

The fundamental things apply. We enjoyed a wonderful wedding weekend in Annapolis with the large and growing extended family. Continued growth is certain, the eldest uncle predicts with confidence, especially if weddings continue at this pace. (The uncle is usually right, except when he’s wrong.)  Family genes will continue to populate the Earth, nearly forever.

The ceremony was brightened by late afternoon sunshine on the open balcony of the Marriott Waterfront. The assembled witnesses faced east, so Annapolis Harbor was the backdrop for bride and groom and clergy.

If sailing is your thing, or even your unfulfilled wish, you could not want a view more splendid than the sparkling Annapolis harbor. The hotel is so absolutely waterfront that I could have thrown an ice-cube over the yacht, docked below, with room to spare.

After the vows were said, and the other formalities; after the lawfully wedded bride and groom were duly introduced, the couple kissed and beamed. The bride waved her bouquet overhead. They walked, fast, up the aisle, only to endure the time-honored ritual of wedding photography.

For better or worse. In sickness and in health . . .

One and all enjoyed delicious food, imbibed delightful spirits, and generally made merry. Crab cakes are de rigueur in Maryland. The crab cakes we dined on Saturday evening were the best! The fillet mignon you could cut with a butter knife, and the asparagus was cooked to perfection.

The father of the bride, announcing that he was nervous and not in control of his emotions, nonetheless delivered a perfect, heartfelt and humorous few words.

Most importantly, perhaps, we danced all night to the music of a first-rate band. A live band, not a DJ! Hardly ever see a live band, living or dead, these days. Where did all the bands go? The answer my friends, is blowing in the wind.

Well, to be clear, most of us danced most of the night. Many with beer bottle in hand. Some of the  nieces and nephews, flush with the exuberance of youth, hardly paused to get a fresh bottle of beer. (To be fair, in my day, we danced with lit cigarettes in hand.)

Champaign and wine, and an open bar. And coffee. And cake. And dancing. And, too, a full moon.

Exuberance is contagious. So I danced a bit myself. However, my number of fast dances is strictly limited, like the number of pitches in a pitcher’s arm. And the band didn’t play many slow dances. Some relatives and friends of my baby-boomer generation remained calm and took full advantage of the live music, fast and slow. (Did I mention that I am the oldest of said generation in the entire extended family?)

The band was peerless, but still, nary a waltz all night. What is modern music coming to? (I must throw in something critical, else the copy desk will convict me of hyperbole, with exuberance as the evidence. Oh wait, that was when newspapers still had copy desks. Ancient history, nearly.)

After the sun went down, as the evening lengthened and the dancing continued, the last full moon of summer rose high above the Annapolis harbor.

Yes, Virginia, The world will always welcome lovers, as time goes by.

The takeaway: Exuberance is contagious, but the effect wears off quickly. More quickly, say, than a hangover.

Inside information: The legally wedded couple is honeymooning in Jamaica.

A personal afterthought: I am older than all but a very few of those in attendance. How did I get so old, all of a sudden? (Answer: One day at a time.) I believe I must have been the oldest of those still standing to participate in the after-dinner revelry. I’m obviously older than the parents of either the bride or the groom. Anyone can see that. No wonder I feel a letdown after every party lately.

Time goes by.

Recommendation:  Eat, drink, be merry, and dance!  Accept all wedding invitations that come your way, and stay for breakfast the morning after.


Retirement Living, Your Retirement Home Could Be Any Place in North America, Or Anyplace In The World

If you’re a recent retiree, like me, you might be casting around for the perfect place to call home during your golden years. Retirement means freedom! Not least of all is the freedom of not being tied to geography like a serf in feudal Europe. You can live anyplace you choose (subject to a possible veto by your significant other.)

Here in the U.S., retirement locales that come to mind first are Florida and Arizona. For those with a little more imagination, nearly every place in the U.S. probably has something special. It all depends on what you like.

For the adventurous retiree, the possibilities are boundless. You could live on a mountain top, in an abandoned lighthouse, on an island. You could live in Alaska or New Orleans, or a thousand places in between.

But why limit retirement life to the U.S.? Yes, I know, you plan to travel during retirement, including international travel. You’ll travel as frequently as you want, depending on your degree of wanderlust and, of course, your budget. But I’m not talking about travel, I’m talking about your home base. Why limit yourself to the USA? Canada offers many agreeable retirement options, at least  for part of the year. Plenty of Canadians are snowbirds, living North in Summer, and going South to Florida in Winter. As good as that sounds, we can be more imaginative than that.

You’ve probably heard about people who’ve retired in Mexico, for the climate and the cost of living. You might be able to live pretty comfortably on your Social Security check in Mexico.

I’ll let you in on a secret: The U.S., Canada, and Mexico are only the beginning. You’re retired, you’re free, and your Social Security and pension dollars are welcome EVERYWHERE!

And what good luck: the folks over at “Above And Beyond Travel” have done the research for you. The information in their post, “The Best Countries To Relax And Retire,” written by Chelsea Petersen, will take your breath away and set your imagination on fire.

“With the cost of living rising every day, everyone dreams of a comfortable retirement. We compiled a list of some of the best places to retire to, taking into account several factors; including living costs, healthcare, and community.”

Some of the “Best Countries” are Panama, Malta, Spain, Thailand and Ecuador. Click over to “Best Countries” for more.

I’ve heard that Spain offers retirement real estate deals that are beyond belief. You could check out this NPR report: “In Spain Entire Villages Are Up For Sale And They’re Going Cheap.” Hard to believe, but would NPR lie to you? Many villages and individual homes within are said to be available at rock-bottom prices, by American standards. Seems that times have changed and so has the economy. NPR explains what happened:

“Many local Spaniards just don’t want to live in villages anymore. They migrate to bigger cities for jobs, education, access to public transit and health care.”

I won’t bore you with the details. If you want details, read the NPR story, or listen to the radio version.

But here’s an idea: Some retirees like the concept of living in an “intentional community.” This might be particularly appealing to those who fondly recall the hippy communes of the 1970s. Some enterprising senior citizen, possibly a former hippy who’s now a retired Realtor, could buy a village in Spain and sell shares to like-minded retirees who’d like to live in a community where they might actually know their neighbors. You have to agree that a village in Spain sounds more romantic than, say, a suburb in New Jersey. (Sorry New Jersey.)

Is your passport up to date? You could organize your travel itinerary to check out possible home bases. Remember, it’s as much about the journey as the destination.

I’ll be talking a lot more about searching for the perfect place to live in retirement. I’m in the hunt a home base myself. I need a place with an affordable cost of living. Enjoy the search.

Retirement Travel Made Simple. Or Is It?

Baby Boomers who are still technologically challenged (you know who your are), but who also plan to be world travelers in retirement, need to get up to speed. Just do it.

You can kiss your friendly, all-knowing travel agent Good-bye. Like other humans in the knowledge industry, and most other industries as well, they’re going to be replaced by technology.

Travel, like real estate, is becoming ever more do-it-yourself, thanks to smart phones, tablets, and your trusty laptop. All those devices are as willing to follow you anywhere as your dog. And if you need to find a pet-friendly hotel in a hurry, your smart phone can help. There’s probably an app for that.

Take a look at “See How Your Travel Experience Is Switching Up Digitally” for helpful details, provided by a savvy millennial blogger.

Two Travel Links To Help You Explore The World

My recent post on travel to Cuba has made me aware of the great interest that retired people, and people of all ages, have in exploring the world. I also think the idea of travel to Cuba, after the decades-long estrangement of the U.S. and Cuba, is an unexpected and breathtaking prospect.

One of the ways a blog can serve readers is by supplying links to other sites on the Web, particularly other blogs that contain valuable information. The blogosphere has grown into a vast storehouse of content — valuable information, stories, and art of all kinds. However, blogs can be difficult to access in this ocean of information.

Search engines, invaluable as they are for indexing the Web, are really of little practical use in unearthing information hidden in countless obscure and unsung blogs. As a practical matter, most researchers and casual users are limited to the first page or two of results turned up by a search engine. Most of the time, information on small blogs remains buried many pages deep, like needles in a giant haystack of thousands of search engine offerings.

Returning to the subject of travel, here is a directory of travel blogs designed particularly for travelers of a certain age: “The 29 Best Baby Boomer Travel Blogs for 2015.”  The directory was compiled by  “The Volunteer Traveler,” which is a uniquely important source on “volunteer vacations.”

Also, because my recent post on Cuba was so well received, here’s another link. It’s a heartfelt love letter to Cuba, with many artistic and expressive photographs of the people, architecture, and cars of Cuba. You can find it on Ms Elena Levon’s travel blog. Your ordinary travel writing and photography, this is not.

Colorful Cuba On My Travel List, Because I’ve Already Seen Florida

Via Budget Travel Magazine

Via Budget Travel Magazine

This is NOT going to be a travel blog, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But traveling is among the favorite pastimes of retired folks who can afford to, so I might mention travel from time to time. Personally, my budget doesn’t allow for much travel. But if I ever get the opportunity, I’d be happy to visit Cuba. It’s close and it’s colorful. It would be worth the visit simply to gawk at those vintage U.S. cars on the streets of Havana. I’m delighted that the U.S. and Cuba are normalizing relations, just in time for retiring Baby Boomers.

I spent two weeks in Florida in June, and that will be my traveling for 2015. For a souvenir, today’s mail brought me friendly correspondence from the nice folks at the Florida Department of Transportation, who politely thanked me for visiting Florida. They enclosed a bill for an unpaid toll on the Florida highways. It’s only $7.08.

I remember my bemusement when I bumbled onto a Florida toll road and was greeted by a sign announcing that no cash was accepted. I was wondering when the law was going to catch up with me. Turns out, they simply take a photo of your license plate and bill you by mail. That explains the high unemployment rate among former highway toll collectors. It takes a long time to retrain a toll collector to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist, you know.

If I had the resources to travel, there’s many places in the U.S. that I’d want to see, before I get on a boat to Cuba. The Grand Canyon comes to mind. Maine in the summer. I’ve been to Canada three times. But I’ve never been to California, can you believe it? I’d like to see the Rocky Mountains before I die. And for some reason the Great Plains states fascinate me. All that flat farmland, and endless sky, stretching across most of the continent, in both the U.S. and Canada. All that land, and hardly any people, by East or West Coast standards.

I wonder if they have toll roads in Cuba.