I never contemplated a life of travel until I retired in Hawaii from a long career in journalism. I looked forward to retirement thinking I’d have it made. After all, Hawaii is paradise, right? What could be better?
But soon I knew I needed more than what retirement life was offering. I wanted -- I needed -- something else in my life, although I wasn’t sure at the time what that was.
It suddenly dawned on me that I had the opportunity to travel. I started planning, went all in, rid myself of nearly everything I owned and set out on a new course in life. That was four years ago. I was 64.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old.
We grow old because we stop playing.”
-- George Bernard Shaw
Just when the conventional wisdom said it was time to start winding down, I found new life in travel. It took me out of the retirement spiral and gave me an entirely different perspective on the world. It was a new way of living, of thinking, and discovery, brimming with adventures for the taking.
I discovered how to live out my life every day free of the tired old cliches of aging. I could broaden the confines of my life with new friendships among people of all ages from all over the world. It taught me to be more tolerant and understanding, with patience, empathy and kindness, traits that were falling away as retirement fossilized into grumpiness and complaint. I was actually growing again, learning, and experiencing a life I had never dreamed of before.
I wanted to write about that and how disappointed I was to be grounded now with the coronavirus crisis after feeling so rejuvenated in my life.
Then I read aloud to myself what I'd written before hitting the "post" button and was appalled at how it sounded. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Here I was reacting like a petulant child. I was describing only my selfish feeling of adolescent impatience, wanting only to get back what was now beyond reach, with little regard for others, banished to my room, alone, crying out only for the world to be right again for me!
I thought the reader would have been justified in wanting to deliver me a swift virtual slap in the face! "Wake up, you old fool!"
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
-- Dylan Thomas
So I set to work rewriting, realizing how far I'd gone off the rails.
I recognized that the traveler's beacon would shine again, even if for the time being our journeys may be stalled in the doldrums of despair and uncertainty.
But let the sirens wail from the rocky shoals as we regain our course and set our sight on the clear horizons ahead.
This is no time to wallow in self-pity when so many people far less fortunate are suffering severely in this crisis. Now is the time to stand and ask, what can I do to help us all get through this?
How shall I "rage, rage" now, against the dying of this light?
It's time to re-energize in the spirit of good travel, doing what I can to lend a helping hand to others, to keep kind words on my lips and a smile on my face, to cast away despair and maintain a steadfast belief in better future for us all.
These are the things that make travel such a special pursuit, and that, soon enough, will put us all back on the good path once again.
Forever alive, forever forward.
-- Walt Whitman
Quotes For A Good Life On The Road
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”
-- Anthony Bourdain
Now see my complete collection of travel quotes online by clicking "Quotes For The Road" under "More" in the menu above.
Solas "Best Travel Writing" Awards
Saysha: What Happened?
13th Annual Solas Awards for Best Travel Writing
(Read it here)
'More About Me?
I'm an award-winning travel writer and retired journalist from Hawaii who tired quickly of retirement and hit the road as a slow, solo world traveler in August 2016. I've spent time in 20 countries on four continents. Currently I'm in sunny Merida, Mexico, waiting out developments in the coronavirus crisis before moving on. Meanwhile, learn more about me and my travels at Nomadic Matt, and Expat Focus, and in a great story by veteran Borneo newsman and prolific author James Ritchie about our meeting in Kuching, Malaysia, A Confluence of Adventure Writers .
Also online ...
GARIFUNA SETTLEMENT DAY
Still the most authentic, lively and colorful local cultural festival I've seen on the road.
I found this Alternative Arts and Music Festival in the Amazon highlands of Peru. What a find!
How I found a friend and discovered what's real in Lima, Peru.
My partner and I were left high and dry in this Siem Reap Rip. Be careful!