Vacations For Retirees?

If you are retired and you tell a younger person – one who still goes to work every day from nine to five – that you need a vacation, don’t be surprised if this person doesn’t want to hear it. It is much better to tell people your own age that you need a vacation. They are more understanding. The world gets on their nerves too. They need a change of scenery. They need to get out of Dodge.

Wherever you go, you may not want to fly. It can get on your nerves. The last time I flew, my wife and I showed up with the hope that we’d get on board at the head of the line so that we could get off quickly when the plane arrived at our destination. Many, many people later, we and one other couple were the only ones left standing in the boarding line when the boarding agent announced, “Now that we’ve boarded our First-Class passengers, our Envoy Club Elite members, Business Precedence Customers, holders of our airline credit card, retired and active-duty military, special needs passengers, families with small children, and comfort animals, you old folks who don’t know how to work the system may now board.”  Why want a change of scenery when that’s the scene?

I don’t want to fly, and I’m not sure I want to rent a motor home. There’s a big lot across town filled with motor homes for sale or rent. But their business motto is rather off-putting. It says, “Get Away From It All In Something That Can Take It All With You!” Just doesn’t sound right. Why get away if that’s the case?

I’d drive a car to a vacation destination, but I’ve reverted to my childhood. If the roadside sign says 145 miles, it feels more like 1450. Christmas will come up sooner than my destination. When did places get so far apart? Like a kid, I keep asking as I drive around each curve in the road, “Are we there yet?” And that’s irritating. Why go on vacation just to bug myself?

I hear that national parks are nice places to visit, but there are problems. In addition to the vigintillion people (that’s the number one followed by 63 zeroes, really), there are problems on the observation decks. I have always loved to look through the special binoculars provided on scenic overviews. Put in a quarter (or I guess it’s more like twenty bucks nowadays) and see the beauty all around. The problem is that some of these binoculars have been programmed so that the viewer gets false views instead of the real views.

Speaking of false views, my wife has always liked to travel to some charming town or city to see the sights and soak up the atmosphere. We should have done more long ago. Nowadays, we mainly soak up a lot of pollution, and the sights are less than charming. The skyline, for example, is filled with golden arches,  Econo-Snooze signs, gigantic signs on the sides of large hotels, gas station signs on poles higher than the Empire State Building, neon everywhere you look. Charming it’s not.

So, what I’m thinking about is this. Starting a part-time business selling postcards of cities and towns. But not the way the city or town is now. I’ll go back through old pictures, pictures from years ago. Come up with pictures from when the place had charm and atmosphere, put these on postcards, and sell these to senior citizen vacationers. I don’t think younger people know much about postcards.

If I don’t do that, I think I’ll just stay at home and read a magazine. But not one of the kind I subscribe to. Unlike the magazines on the rack at the supermarket, the magazines that come to the house have hardly any pictures. I’m thinking about reading one of the magazines you can get at the check-out line.

I saw one the other day that seemed more truthful than most. On the front was printed several blurbs about what the reader will find inside. “Beautiful People Who Can Afford Better Vacations Than You Take.” “Beautiful People Pretending They’re Having a Good Time.” “Beautiful People Who Broke Up After Being Together For A Week On Vacation.”  Sounds interesting!



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