Link Luv

Resolutions for 2015: Get Twisted!

Posted on: Thursday, December 18th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

DSCN0387.JPG - Version 2

NOTE: This post was originally published on December 11 by my good friends at MeetPlanGo!  

It’s that time of year again. The holidays get us all plumped up with feasts and fetes. Then we stumble into a new year. For most folks with any sense of tradition, that’s a time of resolution, reflection, and reduction (of pounds and debt dollars). This year, why not resolve to get one step closer to a big, fat, career break?

While we’re at it, let’s be more specific—and twisted. That is, let’s twist the usual NYE advice to make it more fitting, fun, and hopeful. If your life feels boxed-in or you want to live outside the cube, take note. And take heart.

  • SAVE LESS. Sure, everyone’s always preaching about saving for an education, house, rainy day, or retirement. But retirement is such distant ship-smoke on the horizon, right? Presently, 35% of people over 65 work. And both those numbers will keep growing as the cost of living ratchets up. What to do? Retire now and then. The best reward for saving money for your senior years: Instant grat. So you hereby have permission to sneak some straw from your nest egg (assuming you have built one first) to practice retiring. Go away, far away, for a month or 12. Then come back and work (and invest) some more. Repeat every 5-7 years.
  • SPEND MORE. Time is money, right? Well, yes and no. We sell our time (and sometimes soul) to the boss who pays us with money, true. But if we could value time, we’d dub it priceless. So how about spending less hours on work (and related shtuff), and more time on what makes you tick—like yoga, cooking, hiking, and (naturally) planning your vacations and sabbatical.
  • LOSE THE WAIT. Are you putting something off? Do your travel or even simple getaway goals keep getting sidelined? Resolve here and now to pop that procrastination bubble and do something—anything!—that brings you closer to your desire to experience the world and its cultures, cuisines, and quirks. Visit oddball museums. Dine in a different ethnic eatery each month. Sneak in over-nighters to funky small towns and stately state parks. Use long weekends and vacation time to get outa town and escape your routine. Whatever you do, find ways to make some here-and-now BreakAway moves—until you can make a break for The Big One.

HNY!

2015 is right around the corner. May it be a year of turning the corner on making your dream a reality. And meantime, may the holiday spirit (the kind and generous one—not the greedy and grinchy one) be with you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Could Bad News Be Your Ticket to Ride?

Posted on: Thursday, October 16th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

My dear pals at Meet, Plan, Go! continue to publish my (almost) monthly column about Baby Boomers and travel. This September article (which I finished in early October, natch) is designed to take your excuses to the nearest shredder. Enjoy!

You know the scene: I’m at my desk, avoiding “real” work, and surfing the web. In this case, I’m exploring Boomers and long-term travel. I find an upbeat, popular article with 555 comments, leading off with this one: “This is crap. As a boomer I am broke and live paycheck to paycheck, like all the other boomers I know.”

Beware the self-fulfilling legacy

“This is crap?” What a buzzkill! One must feel sorry for this guy; who’s putting Dire Drops in his water? I don’t mean to go all power-of-positive-thinking here, but really, he’s not likely to escape his quandary or his paucity without a serious attitudinal U-turn.

So let’s help Mr. Boomer Bummer out. Let’s help any of us who are trapped in pessimism about prospects for a dream. Just for yucks, let’s take life’s big bummers and turn them inside-out into opportunities to fly away from, well, hell? Sometimes, what’s (initially perceived as) bad news could be a prophesy for a BreakAway.

