Thoughts on getting older in Port Douglas – Sunday 6th November 2011

Despite the kitchen-less fiasco, we like Port Douglas. The freedom that ‘traveling’ offers is the right to change your plans, or not to have any, and the ability to decide what to do just days before you actually do it. For us, born organizers and control freaks, this does not come easily. I’m sure that’s why we acted as tourists in Sydney and had to book well in advance the first two accommodations on this trip. Now we have relaxed a bit and we begin to find ourselves.

We’re very pleased with our bargaining power as we have walked into several resorts and apartments, to see which we liked and have got a deal reducing the price from $125 to $89. Thank you Tropic Sands.

We then began to think about the best way to travel back South: air, train, Greyhound, car hire. Although hiring a car for the local area is very good value at $27 a day, the price rockets if you want to pick up and drop off in different cities. Besides, I know I want to visit Magnetic Island for a week where a car would be useless, so…

It looks like the 90 day Greyhound pass, hop on hop off! Which makes me feel even more like a backpacker.

And this brings me to the centre of my writing and thinking. Whilst I love the freedom that retirement brings me, the label “retired” hangs new and awkwardly on me. I need to come to terms with it. I think the issue lies with the perception of others, or my perception of their perception!

I don’t think I am old (I’m nearly 58) but I certainly cannot claim to fit into the typical backpacker mould! By I missed out on that phase of my life, because I married at 19, had two daughters quite quickly and, having seen them to school, got the teaching bug so my life became consumed with a passion for learning.

Suddenly, I find myself without the social role of headteacher, spotting talent in young teachers and giving them space to develop. I’ve gone from a pillar of society to retired. Does that equate to dropped out? Maybe! Well that’s fun!

I’ll return to this later! I would be interested in your opinions.



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