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Early retirement - Practice Travels

I'm exhausted! Travel can be tiring.

I have Boston marathon coming up in 4 days time. I'm pretty sure the idea is that it's OK to finish the marathon feeling tired, but it's not recommended to start it that way!

Honest disclosure - the purpose of my blog is to explain how much my early retirement costs and to describe some of what I do i.e. how come I'm not bored. The blog stats show that people prefer the money posts. Well this one is in the "what I do" category, but hopefully you'll keep reading anyway.

Why exhausted?

I'm in the middle of a 4 week trip, and it's surprisingly tiring. I left home two weeks ago with Zurich in Switzerland my first stop to see my daughter. After eight days there I've headed to New York, because I've never been before. Tomorrow I leave for Boston for 4 days, then to UK to visit my son, back to Zurich for a last few days before heading home. I'm in New York for one more day as I write this.

We have four months of travel coming up from July to November. My current trip is telling me not to cram too much in to travelling. Quality over quantity are the watchwords, and not to feel guilty about taking plenty of rest days. I'm sure our trip will be the better for that.


I delivered the cats to our daughter in Zurich. This will be their new home as Sally and I are leaving Dubai in July and, other than some travelling, we don't have any fixed plans as to where we may end up or for how long. They've settled in well to their new home.

Visits to my daughter are making me think that I may want to be closer to our kids. Currently we live on different continents. Sally and I have some plans to make, so proximity to the kids may become a bigger thought in that process.

I read about other early retirees relocating to lower cost, or warmer countries. I wonder how they find the distance from their children?

New York

What have I made of New York? I'm here alone, which makes a difference. Obviously there's nothing wrong with that, but it takes some getting used to, an adjustment period to figure out how to enjoy places by myself, for those times when Sally stays at home. I'm still in the learning phase.

I'm also roughing it in a hostel. Perhaps that's over dramatic. The location is fantastic, on Eighth Avenue, just a few minutes walk from Central Park, Broadway, Times Square and more. See the picture of my room, loosely called as it's shared with up to five other people depending on how busy it is.

A shoutout to British Airways who kindly upgraded me to Business Class for the flight to New York. If they knew I was staying in a hostel, would they have picked someone else to upgrade?

Business Class to Hostel Class!

Reality is that I have enough money not to have to stay in a hostel. So why am I? A little part is being economical, but it's more about adventure. Hostels are out of my comfort zone, but I get to meet different and interesting people. Today I've chatted to roommates from Argentina, Hawaii and China. I doubt I'd have done that at a Marriott.

Anyway, back to New York, the places I've been include:

  • The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island - iconic, so definitely worth visiting, and good value for money

  • Ground Zero with Guided Tour - the simplicity of the memorial really works and I found it very moving, I'm glad that I visited. People say they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about JFK's assassination. For many of my generation, 9/11 is the corresponding event

  • Central Park - I completed the obligatory run around the Park. The proof is on Strava (that's an "in" running reference - "if it's not on Strava, it didn't happen")

  • National Museum of the American Indian - this was a disappointment. I wanted to learn about their history and lives. I left not knowing much more than when I started.

  • Times Square

  • Wall Street

  • Fifth Avenue, including Macy's who didn't have what I wanted. They referred me to Target, I guess they saw straight through me!

  • Grand Central Station - my friend told me it was worth a visit, and he was right.

I have one day left, but I'm going to take it easy, my feet and legs are already tired from the walking. My one NYC regret is that the Yankees weren't playing at home this week. Being a Brit, I don't pretend to get baseball, but would have loved to see a top level game.

What else has struck me about New York?

  • No surprise, I've noticed it's busy. I like visiting cities, but the more I do the more I feel that I'm not really a city boy at heart. A few days of the hustle and bustle is enough for me.

  • The traffic (or stop?) lights. Generally it seems OK to walk if the walking man is illuminated, if the red hand is flashing and if the red hand is solid. I'm sure that isn't the rule, but everyone seems to do it and it appears to work. And cars turning on red, again, somehow it works.

  • I'm mystified as to why there are so many huge Chevy Suburbans in a busy city.

  • My French and German friends will be mortified to hear that I keep being mistaken for being French or German? Quite how is a mystery. If only they knew of my disastrous language skills.

  • The music in coffee shops and diners is fantastic. Many appear stuck in a 1980's and 90's musical time warp? I love it, makes me feel young!

  • People watching. Still one of my favourite (or favorite?) things, and in NYC there's always something to look at.

That's it, my brief visit to New York. Jumping on the Amtrak train headed to Boston tomorrow.

Next stops - Boston, UK, Zurich

Some of my running friends are also running Boston, and they're excited. I'm more scared. I enjoy marathons once they're over. I find the during part, particularly the latter stages, hurt and are pretty miserable. Oh well, too late to back out now.

Visiting a city for a marathon is a different experience. Sightseeing is limited. Before the marathon, you try not to walk too much to conserve energy. After the marathon, you don't walk much...because you can't!

The UK leg of my trip is to see my son, so I'm looking forward to that. If any readers work for British Airways and want to upgrade me from Boston to London Heathrow, I wouldn't say no😜

Then a quick stopover in Zurich before heading back to Dubai towards the end of the month. I'll have been away for almost four weeks.

My blog is about my early retirement - what I do and what it costs. April isn't a normal month, but it is part of what I do. It's not a bad life!


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