My first year of retirement in numbers

Above Castleton in the Peak District

Twelve months retired – so how has that gone?  We’ve certainly packed a lot in to the last year and at home we have settled in to a pattern for a shared retirement that is comfortable and relaxed.  At home we both have our own projects and interests and often beaver quietly away at these before taking an afternoon walk around the neighbourhood or cycle to the supermarket.  But we were only home for eight months of the year and those holiday days have a different pattern of walking and cycling and discovering new places.  In some ways this year has been unusual as after the incident in Greece we were without a campervan for two months while it was off the road.

I have managed to keep my resolution to not say ‘I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work’ which I guess must annoy all those people who are squeezing work and life into their seven days.  We have also made a conscious effort to do just / at least one thing each day.

Holidays and trips – 16 different holidays from one-night to two months.  We had planned two longish trips to mainland Europe in the spring and the autumn and we had a wonderful trip to Spain and Portugal in September and October but our trip to Greece in the spring didn’t go quite according to plan.  Now this is all over we can look back on the whole Greek tragedy as a learning experience [although one we would have preferred to do without] and we haven’t let the trip knock our confidence; we might even head off to Greece again in the future.  In the UK we spent a few weeks in Scotland, went to the wonderful Upton Blues Festival and various other short breaks.  We have been away in the campervan for about 120 nights during the year.  This is less than we would have expected as the ‘van was off the road for a couple of months.  We tried other types of holidays and these just confirmed that the campervan life is the one for us.

Number of accidents in the campervan  – 1 (see above)

Number of times we have set the alarm clock – NONE!

Writing travel articles – 8- this is a similar number of travel articles for MMM as last year.  This doesn’t sound many and it truly isn’t and is in no way a full-time job.  But I work slowly and each 2,000 words represents about a months work – research, travelling, taking photographs, further research, editing photographs, writing and editing.  In addition I write some campsite reviews and short articles.  This makes my retirement a working one, although if it felt like work I would stop tomorrow.

Number of matinees we have been to – Three – hurrah!

Number of times I have wanted to go back to nine-to-five work – NONE!

Foreign languages learnt – 3 [although I am not fluent in any] – before our spring trip we both worked hard at learning some Greek with flash cards and 1970s TV programmes and our efforts were generally appreciated.  I also used Duolingo to brush up my Italian.  In the summer I learnt Spanish on Duolingo and TV learning and Mr BOTRA picked up some Portuguese.  This learning meant that we could confidently book in to campsites and order in cafes.  Mr BOTRA also keeps his German up to scratch.  Next year we will want to learn some Croatian and Slovenian phrases as well as brushing up other European languages.

Good deeds done – Never enough!  I wanted to do some good in retirement and continue to do the things I listed in this previous post.  My elderly neighbours situation has recently worsened and I feel guilty for not helping her more.

Tai chi – Between once a week and daily!  While we were away in September and October we practiced tai chi every day, a combination of fine weather and peaceful campsites made this easy and fun to do.  At home we just about have enough space for tai chi without bumping in to each other and so manage to do occasional practice, as well as get to our weekly class.

Number of books read  – 64 – this year I have made a conscious effort to read more travel books and fiction as well as novels.

Number of blog posts in 2017 – 101 – I managed 78 posts on Back On The Road Again and just 23 posts on my Memorial Bench Stories blog [I must try harder].

Number of days we haven’t been outdoors for at least half-an-hour – 4 [this is a guess] – mostly we like to get out and enjoy some fresh air even if it is raining and we get out for just half-an-hour.

It has mostly added up to a good year and bring on year two of retirement, I’m loving it.








Author: Back on the Road Again Blog

I write two blogs, one about my travels in our campervan and living well and frugally and the second about the stories behind the people commemorated in memorial benches.

9 thoughts on “My first year of retirement in numbers”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences of your first year of retirement; it’s really helpful for those like us who are just starting the first full year of our ‘gap life’. You’ve certainly packed a lot in. Well done with the language learning – you’ve both done really well. We think it makes so much difference if we can only say hello, thanks and goodbye in all the countries we visit (but we try to learn more). I’ve tried, but failed, to keep up my learning (focusing on Spanish atm), but want it to be enjoyable rather than a scheduled daily chore…but I’ll keep at it. Cathy, on the other hand, is using Duolingo and Michel Thomas to learn several languages. Having recently moved to Anglesey, of course Welsh has now been added to the list! But at least we can immerse ourselves in that language on a daily basis, which really helps.

    In terms of good deeds, we’re volunteering with Keep Wales Tidy on Project Long Forest, a 3 year project to maintain and restore the hedgerows on Anglesey. I’m also looking at volunteering with a charity, perhaps the RNLI or the Anglesey lowland Search and Rescue team. Plus we get on to a beach most days and do a beach clean; we won’t be bored!

    I’ve just booked our channel tunnel crossing for March, for 3 months travelling through France, Spain and Portugal. We’re really looking forward to this first long trip, especially with no real plan and a fluid return date. I’m aiming to keep my little travel blog going, if only so we can look back and remind ourselves where we visited.

    So thanks again for all the hints, tips and ideas.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am impressed by your list of good deeds and I can only blame the writing for chaining me to the laptop for too many hours, otherwise I would do more [honest]. The hedgerows project sounds wonderful; we have talked about doing some practical conservation work, I must unearth that in the better weather. I’m looking forward to reading about your spring trip – a fluid return date is interesting, we’ve never tried that. You will soon be in the swing of being away and get that ‘long-trip’ feeling and I am sure you will love it.


  2. Wow, what an inspirational year! This is the type of retirement that we are planning for – lots of travel with little stints at home. Nice to see that you are doing it so well, and loving it!

    Liked by 1 person

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