This is Retirement Talk. I’m Del Lowery.
A letter from a retirement Talk podcast listener is today's story. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Here is a couple who have created their own way.
Thank you for your podcasts! I find your weekly visit with your engaging manner a soothing relief, especially in the recent years with continuing doom being broadcasted constantly!
A few years ago I wrote you to say how much I enjoyed your podcasts and tell you about our retirement afloat in south east Alaska. We continued to enjoy that life as my spouse wrote and illustrated her science fantasy books and I helped her self publish them. We spent every summer for a decade anchored in one cove or another with each sunset and sunrise a wonderfully unique experience. (Pictures at her Amazon writers page show her at work on the boat with bears on beach and an aerial view of the boat at anchor in our favorite cove. https://www.amazon.com/S.K.-Randolph/e/B005IDVLIO )
I am writing this as we pack our bags to go back up to Sitka for a visit. We are closing out that part of our lives. Our living full time on a boat, over twenty years for me, the last decade with my lovely lady at my side, is over.
We did not know this would happen the fall of 2019 as we boarded the ferry in Sitka heading to the lower 48 for the winter. Upon arrival in Prince Rupert it all began. A death, a birth, our purchase of a winter home (on dirt, of all things!), and a cross county drive helping evacuate our daughter's family from New York City as Covid-19 nipped at our heels.
A tragedy was our boat was left unattended in the ocean waters near Sitka. The humid, harsh environment can take a toll, and it did as our lovely floating home suffered. A couple months ago I returned to Sitka for the first time since we had left and delivered the boat to her new owner. We are returning now to spend a couple weeks housesitting a friends ocean-side home and to send our belongings from storage south to our new (did I mention it is on dirt and doesn't move) abode. We plan a proper goodby to a wonderful boat and one of the most beautiful places either of us has lived.
What did not close down during the pandemic is our enjoyment in creating and sharing stories. She (pen name S.K. Randolph) continues to write her stories. During her first fifty-year career in dance she told her stories on a dance stage as a teacher, choreographer, ballet mistress, and director. Now she is honing her skill in telling and illustrating stories on the printed page, and after a decade of practice on the boat, she is succeeding! I am enjoying converting her raw materials, her words and pictures, into deliverables (printed books, eBooks, and soon audio books, Non Fungible Art, and what ever else comes next) and getting them in the hands of people around the world.
SK received a rejection letter from a publisher in 2007, similar to all the other poorly photocopied toneless letters, but this one had a twist. The sender had added a hand written note on the bottom saying "And don't think self publishing will get you anywhere." That is what got her started on this self publishing journey (or should I say voyage). I joined her in this publishing endeavor, we have been learning new and different things ever since. We can barely keep up as the technology and the market evolves...and that is why we love it!
She continues her love of telling stories through words and images. I get to continue my love of using computers with a splash of marketing as well (in my 77 years, the last 17 being "retired", I tried various occupations, some of which I succeeded at, all of which I learned from). We both enjoy learning new and challenging things as we create, learn, and continue.
Why,you might ask, am I going into such detail for you. It is our response to your recent podcast topic. In January you spoke of "Finding Meaning in Retirement" .
Thank you for your podcast. Please continue sending them our way!
PS To appease our wandering urge we have added a small trailer to our stable. In the words of that famous sailing couple, Lin and Larry Pardey, "Go Simple, Go Small, Go Now". A 17-foot trailer is serving us well for our western Colorado and southern Utah adventuring. And this summer I will introduce SK to the interior of Alaska as we take a wandering, schedule-less, camp-about on the roads of the Alaskan interior. SK will be taking pictures and writing as usual! In 1989 I did a similar trip on a BMW motorcycle (with a tiny tent) that led to an adventure that took me to the other side of the planet. We will see what this trip brings!