We’re back in Minnesota, while it’s sweet to be of the road it’s not as sweet to be back in Minnesota for some reason. I can’t quite put my finger on it, I’m sure it will pass. Maybe it was all the retirement talk. We’re starting to have some discussions about where we might end one day. Interesting discussions. Not sure that we’re on the same page yet, but we’re getting closer.
I’m not suggesting that we retire in different places anymore, not full time anyway.
I’ve been working on a list of priorities, but as I get a little older I find the priorities changing. For one thing I’ve come to realization that with kids spread all over the world there’s nothing tying me Minnesota. This is the first time I’ve articulated that out loud. The Internet has expanded my horizons considerably. With Amazon.com and online news and such I don’t feel the need to be near a shopping center or media market, just a decent grocer, especially a co-op, I do like co-ops.
I have no extended family so I can go anywhere really. Follow Mrs S if that’s still an option by then, you never know.
Ideally I’d like to be on the water. We do have the lake place in Wisconsin which I’m assuming we’ll keep, it’s paid for after all. No mortgages, just property taxes.
Up North the winter is the worst thing in Mrs S’s list. Personally i love winter and would miss it. I get a little tired of hearing folks tell me that “you won’t like it when you’re old.” I don’t see that changing, I’ve never changed my mind on anything before, why start now?
Midwest, central part of the country? Lots of interesting places in Kentucky and Tennessee where I could see myself living, at least in the winter.
Florida- I’ve scratched Florida off the list. Other than Amelia Island… St Augustine is nice. The farther south you go however, the worse it gets. Miami? No thanks.
Arizona- Nope. Not a desert guy. Nice to visit but I get pretty tired of dirt and rocks for scenery. Cactus are neat to see, once.
California- once you leave California you can never go back. Can’t afford it. My income may have tripled in California but my net worth, had I still lived in the house I was living in there, has not. The places I could afford, like say Stockton my old hometown… not a chance.
So what am I looking for in a destination?
Small Town- I’d like to be in a small town; sense of community and all that sort of thing. I’d like to walk where I need to go, driving is overrated. But not just any small town, one with the following criteria;
- College town, This is key. Colleges bring culture, sport and a youthfulness to a town. (and liberals)
- 100 year old homes. I love craftsman homes. Would love to live in one one day.
- Grocery store (Not a given) I’ve learned. Our town in Wisconsin doesn’t have one, it’s about 15 miles to the nearest one and that friends, is a pain in the butt.
- LIbrary, Good librarys mean the towns are willing to spend money on improving themselves. Important feature. There’s plenty of of rural towns that have no libraries, sidewalks, parks.. no good.
- Proximity (within 50 miles) of a major city. Healthcare and big city attractions are nice once in a while. Access to airports is critical.
- Inexpensive, hasta be cheap.
Next up and in decreasing importance;
- Coffee shop
- 4 Seasons
Mrs S has a few things on her list. She’s not interested in winter. Probably her first criteria. Decent places to eat and shop are on her list. I’d like to be somewhere where there aren’t any decent places to eat to shop. Why tempt yourself when you’re on a fixed budget.
I need a place where I can work, consult, write etc. I’m envisioning an active retirement.
Mrs S likes St. Louis. She spent a lot of time there growing up. Personally I wasn’t impressed but as I’ve gotten older I’m changing my mind. This week, and this was the inspiration of this blog, we drove through a few towns on her list of places she felt I should see. These were small towns in Illinois, east of St. Louis. One in particular, Lebanon Illinois caught my eye in a big way. College town, small town.. no water anywhere near by. Days drive to Wisconsin so we can still spend summers at the lake.
Now the question what’s next and how long.
More to think about.