DSC_0990_2

Morphing pitfalls into paradise

  • You’re fired! Most folks will work at least 7 career jobs. Some will end rudely. Is that tragic? Or could it be the best thing that ever happened to you? Be ready: Sudden freedom could be your chance to shake it up and change your life plan—potentially on a blissful beach somewhere.
  • I don’t love you any more. That’s bad movies. And possibly heart-breaking, yet rarely out of the blue. Why not have the next laugh, store your stuff, and pack your bags for somewhere far away from Mr. or Ms. Over N. Done? Heck, you may even meet your next love interest.
  • It’s time to down-size. Boomers are facing this now, by the millions. Yet everybody will—at various ages and stages. When that pad has become too big and the possessions too piled up, consider upsizing your life with a remote pause that refreshes.
  • Loved ones are passing on. Death happens. Reflection follows, not to mention denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, eventually, acceptance. Maybe a sojourn to somewhere peaceful would help you move on; maybe it’s to a place once shared with the departed beloved.
  • DSC_0987_2Your (inheritance) ship comes in. Although our “that’s-crap” commentator lives paycheck to paycheck, Boomers stand to inherit around $12 trillion—and may pass along up to $30 trillion to their offspring. For some, prosperity from heaven will arrive. If your ship comes in, why not set sail for a life-changing voyage?
  • You’ve paid off a big loan. Could be college—yours or your kids’. Could be house, cars, cabin, or credit cards. Save something first, please. But then a celebration of your new! improved! debt-free life might be a brilliant reward.
  • You survived a health scare. They’re facts of life: accidents, diseases, conditions that can kill. When your time comes—and the doctor finally says, “You’re cured,” it’s time to party. Dinner and Dom? Sure—in France! (For the record, my own RTW trip was largely a reward for surviving a year-long recovery from falling off of a roof.)
  • You’re nearing retirement, but… Know what? Most people fear retirement. And many who get there don’t do well; they often experience loss of purpose, depression, and boredom—or just drive their spouse crazy. Recommendation: Try temporary retirement. You’d test-drive a car, right? Retirement is a much longer, more relevant ride.DSC_0989_3
  • You’re already broke. Bummer. Or maybe not. If Broke Dude above is convinced he’ll never get ahead at home, why not be broke someplace else? Maybe he’d thrive in an less pricey country where he could teach English and save some money. Some great travelers buy a one-way ticket, get to work, and make it work.

If you just read this and are thinking, “That’s crap,” the author apologizes—for provoking you so and for your ill-fated predicament. This column was written for the folks who are willing to open their eyes and minds to the idea that bad news may be inevitable, but need not be the end of the world.

A world of possibilities awaits. Godspeed!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hey, NYC, Go to MPG Tomorrow Night!

Posted on: Friday, September 19th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

DSC_0099

I love collaborating with the good people at Meet Plan Go and I’m really enjoying cranking out a monthly “Big Boom Roadshow” column for them.  I dedicated my latest verbiage to shameless (but sincere) promotion of their Big Event on 9/20.

 

So if happen to find yourself near NYC tomorrow night and are plan-free, you’ll thank yourself for joining guru Sherry Ott and friends for an evening of long-term travel inspiration and information.

It’ll set you back all of $99, but it may change your life. Many, many people who have attended Sherry’s (and even my) gatherings have found themselves in faraway lands doing fascinating things within a matter of months. I’m often agog—and even humbled—by the possibility and power that’s generated when like-minded, strong-willed folks come together.

Sometimes we just need a lead, a laugh, or a little kick in the butt. You’ll get all that and more. You’ll leave with your head spinning and your heart flying. High fives to Sherry and the good people at BootsnAll for making this shindig happen.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Retirement $: Be Very Afraid!

Posted on: Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThank goodness the good people at Meet Plan Go offered me a gig to write about Baby Boomer travel and career breaks—or this blog might get lost on Summer BreakAway. That said, I’ve been enjoying (and enduring) some travel myself, with more to come—the best excuse around for not writing or living on-screen.

Some recent research about Baby Boomers highlights the bad news about the finances of many Americans born after 1964 (not that the finances of younger folks are much better). This is not new news. But as Boomers start entering variations of retirement, the Boom Doom & Gloom becomes much more relevant.

So that’s what I wrote about, and try not to think about too much. MPG and I just want people to realize their long-term travel dreams. Take a break from careers now and then. And have enough eggs in the nest to be able to fly away from work and worry. You know, right!?!

Read it and reap, and try not to weep. And, please, don’t be like the bad Boomers: Try to stash away some cash if you can.

Happy sails, *kirk

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

MPG Breaks My Episode of Silence

Posted on: Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

P1080110“I’m returning from my sabbatical from blogging” may be the most common post start out there. Over the years I’ve avoided that line, yet I just fell off the keyboard for a month. But how can you take a sabbatical from sabbatical writing? That’s like using the silence treatment during a vow of silence.

Speaking of, my last entry was, “The Sounds and Sights of Silence.” That must have gone to head and heart. As did the winter that inspired that post and the deep silence that followed it. Weather can be oppressive. It’s hard to overestimate the mass-psycho SAD that happens here with endless winter. A month can slide by like a skater in the darkness.

