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Posted by & filed under Travel Post Monthly.

…why Virginia is for lovers.
By Donna Milsten, ITWPA Member

Could We Live There?

I just heard a statement that “many people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning for retirement.” Well, full disclosure, that’s true in my case. Recently though, as I research places to visit, I’m also considering what it would be like to live there.

My husband and I are rapidly approaching retirement (weeks and years whizzing by). For several years now, we have been “interviewing” places to spend our retirement years. We typically like to travel to quieter areas, off the beaten path.

Fortunately, we have traveled to many corners of the world during our working years. Our original plan was to narrow down places we liked and then spend at least three months immersed in each community after we retire. We thought we could afford to do this for six months out of the year, returning to our home in Virginia between these adventures. Sounds exciting, right?

Is It Time to Retire?

On the other side of this pandemic, there may be unprecedented real estate opportunities. This has caused us to reconsider our plans and possibly move up the decision-making. In my research, I have concluded that our retirement income will go much further for the same or better quality of life in some other countries. We’ve started looking at buying real estate in Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, and France.

Stay or Go?

Being the planners that we are, we have developed a list of criteria that the places must meet. This list includes climate, cost of living, health care, and political stability.

I also started to evaluate more closely what endears us to our current home in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and if we could assimilate to a new place easily. We’ve lived in the state of Virginia for about 28-years. What are the warm-fuzzies about living here?

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Virginia is for Lovers – What’s not to like about the statewide LOVEworks initiative that’s been in existence for over 50 years? The LOVE signs pop up all over the state and always cause me to smile.

Four seasons – The sight of the changing leaves in the Blue Ridge Mountains in fall, cherry blossoms and rhododendron in spring, floating the Shenandoah River in summer, and the bright red cardinals against fresh snow in winter are just a few of the benefits of our four seasons.

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Diversity – Virginia has it all within easy reach; mountains, beaches, rivers, valleys, cities, and countryside, including a wide variety of cultural events. We enjoy attending concerts hosted by the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs at the foothills of Great North Mountain. We’re also about a two-hour drive from Washington DC with all its museums and sporting events just a day-trip away.

History – You can’t walk far before seeing something relative to our country’s history. There are historical markers, monuments, and structures far and wide around the state. The Civil War took place here. Eight U.S. presidents were from Virginia, and their influences are still here.

SensesArtisan wines, beers, and ciders are thriving statewide. Imagine sipping your beverage of choice with the gorgeous mountains as the backdrop, surrounded by the smell of boxwoods and birds chirping. Small community coffee shops and cafes welcome you any time of day. There’s a farmer’s market in our town every Saturday morning during the growing season.

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Memories – Our kids grew up here. We have family memories of camping, beach vacations, mountain hikes, sporting events, graduations, and weddings.

Will there be another place in this world that can measure up to our abundant life here in Virginia? Our hearts and minds are more open to the possibilities than ever before. ~TPM

About Donna Milsten—Currently living and working as a Construction Manager, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Donna is the proud mother of three grown children and grandmother of two shining stars. Her career in construction management has spanned over 30-years and about the same number of commercial/public projects. Traveling to Machu Picchu, South America, and the South Pacific Islands are high on her list of ‘must go’ destinations. She tells me she has mountains of travel memories and photographs that have not been shared, and says, “I’m working on that.” ~TPM