I know two different retired couples who have recently taken off for the shores of Florida and are looking forward to three or four months in a warmer climate. The idea sounds wonderful and they do this every year so it must be fun. I’ve never even considered it myself. I prefer to be home. Admittedly cold temperatures, too much snow and gusting winds have made this an exceptionally nasty winter. Being house-bound by the weather is not pleasant. This winter has left a lot of us restricted to only short trips to visit family and friends. I’m sure many retirees have probably taken a closer look at the “Snow-bird” lifestyle. I did.
This year many southern states suffered freezing temperatures and catastrophic weather conditions. Weather never comes with warrantees. We may be talking good weather MOST of the time, but what about the off days when cold, rain and wind ruin that beach experience. Warm weather is a big factor in deciding to spend the winter elsewhere, but it can’t be the only reason so many older people join that wagon train moving south.
The staggering costs are a big issue for me. At one time the costs were quite reasonable. But with the influx of tourist traps, the increased winter population and lack of affordable rental units, the costs have skyrocketed in the last few years. A couple will pay $1,000 plus for monthly rent and then spend more on restaurants, theaters, cruises, sports, bus tours, and all manner of tourist activities. They are paying all that money out and at the same time maintaining a year round home up north.
Are there more basic reasons for these expeditions? Is it a habit that no one questions? Has it become a status symbol, required by our culture? Does our impending mortality drive us to accomplish absolutely everything before we kick the bucket? Do we need to prove to our family and friends that we’ve still vital and active with a full social calendar in two locations? Do we feel the necessity to prove our affluence?
OK I think too much…
I’m sure there are many different reasons for the annual exodus out of the great north. I hope everyone who takes on that journey gives it some serious thought because the costs and benefits just don’t balance out. What are the perks of ‘flying south for the winter’? I’m all for the vacation, but this is not vacationing; this is relocating. What has us so enamored by the concept, that we leave our families and friends behind for months at a time? Maybe the ‘Snowbirds’ need to ask themselves why they do it and then let people like me in on the secret.
You’re in your pajamas and wrapped in that raggedy old blanket, feet stuffed into wool socks, hands warm in fingerless gloves, pushing the mouse around the screen. Put down the mug of hot chocolate and let me know what YOU think…..