This week I drove over to Port Townsend with my friend, Wanda, and a new friend, Jean, to spend the day window shopping and for a fun lunch (PT has many cute little restaurants and quaint shops). Our new friend is British and a former model; she is tall, thin, and still wears very nice attire, at least for the Olympic Peninsula. A lovely person. During the course of the day, we found out that Jean is very unhappy living on the Olympic Peninsula. She misses the big city (prior to retiring she lived near San Francisco), upscale restaurants, and abundant shopping.
So why did she pick the Olympic Peninsula? After reading about the hottest places to retire, Jean and her husband first settled in Las Vegas. She quickly found out that the place was too hot—thermally, that is—for them. They went back to the internet/magazines and looked at recommended retirement locations with a milder climate and decided the Olympic Peninsula would suit them better. Well, it did not. The weather was fine, but the remote location was not what they expected. Once they came to that realization, they had already bought a home and spent quite a bit upgrading the place making it difficult to relocate again.
While we were traveling in the RV across the country, we ran across others who were unhappy in their retirement location choices. Almost without exception they had relied on a magazine article, internet research, or a friend’s recommendation and relocated—without spending much time there physically beforehand. And they really did not spend some time understanding their retirement lifestyle.
Before reading or researching, we found understanding our lifestyle, our personalities and wants was the first order of business. Living full-time in our RV for two years gave us an opportunity to experience many a new location’s community, weather, activities we enjoy (hiking, fishing, golfing, art workshops, social), affordability, and size. We picked our town on the Olympic Peninsula because we like the beautiful forests (Olympic National Park is within a few miles), the mild weather, small town (with ‘no traffic’), reasonable home prices and wonderful community. If you like to shop, eat in an exclusive restaurant, have lots of big-name entertainment, or a national sports team in your area, then, trust me, our retirement paradise isn’t your cup of tea. [smile]
Make sure you know your priorities for a personal quality of life and spend some time experiencing a location to ensure all or most of your personal wants/needs are satisfied.