Writing into retirement

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I am now ten weeks in to retirement [and still smiling] and very soon my retirement will be our retirement when Mr BOTRA joins me.  I am looking forward to a shared retirement and with warmer weather and opportunities to get out and about much more I have been thinking hard about my writing life and in particular how often I post on my Back On The Road Again blog.  Last year I set myself the goal of publishing posts twice a week as I built up the blog.  I have mostly achieved this with occasional failures [for which I beat myself up about of course].  In addition, over the last year I have written a travel article at least once a month and submitted shorter articles and campsite reviews and I have tried to keep on top of my Memorial Bench Stories blog.  In the last twelve months I have worked at practicing my writing at least five days a week in an effort to improve my writing and create some discipline and structure to what I do.

Despite all this practicing I have never really managed to become a fast producer of words and my craft is slow.  I spend hours editing even a short 400 word article, reading and re-reading to find just the right words and put them in what I think is the best order.  In addition, for every piece of writing you see there are hours of background research.  I really enjoy this aspect of writing as it feels like studying and learning and reminds me of those happy days as a student.  It doesn’t matter that much of what I learn never makes it on to the page.

During the last year my Back On The Road Again blog has taken up lots of my energy at the expense of my Memorial Bench Stories blog, never mind other new ideas I have in my head.  Although I feel proud to tell people I am a travel writer, I have other aims and plans for retirement and I want to leave time for study and reflection.  And so I feel it is now the moment for blogging to take up a little less of my time.  Although I intend to continue to make time to write almost every day during the next year, some of this writing may be just for me and may even involve pen and paper rather than a keyboard.  The retirement of Mr BOTRA represents real retirement and I feel ready to now really shift gear as I move in to my new retired life.

My revised goal is to publish a blog post here at least once a week.  This new ‘regime’ [I am in no way pretending this is a tough target] might give me time to write other blogs, space to complete around six travel articles a year and continue writing a few short articles.  This will also give me time to travel, to exercise, to find out new and interesting facts and just be.  It should also give me space for new and exciting projects [some of which I haven’t even had time to dream up yet].  So here we go!

 

Why we won’t get bored in our retirement

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These are our plans for retirement

Pinned up in the van is the above list of things.  Mr BOTRA and I think of the lines of this verse as our ‘to do’ list when we are on trips in the van.

Our plans for our [hoped for] long and happy retirement are to spend lots of time on campervan trips and doing all the things on this list.

This list is not ours it is one of those oft quoted things you find on a fridge magnet or a postcard but it does nicely summarise the things we like to do on our campervan trips.

Walk in the rain – or [hopefully] in the sun, or the wind; whatever the weather we will just walk [or cycle] every day.  We will walk up mountains, along valleys, traverse ridges, follow coastlines and explore towns and cities, at walking pace we can really appreciate the great outdoors.  When we were away in the van for a year in 2009/10 (blog here) we walked most days, slept well and were fitter and healthier than we had ever been.

Smell flowers – There is no better display than the one nature provides and I always take time to smell the flowers [and watch the birds and animals], as well as try and identify what they are with the books we have in the ‘van … sometimes this is very hard.

Stop along the way – In a campervan there is really no rush and no excuse not to stop and explore whatever we find because being in the ‘van is part of the fun and the journey.  Sometimes these unscheduled stops take you to unexpected and interesting places.

Build sandcastles – Or beach comb, or bird watch or just more walking but on beaches.

Go on field trips – For me every day in the ‘van is a field trip and the blog is my field note book.  When I was a geography student the field trips were my favourite part of the course and I picked modules to maximise the number of trips I took part in.  Field trips are about taking everything in, observing, experiencing and soaking in the sounds, tastes, history, smells and stories of a place.

Find out how things work – I will admit to a liking for interpretation boards and Mr BOTRA reads these avidly.  I am also addicted to looking things up on Google.  As far as I am concerned, every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

Tell stories – To each other and to others [when they will listen].

Say the magic words -These must be ‘Let’s go camping!’  I say these all the time.

Trust the universe – Okay, this is a bit dippy, I trust it to just keep expanding and be there.