Mark is a retired Project Manager from the high tech world and Susan is a retired information systems professor. Susan is a proud Virginia Tech Hokie, Arizona Wildcat, and Colorado State Ram. Mark is a proud Iowa Hawkeye and CSU Ram. After too many years of working and 26 years of marriage, we’re off on a travel adventure.
Our first big trip together was a 9 week camping trip in Europe. Yes, we used a tent and sleeping bags, learned how to do laundry in 4 different languages, and drove 9000 km. This was the start of our travels around the world to about 45 countries so far. We’ve done cruises, slept on friends’ couches and beds, stayed in hotels and motels and apartments. We’ve driven around the U.S. and Europe and Australia and New Zealand – left side, right side, who can remember! We’ve visited Asian countries (no driving there!) and the South Pacific. The most lost we’ve been was a Paris suburb one Sunday morning where we went past the Sunday market at least 4 times looking for the correct route!
Thanks to Susan’s profession, we’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Portugal, Hanoi, Heidelberg and Bhutan while she teaches Information Systems to undergrads and grad students. We spent 10 months in Australia, 3 months in Portugal, a month in Hanoi at Foreign Trade University and Susan spent 5 months in Bhutan on sabbatical at Royal Thimphu College. This has given us the opportunity to see the Australian Open, enjoy a tropical storm in the Cook Islands and the remnants of a cyclone in Bhutan (Can you say no electricity for 23 hours?), drive around France watching the Tour de France 4 times, and enjoy the atmosphere in Germany when they won the World Cup in 2014.
Susan is the Official Trip Planner (Her business card says so.) so we started thinking about retirement and how to spend it years ahead of time. We’ve visited 43 countries so we love to travel and see new places but we like to go back to favorite places, too. We made a bucket list a few years ago and add to it as time goes on. Our first “retirement” trip is to wander the world for 9-10 months. After that we have a few more ideas for ways and places to spend time:
- House sitting
- Camping in a little cottage on the beaches in Spain
- 1 month in Thailand in Bangkok or at the beach
- VRBO places to stay in Hawaii in the off season – is there REALLY an off season in Hawaii?
- Road trip around the US to visit college campuses and watch football games at all the famous stadiums
At the “22 ½ months and counting before we hit the road” point, we started making lists and investigating information we thought we’d need, including travel insurance, backpacks that don’t weigh anything and have all the pockets and compartments we need, suitcases, hiking boots, clothes for the safari, house sitters! We started lists of all the things that need done before we leave – get new passport (check!), vaccinations (mostly check!), cancel magazines, how to store our cars … the list gets longer. I hope by the day we leave, everything will be crossed off and checked off!
Now that we are retired, we’re excited to travel without a schedule and spend longer in each location. Come along on our adventure and see where we end up!
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine