“It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgement; in these qualities old age is usually not only not poorer, but is even richer.” ––Cicero 

Learning and personal growth don’t end with retirement, but rather, the joys of new learnings and self-discovery can be rekindled. Retirement is a major life change that can bring stress and uncertainty. Health and wellness studies have reported that retirees often experience depression and anxiety with this significant transition. On the other hand, retirement can also bring enjoyment, wonder, a new sense of purpose and well-being.

For me and my wife, Emily, both educators, retirement posed a series of questions and challenges. After lengthy reflection, we decided to work towards our goal of life-long learning through slow travel, beginning with an enriching nine months abroad in Italy and France, all accomplished on a modest budget. Looking back upon this adventure, which now guides our future adventures, it was the perfect way to establish a fresh sense of purpose in our retirement years.

The thought of retiring after decades of teaching fostered many questions, along with curiosities. After retirement, how do we rediscover the joys of travel and learning new things about the visual arts, and how and why have those joys and curiosities emerged from our slow travels? How, in turn, did what we learned through retirement travel teach us about the purpose and value of education? Most importantly, what and how did retirement travel strengthen our loving relationship, and bring joy and fulfillment to our lives?

Excerpted from Retire and Go: Two Seniors and a Year of Slow Travel on a Budget by Russ Firlik with permission from the author.