Hobbies and Retirement

After dreaming about retirement for years, I found reality to be quite different than imagination. Retirement brings a new found freedom, one full of promise, but it also leaves you ……. wondering.

You see, when you are working, you fulfill a purpose, people need your services and appreciate your talents. Most of our waking day is spent in the support of our jobs, it becomes your extension, part of your identity. One that many look forward to putting behind them while others are lost and lack direction without. At some point you realize that retirement becomes your new existence, one that must be filled with interest, anticipation and excitement. Finding an interesting, challenging hobby is just what you need.

I found mine in lapidary – finding, cutting, grinding, and polishing precious stones for making crafts and jewelery. Actually, they don’t even need to be precious. Some of the most interesting and entertaining art and jewelry has been made from common beach stone, broken glass, shells and many other medium. Make a search on Google Images for precious stone jewelry or beach stone jewelry or just plain lapidary, you’ll be amazed.

The image above is a  free-formed (shaped without use of a template) cabochon (a gem cut in convex and highly polished) most likely to be used as a single pendant necklace. This particular cabochon was formed by Ahana White, more of her work is available in Google Images.

I am new to this hobby, but find it very relaxing and rewarding to walk along the beach in search for “the perfect stone” or go hiking in the mountains looking for unusual rock formations that can be cut and polished to bring out their incredible hidden beauty. It also ties perfectly into my love for travel. Their are several books available that site locations throughout the U.S. and the world where precious stones and gems are located. I have bought several from Amazon.com.

Whatever you decide to do in your retirement, pursue it with passion and purpose, if for only to satisfy your own pleasure. Life is a precious commodity, setting around watching television or spending all your time reading will lead you to an early disability. Be adventurous, stay youthful, and most importantly, engage in something that will challenge your creativity and expand your mind. I also love going to art museums. I find it very rewarding to view others interpretation of art and while I may not be particularly impressed, I try to imagine their thoughts while creating it.

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No Vacancy!

Tired of full campgrounds, expensive resorts, long range reservation planning? Most summers are lucky if they last 12 weekends (weather permitting).  With 312 million potential travelers in the U.S. alone, competing for prime camping sites is getting more and more aggravating every year.

During these stressful times, getting away for the weekend is important. Finding out you thought about the idea late and no vacancies are available is disappointing. My husband and I like to be spontaneous. We dread having to plan ahead for months to reserve a camping spot at our favorite get-aways. Invariably, some last minute issue causes a change of plans and we have to cancel our reservation, knowing that another spot is unlikely to come available for weeks, if at all, for the season. With more and more baby-boomers retiring, along with the general increase in our population, the current amount of camping sites at State Parks, National Parks and even public and private resorts are very limited.

Often times we have family and friends that want to come over and visit. Our house is rather small, but fortunately, we have room in our yard to accommodate a visiting RV (or two). We just run an electrical extension and hose out and we even have a long coax so they can watch television. It was after one such visit that we began thinking about how to extend this arrangement to others.  In these difficult economic times, reasonable compensation for such amenities could be advantageous to the travelers as well as a homeowner, but how do you start such a process? Get people talking. Provide a forum and let them be creative. I am sure there are plenty of homeowners along the way to Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Disneyworld and the Smithsonian, to name a few, willing to share a comfortable spot for a reasonable fee.

From interstate travel, we expanded our thoughts internationally. I am from the Philippines. When my husband came to visit me before we were married, he made traditional reservations ahead of time. At that time, the exchange rate was 52 Filipino Pesos to 1 American dollar. Using the Internet my husband reserved a room at an advertised hotel in the area and paid the tourist rate (much higher than the local rate). I quite easily found him suitable accommodations in the spare bedroom of a very nice home at a fraction of the cost. This made us think about all the students out there that would love to travel, but have limited funds for food and lodging. It would be quite simple to arrange bed-and-breakfast type accommodations through a social connection site. After all, life is all about socializing, all we need to do is provide the appropriate venue.

Please share your thoughts. We would like this site to evolve into a useful tool to world travelers. There is already a site called CouchSurfing.com and probably others that promote the theme of hospitality hosting. However, we would like to combine interstate RV/camping alternatives with the more personal international hospitality service, onto one connective site.