First Things First!
What to Do FIRST in Retirement?
Well, if you are burned out, stressed and possibly ill, you first should focus on Restoring Your Health. After that get on with things in your life.
My Brother-in-Law recently retired. He is a nuclear engineer so pretty important and a challenging career. Now he plans, well he doesn't really have any. He lived an ultra high stress life with serious responsibilities. Now my sister wants him to, well, do little or nothing.
I called him and told him to "Don't Listen to Her!!". I love my sister but she is so wrong about this. Sure they have to sell their house as they want to move closer to their kids and grandkids, what parent doesn't want that! But there is no real rush. That's what retirement is all about, you don't have to rush!
I told him that he should really CHILL for about a week. Get paperwork, retirement funding and all that stuff in order. They can even put the house up for sale if they want. Sure they have to find where they will live next but that can wait; can't it!?! Sure it can! He is retired!
So what I told him to do, after that first organizing week, is to go to the REI store or other camping outfitters. Buy two really great backpacks; ones you can add a water bladder with sipping hose (they are the greatest). Get some fingerless gloves; great for rock scrambling protecting your hands. Then buy some really, really good hiking shoes or boots. They aren't mountain climbers, just going to learn how to hike! Some good socks and other accessories that the store folks will be all to happy to help with. Check this site for Day Hiking Gear & Tips.
Get an 'electronic cooler' one that runs off your adapter in the car (old cigarette lighter). Then get two medium sized suitcases, on wheels; ONE EACH! The last thing you want to do is pack heavy for what you are about to do!
Next, go online and purchase a really good GPS Navigation System for your car. You can also get hand-held ones for hiking (recommended!). I use Garmin products but there are others. You want a dash-board mounted one so the wife/partner can navigate but it will be visible to you. Priceless!
Next join AAA for maps and services. Just find a local office (they are everywhere) join and load up with maps; they are included with membership. You can have them plot a route if you like.
Purchase the 'Senior Lifetime Pass' It will get you into all National Parks; amazing really!
*** Caution - this is NOT replaceable ***
Don't over think this. It will ruin the adventure. Trust me I did that the first time! You can buy what you need along the way and it will be part of the FUN. You are going to see things you probably never have seen; some things you never even heard about! You are going on an Adventure!
Take the basics. Fill up your cooler with sandwiches and fruit. Favorite condiments you like and other healthy snacks. You can restock on the road so don't over do it.
What I recommended (they live in Georgia now) was to “Head West' avoiding major highways, interstate and toll roads. You can get some help here. Plant Based Road Trip in Central Florida offers services and will load your GPS with a trip plan. What's nice about an on-board GPS is that you can alter course whenever you like, then get right back on track.
***Caution – do NOT rely on your cell phone and Google maps. When in the boonies with no data reception, it won't work then you truly will be LOST!
Plan to be gone for at least Two to Four Weeks
Hit The Road
Depending on your preferences, just head West. The GPS Navigator can be set to avoid commercial roads pretty easily. If you have it pre-loaded from Plant Based Road Trip, you are set. If not, you can enter way-points yourself along the way.
I suggest you head for the first/closest National Park you can. When you get there, your 'Senior Lifetime Pass'. You will love it when you see the 'normal admission charges posted but you will sail though; no charge!
There are always hotels nearby. I suggest you use one of the online services to book lodging a day or two in advance. We usually book with a chain that has kitchenettes as we are vegan and usually need to prepare our own meals. All the major hotels chains have these down-loadable apps.
Your trip plan from Plant Based Road Trip will include a selection of hotels at your way-points.
Your first Road Trip purchase should be a Walking Stick; available at most National Parks along with medallions you can affix to show your travels. Great things and cheap souvenirs!
Visiting Our National Parks is an experience you will treasure the rest of your life. Plan at least one trip each year; more if you can afford it. They are addicting! Maybe take the grandkids on one!
Enjoy Your Retirement