  • Thank God for Meet, Plan, Go!

They’ve been taking a bit of a blog and event break themselves, yet the good people at Meet, Plan, Go + partners like rtwexpenses keep leading the Career Break movement. And they’ve dubbed me the Boomer Voice and awarded me a monthly column. That’s link luv enough for me. After all, when you’re silent and frozen, such connections may thaw your creative juices and get you moving again.

Speaking of moving, this guest-post reports on trends in boomer travel. “Boomers Are Going Places.” Click, awaken from YOUR hibernation, and ponder where you might go as you enter your later-life years—or tomorrow, for that matter.

Happy sails…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Faith vs. Fear: Boomers Speak Out at MSP Meet-up

Posted on: Thursday, March 20th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | 2 comments

IMG_5181“I’m old!” In her final few years, that was Grandma’s response when anyone asked “How are you?”

It’s true; she was in her 90s, and finally feeling her age. Still, she lived alone on her farm part of the time, and only entered a home in her last months, when she knew her time was running out.

Of course none of us know how much time we have left.  And regardless of our age, there are days we feel old.  Yet with any luck, we still have many years to spread our wings–even those of us who are Boomers…

A few weeks ago, about 40 travel lovers gathered at Ginger Hop in Minneapolis to swap stories and dream trips. A panel of four experienced career breakers took on the topic of “Faith vs. Fear: The Career Break Face-off.” And Yours Truly served as Mr. M.C. Moderator. A good time was had by all!

After a social-lubrication hour, we had all attendees introduce themselves, tell about their career-break experience (if any), and mention the primary fear standing in the way of their fantasy BreakAway. The fears were mostly familiar, yet the Boomers’ concerns were sometimes surprising; were they starting to say, I’m old? Here are a few, plus my comments…

“I’m afraid that prospective employers will think I’m coming out of retirement.”

This came up more than once, and honestly had never crossed my mind before. But it seems totally legit, right? Picture someone half your age named Ms. H.R. Authority perusing your resume and sniffing, “You turned 62, took a year off to live in Peru, and now you want to go back to work? Really!?!”

“I’m worried about stopping contributions into my retirement savings—and spending money I may need later.”

That’s a smart worry. And we Americans are big spenders (who often forget to save in our early decades). But as we age, most people gradually come to their savings senses. Yet my 2-cent retort remains: Wouldn’t you love to take one year of your retirement now—even if it means working one year longer later?

“I’m concerned that I might have health problems.”

Again, so real. Fortunately, one panelist had recently returned from an ambitious one-year travel-athon—despite having diabetes and needing to carry refrigerated insulin and give himself shots four times a day. Full disclosure: He was in his 20s. Yet his story inspires regardless of your age. And other folks reflected stories of getting good—and often cheap!—care in almost every country.

“What if my family needs me or my parents get sick or die?”

That’s a tough one. And as Boomers are learning en masse, some serious things happen as you age: Responsibility. Caring. Illness. Death. But why not talk to your parents and kinfolk—and ask their opinion? They might just insist you go. They may even visit! And remember: If the Bad Thing happens, you can go home again.

“I’m just not sure I have the energy.”

Travel can be exhausting, no doubt. Yet there as many ways to travel as there are people to get up and go—and the words “slow travel” came up often last night (even by young whippersnappers). A sleepy fishing village may be just the ticket; climb every mountain in your next life. On the other hand, maybe a Big Break would recharge those tired batteries and get you off your Boomer butt!

Until you find yourself declaring, I’m old, it’s never too late chase a dream, or at least keep the hope alive.

After all, is there anything more energizing than stepping out of your stale routine, landing in a cool new scene, and jump-starting the rest of your life?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Can Boomers Get a Break?

Posted on: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | 2 comments

Boomers!

While beer-storming (that’s beer-sipping + brainstorming) over the holidays with dear friend and Meet, Plan, Go! rock star Sherry Ott, we discussed the Wall Street Journal’s recent article on Baby Boomers and career breaks—and what a potential movement (literally) may happen if, indeed, Boomers begin breaking.

From that chat was borne my 2014 mission. For the next year, every month, I will write a column about Baby Boomers for the briefcase-to-backpack site.

