Retirement Hobbies Should be Fun!

Retirement hobbies are supposed to be fun. The moment a hobby becomes a chore or an occupation, it is no hobby anymore. However, some retirees are so passionate about their hobbies that they seem driven by it!

I would think that a hobby should be some relaxing or recreational activity. But it could also be challenging or thought provoking. To gain some knowledge or skills.

By the Grace of God, we are all different and we pursue different retirement hobbies! It would be impossible for me to enumerate all possible retirement hobbies and what the pros and cons are. But, as I do elsewhere on this Website, I can tell you about my firsthand experiences.

My wife and I enjoy traveling. During my lifetime to date I have been on more than eighty intercontinental trips. Even on business trips I tried to get away from the work at hand to do some sightseeing.

When I retired we were living in the Ticino province of Switzerland – ideally situated to intensely explore Italy, France, and Switzerland. When we were not on a trip we were planning the next one!

We developed some health challenges in 2010, which have put a brake on our traveling. With a bit of luck we hope to resume traveling to Europe by the fall of 2012.

Language and culture
We found the ancient customs and culture of communities in Europe fascinating. One of our most memorable experiences was a language and culture 'course' we attended in Frontino, Montefeltro, Le Marche, Italy. It was a total 'immersion' into the customs, culture, and history of the region which left us changed forever.

I pursued studying the language further and although I never reached fluency, I can help myself in the language of the Italian tongue!

Learning a new language is one of the most rewarding retirement hobbies.

Europe is a photographer's dream. The light, colors, shadows, architecture, landscape all invite you to take pictures. That's what my wife did.

It culminated in a photographic workshop given by a retired professional photographer, a native of Venice, in Venice!

The language and culture course mentioned above included a cooking course with plenty of exposure to authentic Italian cooking. This inspired my wife to pursue Italian cooking with a passion. I merely play the part of the kitchen help, but the rewards when the food is served are priceless!

I have always read widely. I still do. I prefer non-fiction. Some of my favorite authors are H.V. Morton, C.S. Lewis, and Philip Yancy. I have read, and re-read, many of their books.

My wife and I wrote accounts of our travel experiences over the years. These accounts were sent to friends and family by email. During a recent two-year project we published two books containing these accounts with some of my wife's best pictures. We used the print-on-demand software of Blurb and by completion of the second book we considered ourselves publishing experts!

We were lucky that some researchers have researched the genealogy of both my wife's and my ancestors extensively. It offers fascinating reading! We had to fill in and complete the last fifty years or so, and even that took substantial research to achieve!

One of my cousins took the lead to use to link up our extended family links.

While living in Europe I was confused by the history of more than 2000 years! For me there were just too many periods to study, understand, and remember.

When we returned home we settled in a rural village with a manageable history of some 330 plus years! Europeans settled here in 1679 and our church congregation was founded on 13 October 1686. The current church building is an enlargement of a church built in 1722. I read and studied all relevant history books I could lay my hands on. And I find it fascinating!

I'm one of the volunteer tourist guides for the many international visitors that visit the church and museum.

Physical activities
When I was younger my favorite sport was Alpine skiing. During winter business trips I always tried to arrange it so that I could go skiing at some resort in North America or Europe for a few days. But I don't ski anymore.

We live in a Golf and Winelands Estate. When we moved here my wife and I tried our hand at golf. During my working life I could never justify the time golf demands and thus I never played seriously. As retirees we found that golf is most competitive, expensive, and - for us - too intense and no fun.

I've always enjoyed walking and today I pursue walking through the vineyards as my main physical activity. With a gps I mapped a scenic route of nine kilometers and I try to walk it in ninety minutes. But most mornings I turn it into a more leisurely stroll, stopping often to admire the beautiful landscape.

I never thought I would classify maintenance as a hobby! We own a small house in a remote private nature reserve and each year we spend a month or two there. Any house that's unoccupied for many months needs serious maintenance. I do most of the maintenance myself and to my surprise I enjoy it!

The list of possible retirement hobbies is endless. We've been involved in only a few. When I look at the pursuit of hobbies by former colleagues and friends, I know there are many more hobbies to explore.

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