Travel as a Metaphor for Life in Retirement

I find travel an interesting metaphor for life. Since I’m the navigator in our travels, it makes sense I help others plan their life in retirement.

My husband and I traveled to the Blue Ridge Mountain region of North Carolina recently. As a product of the west (Colorado, Texas, California), I’m always amazed by the beauty and GREEN of the east. Don’t get me wrong, I love the western U.S., but have enjoyed exploring the southeastern part of the country in the last few years.

Whenever we travel, I’m the one who takes control of the map(s). In the case of our recent trip, I had the traditional road maps for Georgia, North and South Carolinas. In addition, we had a Garmin GPS, plus Google directions to the condominium we stayed.

On more than one occasion, I have missed an interesting scene by the side of the road because my nose was stuck in a map. Retirement offers a prospect to establish goals and to revisit old dreams. Much of the focus of the working life of adulthood is on acquiring and maintaining the goals of home, family and career. Often, we are left with little time to enjoy the bounty, because our nose is pressed to the grindstone.

Retirement is hopefully a time to find a balance between new goals, but also enjoying the ride, as well. It’s being able to take the time to smell the roses.

We had minimal time to prepare for our trip to North Carolina. Besides finding a place to stay, we researched a visit to the Biltmore, the “largest home in America”. We were close to the Great Smoky Mountains, so that was also a goal. We made it to Asheville and the Biltmore, but actually never got inside of the Great Smoky Park.

Instead, we found a wonderful school, John C Campbell Folk School dedicated to preserving the culture and art of the people of Appalachia. We spent a day on a train that followed the Nantalaha River into the gorge by the same name, south of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Travel can be an interesting metaphor for life. Retirement success is finding the balance between creating new goals, but also having the flexibility of changing direction as the situation and awareness alters.

About Cathy Severson

Cathy Severson helps baby boomers find more meaning and purpose in their lives and work. Get your copy of her complimentary e-book Guide to Retirement Activities a comprehensive look at work, volunteering and leisure based on an individuals’ personalities. Call for a complimentary 20-minute consultation to answer your most pressing concern. 928.775.4949 or email Cathy at

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