Sunday, October 11, 2015

Staycation, Life Transitions & A New Perspective

This year for the first time in 10 years, I'm taking a "staycation".  It's not fun to know that I won't be traveling to somewhere awesome again this year, but there are two very good reasons for this decision. First, after 32 long years working for the City of Los Angeles, I will officially retire on July 23, 2016.  I guess you might say that I am planning my permanent vacation.  Whoo Hoo!  Second, I have to train and save up for my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, which might potentially take up to two months to complete.  I just may even stay another month in Europe traveling around by backpack. 

It's funny, but one of the adventures I've always dreamed about having since I was child was to go on a backpacking trip through Europe. This was something I didn't do because I had school, then work, and all the responsibilities and obligations that came with it.  It was a dream that I never thought could ever come true.  After (God willing) I finish my Camino, I hope to take my backpack, hop on a train or low cost flight and visit other parts of Europe for a few weeks.  How cool would that be. Retirement and my Camino seems so far away, but I know that time will go by fast.

After announcing that I will be retiring next July, I have been asked this question so many times . . . . What will I do when I retire?

Most of the time I reply with my standard, I want to do more traveling, take fun classes, exercise, get healthy and do some home projects. However, lately I'm been thinking about this poignant scene from the movie, The Way, when Daniel (Emilio Esteves) and his father, Tom, discuss life.  Daniel was on his way to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago.  For over a thousand years, pilgrims have walked 500 miles from St. Jean De Port in France over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain to the City of Santiago de Compostela where the body of St. James, a disciple of Christ is entombed.  

Daniel's father, in the movie and in real life (Martin Sheen), doesn't agree with his life style and tells his son that his life may not be much but it was the life he chose.  Daniel responded and said, "Dad you don't choose a life, you live one."

It's been a very long road, this journey of mine.  First my education, my career path and job were all choices I made in my life.  It was the 9-5 job to pay the bills, it was the long commute day to get to and from my 9-5 job, it was the once a year big vacation trip (limited to 3 weeks), and it was the long 32 years working for one employer in order to earn my retirement allowance that would allow me to secure my future. 

Lately, I am beginning to quickly realize just how short and precious life is becoming.  I'm no longer that 20-year-old who had no worries about the future nor thought about ever getting old one day. But as you get older, your whole perspective about life changes.  There is no rewind button, no going back and no do overs.  This is it!  No matter what path in life we may have chosen, we have to live for the here and now and follow our passions.  We should not put things off for another day because that day may just never come.  

My life has been filled with so many experiences and for the most part I've lived a good life.  I grew up with the best parents and sister, I have some really cool friends and worked with some very good co-workers and I've had the opportunity to travel to see some beautiful parts of the world.  I think I've made the best choices that I could possibly make for myself and I am so appreciative and grateful for where I am today. But as I enter this new phase in my life, I'm ready to move on with a new perspective.  Not working or aiming toward something, not taking the safe and predictable road and not planning for the future (well except for any travel trip planning that I have to do that is), because technically the present is the future.  I want to really start to enjoy living in the moment and not worry about tomorrow.  

So the next time someone asks me, what I plan on doing when I retire, my response will be short and sweet.  I'll simply say . . . . "When I retire, I plan on living my life."


  1. Congratulations on upcoming retirement. It is a big decision and I applaud you. I have yet to make the commitment and decide to retire. It is not easy. But I totally agree with what you have written. We have realized we are not getting any younger and we have already realized how much time/opportunities have passed. Our Madagascar trip was tough - even without the hike. There are so many other places that we want to go to - and so little time. I remember a good friend who realized in her 50's that if she only did one international trip a year - she realized that would not see everything she wanted.

    A staycation will be good. There is a lot to see in your area and a lot to prepare - both for the Camino and for retirement. I look forward to hearing more as you transition to your next phrase in your life.

  2. Hi Marta, thank you so much for your congrats and comments. I admire all the things and places you've gone to. You always pick exotic and interesting places to visit and they always seem to be pretty adventurous and exciting. I always enjoy following your travel adventures.

    I agree with you. It seems that the older I get, I feel an urgency to get to my bucket list items, especially the adventure type stuff like the Camino de Santiago. I was tempted to postpone until next year 2017, but something inside of me convinced me not to put it off any longer. I postponed it 3 times already. :)

    I guess I wouldn't want time to pass me by and then realize I won't be able to full fill my dreams. At this point in my life it's all about priorities. I'm actually kind of happy not to be traveling this year and taking a staycation instead, because I have so much to prepare for both my retirement and my Camino. I've been training and work has been extremely busy as I transition to leave next July. I'll probably do a couple of posts about retirement and will start to blog about my Camino as I get closer and purchase my airline tickets. I wish I had the beautiful mountains of Washington State to train in. You are so lucky to live in a wonderful place.

