Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement – The Journey (Part2)

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In August 2017 we spent two glorious weeks on the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. It was a lovely time. A few days in Capri, a couple of days in Naples and a whole week in a beautiful villa in Scala, close to Ravello. Our villa overlooked the town of Amalfi and the deep blue mediterranean. There was a house for sale close to our villa which was in the process of being renovated. We weighed up the pros and cons of buying it. It was very tempting, and just what we were looking for, but the cost of buying and completing the renovation would have been too much for us.

I’d been searching on line, for a home in Italy for a couple of years, but never found the perfect place. The homes I really liked were much too expensive. The cheaper ones needed a lot of work. Then I remembered that several folks we’d talked to in Rome had told us about Abruzzo and how beautiful it was. They’d only moved away to find work, but returned as often as they could. Although I’d never been there, I decided to do some research and was fascinated with what I found. Lots of lovely unspoiled hilltop villages, beautiful mountains, and even more captivating, the Adriatic Coastline.

I immediately began my search in Abruzzo, and stumbled upon Abruzzo Rural Property, run by a helpful young lady called Monia. Thankfully she spoke great English. Three houses took my fancy, and Monia found a couple more. All in the Chieti province, which bordered the Adriatic. I asked if we could go and view them and we set a date at the end of August. She was surprised I wanted to make the trip so soon, but I daren’t leave it any longer in case I chickened out. I had to strike while the iron was hot. Spending large amounts of money make me nervous.

My husband had no more vacation days left, so he couldn’t come with me so called my daughter.
“Hey Jo, I’m going to look at a house in Italy, will you come with me?”
“Sure, when do you want to go?”
I think she expected me to say in the Spring, or next Summer. She probably thought it was another one of our pipe dreams…
“Next Friday, I’ll pay!”

As you can see by the photo, she enjoyed the trip very much. When we hired a rental car in Rome she asked “Do you have an open topped car, doesn’t have to be an Alfa Romeo, or anything fancy.”
The result was a little open topped Fiat, which took us across the mountainous region of central Italy from Lazio to the Chieti province in Abruzzo.

It was a blast!

Crazy Little Thing called Retirement (Part 1)

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Yesterday I was 21 and didn’t give retirement a single thought. It was a word my parents often used, but something that would never happen to me.
We were in our late fifties when we realized retirement was sneaking up on us and we decided to make a plan.

Lots of trips to Italy and France, thats what we’ll do. We’ll rent a car and drive!

We’d been traveling to Italy as often as possible for the last 15 – 20 years, staying in great hotels (expensive), and renting beautiful villas in picturesque locations (with uncomfortable beds). Was that really how we wanted to spend our twilight years…yes and no.

Yes we want to travel, but on our terms. Less expense, fewer long flights, and more comfort and relaxation. There was only one answer, buy a home in the area we loved the most!

More to follow!

 

 

Home in Abruzzo

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We discovered Abruzzo in August 2017. My husband tasked my daughter and I with finding a house on whirlwind three day trip. (Quite exhausting from the USA). We didn’t really know what to expect.
Abruzzo was introduced to us by hotel staff in various hotels in and around Rome. The comments always went like this:
Abruzzo is beautiful, but there is no work, which is why I move to Rome/Milan/Florence. 
We’d been looking to buy a home in Italy for a while, a place to retire, so work wasn’t important to us. What we wanted was tranquility, beauty, genuine people and a reasonably priced economy. We found it all in the beautiful little hillside village of Colledimezzo.

Bomba (above) is typical of the towns and villages in the area. Unspoiled beauty that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time. Not quite ready to retire yet, but when we do, I think life here will be treat us well.

Gloomy Sunday – Aching Bones – Writing

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Gloomy Sunday, the sun has hidden,
My bones they ache due the the lawn tractor ridden,
Never thought I’d get old, but alas, I did.

My hobby is writing, and books are released,
I’ll never be rich from them, but break even at least,
I can say I did it, and I did.

Retirement soon, to a life with less stress,
Apprehensive to the change, but excited I confess,
To live to old age, and I did.

The Years are Trickling Away

abruzzo-presto-privateIt really has been a heck of a year! This year we’ve literally bled money. In the grand scale of things, not that much, but enough to give me the odd panic attack. It has been worth it, we now have a lovely home in Abruzzo. A home with thick stone castle like walls and the sort of wooden doors that aren’t made anymore.
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Last week I published my second book, Ghosts on the Sand, a collection of short stories that were fun to write, and according to many folks, a pleasure to read. Thank you for all of your kind comments. The link below takes you to where this book can be purchased on Amazon for a mere $0.99.

https://amzn.to/2BYocgW

Tomorrow I rise early and start work at 7:00 am (if it ever stops snowing). Tomorrow evening finds me on a flight to Pescara, via Heathrow and Milan. My second trip to Colledimezzo this year, and not my last. My years are trickling away. Got to cram as much in as I can.

The R Word

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For years retirement seems to be a long way away. Something you NEVER need to think about. Then all of a sudden you’re in your sixties. You still enjoy good health, but don’t quite have the energy you used to. Retirement is constantly on your mind because you don’t want to be too old to enjoy it.

All of those questions pop into your head.

“Do I have enough money?” being the biggest one!

Most folks don’t even save for retirement until they’re in their forties, if at all. Saving for retirement means admitting we’ll get old one day and none of us want to face that fact.

Let me tell you this, I’ve never thought about retirement so much as I have these past six months. Now, I believe I’m looking forward to it. Am I scared? Yes! I’ve brought in a pay check my whole life. What is it going to feel like when I don’t?

I have a pension, but will it last me until I die? What if something comes up that takes all of my money? There’s certainly a lot to consider.

There is also one other BIG thing to consider too. Death isn’t reversible so retire before it happens, and enjoy your golden years doing what you want to do!

Lanciano 2018

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Getting closer to setting foot in my our home in Colledimezzo. Of course I’ve walked through the front door before, but only as a prospective buyer. Now its ours. It’s the family villa. Our escape from the world. A tiny village in Italy, our dream.

Why is the title of the blog Lanciano 2018? Because we have no furniture yet. I’m too old to sleep on the floor. Our first trip back to Italy in March will be a working vacation to buy furniture and make the place comfortable. We’ll be staying in Lanciano, a place famous for the Eucharistic Miracle. To me the whole of Italy is a miracle and Abruzzo is the icing on the cake. It has everything anyone could ask for. Mountains, beautiful beaches, lush green countryside, olive groves, vineyards, and more to the point, wonderful, welcoming people. I wish I could retire right now, but we’re not rich, much of our savings was used to buy our little piece of paradise so now we need to work a few more years to pay for it. It’s a good carrot to have dangling in front of this old donkey.

Thank you Abruzzo Rural Properties and Monia Di Guilmi. You helped make my dream a reality!

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Il sogno della pensione diventerà realtà!