Options abound for retiree’s wife to join his explorations

Wife will never forgive herself if she doesn’t accompany her retired husband on his adventures.

Dear Abby: The wife of “Headed for the Open Road” (June 25) will never forgive herself if she doesn’t accompany her newly retired husband on his open-road adventures. After working for 40 years and retiring from my third job, my life partner and I went everywhere and did everything together. Three and a half months after my retirement, he passed away suddenly.

I would never have forgiven myself if I hadn’t experienced our frozen Jeep in Yellowstone or the eerie silence on the edge of the Hoh Rain Forest in Western Washington state. That wife needs to get off her duff and have the adventures of a lifetime — unless, of course, she doesn’t want to get closer to her husband. That would be a shame.

Rick T. in California

Dear Rick: Thanks for writing and sharing your experiences. Many other passionate travelers responded, offering guidance to “Headed” in making his dreams of adventure a reality. Read on:

Dear Abby: Maybe the problem is the idea of a road trip, not the notion of travel. Perhaps he should suggest they go on a cruise or vacation in a nice resort somewhere. She might warm up more to travel if it sounded like a vacation rather than a long drive. And cruises are great — no daily packing/unpacking, opportunities to “dress up” (if you want), dancing, nightly entertainment, moonlit walks, not to mention days in exotic ports around the world. By the way, my husband and I — retirees in our 70s — have just returned from a five-week road trip in France. Far more appealing than seeing Mt. Rushmore again!

Traveler, With a

Capital “T”

Dear Abby: The husband could rent an RV to travel. His wife doesn’t want to be cooped up, and an RV would have a living room, couch, TV/DVD, an onboard toilet, separate bedroom and a small kitchen. In other words, it would be like she’s still at home, only moving. The couple could even arrange other transportation at their destinations.

Tom Z. in Las Vegas

Dear Abby: My husband and I were married 10 years when we discussed the destinations on our travel bucket lists. Mine included a road trip to Utah to see the canyons; he wanted a cruise to the war memorials in Hawaii. Neither of us was interested in the other’s trip, so he took his adult daughter on the cruise, and three girlfriends and I took the road trip. We both had wonderful times, took tons of photos to share, and came back with lots to talk about. My motto is, don’t put off something you really want to do.

Claire G Out West

Dear Abby: Maybe they could take shorter trips if her objection is the car travel. Or they could fly to a destination, rent a car and see the sights. They could even take a train trip across the country. That wife should be grateful they are both physically able to travel and spend precious time together.

Wish I Could in Texas

Dear Abby: My oldest grandson was my traveling companion. When he was 5, we took a long bus trip, and the other times I drove. He was a better traveler than I was. We had marvelous adventures and built wonderful memories. These usually were trips from California to Montana, North Dakota or Minnesota to visit other family members, but we were flexible with our time and would take side jaunts when we came upon a site that looked interesting. Perhaps “Headed” could do this on a rotating basis with his grandchildren.

Kay F. Behind the Wheel

Dear Abby: As a minister, I have advised women like “Headed’s” wife. I said, “Eventually one of you will get sick. If it’s him, you may spend years caring for him, regretting that you never took the trip. And if you’re the one whose health fails, he will put you in a nursing home and take the trip!” Most of them relented, took the trip and enjoyed it. One couple lived another 15 years and told me repeatedly they appreciated my advice.

Rev. Jim in Phoenix

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.