The biggest baby boomer mistake I’m glad I didn’t make

Have you done what you always wanted to do since you were a young baby boomer? Many of us haven’t and that includes Chuck Bolotin, formerly from near Tucson, Arizona. But now, he’s living in a place with a view of a volcano on the other side of the largest lake in Mexico, and writes the kind of story for BoomerCafé that we really like. Or maybe we should put it differently: he writes about the kind of life we really like. An executive with, Chuck tells us about The Biggest Baby Boomer Mistake I’m Glad I Didn’t Make, and How You Can Avoid It, Too.

Think back to about the time when you graduated from high school. If you were like me, you had great plans for great adventures. Maybe you were going to travel around the country in a VW van with your friends or backpack through Europe for three months.

As baby boomers, some of us actually went on those adventures, but the vast majority of us did not. Later, other things kept getting in the way. Perhaps college, kids, more responsibilities, demanding careers … the list could be pretty daunting and without putting out a huge amount of effort, too exhausting and complicated to overcome. That’s why now as baby boomers, so few of us did those things we dreamed of, those things that, back in our twenties, we figured we would have plenty of time to get to … one day.

Chuck Bolotin in Mexico

My wife Jet and I were born right in the middle of the baby boom —1957 — and like many boomers, did some of the things we planned, but certainly not enough of them. Then, about two years ago, through luck and planning, everything aligned and the opportunity came up. But only if we had the courage and imagination to grab onto it. The kids were gone, I had managed to become a “digital nomad,” so I could work from pretty much anywhere, and we still had enough of our youthful vigor and attitude to take a run at our adventures before it was too late.

Chuck’s wife Jet with a friend.

Why do I write “before it was too late?” Because, like most of us, our physical abilities were on a natural downward path. We weren’t infirm, but to deny this reality would be silly. After my torn Achilles, I couldn’t play basketball any longer (or at least, I shouldn’t, and even if I did, my abilities were nothing like decades before), my stamina wasn’t as great, and most certainly like you, more than one baby boomer friend of ours had either died or fallen victim to some debilitating disease. For these friends, it was too late.

We would do it before it was too late.

So we sold our home in Arizona, gave away, sold, or put into storage anything that wouldn’t fit into a large white van, and with our two dogs, we hit the road for a one-year road trip throughout Mexico, a modified fulfillment of that VW van fantasy so many of us had. And to make it more adventuresome, we didn’t have a set itinerary; just travel from one new and exotic place to the next, to see what we would see, and to experience what we could experience.

Now that this part of our road trip is over, we are both so glad we did it, especially when we compare it with the alternative of staying home. We saw wonderful and sometimes even magical things, we met great people, we ate fabulous and unusual food, we overcame obstacles, and we learned life lessons, even at our age. As a result, we feel and act much younger.

We have great memories.

And even fewer regrets.

Chuck recently published his own family’s story: One Year on the Road and Living in Mexico — Adventures, Challenges, Triumphs, Lessons Learned. Click here for a free download.


  1. Inspiring article and great pictures Chuck. Kudos for living the life you want! There are no guarantees about “tomorrow” and my husband and I vowed to have no regrets. This is our ninth winter away from Canada living somewhere new and tropical. It’s refreshing to see there are other like minded people in the world. All the best!

  2. Hi Chuck, all your words are spoken for many of us. My husband and I came down here, born 1956 and 1951 4 years ago with so many ideas and wishes. Sadly he passed away here after just 2 years, and to be frank for me alone the place and its people lost a lot of shine and warmth. Yes I am aware of the nature of grief, more so that I have now joined the long line of single gray older ladies who are here Lakeside.
    I hope you will be happy for the rest of your life.

  3. Hi Chuck, I enjoyed your article. My wife and I were also born in 1957 and we are glad to have not made the greatest boomer mistake! Like you we sold everything and moved to Cozumel. We retired early though and it was the best thing we ever did. We scuba dive regularly and generally enjoy island life with great new friends. We also continue to travel having just returned from three months in Antigua and have a trip planned for Peru next year. Like you we are into storing up memories and enjoying all of our new friends we meet along the way. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. I’m so glad you decided to live your dream ‘before it was too late’! I was fortunate to be able to travel in Europe, in the USA, and South America while in my late 20s and mid 30s. Sort of got it all out of my system and went on to live a life of responsibility and child-raising. The best decision I made was to move to the West Coast, where I now live with my husband and have most of my family around me. Life is expensive here, and there are many material things I don’t have (and don’t need), but I believe we have the best of all things, and would not change anything. Each to his own, and I wish nothing but happiness for the folk, like you, who have taken that big step to travel!

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