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Old 01-21-2019, 10:48 AM   #1
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Volunteering on the road?

My wife and I will stop working full time and hit the road in our AS soon. We have loved traveling and camping in beautiful places in the southwest for the last 2 years(preparing for our more full time travel). I am a photographer and musician and we enjoyed making pictures and playing music in some amazing places, and we are eager to see much much more.
As the reality of stopping work approaches we are facing an existential problem. What will we do so that we can continue to give back? She is professor/researcher in health care and is involved in our community in some very meaningful ways. I do IT support for a wonderful nonprofit clinic that helps special needs children and their families.
We both spend our days serving others, and suddenly we face making the switch to being consumers instead of givers. It will be wonderful to finally travel this amazing country and see the beauty we have only seen in pictures. But, I'm afraid that spending months on the road taking in the beauty over and over will leave us feeling selfish. We have spent our lives serving a greater good, seeing ourselves as part of a larger altruistic picture, and suddenly switching from that to focusing on having a good time and taking in the sites seems like a hollow trade.
Maybe the blinders will fall off and 6 months from now we'll be sipping gin and tonics at sunset in Key West and wondering what we were worried about. But just in case, has anyone found something out on the road where you can volunteer and serve others? I'm a handyman and she's a nurse so going to areas needing disaster relief is an option. For instance we could take a 'chainsaw and bandages' to hurricane or tornado damaged places.
I do not mean to rain on anyones parade who is fully enjoying retirement and the release from a life of work and responsibility. You earned it, and it should be whatever is enjoyable for you.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:41 AM   #2
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If your travels take you to the panhandle of Florida the nonprofit organization hopepanhandle.org is a great “feet on the ground” crew trying to help homeowners get back in to their home. Their website explains it all very well. If you do choose this rewarding opportunity, tell Mary the Airstream Canopener crew sent you!!
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:00 PM   #3
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On the list! thanks for the tip.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:08 PM   #4
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Go online to adcf.net. Many states hold Missions of Mercy — free dental clinics — that need a lot of volunteers of various (or no) talents for things like setup/tear down, traffic control, food service, patient escorts, recording, sterilization, bilingual translators, patient entertainment, watching kids, and so on Besides the dental and medical professionals. Most are 2-day events plus a day of setup and tear down, serve up to 1600 patients, and most allow volunteers to sign up for specific jobs/shifts. Been doing this in Colorado for 10 years, and hoping to volunteer in Las Cruces in May if weather cooperates. This is a fantastic and rewarding program!
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:16 PM   #5
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What a great idea! I went to China with a missionary dentist friend for week many years ago. It would be good to do that in my own country.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:46 PM   #6
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Musician? Traveling minstrel at MOM?
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Old 01-21-2019, 01:06 PM   #7
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Dan and Liz - what’s MOM?


dvgofaz - are you/your spouse former military? Volunteer with Team Rubicon: https://teamrubiconusa.org/
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:50 PM   #8
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Mission of Mercy - the free dental clinics. Many state dental associations hold them one or more times a year, and there’s a nationwide organization that sends a semi-load of dental chairs, dental units, sterilization equipment and othe “stuff” to augment the states’ assets. New Mexico in early May in Las Cruces, Colorado in Glenwood Springs in the fall — the web site I mentioned above has the schedule once coordinated with and set by the states.
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:48 PM   #9
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Wow! Way cool...I am ex-Navy and a Medic at that. What great idea.(And yes, I'll bring the guitar because there is healing in music too!)
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Old 01-21-2019, 04:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by dvgofaz View Post
Wow! Way cool...I am ex-Navy and a Medic at that. What great idea.(And yes, I'll bring the guitar because there is healing in music too!)
USMC (Ret) - see you in Las Cruces maybe?
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Old 01-21-2019, 09:27 PM   #11
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My wife and I were tech workers. Years before retirement, we latched on to the idea of volunteering in parks when the time came. We wanted a change in the type of work we do (and less stress). It has worked out well for us.

We take 3-4 months assignments around the west. We like to do "interpretation", which is what park people call the visitor-facing tasks like handing out maps, answering questions, giving tours, etc. We have worked at a national park, An Arizona state park, and we are now at a wildlife refuge.

Other volunteers prefer maintenance work, campground hosting, or working the fee booth.

Federal and some state park jobs are posted at Volunteer.gov, which is the place to start. Other states have their own web sites for volunteer listings.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:25 AM   #12
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Slowing down is a new journey for you both. Give yourself and opportunity to learn new things about each other. Serve each other first. Thank you for your life of service to others. Having said that. It is your time. Give yourself at least six months. In the slow down mode. Many of our beautiful parks have opportunities to host. It will allow you to adjust your schedule at. a slower pace. Sharing your gift of music and photography. There will be many opportunities in the future for you to serve as a volunteer in disaster areas. Let this time be just for you together. Fall in love all over again. Watch sunrises and sunsets. Being grateful for each other. A beautiful life awaits you. Plenty of time for Service. I suggest this as I myself have learned since retiring from the life of service to others. All is good. It’s time to learn about yourself as individuals and a couple. The best is yet to come. Congratulations on your retirement. Congratulations on your relationship . Thank you for your Sharing of talents and graces with others. This is YOUR new life, , Starting your new Adventure enjoy each moment together.
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Old 01-22-2019, 10:59 AM   #13
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Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity has a program for RVers called RV Care-a-banners. The program is offered all over the country. We volunteered in Hobbs New Mexico last year for 2 weeks building houses. Fabulous experience. Bonus - RV camp on site with full hook ups.
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:36 PM   #14
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Thanks for that. This year the plan is to slow down, travel, stop and stay and not leave unless we're ready to move on. We will play music and enjoy our new freedom from the day to day. Who knows... that might last longer than we think!
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