    Hope you have a wonderful evening and week.

  3. Hi Marta, I forgot to add that it wasn't very hard for me to make my decision to retire. You shouldn't feel hesitant to make your decision. It's quite liberating. :)

  4. Wow Kathy, this is such exciting news - I'm so happy for you! When I think about retirement, I think of "Freedom" and how wonderful it will be to have more free time to do whatever!

    I've been doing staycations the past several years because I haven't been able to take a big chunk of time off from work. I have enjoyed them and always try to visit some place in my area that I've never seen before.

    And preparing for the Camino is so exciting too. What a great adventure that will be.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful news!

    1. Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments. I'm so excited about my upcoming freedom! :) I'm sorry that you have been so busy at work. It's been crazy for me lately as well. And it won't get any better before I leave in July. But I keep telling myself that I'm so near to the finish line so like a marathoner, I'm going to have to suck it up and get to the finish line. He, he!

      Being so tired with work and stepping up my training for my camino, I'm actually happy to be on a staycation this year. I have plans to go to Las Vegas for a few days with my sister & BIL over the holidays which I always enjoy and I may have another short trip early next year, but that's about it. I kind of like these small trips.

      Hope all is well with you. Have a wonderful fall!

  5. Hi Kathy --

    I've moved into a semi-retired state in recent months and I can tell you that I am loving it! Just today, a friend asked me what I do these days. I told him "enjoy life!" and do so by calming down, taking things slower, going for lots of walks and hikes, meeting up more with friends, etc.

    I know there are workaholics without hobbies out there who would hate being retired. But, frankly, I worked hard but also wanted to play hard. And now I have the time to play any way I want! :)

    1. Hi YTSL, thanks so much for your comments. I'm so glad to hear from you. I've missed our weekly photohunt get togethers.

      It's so cool that you are semi-retired. I can't wait for July 2016. Living and enjoying life is what retired folks should be doing. I know I'm going to enjoy just like you are. I think I will more than anything enjoy the freedom. I'm not tied to a only November and only 3 weeks max vacation time. I can do things I've had no time to do while working. My present to myself will be to go on pilgrimage and walk 500 miles from St. Jean (in France) across Northern Spain. It's called the Camino de Santiago. I'm training for it right now. :) It'll be the punctuation and celebration of the freedom of being retired and to reflect on my life as I move to this new chapter. I can't wait.

      I'm glad you're enjoying your life.

    2. Hi Kathy --

      I miss our weekly Photo Hunt get-togethers too. I've noticed that a number of the blogs I used to regularly visit because of Photo Hunt have become far less regularly updated, with some possibly having stopped altogether. So sad, not least because I'm one of those people who still prefers blogs to Facebook, etc.!

    3. Hi YTSL, yes I do believe there is a decrease in blog activity. I've seen some photohunters on FB. Yes, I do have a FB account. I'm not a fan and I only post mostly when I travel but I'm not that active. I really signed up because of a FB group that I wanted to read and I couldn't do it without actually being on FB. So after resisting I joined. I much prefer blogging and tweeting because it's open to the public and can be easily shared with others. I'm so glad there are still a few bloggers still out there. I'm going to try to be more active. Maybe I'll have more time when I retire. :)

  6. I love the way you closed this post. That is a great line and sentiment. Best wishes on your upcoming retirement and your travels :)

    1. Hi Sue, thanks so much for your comments. Yes, I can't wait to get on with living my life. Not that I haven't but I'll have more freedom when I'm retired. :)


    Hi Kathy, hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! Wanted to share this list of books that I found on Good Reads. I had no idea there were so many books about walking the Camino!

    Noticed some comments above - I too miss PhotoHunt and the blog community we used to have but I just don't think Facebook is a good replacement! I still haven't joined FB - maybe when I retire, I will (ha ha!).

    1. Hi Annie, thanks so much for the book recommendations. I enjoy reading books about the Camino. I will definitely check this list out.

      I hope you had a wonderful Thaksgiving too and enjoying your holidays.

      I do miss our Blogging and photo hunt community a lot and try to stay connected. Im on FB but am not very active. I do like seeing my old high school friends and some other friends who I don't get to see very often though and Im friends with Marta, Pauline, Sandra and Anne fromer ST which I also like.

      I have 7 minths to go to retire and then I'll be on my Camino so i'm wxvited for that too. but there isn't enough hours in the days at times. I hope your retirement day is coming soon. it'll be nice to have more time for the passions in our lives outside of work! :)

      Thanks so much for the reading lust! Enjoy your holidays. PS American Idols final year coming ip so I"ll have to blog anout it. :)


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.