Both of us Learning Travel

Snow bird, fly away home

February 11, 2016

When we first thought about retirement, I envisioned living on a golf course in South Carolina. We took golf vacations to Myrtle Beach, Kiawah Island and Jekyll Island. We actually watched golf on TV. We probably visited North and South Carolina 10 times. That’s where we saw ourselves.

A few things happened since then. Sue was never really into golf. I intentionally gave up golf, even though I enjoy it. It suddenly seemed like a frivolous way to spend four or five hours, it’s expensive, and I didn’t want to spend my retirement reminiscing about my awesome chip up to the 16th green.

Plus, Delaware began to feel like home, and the Carolinas became, well, not very welcoming. Even though marriage equality is the law of the land now, some states are kicking and screaming about it; Delaware was one of the first to embrace it.

However, we still could see ourselves hiding out from January in Florida or some other warm place. So when I was invited to speak at a conference in Clearwater Beach, we turned it into a vacation and wondered what it would be like to spend a chunk of winter there.

Our little motel at the northernmost end of Clearwater was full of snow birds staying one, two, three, even six months. Even though we saw some spectacular sunsets and ate some really good grouper and hog snapper, that week cured us of our curiosity about avoiding winter for an extended period of time.

I felt like many of these folks were in a state of suspended animation. They were friendly and had spent time over the years with each other. But the beautiful Gulf beach was a block away, and many had only walked there a time or two. They weren’t involved in the community around them. They didn’t get a lot of exercise. Pool time was front and center. Small talk was the language of the pool area. Politics was most often avoided.

That sounds judgmental, but we just decided it wasn’t for us. That’s been happening a lot lately. We have decided we want to stay in Delaware as much as we fell in love with Portland, Oregon last year. We have decided to vacation in the United States. We left the golf course behind. I finally got over my lingering desire to live in a big city after my January trip to Miami.

These matters seem to be deciding themselves with little angst on our part. Or are we just getting more clear-headed as we get older?


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