They’ve kindly published it already, but these days, who doesn’t believe in multi-purposing? So let’s get off our Boomer big butts and get this show on the road!

  • Not the greatest generation?

We Boomers are a mystifying bunch. I say “We” because I was born in 1960—toward the end of the Baby Boom (1946 – 1964) and have loved riding the surge that followed. We sprang to life during an era of relative convention and conservatism. Then we boisterously rejected all that and, as lore has it, sold our souls to sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

We still like those things (and, increasingly, Viagra, hearing aids, and legalization). But as history writes our story, there’s often a lingering haze of disappointment about what we accomplished with our passion and promise. After all, we preached peace but have enabled costly wars that drag on for decades. We marched for equality yet bitter human-rights fights rage on. We imagined a world less ruled by The Man, Big Brother, and Uncle Sam—yet fear for our freedoms, privacy, and jobs.

Now we’re 50 – 68 years old. If we still fantasize about running away to Woodstock or San Francisco, we probably lack the means and zeal—or are afraid someone might steal our job. Hell, two-thirds of us (in North America) don’t even use all of our modest vacation allocation. Is that a buzzkill or what!?! A haze of disappointment, indeed.

  • Let’s change the world—one (vacation) day at a time

But it’s not too late, right? If you’re reading this—Boomer or not—you’re not dead yet. And the best time to take an extended journey is…anytime! Like, when the stars finally align! When you’ve saved some money! Gotten divorced or widowed! Watched your nest (or nest egg) go empty! Or gotten fired or learned you have just one year to live.

In other words, perhaps there’s no perfect time for anything. Yet somehow we find time to fall in love, get an education, buy and sell homes, raise families, manage careers, and move around. If you hang out on this site, you’re likely thinking about moving around.

So we’ll explore what it means to prioritize long-term travel—and the whys and hows and more. We’ll revive forgotten promises and unfulfilled fantasies. We’ll celebrate trips we’ve taken, probe vital topics, and ask the big questions like…

If we’re afraid to go, how do we face down fear and build up faith?

What’s money got to do with it?

What about options like staycations, couch-surfing, and home exchanges?

How will we redefine retirement?

Can we embark on ambitious adventures while managing a health condition?

Why do we work so hard and long—and how can we escape that blessed curse?

How do we keep hope alive through mini-breaks, vacations, and leisure?

Have we become immobilized by our families, homes, gadgets, and stuff?

What are pros and cons of going solo, with a partner, or the whole famn damily?

Since we might live beyond 100, how do we make a work/life plan for that?

As our travels may suggest, why are less fortunate cultures often happier than U.S.?

Shall we start scheming for a Boomers on BreakAway Summit?

  • Up, up, and away…

We’ll check out some stats and facts, and get lost in far-out places like Bequia. We’ll share tips and tales from been there/doing that sources like http://travelpast50.com. And above all, we’ll laugh at ourselves and yet hope to inspire each other to go up, up, and away—whether it’s the adventure of a lifetime, or simply using all our vacation days.

P.S. What do YOU want Big Boom RoadShow to explore? Please add your comment below, or send me a private email through my website. Thanks!

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

11 Reasons to Meet, Plan, Go!

Posted on: Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | 2 comments

In less than a month, the nationwide career break meetup called Meet, Plan, Go! will take place—for the third year in a row. If you have ever—EVER!—pondered the wild and radiant notion of taking a month or a year off, be there!  In Minneapolis. Or any of the other 9 MPG locations.

Here are 11 reasons why you should make the effort…

  1. MEET others who also harbor this sail-away dream (and confirm you’re not crazy).
  2. PLAN your BreakAway (or at least get past the first and biggest obstacle—your mind).
  3. GO away, far away (if not this year, some pretty-soon someday).
  4. INVEST your first $20 toward your break (‘cause you know this is truly investing in your future).
  5. LISTEN to folks just like you (who are already making this dream come true).
  6. REMOVE your buttocks from their comfort zone (while also removing some fear and doubt).
  7. SHARE your fantasy trip with new friends (and thereby take it one step closer to reality).
  8. ASK the questions that very few people can answer (but the MPG hosts and panelists really can).
  9. LEAVE with at least a few aha! takeaways (that may indeed help take you away).
  10. LAUGH at the twisted tales that fellow travelers will tell (and maybe laugh at yourself while you’re at it).
  11. JOIN the career break movement (and start getting your move on).

