Baby Boomers Are Going Places

Yep. It’s official. My unofficial wandering research project has proven that Baby Boomers are going places. To conduct this unscientific and completely biased investigation, I simply chatted up any Boomer who complained during our cruel winter—which happened about a million times. The results are staggering. Here are the top three findings.

They’re tired of home work

A big chill like so much of the country has endured causes problems. Ice dams become roof rot and leaks. Shoveling breaks backs. And falling icicles may impale slow-moving mid-lifers. Summer, meanwhile, brings little labor relief with yardwork, painting, patio projects, and more. And as for fall and spring? More maintenance—and who really likes raking or spring cleaning?

So it’s little wonder an alarming number of people have said to me, “I’m tired of my house; I’m starting to think about a smaller place or a nice, little condo.” My heart aches, frankly. After all, some of these folks still have a kid or two at home—or host college offspring during breaks and summers. It seems so soon to empty the next.

Not to mention: Some of these homes were once the Dream of a Lifetime. I’ve assisted with teardowns, architect plans, art procuring, landscaping, sauna designs, and (for those near water) boat chores (my job is packing the cooler). But many Boomers now dream less about walk-in closets—and more about walking away from honey-do weekends.

It’s true: Homes suck up life’s two most precious commodities: Time and money. As more Boomers realize this, I predict a mass-nomadic shift from spacious abodes to modest hovels. Expect a McMansion-bubble crash, complete with Millennials (the ones not still living at home) replying “lol” when offered 5,500 SF at fire-sale prices.

They’ve had it up to here with crappy weather

In Minnesota, we believe we’re been grandfathered-in to gripe about the weather since Ole Rolvaag wrote Frozen Giants in the Earth and Laura Ingalls Wilder penned Little Igloo on the Prairie. But this year left many folks speechless—and not just in the upper Midwest. After all, NYC had 55+ inches of snow. Atlanta became a skating rink (and car-crash capitol). And oranges froze in Florida; few states escaped winter’s wrath.

So where’s a Boomer to go? Not surprisingly, many have begun ponder snowbirding in Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Some say Australia. Others simply scream, “Anywhere but here!” FBOW, many in my study seem unmoved by Florida, California, and other congested, Paradise-Lost locales. This could get interesting.

They really, really want to travel

Fingertip research verifies the travel hunger: Boomers spend $157 billion per year on it and list it as their #1 leisure activity. Surveys find they’re warming up to the idea of spending their children’s’ inheritances (literally) on cruise ships to Alaska and Big Breaks to Big Island, Napa, and Sedona.

So, no: It’s no longer about just gambling on Vegas or golfing in Phoenix. Boomers on the move dig ecotourism, volunteer vacations, adventure (hiking, biking, sailing), multigenerational journeys, passion pursuits, and other ambitious experiences. They’re looking outside of gated resorts and resolving to make it real.

Samplings from my wandering research: One couple will celebrate his 50th by finally taking their first trip to Europe (I’ve helped convince them to stay longer, visit fewer places, and budget more); another is planning a fly-in fishing expedition to Canada for three generations; a nurse is committing one month to help in Haiti.

Profound things happen as you age. Like, you realize you won’t live forever, so you better stop filling up your bucket list and start fulfilling it. Like, you see how each decade takes a physical toll so you can’t count on Kilimanjaro-climbing in your 70s.

Like, you realize you’ve likely worked your brain off, worried about others, and shoveled snow for about as long as you can remember. So, yeah, you deserve a BreakAway.

And that goes for you non-Boomers too!

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: GlacierNPS, all other photos courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.



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