We have a guest contributor this week Simon Chan. We met Simon early in 2017, just after Simon started his own Victory Lap leaving the corporate world and starting his own consulting business – BAL Consulting. He has become a wonderful friend, advisor and all around good guy! Take it away Simon…
In one of Mike’s most recent posts, he talked about the BlueZones and one of the key aspects of happiness is having quality social connections. As many of us live very busy lives trying to balance work and family obligations, we often find it hard to spend quality time with our family and friends.
One of the best things I’ve been able to do in Victory Lap Retirement is to spend more time with family and I’ve been fortunate to have created some memorable experiences that will last a lifetime. One of my goals in VLR was to not only spend time with my parents but really show them how much I appreciate everything they’ve done for me so earlier this year, I planned a throwback vacation with my family. The throwback aspect of the vacation was the trip was with the original Chan clan – my parents and sister. Over the years, we’ve travelled together with our spouses and kids which has been amazing but when’s the last time only you traveled just with your immediate family – parents and sibling? Well our answer was 1989 or 28 years ago when we went back to Hong Kong to visit my uncles and cousins.
We took our throwback family vacation in the Spring to Spain and Portugal. I started the trip with spending 2 days in Madrid with my older sister, I think it’s the only time we’ve ever travelled together without my parents. I wasn’t sure what to expect as we are very different but I had an amazing time reconnecting with her and talking about life, parenting, and how fortunate we are to have such loving parents. My parents joined us in Madrid and we rented a car and drove to Northern Spain/Portugal where we enjoyed the beautiful Oceanside cities. As seafood lovers, we enjoyed many fantastic meals together at restaurants and even had a couple of home cooked seafood dinner courtesy of my dad. We also spend a lot of time road tripping in the car as we drove across Spain and Portugal which was a great way to tell old Chan family stories. It’s amazing the difference in the types of conversations you have when traveling together as adults versus parent and child – nobody told me to stop wiping my hands on my pants! After a week together, my mom and sister flew back to Canada while my dad and I spent another week together touring the southern part of Portugal and Spain. My dad is a bit of a historian so as we soaked in the sights, he gave me an appreciation for the historical context of what I was seeing. It was good reminder of what he’s done my entire life which is to continually challenge me to think more broadly beyond my immediate surroundings. I will never forget our last dinner together in Madrid before flying home…we had a 4-course seafood dinner and as we ate, we both paused to reflect on how lucky we were to have spent this time together as family.
The story doesn’t end there…we have taken a couple of throwback family daytrips since the Spring and I continue to visit with my parents several times a week. VLR has given me the opportunity to enjoy the priorities in my life now versus waiting until traditional retirement which has been one of the great things about VLR!