During the long years of working, the only airplane travel were the trips with my husband for his company to Medan, Indonesia. Every other trip was close enough to home to take road trips, which I loved, but I’ve longed to see the many sites of beautiful Rome, Italy. Not that I’m planning on succumbing to the eternal sleep anytime soon, but a vacation in Rome is high on the bucket list.

Most of my friends retired before me, and to celebrate release from the bonds of the 9-5 work grind, they planned trips and holidays to places they’d never seen before. Working and raising a family is hard work, and they deserved their vacations and holidays. I’ve never begrudged them and always loved perusing their photos of the many places far and wide they’d visited. Now, it’s my turn, and at 60 years old having held down a job and raised a family, I feel I deserve to go where my heart awaits me–Rome.

I’ve studied this collage with an excited heart since we’ve booked our vacation in Rome

I’ll admit to experiencing a bit of trepidation at the prospect of flying without my husband for my vacation in Rome, because he husband has yet to retire (I wonder if he ever will, stubborn man!), but I’m not getting any younger and he encouraged me to go but didn’t approve of me going alone. I knew he worried for my safety, so I assured him I’d try to arrange a travel companion from our network of family and friends. Unfortunately, with studies, jobs, pregnancies and normal life events, my timing was unfortunate, but I still held hope that someone would come through.

Coincidentally my friend, Theda, called me out of the blue to congratulate me on my retirement. I thanked her, of course, and because she’s one of my closest friends, I told her my plans to vacation in Rome and how I needed a travel companion to go. I nearly wept on the phone, and I’m sure Theda must have heard my disappointment, because she knows me too well. Theda’s late husband left her quite well off, and she’d been to Rome a number of times, and said she’d love to experience it with me and not to worry another moment. I couldn’t have felt more blessed by the timing, and being a seasoned traveler, Theda looked forward to being my unofficial tour guide for our vacation in Rome. I’d been excited, then heartbroken, and now with Theda as a travel companion, I became overjoyed.

Under her recommendation, we’ll be on vacation in Rome for three weeks, and she insists I bring good walking shoes. I’ve written down the places I want to see, and Theda is fine with it as long as there’s a little flexibility, and that is perfect for me. I’m still in fine shape for my age, but for a city best explored on foot, the vacation in Rome might prove tiring. I’m up for the challenge, and being rather unused to this retiree thing and worried about my husband (although our adult children will check on him plenty), I feel more vigorous than I have in years. Perhaps I’ll even learn a little Italian on my vacation in Rome. Wish me (and Theda) luck!

About the contributor: Nancy Sheldon is a recent retiree planning to write a memoir, but she wants to travel and share her experiences before she settles down at home.


Readers, do you have advice as to some of the places Nancy should visit while on vacation in Rome? Share your insights in the comments! 

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Feature image collection courtesy of Oliver-Bonjoch, Andreas Tille, Pasgabriele, NormanB, Ra Boe, Roberto Larcher, via Wikimedia Commons. Click image for more information.