Travel adventures in retirement

Dr Adcock Travel in Retirement

Historically, travel in retirement often meant golf trips, cruises, cultural weekend trips and winter sun beach breaks, however there are an increasing number of older bolder holidaymakers (affectionately known as grey gappers), seeking out experiences and destinations that many gap year students would be delighted to enjoy.

This month’s guest blog is written by one of our clients, Dr. Richard Adcock, who shares some of his more memorable travel experiences since he retired, highlighting this trend towards adventure and far flung destinations.

There are some terrific anecdotes, take it away Dr. Adcock…

Dr Adcock's travel adventures in retirment

Don’t get me wrong, since retirement 8 years ago at 60, I have loved home and spending time in the garden, but soon enough an ever-recurring mammalian migratory murmur stirs in my “midbrain” and before I know it I’ve booked another trip.

One April I hired a motorhome in Los Angeles and spent 6 months exploring the Western USA from Seattle to Mexico. Often, I parked-up in a remote spot, but this one night I tried boon-docking in a Sacramento Walmart car park (buy something instore and stay the night)- unfortunately they have changed their policy- security moved me on at midnight saying I should try the next Walmart store 5 miles away- but at 2am. they moved me too- I ended up in IKEA’s lot.

On a Rafting trip down the Grand Canyon the “Chief” suggested we all go for a swim after breakfast- jumping into the Colorado River I remembered my iPhone in my shorts.

That reminds me of the blind faith I have in my guides – it was the Amazon, this time, in Ecuador, and we all went for a dip and then went fishing for piranha. We caught some – not the other way around!

Another guide (in New Zealand) asked us on the first morning if any of us had an iPod. Several had – but only muggins put up his hand. She tried out one of my 10,000 tunes on the bus loudspeaker. “24v bus battery – one dead iPod.” (I survived the next 6 weeks with a cheap MP3 and Pat Benatar and the Moody Blues- only 20 songs.)

My Best Guide, Indra, in Nepal, managed to extricate us from the hut below Everest Base Camp when 1 Metre of snow fell overnight. He broke trail with snow up to his waist leading us out across a freezing river. Hundreds of trekkers were descending – like “the retreat from Moscow”.

But all the night before he had been up with a 40 year old female Brit. who developed Pulmonary Oedema at 5000m. I was a doctor before retirement, but, {trust me}, I was very glad to hand over to Indra – with far more experience. In fact, when it came to auscultating the lady’s bare chest (with no stethoscope-ear only) {trust me}, I was very happy to hand over to a 28 year old Kiwi, lady GP. A helicopter managed to get in and the patient was soon recovering at 1400m in Kathmandu.

Once hiking the Turquoise Way and the Lycian Way in southern Turkey we had a retired SAS Sergeant as our guide. The trip went without a hitch! He was a lovely man, actually- although he did tell me off, gently, for taking my boots off at lunchtime- “never do that on patrol, laddie”.

Oh, one more guide to mention. Welsh, 35 year old climber. Mission to get to the top of Mt. Blanc via 2 overnight hut stops. Again, a lovely man, BUT he forgot to mention that he hadn’t a Chamonix guiding certificate, and when the Mountain Police helicoptered in to arrest us at the second hut, I found THAT out. They let us complete the climb! – but kept us in solitary for a whole day when we got down. Unfair or nice?

I often go away with and once, booked for a hike on the Italian Amalfi coast. They phoned just before I left to say there were 10 ladies, and me, on this trip – they wanted to give me the option-of pulling (out)! I went. They were all married, with powerful jobs themselves in California, and every year for 15 years, they have all gone away together leaving their husbands behind to look after the businesses. I enjoyed the trip as always.

I had an affair, once, with a 37’ Yacht. The day I bought her I crashed her head on into a lock wall. My youngest son and I were set to leave Eastbourne, but I wasn’t a very good skipper and hadn’t realised that he had switched “on” auto pilot by mistake and we went AHEAD at 90Deg East, as the lock gates opened, and then at 270Deg West ASTERN. It was my 63rd birthday. The affair lasted about 3 years before I finally decided I was happiest as a landlubber.

Talking of affairs – I was on a fast track 12-week Yachtmaster course with two young fellows (20). We were in SW Ireland at an Island Marina. There was a good bit of Craic ashore that night – too good maybe. Through a haze on the Sunday morning l was looking down from my top bunk on a half naked woman – the sort you see on ships’ prows – but a real woman, next to the guy in the port bunk. The third crew member warned me that her mother was patrolling the pontoons looking for her daughter. Her Mum was actually the Harbour Master! We escaped – just!

I wandered round South America for 4 months one UK Winter. In Patagonia the Guide made sure we enjoyed Malbec wine with our evening meal in camp – he strapped a couple of cases to a pack Llama.

Plan for travel in retirment

On my own I managed to be scammed for £160 by an Argentinian taxi driver in the capital. I had four big Peso notes in my wallet – each worth about £40. From the back seat I handed a note to him which he held up to the sun and pronounced it a forgery. I gave him the next, and the next, and the fourth – all forgeries – I found enough small change, paid and got out to go shopping. In fact HE had been giving ME forgeries (sleight of hand) and keeping my good notes. In BA once you have a forgery you’re stuffed – all shopkeepers scan the notes.

Then I went down to Ushuaia to board a Russian vessel taking me to South Georgia, the Falklands and on to Antarctica. I had prepaid about $7000 – it was a special treat – a Christmas trip. First off, I saw the notice that said “Last Min. OFFER $2000”{ “Sugar”} Then another notice in the office window “Doctor WANTED urgently for cruise,” I dashed up the stairs to find I had been beaten to it by an Argentinian ENT Surgeon.

Well in summary, that’s only about 10 “days with unfortunate incidents”- out of about 3250 days since retirement, probably 1600 days spent travelling in UK and abroad; (that’s including the cycling trip across Rajasthan with a sore bottom that wasn’t used to bicycling…. oh, yes, also the guide who left us alone in the Ugandan bush, alone with his cook. He came back two days later saying he’d been to hospital. I haven’t included the four weeks of Traveller’s diarrhoea in the Philippines and Myanmar last Christmas – not easy to make definite plans under those circumstances, but one mustn’t let a little thing like that get in the way?! Being a Doc I don’t believe in tablets – much – not for that, anyway.

So, I shall keep going for a bit longer, I hope (d.v.). Next month I’m taking the Motorhome to Eire for a month and then to Germany for a while in August / September. Dad was captured in Norway and incarcerated in Germany, so having explored Norway sites I thought OflagVllB might form the basis of a Germanic tour. In between – a month walking in the Alps – and a bit of singing in the UK and mowing the lawn.

I might be taking it a bit easier after Christmas having persuaded a lady friend to come on a World Cruise for 3 1/2 months. Then we’ll just have to see what happens as “Retirement” ebbs away, or flows along, depending how one views it.


Planning your own retirement adventures

Travelling to remote destinations might not be your cup of tea, but we hope that Dr. Adcock’s stories have inspired you to plan your own retirement adventures.

If we can help you to put the financial building blocks in place to realise your retirement dreams, that would give us great pleasure. So, do get in touch.