Packing for the Voyage – Our Best Tips

I am a packing BOSS!  Now, I understand that there are about a million and one bloggers who have created packing lists, so I’m not really going to do that.  And right up front, I want to assure you that nobody is paying me anything to write this stuff.  (I haven’t even yet figured out HOW to get anyone to pay me anything for blogging – but that’s another story.)

I did want to share that as hubs and I have been doing more wandering on the Voyage, I have been studying up, and here is one thing I have seen over and over again:

Checked Luggage = Lost Luggage!

Maybe not this time, maybe not next time…but eventually.  And so I have learned how to use packing cubes and envelopes to enable us to travel anywhere for at least 10 days in a 22 inch carry-on suitcase and a backpack.  We’ll be leaving on Monday for Hawaii, and we’ll only be taking carry-on items.

Eagle Creek NYTPhoto Credit:  New York Times

It starts out by using the Eagle Creek Pack-It system.  Again, Eagle Creek has no idea I feel this way.  I wish they did, as I’d be a great sales rep!  Here’s one thing I’ve learned:

Clothing Wrinkles When It Moves

In a suitcase that is.  Eagle Creek Packing Cubes and the Envelope make it easy to compress a whole bunch of clothes into a very small space.  These are the pieces we’ll use.  With the envelope up top, you use a folding board and can compress at least 10 – 16 tops, skirts, dresses, shorts or pants into a six-inch thick bundle (seriously…I’ve done it!) the beautiful thing is, the clothing travels well, with minimal wrinkles.  Each evening, I hang tomorrow’s items, and by morning, they’re perfect.

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The medium packing cubes let me roll knit skirts, pajamas, and palazzo pants into a small compressed bundle.  Swimsuits and all that stuff will go in another cube.  The smallest cubes are perfect for underwear.  There is nothing better than having the hubs know exactly where to find his stuff, with no rooting around in a suitcase!  We use the tiniest cubes for electronic chargers, etc.

Each of us has TSA approved travel kits, which are always packed with the liquids that we need when traveling.  (In between trips, all I do is refill the shampoo bottle!)  It’s pretty much “grab and go.”

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And then there’s this little baby.  I call it my “anything you need kit.”  While I swore that I wouldn’t give you a packing list, you could probably fix your car with less than is in this little pouch.  It holds everything from superglue and Velcro to toothpicks and teabags.  It has a mini-lint roller, band-aids, eye drops, laundry detergent and wet wipes.  And a whole bunch of other tiny, but very useful things! It’s saved us on many occasions.

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How it all fits together is dependent upon whether or not we’re TSA Pre-checked.  Our electronic readers and tablets go in the backpacks so we can access them easily.  I always wear a large scarf or pashmina.  It can serve as a blanket on a cold airplane, can be a swimsuit cover-up, a shawl, or even a throw for a picnic.  (Ummmm….and I always put the heaviest stuff in hub’s backpack.)  There are always quart and gallon sized zip lock bags in my suitcase – perfect if you have a damp swimsuit or need to make an ice pack!  And lastly, copies of all important travel documents and information, including passports, emergency credit card numbers and prescriptions are stored safely in a cloud account (we use One Note) – so that we can access them from any computer.

So that’s how we roll.  Does anybody have any other great tips to share?  I’d love to hear!  And Eagle Creek, if you’re trying to get hold of me in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be on a beach in Hawaii!

Lynn

 

Overcoming the Guilt of Being Retired – 6 Ideas for Letting it Go

Retirement Guilt

Recently, I’ve been experiencing some “down time” on the voyage.  My side hustle gigs have slowed down considerably, I didn’t get a contract that I desperately wanted, and I find myself with an abundance of TIME on my hands.

Most people would say, “Isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be about?”  Having nothing but time to do what you want?

Now that I find myself in that situation, a new monster has reared its ugly head – GUILT!  There is a nagging voice in my head that I should be doing something more “productive.”  Somehow, sitting reading a book in the middle of the day could be considered lazy.  How can I work on a quilt in the middle of the afternoon when I should be “working!”

