Trisha’s Story

By my mid fifties I was a widow trying to find a way forward.  My goal was to “perfect the present” …but how,  as it was definitely not perfect.  I decided that if I was going to be single then I would look on this as an opportunity,  I would do things that were more difficult to do if married.

In 2008 it seemed that my three daughters were going to be in the United Kingdom and I did not like the idea of being left behind so I came up with a scheme.  I wanted to live in Italy to practice my Italian so I rented a villa in the heart of Umbria and told everyone I knew about it as I wanted to run it as a private bed and breakfast.  One of the pivotal moments had been when I had to commit to three months rent in advance.  What was the worst that could happen, I would be lonely in the middle of Italy paying more than I could afford for accommodation!  Not life threatening,  so I committed.

I bought an old Peugeot in London and took off with a friend for Umbria.  It took 4 days and her navigation was superb.  It was like a three month long party.  Family came too, even the youngest, who had elected to remain in New Zealand to go to university, came over for a road trip through Italy and France during mid winter semester break.

There were some add ons to the trip as well.  I remained in Europe and United Kingdom for eight months, acting as unpaid home help for my daughter, and rowing 200 km down the Canal Du Midi in Southern France in a five day race.  But duty called, university was finishing in October and I had to return to New Zealand and be a mother.

But not for long, February 2009 I was back skiing in the Dolomites in Italy and being home help in London while my second grandson was born.  Then another four day trip to Umbria but this time my companion was a GPS, not nearly as friendly, but very efficient.  My second stay in the village was totally different, this was 2009 and New Zealanders were not travelling.  So no paying guests but what a gift to be able to spend a summer with ones daughter and grandsons, one arriving at only five weeks old.  Their father/son in law joined us when he could.

To finish off this 2009 journey I picked up the friend in Austria I had first travelled with to Italy in 2008.  We did a road trip across Italy, France, Spain, around Portugal, up the west coast of France again and back to London.

In 2010 I wasn’t allowed to have a long stay in Europe, all the girls were now resident in Auckland and I was required to be mother help to my second daughter while she had her first child.  But 2011 I am back, this time in southern Spain, a gorgeous villa, lots of friends and friends of friends staying.  Some are repeats and others new but all of us having fun and there is still time to organise where I will go in 2012.


Note: If you are inspired by Trish’s story, please let us know and we can connect you with her as she plans her 2012 ‘refirement’ journey.

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