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 BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com, 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.
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.
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.