Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 185 In Praise of Slow Traveling


“Lets stop” my daughter said after biking 5 miles one early morning. We were on a 6 week bike trip in Ireland and Wales and were on our 5th day. Our mantra had been that we were “where we want to be”. We discouraged setting demanding goals and biking fast. We accepted the rule that the speed of our group should be determined by the slowest biker. On this day after just 5 miles we stopped. We were on the Ring of Kerry in southwester Ireland . It was a day well spent.


This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery. This episode is entitled “In Praise of Slow Travel”.


We just finished a road trip Washington , Oregon and California . It was an eighteen day trip; ten days visiting our daughter in California and eight days driving.  When on the road, we drove around three hundred miles a day. We thought we had traveled pretty slowly until Saturday night when we had dinner with friends who had also returned from a road trip. They averaged 150 miles per day.


“We will start at the crack of dawn” is one of my favorite phrases. What this means in reality is a start somewhere around 9am give or take a half-hour. Driving after 5pm is rarely done. Of course we like to stop to take pictures, walk on the beach, have lunch, find a local coffee shop, or jump on our bikes for a short ride.


I know some people who like to turn a road trip into an endurance contest. They judge the success of the trip by how many miles they cover. We have a relative who takes great pride in driving seven hundred miles or even nine hundred miles a day. He determines the number of gas stops and bathroom stops before the car ever leaves the driveway. And then, no matter the protest, he does not stop. His daughter-in-law was screaming in agony on one trip for a bathroom stop but he would not. I don’t understand this attitude towards a trip or a vacation.


When we left Alaska our daughter flew to Anchorage to accompany us on our road trip south. We were 40 miles out of Anchorage when we first pulled to the side of the road. The mountains were beautiful, a glacier could be seen off to our right. “Why are we stopping?” she asked. “We have over two thousand miles to go. We will never get there”.


“No need to rush life” I responded. This quote came to me from a bush pilot many years earlier in Alaska. It had become a household mantra whenever pressure was exerted to go faster than what was comfortable for anyone. We made it down the highway. She just had to adjust her expectations.


Now I’m thinking of following our friends lead and pulling in our driving distance expectations. It might be better to travel less miles per day. That is one of the advantages of retirement. We have time. We can take an extra hour, an extra day, or an extra week. By retirement age life has hopefully taught us to accept some limitations.


Just three hours ago we were strolling down the streets on Granville Island in Vancouver. We had just explored a newly established broom making studio where two young women make brooms in the Shaker style. They only use two broom making tools and they are each over a hundred years old.


We strolled outside and within one block saw a distinguished looking older gentleman with an expensive looking camera strapped around his neck. He had a determined look on his face as he rushed along this street amidst leisurely strolling tourist. Maybe he had a train to catch but he was definitely rushing life.


Retirement gives us time to breath, time to letup, time to sit in quiet repose. We should know by now that we aren’t really going anywhere. We may as well take our time.




In our last episode the topic focused on getting a second opinion concerning health care. Mark Reed from Montreal sent me this story concerning his medical problem that benefited from a second opinion.



“Years ago I returned from work in Brazil with a severely inflamed right knee. The hospital emergency put my leg in a full cast. By the time the cast was removed, I had lost all the muscle in the leg. The surgeon – nice man in a $1000.00 suit – decided surgery was necessary. He did not find a thing. The physiotherapist started me on a regime to build back the muscle.


The sports doctor talked with me for 20+ minutes when he said “Tell me about that again”. After a whole raft of blood tests, Dr Eli Dwosh informed me that my blood contained a ‘marker’ for HLA B27 “Spondular Arthropathy” – hereditary in one in four family males; an arthritis-like ailment of the larger joints.


The correct drugs, and a revised physiotherapy regime, and I was playing soccer and jogging within six months.”


Thanks to Mark for sending this in. If you have a story or examples that relates to one of our shows please send it to:




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