Why we chose to retire in this city after 5 years RVing
Almost immediately after our wedding ceremony, my husband and I embarked on what we thought was a never-ending honeymoon. We had both led very career-oriented lives and our thirst for travel had peaked. But after crisscrossing the North American continent for five years full-time in a motorhome, visiting 49 US states, nine Canadian provinces and six Mexican states, we decided to settle in somewhere every winter to start what should. to be the real retreat for us âin our sixties. “
With the freedom to roam the land, indulging in a multitude of landscapes, cuisines and customs, we forgot that we were not super-people and could benefit from a team of doctors who could take care for us on a regular basis. After my husband suffered a heart attack at a Florida campsite – luckily near a heart hospital – and given my many minor health issues, we realized we had to stay put for a few months to do the tour. doctors. Also, not getting any younger, we quickly realized we were going to have to wake up from the dream, cut our honeymoon short and really retire.
Before making a firm decision, we picked up our motorhome and continued to stay in the most likely areas where we could try semi-retirement to get a better idea of ââwhat it would be like to live there, this which is very different from a simple visit. We were sure it would be in the South because neither of us can stand the cold. My husband’s fingers turned blue in Grand Canyon National Parkâ¦ in the spring; and, for 54 years, it was summer all year round for me in the Philippines. It would probably be somewhere in Florida, Southern California, or Arizona. We have embarked on serious research.
In search of a better tax structure and a lower cost of living
Even though San Diego boasts of having the best climate in the country all year round, Southern California was easily knocked out. It was really sad for me because this is where most Filipinos choose to live. So, there are Filipino grocery stores like Seafood City, countless Filipino organizations to join, and many of my old classmates, coworkers and other colleagues from the Philippines that I could do regular business with. But the state’s tax structure and the resulting high cost of living are not good for retirees like us who have fixed incomes. An example is the cost of gasoline: it is always the highest in SOCAL. It doesn’t make sense to retirees, especially now. Our dollars would buy so much less!
Being closer to our children
We turned our attention to Florida, which fitted the bill better. The tax structure is good. And there are so many ready-made retirement shelters for people like us. In fact, we were thinking of buying a property at The Villages, often cited as the best retirement âtownâ in the country. We made it a point to stay in Florida for several months over the previous five years we had been RVing. We loved the climate there, it’s hot and humid like in the Philippines. But, alas, Florida is so far from where our children live. Travel by car to visit one of them would never be practical, and flights by plane would all end up being more expensive in the long run. Such factors could have prevented us from visiting them more often or, worse, discouraged them from visiting us!
So we focused on Arizona, where a road trip to San Francisco, California – where my oldest daughter lives – would only take 12 hours. Driving to Denver, Colorado, which my husband’s daughter calls home, would be almost the same thing. And Boise, Idaho – where her oldest and only son lives – would be just an hour and a half longer. So we took our campervan to spend three weeks each in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma, the candidate cities of Arizona.
A warmer climate
Grand Canyon National Park is only an hour and a half from Flagstaff; Only 45 minutes separate it from Sedona, this magical city of red rocks; and there is many other national monuments and state parks around the city: Walnut Canyon, Wupatki, Sunset Crater, Tuzigoot, and Montezuma, to name a few. Yes, it is the most beautiful corner of Arizona. If we lived there we would be visited by a lot of friends and family. And yet it turned out to be too cold for me and my husband since Flagstaff sits in the northern part of the state at elevations of almost 7,000 feet. After three pleasant summer weeks, this Arizona city was nevertheless eliminated.
A more cosmopolitan choice
Let me explain here that I am a girl from a big city, having lived in Metro Manila – a mega-city with a current population of 14 million, one of the densest cities in the world. , much like Bangkok – until I retire. Given the choice, I prefer to have a wide range of facilities for cultural events, plenty of options for shopping, additional choices for international culinary delights, and a full range of government and business services. So even though Yuma has a population of 200,000 and is only a 25 minute walk from Los Algodones, Mexico, a Mecca for inexpensive dental and medical services and supplies, it was also dropped from the list. It was too disappointing that there wasn’t a single El Pollo Loco in town!
Ultimately, it turned into a tight competition between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona’s biggest and best metropolitan areas. At first, we had a hard time deciding between the two.
The Tucson metro area, which has nearly a million people, was the top favorite. Temperatures are five degrees cooler all year round because it is at a higher elevation. It’s also closer to Mexico, which we think of as a second home at best or at least a regular vacation spot. There are also many monuments in and around the city like Saguaro National Park and the Sabino Canyon National Recreation Area, in addition to day trips to places like Tumacacori National Historical Park, the site of the very first Spanish mission to the United States In fact, another mission, Xavier San Juan del Bac, is right in the city and is the best example of Spanish architecture in the United States. She still actively provides enchanting services.
Tucson has a decidedly more Spanish character. It is also the site of the famous International Festival of Gems and Jewelry in winter. Ideal for ambitious women, like me!
Phoenix, on the other hand, is five times the size with 5 million inhabitants, making it the 11th largest metro in the country. While there aren’t any national parks or Mexico on its back door, the Flagstaff area is about a three-hour drive, Yuma is roughly the same distance, and Tucson is just a couple of hours away. hours of driving. It is also home to superb museums, entertainment options, concert and performance venues, as well as municipal, state and regional parks. These were very useful in communing with nature when we were in forced confinements. There will be no shortage of places to take our visitors and guests. The mega-city is made up of a group of cities and towns like Mesa, Scottsdale, Glendale, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction and 17 others. The variety of urban amenities available is significantly greater in Phoenix than in Tucson.
We stayed at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort at Mesa. With 1,900 sites, it is the largest such complex in the Phoenix area. There was a similar complex called Voyager RV Resort and Hotel in Tucson. Although a little smaller with 1,500 sites, there was a hotel for guests attached to it. Both are part of Encore Resorts, which also owns the network of campsites we were members of. And both have sections for houses when you finally decide to stay put.
We chose Viewpoint in Phoenix. The deciding factor was simple: Sky Harbor International Airport is a global hub, and so our travels around the world and our visits to children in Anchorage, Alaska; Calgary, Alberta; and Melbourne, Australia would not only be cheaper but more convenient, usually with a single stopover or even non-stop flight options.
Three years later, after choosing a great family doctor and a team of specialists to refer us to, we finally retired completely and sold our RV and bought a house in Viewpoint. I fell in love with the desert. Spring is a beautiful season to be here when the ubiquitous paloverdes, aside from all the wildflowers, are in full bloom with their delicate yellow blossoms. The fall weather is also perfect. Nowadays, we stay at home during these two seasons and travel when the Phoenix sizzles in the summer or shivers in the winter.
It was a blessing to own a motorhome. We were able to do a thorough search and envision a probable area by staying in each of them for three weeks. And then we spent three years wintering at Viewpoint before deciding to make the arrangement permanent. We may have gone through a rigorous process, but it also turned out to be very enjoyable. And in the end, we made a good decision.
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