Home At Last

Well, sort of. We arrived home yesterday afternoon after an absolutely smooth flight (yeah!) and so enjoyed walking into our now-remodeled home with everything in its place rather than in moving boxes. I am dying to get to work on all kinds of things, but we still have a quick weekend getaway that begins today before I'm really and truly Home at Last for the foreseeable future.

Since retiring six years ago, my husband and I have spent roughly half our time traveling. We've done it by every mean and mode imaginable; from backpacking to RV'ing to hoteling to cruising. Plus many, many stays with family, particularly the family of our delectable granddaughter. It's all been absolutely wonderful, and I wouldn't change or take back a single, solitary trip. (Curious where we've been exactly? You can click here to see if so, plus see where we're headed next.)

We'd travel to the ends of the earth to be with this cutie!

However, I'm now beginning to think that a significant chunk of our incessant traveling may have been the result of living in a home and area that didn't allow for year round outside activities. Instead, our prior home in north Orange County was perfectly placed for working and for raising our daughters. My job was within two miles, my husbands initially within same, but as his career took off, his commute slowly moved northward into Los Angeles county, an untenable drive from anywhere else in the county but the quadrant we lived in. Our community had both a robust business economy and outstanding schools, and so our town continued to grow and grow and grow over the 25 years we lived there, meaning the street behind our home got busier and busier with traffic. By the end of our stay there, we rarely went into our noisy backyard, instead eventually building a front yard patio to satisfy our outdoor space needs.

Which worked wonderfully for about a week after returning home from each trip, after which my need for outdoor space began all over again, and off we'd go to another adventure.

In 2016 we traveled over 200 days in total, which included visiting 15 countries in and among everything else, and we ended the year feeling utterly and completely exhausted. Which is when we decided to cut back a little on traveling, and instead get our then-home remodeled to incorporate everything we'd not yet done, primarily a home office for my husband, wood flooring throughout most of the house, and a low/no maintenance backyard.

Once done, we loved, loved, loved the end results. Sadly, it didn't do a darn thing to change our home's very noisy backyard. Or the hot summer heat. Or the thirty minute drive to the ocean.

In no way do I regret the time, energy or financial resources we devoted to remodeling our prior home. Firstly, I enjoyed it, and learned a tremendous amount that I then applied here in our new home. Secondly, I don't think I could have summoned the energy and courage to make the move to the coast had I not made every effort to make my prior home as pretty and functional as possible in order to see if it would quell my itch. And thirdly, it made our prior home a piece of cake to sell in spite of it's very-noisy location once we decided to go to market. By the time we entered escrow just a week after listing our home, we had nine solid offers in hand, all for at, or slightly over, our asking.

So what a surprise realize that after just three and a half months of living here, I have had no urge to travel!

Which is not to say that we haven't traveled since arriving, because we have. It's just that I haven't been dying to get away as was the case in our former home. I feel more like I'm being pulled away from where I really want to be, which is a wonderful, new-to-me feeling. I am absolutely in love with everything about our new community. I love that we can see the ocean from the top of our hill, I love that we can see it from our backyard, particularly from our backyard balcony, I love the cool temperatures, I love the wildlife that visits our canyon-facing backyard regularly, I love that we can be at the beach in three minutes by car, or about 45 minutes by foot. I love that we never, ever have to worry about beach traffic anymore because our direct access street to the beach is not the one the tourists use (shhh!).  I love that there are non-stop activities year round at the three amazing beach towns we live adjacent to - San Clemente, Dana Point and Laguna Beach. I love that I see surfers out and about every day, or at least with their surfboards strapped to their cars. I love the utter silence of our new hilltop neighborhood even while we are just a few minutes drive to stores, theaters and restaurants. And I love that people here seem just a little more relaxed, possibly because of the constant soothing presence of the ocean.

So, for the first time since retiring I am happy to be home. And while we do have a lot of travel already on the calendar for 2018, it's nowhere close to what we've done in years past. And we're also no longer planning any travel during the summer, which was when we'd normal go north to escape our Southern California heat. Summer is now the best time of year to be home because it never gets that hot this close to the coast, and because it's the time of year that the fun really never seems to stop.

I honestly don't think I've ever felt this content. It is a wonderful, if strange feeling, and I can only hope it lasts . . . because I'm pretty sure my poor exhausted spouse will be done with me if it doesn't!

Our little slice of coastal paradise.

Plans and Goals For Today
- Unpack, do laundry, repack
- Vacuum and dust mop new floors
- Do Alexander Hamilton reading
- Racewalk three miles
- Leave for weekend trip by 2:00 PM


  1. How wonderful that you are feeling so content with your new home! Your granddaughter is adorable.

    1. Life would be pretty much perfect if she just lived within driving distance! Happily, Mommy and Daddy are talking about moving to the Denver area once my son-in-law reaches his 20 year mark and retires from the military. Still a few years out, but something pleasant to look forward to. Much closer than Metro-DC!

      I've never lived somewhere so interesting it served to quiet my travel itch, so yes, I'm really finding my new contentment to be quite wonderful. Time will tell. ;-)

  2. 200 days??? Oh, my gravy! That was a lot of travel. I feel much like you do now in your new home...happy to be there. Most years lately I have felt on-the-go too often. Thankful that you have this beautiful space where you are able to enjoy life.

    Like you, we are just home from one trip and off tomorrow on another. And yesterday, like you, I spent the day catching up on laundry and housework. Once we get home from Phoenix, I hope to have a few days without working, without travel to just be. Just be in my home.

    Enjoy this next adventure. Be safe.


    1. Time to ‘just be’ sounds lovely, Leslie. This is our last bit of travel for the year and I am so ready for the break. Our girl is coming our way for the holidays this year instead!

  3. How wonderful that you're enjoying your new home, Tamara, and having options to travel whenever you feel like it. "Do more of what makes you happy" is what I say, including being at home and enjoying what the area has to offer. I just got back from Ireland, another beautiful adventure (sigh). So now the unpacking, laundry, catching up, etc.

    1. I always enjoy coming home after a big trip, though never the ensuing laundry, so I feel your pain Natalie!

      And it sounds like your 2017 has been like my 2016, so hopefully you’ve enjoyed every single bit of it!

  4. Hi,

    I just found your blog and would like to invite you to guest post on the blog on our site, Retirement And Good Living, about your travels during retirement.

    Our site provides information on a variety of retirement topics including aging, health, traveling, retirement locations, hobbies, part time jobs, volunteering, planning, finances, education and more. Over 300 guests from around the globe provided posts for the blog on our site.

    Please let me know if you are interested and I will forward additional information.

    Thank you,

    Simone Harrison
    Retirement And Good Living

    1. Hi Simone, I attempted to respond to your message via email, but unfortunately it appears your mailbox is full.


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