The wheels started turning in our patio one evening after my wife Jane and I returned from a trip to Atlantic City. Sitting there enjoying the August evening in Wausau, Wisconsin, my thoughts were about the next week when I had to return to work. After awhile I broke the peaceful silence and announced “I think I should retire” and before my wife could recover from the shock I added, “We should just sell everything and move overseas”. To my amazement Jane said “Okay, sounds good”.
That was August 2013.
Before I continue let me layout the path that led us to this huge life changing decision. Jane was retired from the public workforce for several years at this point. She worked for 25 years at a local paper mill but had to leave due to an injury. I say retired from the public workforce because she still worked taking care of me. Which I will admit was a full time job.
In September 2002 I had a heart attack. After getting a stent put in a blocked artery the doctor informed me I needed open heart surgery. A year latter one bypass collapsed. To make a long story shorter it was downhill from there. While my heart remained fairly strong the plumbing was pretty bad. I was 52 at that time, but the doctor told me I had the heart of an 86 year old person. At the time of retirement I had had another open heart procedure where they drilled 14 holes in my heart, 26 stents placed in blocked arteries, and radiation in the arteries.
These events, our age and being tired of the cold and snow of Wisconsin led to our retirement decision. One year later everything was sold, given away or donated. Jane wanted to keep some things in case something happened to me and she returned. Those things were put in storage I myself had no plans on returning.
On August 31,2014 we headed to the airport with all our possessions in 2 suitcases. Our plan was to explore several countries in Central and South American. First we wanted to make two stops in the opposite direction. Our first stop was Paris.
We had been to Paris twice before. My wife loved it, I hated it. When we were there the last two times I was responsible for a group of students and the tours were quick. There was really no time to enjoy anything. My wife convinced me we need to go there on our own so we could see it for ourselves. I hate to say it, especially in public, but she was right. Paris is a beautiful city. We rented an apartment for a month. It is so easy to get around there. You can walk or grab the metro.
They’re are so many things to see in Paris that even a month was not enough. The fresh food markets are incredible. You can find just about anything you want to eat at the numerous cafes and restaurants. There are many great monuments, churches, museums and other locations to photograph while you are there.
The only downside in Paris is the cost. Rent was high for a very small apartment. Prices in the restaurants were also high and beer was ridiculously expensive. Nine dollars and fifty cents for a pint of locally brewed beer. Why not drink wine, you say, you are in Paris after all. Yes the wine was a little cheaper and my wife likes wine, but me. In closing, we will have very fond memories of Paris and I would recommend to anyone.
Our next stop was the beautiful island of Ireland for a one month stay. We have always wanted to travel here and this was our first trip. However our trip did not start off well. If you are going there on your own you need a car. I found one online before we arrived at a great rate of $220 for the month. On arrival in Cork we headed to the car rental booth. They had our reservation and it was $220 for the month with unlimited mileage and we could drop it off in Shannon on our departure. Unfortunately the total came to approximately $1200. It turned out the there was an additional $1000 dollars for insurance. I tried to decline the insurance but was told it was required. I was able to get it down a little lower with a higher deductible. If you are traveling overseas you will run into theses high insurance rates. Your own car insurance will not be acceptable. Insurance coverage is required by law in many countries.
This is one of the reasons Paris was so nice. Renting a car was not required.