I  have been working hard to fight off those nagging “shoulds!”  I should be doing the laundry.  I should be cleaning something.  I should be doing almost anything that would be considered worthwhile around the house, rather than what I WANT to do.

And just to pile on a little bit, there are always those pre-retired friends, who feel the need to express, “You’re sooooooo lucky to be retired!  Some of us don’t get to sleep in late.”

So what’s a Voyager to do?

Setting Ourselves Free

Recognize that you are deserving of your good fortune.  You’ve worked hard for many years and have made prudent financial decisions which allowed you to retire.  There is no need to apologize for those decisions.  Embrace your well-earned life style.  It’s quite OK to get some rest after 30+ years of racing with the rats! When someone says, “You’re so lucky,” just smile and agree with them!

Change your definition of productivity – When you were employed by someone else, you were paid to produce some type of product.  In my case it was well-taught little people.  Now I am my own “employer,” and I get to decide what the “product” is.  Perhaps it’s a clean house, or a weeded flower bed, or a well written article. Or as my own boss, I can tell myself to “take the day off!”

Volunteer:  Share your time, talents and treasures with others.  If you must combat the guilt of being somehow better off than other people, perhaps you could share your good fortune by giving of your time.  Pick any group which appeals to your heart, and it is not difficult to find an abundance of volunteer opportunities!

Embrace being unbusy.  It takes a little bit of study and practice to intentionally decide that it is OK not to go full-steam ahead all the time.  After all, we burned the candle at both ends for an entire working career.  For me, the practice of yoga helped with the first steps.  And Josh Becker’s post at Becoming Minimalist makes note of some practical advice.  It is important to let go of activities that don’t suit you.  It is not necessary to have a jam-packed calendar.  Set it Free. “Take time to let your soul breathe!” (His quote, not mine!)

Identify your own values – For Jeremy and I, it was a conversation over a glass of wine – “Now that we are retired, what is it that we truly value?”  Of course, many of our lifelong values have remained steadfast, and a few have been adjusted or added as we refined the list.  It’s not an easy conversation, and calls for some introspection over time.  But once identified, I found it freeing to compare what I was doing with whether or not it aligned with our values.  For example, we have determined that we value “Personal growth – creating, learning, exploring.”  Creating a new quilt clearly fits, and becomes even more valuable in that light.  Pat Doyle over at Retirement Transitions recently wrote about the stages of adult development.  Ownership of your own values is an important part of stage 4.  Go check out Pat’s post.

Plan something each day to bring you joy.  It started as sort of a New Year’s Resolution.  In my journal each morning, I plan something for the day that will bring joy.  Such a simple suggestion, and the effects have been so positive.  It seems that joy and guilt are sort of mutually exclusive.  Planning a joyful activity gives legitimacy to the pursuit and puts it high on my ‘To-Do list.

Recognize that this is not a dress rehearsal.  None of us know how long the Encore Voyage will last.  Don’t wait.  If there is something you want to do, it might be best to do it soon!  Be spontaneous!  Those other “should do’s” will still be there later!

So how about it Voyagers.  Do you endure feelings of guilt because you no longer trudge off to a nine-to-five job?  I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts and experiences!

Lynn

 

 

Encore Quotes – The Joy of Life

I truly believe in the motto, “Life is about collecting experiences, not stuff!” We’ve been off in the last couple of weeks collecting our experiences in sunny Arizona. It seems I always try to have our next adventure somewhere in the planning stages. (Next month – Kauai!)

But new experiences don’t necessarily need to come from travel. Sometimes those experiences can be found in our own backyards. There are a million things around here to try! Just this morning I saw a “glass fusion” class advertised on Groupon! Our city has a rich community education program, or perhaps we might just check out the winter landscapes in one of our beautiful parks.

So how about you, fellow voyagers? Where will you locate your next “changing horizon?”

Lynn

6 Things to See in Phoenix / Scottsdale

Do you know how you tell the tourists from the locals in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area at this time of year?  The locals are the ones who are all bundled up!  Yep, that’s what hubs and I found on our trip last week to escape the winter cold of Idaho.  We were basking in the beautiful Arizona sunshine, with temps in the mid 70’s.  The locals wore long sleeves and sweaters!

