Where retirement plans are concerned, a waterfront condo or cottage in the mountains is so last generation! These days, the 60s are the new 20s for Baby Boomers who are nowhere near settling down. On the contrary, they are fastening their seatbelts as they pursue the next phase in their lives with a thirst for action and a hunger for adventure that’s anything but old-fashioned.
Gone with the Wind
A Minnesota couple — Bill and Sylvia Mueller — reportedly spent 15 years building a 52-foot sailboat inside their barn. After years of installing the mechanical parts and designing the interior cabin, Mueller was ready to sell his house and car, and sail wherever the wind would take them. The story was published two years ago by the Star Tribute in Minneapolis-St. Paul, which means that by now, the Muellers have probably sailed around the globe.
But if you don’t have the 35,000 hours it took them to build their retreat, you can always look into buying a vessel that was built to match your robust sense of adventure. The website KastenMarine.com lists an array of sailing yacht designs including a prototypes page. Just be advised that sailing is not for the faint of heart.
“I have stated over the years that sailing is not a sport, but a way of life,” says George J. Horak of the Miami Sailing Club (MSC) in Coconut Grove, which has graduated nearly 1,500 captains in 25 years — accident free! The first level of certification, including two written tests and a “grueling” final exam totaling 60 hours of instruction. “Sailing is a wonderful life, especially if you discover it early….but that doesn’t mean you can’t start later in life,” says Horak, who has 50 years of teaching experience. “Even at the risk of losing your life, it’s worth it.”
If flippers aren’t your thing, you may want to try on a pair of moon boots. Just last month, Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte returned to Earth after completing a $35 million vacation to the International Space Station — foam clown nose, and all!
While your out-of-this-world vacation will most likely be void of Laliberte’s circus anticts, necessary training is in order when seeking a stay in space. While the term astronaut or cosmonaut was once used to refer to professional space travelers, it now applies to anyone who travels into space…even if that’s you! That’s because up until 2003, astronauts were trained exclusively by governments, but the sub-orbital flight of SpaceShipOne, a privately-funded craft, created a whole new genre of space travelers.
With a pricetag that ranges between $20-35 million, space tourism opportunities are rare. As of this year, only the Russian Space Agency provides transport through Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company in the world that provides independent space missions. And the sky is the limit when it comes to considering the company’s options. Among the most tempting are around-the-moon missions, zero-gravity flights, cosmonaut training, spaceflight qualification programs and reservations on future suborbital spacecrafts are among the possibilities.
Move over Jacques Cousteau! Modern-day retirees are exploring their interest in the deep blue sea. Whether or not you want to sport an atmospheric diving suit — also dubbed a “Winnie the Pooh” suit — deep-sea diving is growing quite popular as it becomes more and more accessible. When contemplating a post-corporate career in deep-sea diving, it’s important to establish long-term goals. That is, do you want to be a casual weekend diver or go pro? Either way, there are certification programs you need to look into for either option.
Scuba.com is a great source for prospective divers, offering a base of resources that locate dive instructors, provide equipment and gear reviews, and lead you to the hottest diving destinations. Another great resource is the site Boomeropia.com, a web community filled with travel ideas for Baby Boomers. It lists a worldwide diving directory, including Fiji, Taiwan and Bali, among others.
But before you pack your wetsuit, make sure you have your visa and passport in order, as well as insurance cards and emergency contact numbers. And don’t forget to check in with the American Embassy at each destination.
While you spent your career making it to sports games that revolved around your work schedule, isn’t it time you make your schedule revolve around sports? Bring on the foam fingers! It’s time to buy your very own sports team. Whether you decide to buy your favorite team outright like Dolphins’ owner Steve Ross (and Wayne Huizenga previously); or if you’d rather take a little piece of the pie (like the Estefans, Marc Anthony and Willams sisters), the idea is not too far-fetched. But before you further contemplate the possibilities, you may need to come to terms with the fact that your favorite team may not turn out to be your best business.
The leading men’s portal, AskMen.com, discusses the necessary steps needed to achieving this lifelong goal. Researching the market base and fan base, reviewing the team’s financials, and finding out how to acquire new talent are among the critical guidelines. “If your team resides in a town that is not in the top 100 or so markets, you may have a hard ceiling for growth,” says AskMen.com’s Phil Helm. “Your team can still be successful and profitable, but you may only be able to hit a double when you really wanted a homerun.”