Friday, January 22, 2016

Snowbirds in Year 4

Everyone I've met has a story about how they came to spend their winters at the Voyager RV Resort in Tucson. Here's how it goes, usually. 
  • They stop in for a couple of nights on their way to or from someplace else. The next year they stay two weeks, then a month, then two months, then a season.
  • They know someone who lives here in the winter and come for a visit. The next year they stay two weeks, then a month....
They may begin as RVers but eventually want a little more space. Or they begin as renters but eventually want a place of their own.

They drive to the Voyager for a few years, then decide to leave a car here and fly down.

We visited friends for an afternoon, then rented for two months, then three months, then bought the park model we'd been renting. And this year, my son drove our Prius down in November and we flew down in December. Next month I will register the car in Arizona.

I used to think of snowbirds as old people who came south and spent their days reading by the pool, maybe playing bridge or bingo in the evenings. You know, the women with their coiffed hair and the men with their comb-overs. Now I know different.

Where we live, people in their 50s to their 90s live lives as full as they want. Some people hike and bike and ride motorcycles. Some go to live shows or dances every week. Some do crafty things like leatherworking or lapidary or silversmithing or woodworking or quilting. Some do music or theatre. Some thrive in discussion groups or Bible studies or memoir-writing groups or Spanish classes. Really. Whatever they want.

This year my husband Art has a lead in the Voyager Light Opera Company's production of Oklahoma! He also co-coordinates box office sales with me. I facilitate a foreign affairs discussion group and enjoy an almost-rowdy current events group. I do water aerobics three times a week. We go into town once a week for a massage.

I walk to the activities center and say hello to people I know and people I don't. We wave. We comment on the weather. Everyone does what gives them pleasure.

We are busier here than we are at home. We entertain here but rarely at home. People stop by without calling beforehand and it feels fine. We live contentedly in 620 square feet.

Front room

Arizona room


I flew home to Seattle last week for a meeting. It rained almost the whole time. The sky was dark. People drove during the day with their lights on. When I arrived back in Tucson, it was sunny. The sky was blue. I loved it.


joeh said...

Life is good!

DJan said...

It is so just right for you! When I visit my sister in Florida who lives in a similar setup, I realize that she's very happy there, too. She lives there year round, though. :-)

Meryl Baer said...

There is definitely a pull to a snowbird lifestyle. We are in the travel mode right now. I wonder - do a lot of the snowbirds eventually become full-timers? Is there much of a year-round population where you live?

Eileen said...

Friends who have already retired tell me they are busier than ever, doing what they enjoy. They simply didn't have the time to do everything they would have wanted to when they were working.

To be able to enjoy those days where the weather is warm is a bonus. Enjoy!

#1Nana said...

You have me convinced. Now I have to work on the spouse and convince him that it will be more fun if we don't stay in the wilds of the desert.

Olga Hebert said...

Your place looks very inviting indeed. I do love my winter lifestyle as well. Never thought I would say winter is my favorite season!

Cynthia from Shoreline said...

I flew home to Seattle last week for a meeting. It rained almost the whole time. The sky was dark. People drove during the day with their lights on. When I arrived back in Tucson, it was sunny. The sky was blue. I loved it

Stop it. Please just stop.

Linda Reeder said...

As I sit at my kitchen table, as I am now, I look up and out over the patio. It is raining and it is dark, but the grass is green and the trees are tall. Ferns glisten with moisture. Foliage texture and color catches my eye.
This is one of those days snowbirds are escaping from, yet when I really think about it I see beauty. This is home and it is where I want to be.
I am so glad you are happy with your divided year living style too.

Tom Sightings said...

It's kind of amazing that people seem more active, and more friendly, in Tucson than they do up north. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

We have two friends, men in their late 50s, who are moving to Phoenix to start a church for the sunbirds in that area. They have been ministers here in California for decades, but decided that there is such a trend for Boomers to go to Arizona in the winter that they should go there.

On the other hand, I just met two ladies who winter here in Fresno from Flint Michigan.

Deb Shucka said...

So cool to see a picture of my bedroom! This place is so perfect for you two, and you clearly thrive there. I feel honored to have gotten to share it with you for a bit. I miss you both!

Arkansas Patti said...

You may have eased into the snow bird life style but you have really embraced it. My brother RVs to Fla each year for 5 months and loves it. He and his wife are avid bicyclists and usually bike over 1000 miles a year and he is 80. Snow birding lets you enjoy the best of both worlds.
So Art is portraying Curly? Way to go.

Perpetua said...

It sounds like you've found the perfect balance for you both. Enjoy it as long as you possibly can.

Mona McGinnis said...

Cold and snow can be oppressive. Any one who has ever been stranded in those conditions also knows that it can be dangerous if you are unprepared. So I can see the appeal of a warmer climate. I used to think I wanted a cottage at a lake. Upon further thought, I realized I had everything right here at home, minus the lake (not an issue since I'm not a big swimmer). I realized that I needed to put on my holiday-frame-of-mind on my front porch. Is that the difference between home and away, a holiday-frame-of-mind? When I tell people that I am retired, so many ask - but what do you do? As in life in general, retirement has so much to offer.

Sally Wessely said...

I can't believe it is already year four for you in Arizona. I love when you write about your life as snow birds. I am always a bit envious. Life is full for you no matter where you are, but you really seem to bloom in the desert. I'm with Jann. I'm convinced. My husband is not. Soak up the sun and keep on blooming!

retirementreflections said...

Thanks Linda - I've been reading quite a bit on snowbirds recently and this is a great post. Thanks for sharing!