Monday, April 15, 2019

Week 15: Snowbird plan

Where's the perfect snowbird spot? I've been pondering that question for years, waiting for retirement when I could escape the Colorado cold in the winter and spend my days basking in the sun, preferably close to beautiful beaches, hiking spots, and a welcoming culture.

Even though I'm not sure if I want to retire fully quite yet, I've been getting more serious about researching and exploring snowbird locations..  goal 30 on my 60 until 60 list.

I wrote about 'Dating' San Antonio as a potential snowbird spot last Fall and since then have spent time in a lot of warm-weather states, searching for that perfect spot.

I came to the conclusion that, just like dating, maybe it would be better to get to know a place before 'committing.'  Yes, whether it comes to jobs, dating, or picking a snowbird spot, I'm finding I may be a bit commitment-phobic at this stage of life. There's so much to try, to do, to explore, to see...

Having freedom from any commitments is amazing! On the other hand, it can also feel a little lonely. When it comes to my snowbird spot, I would like to find a place that I will eventually go back to every winter. In keeping with the whole dating analogy, I might not want to be "married" to a spot, but I at least would like to be in a "serious relationship."

I loved visiting my sister in Southern California and narrowed down that I wanted to be in a location near the beach but it had to be affordable.  Unfortunately, that probably knocks California off of my list. Still, since I'm from California and have a lot of family and friends there, I plan to have the occasional "fling." (So glad that places have no baggage or hangups about commitment!)

When I went to Florida at the end of February, I "fell in love." I'm back in Orlando this week and took advantage of another day at Epcot to see their annual garden show and thought, once again: Yes! I could 'marry' this place! Flowers everywhere and beaches both to the east and the west! Florida is on my short list. I'm headed to Sarasota as I'm writing this to check out one of the most popular retirement destinations.

However, there are a lot of International choices that I'm also considering. This weekend I was able to learn a lot more about the different options at the International Living Retirement Overseas Bootcamp.

The conference was lots of fun! Very informative and exciting since there are so many options for people like me who want to escape the cold! (Ironically, I was freezing from the air conditioning in the windowless conference rooms all weekend..  Mental Note #1: Even in the warmest of spots, it's good to have a sweater at all times!  Mental Note #2: I never want to go back to working all day in windowless, air-conditioned offices.)

But other than the 'cold air', the conference was very exciting! It was almost like getting onto an online dating site and finding out there are all kinds of attractive people (places!) out there with plenty to offer! Who wants to commit when there are so many other options?  And here I was just ready to marry Florida!  (Actually, when we were going through the different country presentations, they even referred to it as 'speed dating'!)

Of course, one of the best parts of the conference was meeting other like-minded people. Here's a picture of me with the two people I got to know most, Rick and Mike. The first night of the conference was a session just for singles, which was awesome. It made me wish there were some sort of network just for 'single snowbirds' where we could meet up at some of these beautiful spots. I know the expat communities are known for their friendliness, but I've been thinking a lot about some of the considerations of being a single snowbird.  I may even write another book or start another blog, vlog or podcast: Single Snowbird! Another fun thing to think about!

After learning about all the pros and cons of several different countries, Costa Rica and Mexico top my list as affordable warm weather countries. There are very large expat communities in both, lots of direct flights from the US, and I've always wanted to become fluent in Spanish (and French and Italian... but Spanish first.)

So Florida, Costa Rica, and Mexico have all made it on my short list.  Next winter I'm looking forward to 'dating' each of these places and getting to know some of their cities more intimately!

What worked well

* Loved exploring California, Las Vegas, and Florida this winter.
* International Living Conference was very informative about International options
* Excited that there are so many affordable warm-weather beach locations
* Good to come to the conclusion that I don't need to pick one snowbird spot
* Excited to think about exploring Florida, Costa Rica and Mexico
* Fun that there are so many active expat communities and the ability to learn from them with social media
* Nice that I got to know some new friends from the conference

What could be better

* I'm still undecided about work which will make a big difference in what I'm able to do next winter. It's hard to have a very definitive 'snowbird plan' when I'm not sure what I'll be able to afford or whether or not I'll be working.
* Even though the conference had one session for singles and one for snowbirds, it was mostly relevant for those who were seriously considering relocating permanently.  It would be nice if there was a distribution list, forum, or facebook page specifically for 'single snowbirds.'  Maybe I'll create one!


Anonymous said...

Love this particular blog! Yes, isn’t freedom in retirement a wonderful thing? Can’t wait to hear more details when you get back...that is, if you come back from Florida!


BevG said...

Love your blog Yvette! ��✨