Is living in a van and travelling the country for you? For some baby boomers it’s the only way to travel. “‘The thing I like so much about van life is the simplicity,’ says 55-year-old John Kennedy, now on his first big road trip, to California, in his $75,000 revamped Ram ProMaster,” reports Anne Marie Chaker in the WSJ. It may not be for everyone but it sure sounds like a wonderful retirement solution for some as one commenter notes:
Different people have different tastes and interests. When traveling by airline, we only fly first class and stay in the finest hotels. Or I fly my personal turboprop anywhere I want to go.
Every summer we look forward to driving our Mercedes Sprinter RV to new places in the US. In the last 20years since retirement we have owned five of these van based units, always searching for the perfect model. Major manufacturers produce these units. You don’t have to build your own.
We enjoy a full bathroom, comfortable sleeping, eating healthy food, sitting on the lawn in the campground at night enjoying a glass of wine, mid-day naps on the side of the road, seeing all the interesting sights in our country, meeting friendly people, taking it slow, etc. It is fun to drive, even better than my Mercedes SUV.
You will only enjoy it if you love mechanical things, like tinkering, spend time learning complex systems and are comfortable with tools and know how to use them. That is half the fun. This summer’s project will be a solar upgrade and all the accoutrements. It’s one of my hobbies.
Some people really enjoy this kind of thing. Others don’t. We do.
Retirement experts say the van life reflects a new way that people want to retire. Rather than work straight through until a certain age, more people are spreading out their leisure time, whether it’s between jobs or working a few hours a week as they travel. “Boomers are reinventing retirement and saying ‘I get to live my life the way I want,’” says Jaye Smith, the 63-year-old co-founder of Reboot Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in retirement and career breaks.
For some people, sleeping in the van at night can take some getting used to. “As soon as the sun sets, I get petrified,” says Lauren Costantini, a 48-year-old former chief executive of a medical-device company who is semi-retired. “I put the window coverings up and I feel better.” She recently returned home to Boulder, Colo., after a successful four-month trip across the country on her own.
Edward Lawlor two years ago bought a custom remodeled Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van from Outside Van for $130,000, which he takes out on the road with his wife Betsy for three to five weeks every few months. The former dean at Washington University in St. Louis is semi-retired and teaches on a flexible schedule. The couple has traveled in the van through New England and Nova Scotia in the summer and to New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast in the winter.
Read more here.
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