Barbara Traynor, author of Second Career Volunteer: A Passionate & Pennywise Approach to Retirement, spends six months of every year volunteering at an organization of her choice in exchange for room and board.
One year she worked at a small college in Alaska. (See photo, above, of Barbara kayaking with some new friends in her free time.) Another year she worked at a wildlife refuge in Florida. This year she’ll be volunteering at Russell Cave National Monument in Alabama.
Not bad for a woman in her 70s who depends on Social Security for her entire income and never thought she’d be able to retire, let alone travel all around the United States.
This week I interviewed Barbara on “Ageless” and hosted her for the night at my place. After she went to bed, I read her entire book from cover to cover. It’s filled with inspiring stories of other volunteer careerists and a wealth of resources for anyone interested in exploring this lifestyle.
Although the book is geared to retirees living on a fixed income, the financial crisis has made its content relevant to a much broader swath of people—recent college grads who can’t land a job, midcareer professionals who’ve been laid off, even affluent retirees who’ve grown weary of playing golf and want to give back.
As Barbara herself says, “My volunteer lifestyle enables me to live within my limited…income without effort, travel to places only dreamed of, and network with an incredible group of people. It does not get better than that!"