It was a short, four-day trip, but we had done our research and enjoyed some of the best the area has to offer:

1) The Phoenix Art Museum

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Our first major stop was the Phoenix Art Museum.  Our Christmas gift to each other was a membership to NARM (The North American Reciprocal Museum Association).  This membership not only gives us entry into our own Boise Art Museum, but also 973 other member institutions around North America.  The museum did not disappoint.  In particular, the museum houses some outstanding contemporary pieces – some of our favorites thus far!

 

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Mass (Colder, Darker Matter) by Cornelia Parker

Proposing that matter is never truly destroyed, but merely transformed, this piece is made from the charred remains of a Texas Baptist Church that was struck by lightning.

2) Roosevelt Row

The Roosevelt Row Artists District is a continually evolving funky area of Phoenix, infused with artist studios, public art, murals, street art, events, and locally owned businesses.

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3) Durant’s

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Durant’s Steakhouse on Central Ave. is a Phoenix icon not to be missed.  A long-time hotspot for Phoenix movers and shakers, Durant’s was opened by “Jack” Durant in 1950.  Regulars know to enter through the back door to get an insider’s view of the kitchen operation. You then move into the dining area, where you will find the signature red -flocked wallpaper design and red Naugahyde booths chosen by Durant himself.

 

Jack Durant’s motto was: “Good friends, great steaks and the best booze are the necessities of life.”  And holy cow – that was the best steak ever!

4) McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park

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If you are a train affectionado, McCormick – Stillman Railroad Park is a great place to spend the morning.  Full-sized engines, Pullman cars, a carousel and scale trains for kids of all sizes make this rail museum a family friendly destination.  But the part we most enjoyed was the 10,000 square foot building dedicated to model railroad layouts in all scales.  Not only did this fire up Jeremy’s motivation for his own railroad, but I’m pretty sure that in the end, it’s going to cost us some money!

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5) Old Town Scottsdale

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The original Scottsdale townsite is a collection of art galleries, small specialty retail shops, dining venues, museums and cultural attractions.  It is entirely walkable, or a free trolley makes a continuous loop to make sightseeing simple.  You can find all the information you need at a display staffed by Scottsdale Ambassadors at the corner of Main Street and Brown Avenue.

6) The Scottsdale Artwalk

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If you can arrange your schedule to do so, you will want to be in Old Town Scottsdale any Thursday evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.  During those hours, the galleries along Main Street and Marshall Way invite you to enjoy a 40-year tradition of strolling and enjoying Old Town’s lively art scene.  Often, artists themselves are in the galleries, and the street musicians, good food and drink, and festive atmosphere make this a must-do event.

We barely scratched the surface of all the things to do in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  What we did learn from the trip is that it is easy to understand why the “snowbirds” head to this fabulous state.  I know we will certainly return!

Lynn

Retirement Travel Togetherness – 13 Compromises to Consider!

Hubs and I are getting ready to do some more Voyaging!  Next week, we’ll head to Phoenix, Arizona, escaping what is predicted to be the next wave of snowy weather here in Idaho.

In our years on the Voyage, we’ve learned some things about traveling together.  It hasn’t always come without some tensions and bumps in the road.  But as I’m sure many other retirees can attest, there are compromises which must be made:

Relaxation vs. Adventure – I’m more of an adrenaline junkie.  He’s more of a sip wine and read kind of guy.

Planned out or “Fly by the Seat of Our Pants” – Our compromise is usually a little of each.  I like to do some initial research.  We schedule things only as the events require.  (We’ve been saddened when attractions were closed on the day we wanted to visit.)

On water vs. On land – Some people love cruising.  Others can’t stand the idea of being stuck in the middle of the ocean.  Some crave the beach, others, the mountains.

Fly, drive or travel by other means – My brother-in-law will die before he will board an airplane.  Good to know.

Lots of driving or Little-to-no driving – Depending on the location, sometimes we take our own car, sometimes we rent, sometimes we hire car services, and sometimes it’s Uber or Lyft.  And did I mention that a smaller type RV is in our future?

