Sunday, 15 April 2012

#221: Real Estate (for Retirees)

In my mailbox today, there was a real estate agent's card with the message:  When you go through major lifestyle changes, quite often your home needs a change as well....etc etc.

Perhaps the sales rep has figured out that in the "old University area" we actually are an older crowd who could possibly want to downsize, though as far as I know, my retired neighbours are all staying put.

It was the same in New Zealand: of the 9 retired couples/individuals we visited, 7 are still living in the family home. (And since one of the relocating couples is just building a more energy efficient house on the same property, it is hard to think of them actually moving.)

So, really, only one couple has relocated.  But they have done it, big time.  Keith and Pat have moved from the city of Dunedin to Collingwood, a village of 200 in the Golden Bay area at the very top of the South Island.  Most New Zealanders have never heard of it.  This community on the edge of nowhere seems a strange fit for Keith and Pat who are well travelled, well educated and have a multitude of cultural interests.  Yes, the weather is usually warm and sunny, and the scenery is spectacular, but is that enough?

I came closer to understanding the appeal of tiny, isolated Collingwood when I read Michael Matthews' item in the Globe and Mail on retiring to rural British Columbia.  Like our Kiwi friends,  Matthews and his wife think small is beautiful.  After living all over the world, they chose to settle in tiny Lund, an isolated coastal community famous for scenery and not much more. No-one can understand the appeal of their new home, so Matthews takes pains to explain in his essay that what he loves best about Lund is not its wild beauty, but the wonderful friends that he has found there. It really is all about the people. 

This sense of community must be important to Keith and Pat, too.  After all, when we visited with them, we could see that they knew ( and liked, really liked) most of the townsfolk.  (It appears that when you only have about 200 neighbours, you get to know all of them, really well.)

Sorry, Century 21. I don't see a move in my future. But if I did, I might consider moving to a charming and tiny, but isolated village.  I wouldn't mind having 200 new best friends.

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