Simplify, simplify. Also, let's drive cross-country.
November 22, 2006 12:00 PM   Subscribe

What should a retiree do when they want to work AND travel?

In the year since my mom retired from her job of 25+ years, she's discovered that she probably needs to take on another job for a while, but she also wants to drastically simplify her life (as in, get rid of a lot of the unnecessary junk that we all accumulate over the years). She's willing (IMO, eager) to move from her current locale. And like most retirees, she wants to travel.

I've looked around online, and it's difficult to find intersections of work and travel that aren't aimed at college students or recent graduates (this site is a good example). This is understandable, I suppose; most people assume that if you're retired and traveling, you probably have an RV and a huge pension. My mom isn't starving, but neither is she rich. And there's also the sense of accomplishment that comes with having a job, which my mom (again, like a lot of retirees) misses.

There's got to be a way to combine her desire to simplify, her desire to travel, and her need for a little cash. Can anyone suggest anything?
posted by hifiparasol to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Teach. Even if she can't travel and teach at the same time, she can get summers off for travel.
posted by pracowity at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2006

(And, of course, she can teach abroad.)
posted by pracowity at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2006

Best answer: My mother works for H&R Block. It basically means working full time 3-4 months a year, and she has the rest of the year off to do whatever. If your mother needs a really significant income, it's probably not going to be enough money (especially as they get stingier and stingier every year) but it helps smooth things over for my folks, and limits the working to winter when she wouldn't likely be travelling much anyway.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:38 PM on November 22, 2006

Teach at night school and do consulting or contract work. Jobs like H&R Block (noted above) are also good options.

Or do you mean that your mom wants to work overseas?
posted by acoutu at 12:48 PM on November 22, 2006

Response by poster: My mom's never been abroad; I'm sure she's not opposed to the idea of working abroad, but I suspect that the combination of job responsibility and culture shock wouldn't be a great one.

Not sure if I made this clear in the original post, but if anyone has any Web resources they can share (along the lines of the one I linked to), that would be great.

Loved the H&RB suggestion. Thanks, jacq.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2006

I can't vouch for the quality of openings, but there is
posted by Otis at 1:27 PM on November 22, 2006

Tour guide?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:55 PM on November 22, 2006

Teaching at one of the thousands of anonymous Universities in China might be too much of a culture shock, but if she is up for it, it's the best way I know of to do serious traveling with a very limited budget.

Most entry level Uni jobs provide basic accomodations, visa, air ticket, utilities, some meals and various other small perqs. Typically, they'll pay about $5-600 per month and often require very few classes (as few as ten hours of actual work per week is not uncommon). And the vacations can be sweet. My friend is getting 7 weeks paid vacation starting the day before Christmas. So, not having to worry about rent or other bills, she'll have more than $1,000 to spend on more than a month-long vacation, to China or SE Asia. She also gets a 2 month paid summer vacation if she opts to sign up for a second year. Two other weeklong vacations are standard in Oct. and May.
posted by bluejayk at 7:13 PM on November 22, 2006

Best answer: Work for the National Park System. Tons of retirees spend their summers staffing the gift shops and things in places like the Grand Canyon or Rocky Mountain National Park. My parents did it for a summer and liked it. Lots of people go back and work there year after year.
posted by MsMolly at 5:04 PM on November 23, 2006

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