Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Retirement - some observations

Today I turned 66 which at one time was the day I planned to retire. I actually retired on January 11 2010 which is 1403 days ago and some of you might remember my first blog entry about my retirement. This is now the 418th entry which means that every 3.36 days there was something interesting that made me want to share it. Mind you, I really enjoy rolling over in bed in the morning after a poor night's sleep knowing that I can sleep in as long as I like because there probably won't be anything too interesting happening that day.

The big surprise for me since I retired has been the success of house exchanges. Years ago I thought the ideal life for me would be 4 months in Oz, 4 months in Europe and 4 months in the USA. We don't have quite those proportions but we are close enough. The exchanges have lessened the need to move to Oz immediately and we can be more patient. The exchange rate and the housing price bubble in the Sydney area has made such a move foolish right now.  Robin might disagree.

Some of the best advice I received prior to my retirement came from a friend called George. He advised me to get plenty of exercise and the walks across the Grand Canyon and England really worked for getting me out on my walking loop on the rotten days. I'm still pondering what major walk I should plan for next year. 

However I am pondering a mammoth journey where I fly to Oslo and take a train and bus to Narvik above the Artic Circle in Norway. I will then take trains through Sweden, Helsinki in Finland, St Petersberg & Moscow, Mongolia, Beijing, Hanoi, Saigon, Cambodia (by bus), Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Essentially from the most north west station in Europe to the most south east station on mainland Asia. It should take 45 days. I am open to advice on the subject, particularly the Russian and Asian sections.

One of the other pieces of advice from George was to help me decide if I should retire early. He said that it was very doubtful that if I kept working and retired at 66 that I would say 'Wow, am I glad that I worked those extra years'. How very true. Four hundred and seventeen blogs prove it.

Click here for my theme song this coming year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Easton, Maryland

While I was in Australia I rang one of my former school mates who helps organize the reunions. The fifty year reunion will be held next year and since I have to come from the USA to attend I try to let them know when it suits me to attend. I got no answer but after we got home I received an email from him saying that he had been in Easton Maryland while I was away in Oz and NZ. He had stayed with another classmate of mine who was visiting his daughter and son in law who have been living there for the past two years. I exchanged emails with Jim and we drove down to have lunch.

View Larger Map

Autumn (Fall) seemed to be late this year so we did not miss too much by being away in October. For me the best colours are usually in early November after we have had a good cold snap.

The above photos were taken on the way up to North East. This is the only road we can take so if helps that it is a nice drive.

We arrived in Easton and met Jim and Andrea. After a cup of coffee we walked to downtown Easton to have some lunch.

On the way we stopped to take a look at the Old Third Haven Meeting House which is part of a group of Quaker buildings dating from 1684. This is the old wooden building.

The Quakers built this extra brick building in 1880 for use in the colder months.

Inside the old wooden building.

It is all very plain. If you don't know much about Quakers you can read about them here. I really like the idea of the 'waiting worship' which is predominately silent. It smells very woody inside.

You can sit in silence and contemplate the leaves outside.

There is something really attractive about old shutters.

Jim said that this is some sort of snake pit behind the old building.

Old grave stones. All very simple with no ostentation.

The back of the old building.

It was all very peaceful and beautiful. Until that day I had not known it was there.

We walked down a lane to continue into the town.

Easton appears to have quite a few magnificent old houses.

It's like going to Cape May NJ except there is no ocean and it is all much quieter.

We eventually reached the shops but the memory card on the camera filled up so we will stop the blog here. It was great to see Jim and Andrea and discuss old times and many other things (including house exchanges).

We have lived over 25 years in Maryland and have seen quite a lot of Maryland but somehow we had missed Easton. We will return one day because this place is well worth coming back to.