Traveling In An RV To Find The Perfect Retirement Location

Jan 3, 2022

Travel Awaits contributor Carol Colborn describes why she and her husband chose to settle down in a more permanent location after honeymooning in their RV. Check out their experience traveling in an RV as they search for a place to call home. 

Almost immediately after our wedding ceremony, my husband and I embarked on what we thought would be a never-ending honeymoon. We had both led very career-driven lives and our hunger for travel had reached its peak. But after crisscrossing the North American continent for five years full time in an RV, visiting 49 American states, nine Canadian provinces, and six Mexican states, we decided to settle in one location every winter to begin what real retirement should be for us “sexygenarians.”

With the freedom to roam the land, indulging in a wealth of sceneries, cuisines, and customs, we forgot that we were not super-persons and that we could benefit from a team of physicians who could take care of us on a regular basis. After my husband suffered a heart attack at a Florida campground — fortunately near a heart hospital — and given my host of many smaller health issues, we realized that we had to stay put in a place for a few months to do the rounds of doctors. Besides, not getting any younger, pretty soon we realized we were going to have to wake up from the dream, cut short our honeymoon, and really retire.

Before making a firm decision, we took our RV and proceeded to stay in the most likely areas where we could try semi-retirement to get a better feel of how it would be to live there, which is vastly different from simply visiting. We were sure it would be in the South because neither of us can handle the cold. My husband’s fingers turned blue at the Grand Canyon National Park … in spring; and, for 54 years, it was summer year-round for me in the Philippines. It would probably be somewhere in Florida, southern California, or Arizona. We embarked on a serious search.

Seeking A Better Tax Structure And Lower Cost Of Living

Even if San Diego is touted to have the best weather in the country all year round, it was easy to eliminate southern California. It was truly sad for me because that is where most Filipinos choose to live. Thus, there are Filipino groceries like Seafood City, countless Filipino organizations to join, and many of my former classmates, co-workers, and other colleagues from the Philippines with whom I could have regular activities. But the tax structure of the state and the consequent high cost of living are not good for retirees like us who are on fixed incomes. A case in point is the cost of gasoline: It is always highest in SOCAL. It does not make sense for retirees, especially now. Our dollars would buy so much less!

To Be Nearer Our Children

We turned our attention to Florida, which fit the bill better. The tax structure is good. And there are so many ready-made retirement havens for people like us. As a matter of fact, we thought we would be buying a property at The Villages, often cited as the best retirement “city” in the whole country. We had made it a point to stay in Florida many months of the previous five years we did RVing. We loved the climate there — it’s hot and humid as it is in the Philippines. But, alas, Florida is so far from where our children live. Road trips to visit any of them would never be practical, and plane flights would all end up being more expensive in the long run. Such factors might’ve prevented us from visiting them more often or, worse, discourage them from visiting us!

So we zeroed in on Arizona, where a road trip to San Francisco, California — where my eldest daughter lives — would take just 12 hours. Driving to Denver, Colorado — which my husband’s daughter calls home — would be almost the same. And Boise, Idaho — where his eldest and only son lives — would be longer by just an hour and a half. So we took our RV to spend three weeks each in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma, Arizona’s candidate cities.

Read the full article from Travel Awaits here