According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 11% of retirees are not fully retired. In fact, they consider themselves semi-retired. This means they are either working full time or part time, or they are self-employed.
The best thing about reaching a mature age is that you can finally decide what are you going to do and how you are going to do it. The kids (if you have them) are probably already adult and independent which leaves you with more free time, and more freedom, in general.
That’s why many persons older than the age of fifty decide to fulfill their lifelong dreams about traveling abroad. The purpose of the travel can be pure pleasure, but it can also be for another job or for doing some good, for free. If you are among those brave people who have decided to turn their life around by working or volunteering abroad, here is everything you need to know to make this experience better.
How to prepare for your big adventure
While you should not let all the naysayers bring you down and discourage you from making this enormous change in your life, you should still not embark this adventure without making the necessary preparations and thinking things through, and for that, you need to ask yourself all the right questions:
- Where do you want to go?You may have dreamt about living in Africa or South America, but are those the countries where your skill sets can be used? Will you be able to find a job or volunteering options there? Is it safe to go there? Is it a good country for aging seniors?
- What do you want to do?Regardless whether you want to make money or help volunteer for a cause, you must decide not only what is important to you, but also what is convenient and relatively simple for you to do, considering your age and health condition.
- How long will you stay? Short-term projects are popular options for elderlies who want to work or volunteer abroad. They are also a good opportunity to try something out and see if you want to stay for longer.
Health comes first
Even if your health is at its peak, traveling abroad without appropriate private medical or international insurance is extremely risky. A minor accident or injury will result in huge expenses which could endanger all of your plans. Also, when you are over fifty, you must attend regular medical checkups and follow-up treatments if you had some serious health problems before.
Health insurance and medical treatments comply with different laws and rules in different countries of the world, so you need to be sure you have researched this topic thoroughly before you go. For example, the cost of basic medical treatment in China is low, but surgical and major interventions can cost over $10.000.
Jobs you can do abroad
Your skill set, experience, knowledge of the language of the destination, and preferences (your health condition too) will determine what are the jobs you can do while abroad. Many travel-related positions are flexible when it comes to learning a foreign language, and you can easily get away with English. Some of the popular options are a travel agent, event planner, campground worker, tour guide, and even a Peace Corps member.
If you have valuable knowledge from areas such as accounting or IT, you can look for positions in that department.
A large number of volunteer organizations are eliminating the upper age limits and thus opening the doors to healthy and enthusiastic seniors. With these circumstances, finding a volunteering program shouldn’t be difficult, as long as you choose a cause that truly inspires you. The available programs include gardening, working with kids, teaching, health care, sports coaching, and more.
The list of organizations that could help you find a volunteering program for you is endless, but here are some that are worth considering: Go Overseas, Volunteer Abroad, Grassroot Volunteering, Giving Way, United Nations Volunteer, Global Service Corps, Open Minded Projects, and Volunteering Solutions.
Traveling brings many mental and physical health benefits for older persons while working or volunteering abroad helps prevent social isolation. Making this decision is definitely something that is praiseworthy and admirable. However, you should not go into this daring experience if you are not prepared for all the challenges along the way. The tips above will make the transition to your new life, and we dare say, new youth, as smooth as possible.
This guest post was graciously provided by Caitlin Evans. Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a graphic designer, but that one is on hold at the moment. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Cate is researching and writing about various lifestyle related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and caffeine.