In Tales from the Golden Age, retirees talk about their spending, savings and whether life after work is what they expected.
Mary Anne Robbins, 66, nomad
I retired in 2018, at age 62, after working for 25 years as a librarian. My husband, who was in sales, retired at the same time, at age 64. For the past year and a half, we’ve been travelling with our two rescue dogs in our 26-foot RV after selling our home in South Carolina. We decided to try the RV lifestyle for a year, but we’ve enjoyed it so much that we’ve kept going.
I’m originally from Brampton, Ont. My dad was an aircraft engineer, and his career took the family to the U.S. We lived mostly in Massachusetts and then I went to college in New Hampshire and then to South Carolina for grad school, where I got my master’s degree in library science.
My husband and I did a lot of camping before we retired. Once we stopped working, we started taking longer trips, including to see my brother in Lethbridge, Alta., and then on to Banff and Lake Louise. We then decided to go on a longer trip, for six months, to Kodiak, Alaska. We absolutely fell in love with Western Canada and Alaska.
Not long after we returned home to South Carolina, the pandemic hit. We got tired of sitting around in our recliners and doing nothing, so we sold the house and hit the road. It was hard to leave the home where we lived for 25 years, but, on the bright side, we’ve made many new friends on our travels.
RV life is cozy. I tend to get a little antsy sometimes. When that happens, I take the dogs for a walk or take the truck and go for a drive. We also volunteer at campgrounds in return for free campsites, which helps us stay busy and save money.
We follow the weather, going wherever it’s not too hot or too cold. We’ve driven to Alaska twice and visited many locations across Canada and the U.S. We were recently in Cape Cod, and will soon head to South Carolina for the winter.
I miss Canada, and my heart is in the northeast, which is why we’re planning a permanent move to the Maritimes once my mother’s estate is settled. There’s just too much extremism in the U.S. My brother is also planning to move to the Maritimes from Alberta. We’ve talked about buying a duplex and being there for each other in our later years. We also have a sister close by in New Hampshire.
What I love about retirement is having the time to go and do different things, to explore. It’s important when you’re retired to find something to keep your mind busy and body moving. For us, that’s been RV-ing. It’s a great lifestyle. It may not be for everybody. It may not be forever. But what we’re doing now is wonderful. We’re very thankful.
As told to Brenda Bouw