12 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2010 10:12 AM by bj_hopeful

    national park senior volunteer

    Djm2023

      I have had the pleasure of visiting many of our national parks and look forward to every opportunity to explore them in depth.  There is a volunteer program for retirees looking for this kind of experience.  I spoke with a volunteer on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon who, with his wife, will live at the park in their RV at no cost and work in the gift store and as a driver.  Check out this website for more information:   http://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm

      My understanding is that lodging/park fees are exchanged for working....not sure if there is a small stipend attached.  What a wonderful method of financing travel!

        • Re: national park senior volunteer
          bj_hopeful

          My Husband and I love to go camping, especially at State and National Parks where we have some of the best natural beauty and healthy outdoor activities.  We love biking on trails, hiking through some rougher terrain, and learning about wildlife and plant life in the area.  Although we live in New Jersey and love our own area camping for weekends, we love investigating other States and what they offer.  We have oftened thought that once we can retire we would like to try finding seasonal Camp Ground Host and staff positions.  The site noted seems to hold a wealth of information for that purpose.  We hope to purchase an RV, rid ourselves of the encumberance of a big house, and travel for those years we can.

          But I am also trying to plan an alternative lifestyle for when his health limits us further or I need help caring for either of us.  We don't have large retirement funds to rely on.  How can we hedge our bet, and still live our dreams?

           

            • Re: national park senior volunteer
              4536rail
              If you don't have a lot of money to retire on, you may find moving to Latin America a way to enhance your standard of living.  I've lived part time in Zacatecas, Mexico, and I would guess the cost of living there is a third of that in New Jersey.  It's at 8000 feet, on the continental divide, so it never gets hot; winters are cold for Mexico, but a lot warmer than New Jersey. The city has a university, hospitals, many museums, classical music, colonial architecture, mountain scenery, etc.  And the people are great! 

              Other countries, Panama, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Uruguay are said to be equally appealing and even cheaper.  (Check out the International Living magazine website.)  If you can't stand the thought of learning Spanish, Belize is an English-speaking Caribbean country, also inexpensive. 
                • Re: national park senior volunteer
                  bj_hopeful
                  Thanks!  We do hope to relocate a bit south, but I never thought of relocating to another country.  I've seen bits of Mexico but vacations are not enough experience to plan a long term relocation.   We will check out the International Living Mag website.
                    • Re: national park senior volunteer
                      LindaWoodstock
                      Try renting for a few months in some select cities, such as Mexico, Puerto Vallarta has lots of nice properties that you can rent for 1 - 6 months, Cabo San Lucas--but its expensive, Mazatlan, or go inland to Lake Chapala & other quaint towns if you like small-town living.  You can also take your RV or a car and drive down--some very good highways as I understand from Canadians who drive all the way from Canada.  We've also spoken with americans who drive down every year so they have their car with them.  For those who have purchased property, they generally buy a vehicle there & leave it & then fly down--many options to consider.  Good luck--based on my assessment anything that's cheap probably doesn't offer the combination of great climate, great people, lots of culture, museums, theatre, etc.--it really depends on what is most important to you in retirement.  I live in a big city & love everything is has to offer but I grew up on a farm and still need to feel connected to the earth.
                        • Re: national park senior volunteer
                          Sharon

                          It saddens me that so many people on this site recommend leaving our wonderful USA.

                          No wonder no one speaks English anymore. You have to leave the US to find Americans!

                          Why not retire with your RV in Oregon. Tons and tons of woods...absolutly gorgeous! Then in winter, RV in hot places like Nevada.

                            • Re: national park senior volunteer
                              ChipHollister
                              Hi Sharon,
                              In response to your comment about being sad to leave the US, I agree to some extent. We've been blessed to have such a wonderful country to live in.  As someone who is just getting ready to retire,  I hope to spend at least part of my time outside the US, partly for the great experience that living in another country affords and partly because the US has gotten so expensive for routine health care, rent, etc.  that it seems wise to spend part of my time in a more economical environment.  Also where I live in PA, the gas companies are destroying the quality of water and air that I treasure so much.  Now obviously environmental degradation happens in many parts of the world, but I foresee as a retiree,not tied to a job, I'd be able to choose some places to live where I'd have cleaner water and air than I will here (it was paradise here until the corporations showed up).  So the US could do a lot to keep people in the States but it has to be affordable and environmentally safe for me.  I look forward to learning Spanish in my old age.
                              Sincerely,
                              Chip Hollister
                                • Re: national park senior volunteer
                                  skyhook
                                  We are on the same page.  I wonder what places in the world to you plan to travel and stay a while?   Retirement  is coming up fast on the horizon here on my end in another  few years, if not already ( currently laid off).  My wife and I visited Costa Rica a few years back for a week and loved it.  I know many Americans have  moved there on a retirement visa.  I am not sure I am for purchasing a residence unless I planned to a live there for extended time and felt confident I could liquidate fast if things went awry.   I am also thinking of a travel / work kind of arrangement such as with the Peace Corp.  Also, thinking of just renting out the house while traveling abroad.  Anyway,  thought I share some thoughts.

                                  skyhook
                                    • Re: national park senior volunteer
                                      ChipHollister
                                      My daughter lived in Costa Rica for 3 years and loved it, but now she's in Ecuador.  My sister looked at land down there for 9 months and came kind of close on one place till a flood washed the house and the hillside away.  She found several great houses to stay in on Craigslist down there and saw several areas of the country.  My preference is to rent at this point.  The rates are reasonable and the real estate prices in Costa Rica have been run up quite a bit by speculation.  I've heard that Uruguay and Argentina are wonderful countries to spend some time in and have quite vibrant cultures, so they are on my list of places to winter over.  I look forward to learning Spanish and I might take a lesson from my daughter and teach English to pay some bills.  I would love to come back to PA if the gas companies don't destroy everything I hold dear in this part of the world.  And they wrote it all down as the progress of man.
                                      • Re: national park senior volunteer
                                        bj_hopeful
                                        I recently ran into a couple who are RVing in retirement, but first spent a couple of years in a group here in the States that is like the Peace Corp, but state side.  They worked a year out  west getting a program plan up and running, then spent a year in West Virginia working in a area that is old coal mining area in need of a new job market to rejuvenate and bring jobs and people back to the area.  If you want to stay connected, do something for humanity, put your knowledge to good use, and still travel a see something new, that could be a way to do it.  If your already retired (lucky you), but find you want more action, to be involved, put your knowledge to good use, and tackle real problems, here's a good place to look.   I think it may go under the name Vista Corp or something like that!
                          • Re: national park senior volunteer
                            bj_hopeful
                            After checking out the National Parks Volunteer site, we are very excited to try an adventure in the beginning of our retirement.  Thanks again for the insight!