Bob’s appetite for travel hasn’t diminished since he moved to Amica Swan Lake in Markham, Ont. Over the past few years, he’s spent countless weekends at the family cottage, and travelled to the U.S., China, New Zealand and Australia. In fact, the 82-year-old heads down to Florida for a month in the sun every winter. “I get sick of the cold and the damp in winter. The lack of responsibility for maintaining a house makes it so easy to get away,” says the Amica resident.
Bob discovered the joys of family getaways back in the 1970s when he and his family cleared a parcel of land and built a winterized cottage outside Haliburton. “My dad helped and the kids have all pitched in,” says the father of three. Winter weekends would be spent on the nearby ski slopes. In the summer, he’d spend mornings working on the cottage and afternoons boating or swimming or relaxing by the water with his children and, eventually, his grandchildren and great-grandchild. Though he’s since sold the cottage to his son, the family still reunites two or three times a month by the lake throughout the summer.
Having fun together at the cottage has evolved into beach vacations together. For much of his annual trip to Florida, Bob will be joined in the beachfront condo by his son and two adult grandchildren. “I go for long walks a couple of times a day. We eat dinner together and look out over the water. I enjoy the family contact,” he says. “I get along with my kids, fortunately, and we have a good time together.”
Over the past few years, he’s also travelled abroad on solo trips. Last spring, he floated down the Yangtze River on a cruise and walked on the Great Wall of China. “That was something I’d always wanted to do,” he says.” Two years earlier, he went on a tour Down Under, where he was struck by the starkness of the Australian desert and the beauty of New Zealand’s canyons and mountains. “I love the variety I get when I travel, seeing and learning new things. It’s something to look forward to. I’ve met some very nice people, some of whom have since come here to visit me,” he says.
Bob remembers the days when he owned a house. Back then, going away on vacation required much more preparation and planning than simply booking a flight and packing suitcases and passports. “We once came back to an inch of water and ice in the basement because the pipes froze while we were away,” he recalls. “With a house you have to make plans for someone to get the mail and check on things and prepare the plumbing in the winter. Now that I’m at Amica, there’s nothing to do before I go—I just close the door and leave.”
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