Seriously!  I hope to see you there!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Postcards from the Ledge

Posted on: Friday, June 29th, 2012
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

My thanks to Keane, publisher of BargaNews.com, for this shout-out endorsement—which included the above photo of me sitting outside Aristo’s bar, surrounded by Tuscan mountains, writing postcards.

Keane writes:

The following just popped up on the net.

It is republished here in full as the man has a way with words and has a clear understanding of just what it means to spend time in Barga.

That brief meeting which Kirk talks about was featured as well in the DAILY IMAGE that day.

There he is sitting outside Aristo’s writing postcards.

The image was taken because it featured two things that might not always be there in the near future – postcards are becoming something of a scarcity for many people and the euro change sitting on the table next to the cards.

Will there still be the Euro in Italy in a year’s time ?”

Yes, Keane, I’m guessing there will still be the Euro in Italy. Change comes slowly to your adopted homeland. And most people there seem more concerned with la dolce vita than fiscal fitness.

Keane made his online “paper,” BargaNews.com, come to life more than 15 years ago, when most of Italy was wondering what WWW means.

All these years later, he’s got 30 journalists contributing routinely and on-the-spot. He’s had to deal with Italy’s bureaucracy to keep his enterprise aloft. And like most of us investing time in a screen-centered Big Idea, the “monetizing” piece can be elusive.

  • The Euro has good company.

So be it. What’s money when you’re making art—and news? What’s money mean if you are seriously concerned that your country may be forced to change its currency within a year?

Maybe that’s why I still love postcards; They don’t change, and they still work wonders. Keane’s “Daily Image” implies that postcards are so old-fashioned that they’re about to fall off the ledge and meet their death.

Let’s hope not. There’s a series of cheap thrills about traveling and taking time for postcards: perusing the pics; procuring them from a shop owner; writing a thoughtful note by hand to someone you love; finding and buying the stamps; mailing it off (even finding a postal box was a challenge in Barga) and knowing it will fly into someone’s mailbox and make them so happy.

Postcards make for nice souvenirs, too. My collection is from countless locales around the world. And every time I open that box, I get carried far away and lost in time. Almost like an actual adventure…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There’s No Place Like Home

Posted on: Monday, May 7th, 2012
Posted in: Link Luv, Blog | Leave a comment

My hat tips to the wonderful people and travel passions behind Amateur Traveler.  We found each other recently for a podcast about the Twin Cities. Not only was the little journey a hoot, it also made me realize how cool my hometown is—and how one need not go far to get that getaway feeling.

  • MSP rocks!

For probably the first time, like, ever, I took the time to check out TC guidebooks, websites, and tourist info.  I got excited over and over (and also sometimes embarrassed—when I realized how many fun spots I’ve forgotten about).

Of course, I also stole some hours to just sit in the sun, stare at the water, and make a short list of suggested sites.  That list must be substantial, because my babble-fest was so long the the podcast will be a two-part series.  (!?!)

Part 1 is focused on the flashy Minne twin.

Episode 2 explores the more stately St. Paul.

You can listen to them here and let me know what you think!

So thanks to AmTrav for reminding me to get off my routine and go back to some favorite—and recommended—places like…

  • The Minnesota Twins’ Target Field. Who cares if their record is the worst in baseball?  We still love the game, our bungling bums, and this world-class ballyard.
  • The State Theater in downtown Minneapolis. This place is so artistic that a concert is hardly necessary.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Mall. On a good day, who doesn’t want to believe, “You’re going to make it after all!” and throw your hat to the wind?
  • The lakes.  Minnetonka, Calhoun, White Bear, Owasso.  Does’t really matter which one, or what brought you to the shores of sky-blue waters.
  • THE river. She starts just north of here, snakes through both downtowns, and doesn’t rest til she flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Summit Avenue. St. Paul’s mansion row still hosts ghosts like F. Scott Fitzgerald and railroad barons—and yet is always a stone’s throw from dozens of establishments where you can party like it’s 1899.

Minneapolis/St. Paul really ARE the original Twin Cities, you know.  All others are imposters.

At least, that’s what I told AmTrav—where you can find more than 320 podcasts on countless locations (now including MSP) to help sweeten your travels.

Thanks again, Chris!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email