More than a year ago Margaret and I decided to downsize. We are quite capable of maintaining our house and garden for another ten years or more, but we can't really see the point. The house is a little too big for us and is now 50 years old, so it has few modern touches. As well keeping our garden alive during last summer's El-Nino was a nightmare that we don't want to face again. Neither of us are avid gardeners, we just want the yard to look neat and cared for but don't particularly enjoy working in the garden. All the same, at the right time of the year the garden looks pretty good, as shown by the photo. Click on it to see a larger view.
If we are going to downsize it doesn't make much sense to find an anonymous flat in the suburbs, it seems to us to make more sense to live in a community. We also intend to spend much of our retirement traveling (hence the name of this blog). Already we have booked three holidays totalling 8 weeks in 2008. For details see the Travel Plans post. We therefore want a home base that is secure when we are away. Often on holidays we think (separately) about the security of our home - ie has anyone burgled or trashed it? We also want to be close to facilities such as a pool, gym, restaurant, library, theatre and to self improvement and study groups such as a well resourced craft group.
We found all of these requirements at a retirement village called Tarneit Skies which is in Tarneit near Werribee. There is a gym, pool, restaurant, library and small theatre less than a minutes walk from our prospective front door. As well it becomes a "gated community" at night which is when a house is most at risk.
Many people suggest that we are too young for this step with the idea that Retirement Villages are for old people. There are three problems with this idea. Firstly, it assumes that older people are not interesting, which we have found not to be true - see my post Valuing Old Folks. Secondly, we will not forget all of our current friends and relatives, and thirdly most of the current residents that we have met do not seem to be "old" to us.
We are now in the business end of this life transition which I will outline in more posts to come.