Is Life Fully Lived Without Travel?


How does one get the most, make the most of traveling? I’ve had this question on my mind for quite sometime. For me it is all about getting into the flow in distant places and returning home changed in some small way.

I come from a long line of travelers. My travel background consists of having lived in Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Washington State, California, Colorado and Florida. I’ve also had the good fortune of visiting every major city in the United States along with most of Canada, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Last month my travels have taken me to Europe. Upcoming trips include Australia and New Zealand.

Future travel posts will include the destinations of Costa Rica, Spain, France, Mexico, California, Utah, New Mexico Colorado, and Arizona.

My travel recommendations serve two purposes. First they are simply awesome places for vacations period. Second they also are the best places to retire in. I invite you to join me as I present the travel posts mentioned in the previous paragraph and the first half of my series on The 12 Best Warm Retirement Spots Outside the U.S. This series will be followed by my list of 12 Best Retirement Spots Inside the U.S.

Sandwiched in between these posts you’ll find new posts on Creative Retirement Planning to help ensure you are prepared financially for the retirement you want for yourself and your loved ones. Please keep an eye out for my posts on easy ways to stretch one’s travel dollars, and travel tips on everything from packing to last-minute deals.

Having lived outside the U.S. myself I can tell you from first hand experience that the decision to live abroad is a big one and not for everyone. Too many well intended folks romanticize living abroad. I recommend practice runs and development of a written, concrete, re-entry to the U.S. plan. I encourage folks to vacation (over one’s lifetime) in some of these different destinations perhaps eventually selecting and visiting a particular spot multiple times. Future retirees can then reasonably entertain the option of living outside the U.S. armed with first hand knowledge and personal experiences.

I’ll do my best here to provide you with what it actually feels like to live in a particular destination as a U.S. retiree. Naturally I’ll provide you with all the facts but perhaps just as importantly I’ll also share with you the feelings of living there.

Drum Roll Please…………..

The 12 Best Warm Retirement Spots Outside the U.S.





Moderately Inexpensive

Costa Rica

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico



Moderately Expensive



New Zealand




The Meaning of Travel

I’ll never forget how I spent 10 days with an old friend on a private Island in Fiji who managed to make himself quite miserable while we inhabited absolute paradise. I apologize if my posts somehow imply that my travel experiences will be yours. Ultimately you will determine your experience traveling to the places I’ve written about?

By simply pointing out the places within the places that possess the right conditions for success, I serve as a guide. Naturally each of us must decide for ourselves when and where to go, what to do and how to best do it. As Hemingway famously said regarding living in Paris in the 1920’s “and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any others.”

Some people travel to forget, to- get- away. I travel to remember, to discover, to learn, and integrate new ideas with my current understandings. At the end of the day I aspire through travel to understand how I can live better today and tomorrow.

”Serendipity Travel” simply means I can change my plans at anytime without financial penalty. I choose this travel strategy or approach for a myriad of reasons. Since I’m retired, I’m flexible and use my time as a resource helping to reduce my travel expenses and lengthen my stays. Naturally I’ve budgeted properly for travel in retirement but I can’t help myself, I want as many great trips per year as possible given my financial resources. I strive to stretch my travel dollars further while maximizing value. I’ve also begun trade my time and expertise for travel benefits much like an avid golfer would trade time at a local golf course for green fees.

Serendipity Travel is not for everyone. Perhaps one should first travel as I do, in pursuit of serendipity as an experiment in a very comfortable, close to home scenario. Based on real life outcomes one can then better determine under what circumstances one would enjoy traveling in search of serendipity and when one would not.

If it’s Tuesday it must be Brussels. Not.When traveling I awaken each morning with a singular purpose, to get into the flow, in distant places. Future posts will cover the best practices of Serendipity Travel. Experimenting with Serendipity Travel for the first time in July or August in Spain, France or Italy is a nightmare in the making.

A great story illustrating the benefits serendipity travel was shared with me by a dear friend when she and her husband were wandering likely lost in a maze of narrow cobblestone streets in France. Unexpectedly they popped into a random bar. Over drinks they met two gentlemen who invited my friends to join them on an adventure of a lifetime.

Riding in the back of a vintage World War II jeep my friends watched and listened to these U.S. Veterans as they retraced their part in the actual invasion of Normandy France in World War II. Frequent stops, stories, French wine, bread and cheese turned lonely battle tested hilltops into roadside cafes. The wild jeep ride, incredible sights, and personal stories produced emotions and memories my friends will never forget.

I could give dozens examples of this kind of thing from my own travels but I’m reluctant to preach any further on the subject. Ultimately each traveler (s) must decide how they can make the most of their time on the road. Being happy and relaxed in distant places is different for everyone.

Maybe you pack light like me; itinerary free ready to change plans at moments notice. Perhaps you bring suitcases filled with just in case items rely on a porter, and car awaiting your arrival at every stop. Maybe you’re armed with an iron clad itinerary bursting at the seams, hurrying you to check the next item off the list. Maybe you travel somewhere in between. All that really matters is that you have a great time and are looking forward to returning again.

In my humble opinion if one returns home changed even slightly by travel then that is icing on the cake. Travel is a great excuse to get out of the constant glow of one’s smart phone, I pad or computer screen. Perhaps in travel we get to temporarily disconnect from our current world just enough to create a space for something new, something unexpected that we connect with sans technology. Often times it seems it matters less what one is getting away from and more where one is getting to.


About Roger O'Keefe

My background is in education and finance. I'm a published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, and creative retirement planning expert. My work is a love of labor, I do not sell any products of any kind. I've appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. With a Masters in education, I'm a licensed educator and author of the “Future Bright Program” and the California State Department of Education “Teacher Appreciation Program.” I'm a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council NCPC. I'm currently writing my second book and reside in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Please visit my website and take advantage of the many complimentary online seminars, resources, and retirement planning tools.
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2 Responses to Is Life Fully Lived Without Travel?

  1. click here says:

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks a lot

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