Monday, January 25, 2010

The Impulse Trip: One of the best things about retirement

When my husband and I were working, we only traveled during summer vacation or semester breaks. My husband often wanted to go to NYC for a week-end, but I was always too exhausted—too many papers to grade, classes to prepare, memos to write. In addition to my teaching job, for the past 8 years I served as president of Philadephia NOW. Juggling responsibilities from both my paid and unpaid jobs took up all my dwindling energy.

I didn’t want to give up my volunteer job, which I enjoyed more than the paid job, so the consequence was total exhaustion. The impulse trip to NYC was out of the question.

Now there are no more papers to grade and although I am still active in NOW and other progressive organizations, I no longer have the burden of leadership. So when my husband noticed that the Bauhaus exhibit at MOMA was about to close, he said, “We’ve got to go up to NYC to see it,” my response was, “Sure.”

When we were working, we sometimes managed to get to NYC for major exhibits during summer and semester breaks. We rarely went to a relatively small exhibit like the Bauhaus show. Now we have the luxury of time (at least in the short run).

These small exhibits can be very rewarding. I would never have gone to this on my own. This one was for my husband, who has a strong interest in modernism in general and modernist architecture in particular. But to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Best of all were the textiles from the women of the Bauhaus.

We’ll be taking more of these day trips to NYC. Given the cost of NYC hotels, we have to limit the number of weekend trips, but we are discovering how easy it is take a day trip. For the first time we took the Bolt Bus, which leaves Philly at 30th Street Station and in two hours arrives near Penn Station for a $26.00 a person round trip. At our age all that driving in one day is just too much.

So, more impulse trips! After all, one of the best things about living in Philly is easy access to NYC!


  1. Buses are so much more comfortable than in the old days when rattling, bouncing, and being squeezed into a tiny space were the price for cheap seats. It's great that you've found an easy way to travel and impulse trips are a fine use of retirement!

  2. I find myself drawn, at this age, to the textile arts, where I never was when I was young. It's such a personal art form. I find myself lingering with the quilts, laces, batiks, needleworks, and weavings, enchanted by thoughts of the lives of the women who worked them.

  3. I love to read and with retirement I'm getting a lot of reading done. And buses...I still don't like them.

  4. The Bolt Bus is a terrific choice for a short trip like this. Driving to NYC at any age isn't a smart option. I sometimes drive to Trenton, park for $6 all day, and take NY Transit from there - not quite as cheap as Bolt but a much more reasonable option than Amtrak.

    I visited the Bauhaus Museum in Berlin a few years ago and enjoyed it, though it's not my favorite genre either. I don't remember textiles; I remember clocks and lots of gadgets. The building itself was impressive.

    I have friends and relatives in NYC I can stay with, but I still rarely get there for all the reasons you mentioned. At the end of the week I'm exhausted from work and all my volunteer obligations, plus there's still laundry to do and groceries to shop for and no other time but the weekend to do them. It was a running resolution for years to get to NY more often. Alas, I failed every year and have now resolved not to resolve. If I ever retire, I'll catch up on all these years of broken promises to myself.

    (Karen, please remind me how to post here without resorting to "anonymous" status.)
    Kathy Black

  5. Kathy, you are right that “Driving to NYC at any age isn't a smart option.”
    We’re going to try NJ transit next time.
    You are so lucky you have friends and relatives in NYC you can stay with!
    I hope you can find the time to get to NYC more often. Those friends and relatives might not be there when you retire.

  6. Nance, like you I find myself drawn, at this age, to the textile arts. A new book has come out about the women of the Bauhaus. It was reviewed at