The question of music – Yes, No and What Type? – In the car, sometimes our music tastes differ.  He likes classical, I prefer contemporary. Our best compromise is mid-seventies rock, turned up loud, with both of us singing at the top of our lungs!  Reliving our college romance!

Where to stay, and how much work that will involve – I’ve heard folks say, “If I have to cook and make my own bed, it’s not a vacation.  Sometimes we choose hotels, sometimes Airbnb , or rental condos, sometimes high-end resorts.

“Sleep in” or “Up and at ’em” – There is nothing more annoying than having someone try to wake you up when you’re on vacation.  Or conversely, there is nothing worse than tapping your toe waiting for someone to get up and ready.

Temperature and weather considerations – It’s amazing how many people responded to my McCall post with comments about how we could just keep our Idaho snow.  But some of us know that the correct clothing and preparedness makes this a winter playground.  Many would disagree.

Amount of down time – This is an important one.  Some people like to go, go, go, while others need or want more frequent breaks, and packing the day full of activities is not so fun.

Airports – When is the “right” time to arrive? – Surprisingly, this can be a point of contention.  While hubs wants to leave absolutely nothing to chance, I’m a bit more of a “what’s the worst thing that can happen?” kind of girl.  Depending on where we’re going and the travel conditions, we negotiate our departure times.

Shopping or No shopping – My advice is to be sensitive.  If your hubs is not a browser, please don’t torture him.  It’s his vacation, too.  As for us, we spend little money acquiring more “stuff,” so it’s not really an issue.  We both like to nose in unique, non-touristy, craftsman type of shops. (We do look for a “not cheesy” Christmas ornament to represent each adventure.)

Different Interests during different trips – We took a trip to the midwest, with the primary purpose of visiting all things Frank Lloyd Wright – including Taliesin in Wisconsin, and the Robie House in Chicago.  Our first visit to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, over ten years ago, was for all things automotive – The Barrett-Jackson car auction and Bondurant High Performance Driving School for hubs. Our trips to St. Louis and New Orleans were primarily in search of jazz and blues.

In each of the above instances, communication is the key!  It is far better to discuss things before you go, rather than to discover them after you arrive, or, even worse, to brood in silence when you find situations which test your compatibility!

As we return to Scottsdale this time, we’re soaking up warmth and a vibrant art scene enmeshed in Southwest culture.

So how about it, fellow voyagers?  What compromises in travel have you needed to make as you go wandering during retirement?

Lynn

 

Encore Quotes – Insomnia

I know I don’t usually post a quote on a Sunday, but I’ve had so many comments lately about how much I’m reading that I couldn’t resist!  I’m that kind of girl who says, “Just one more page.”  Then 10 minutes later says, “Just one more chapter!”

My wish for all of you today as that you find some time to cuddle up with a great, juicy book that just grabs you and doesn’t let go!  Happy Sunday!

Lynn

Encore Quotes ~ Find Time for Reading

Hey there voyagers!  I’ve spent a great deal of time this week thinking about books and reading.  For myself, I’ve been staying up waaaaay too late reading, and I’ve just finished my 6th book of the new year.

I also spent time talking with a young friend whose 4th grade son does not like to read.  I put together a grade level appropriate list of some of the best children’s books I could think of.  A child who is not motivated to read is either struggling, or has not experienced the right book!  What fourth grade boy would not be enthralled by the idea of owning a pet Grizzly bear (Gentle Ben by Walt Morey), or by the thought of living alone in a hollowed out tree and training a falcon! (My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George)

The best advice I could give her for developing a young reader is to read TO him!  Aloud, and snuggled up in the most comfortable place she could find!  I always told the parents of my students that their job was to keep the love of the book alive! Reading aloud to children helps them develop the imagination necessary for independent comprehension.  And the right books will get them hooked!

And then I got to thinking about my fellow retirees.  Are there any young people in your lives to whom you could read aloud?  To whom you could give the very special gift of your time and reading expertise?  Is there someone for whom you could light the reading fire?

Have a great weekend, and enjoy reading a wonderful book!  I know I will!

Lynn

By the way, can find me on Goodreads here.