Each year thousands of people in the UK make the decision to retire. Most of them share a common goal; to enjoy later life in a fulfilling way but what does this even mean?
Actually, what constitutes as ‘fulfilling’ varies significantly from person to person. For some simply slowing down, not working and spending more time with family (especially grandchildren!) or relaxing at home is what brings them joy in retirement.
However, others look for excitement and even danger in later life, where every day can feel like a holiday. You can see some examples in our top five extreme pensioners blog from last year, but some retirees take it to a whole new level.
We’d like to welcome our guest blogger for this month, 77 year-old Diana Willcock, who has travelled all over the world capturing photos of wildlife since retiring, and indeed while still working.
Diana says that she has only “nearly been eaten” a few times, which we find astounding given that her globetrotting stretches across more than three decades! Anyway, here is some of her story…
Over to Diana!
In the beginning
My father worked in the shipping business and always said I should try and see as much of the world as I could, while I was able to do so. I took that as literally as it sounds and if my father were alive today, I hope that he would be proud of me.
Perhaps I had better start at the beginning. Born in Chester, I was an only child and from an early age I knew I wanted to do something different with my life.
As a youngster I went with my parents to live in South Africa for six years. This was when I first got the “dust of Africa” in my lungs.
We returned to England and settled first in Hook, Surrey, with my father working for the shipping company in the City. I completed my schooling in Kingston. When I left I got a job at Westminster Bank, which eventually became National Westminster Bank (commonly known as NatWest).
In 1961 we moved as a family to Haslemere, also in Surrey.
At that time plenty of women worked in banks as clerks but rarely progressed above this level, gender attitudes being the way they were! I refused to accept this and worked extremely hard to climb the career ladder.
This paid off and I worked at branches all over the South of England. I was the first female bank auditor in one of NatWest’s teams of auditors and became one of its first female managers – there were five of us originally. I also worked at one time on user-layout architectural drawings for the bank’s Architects for a new bank computer centre in London.
I saved every penny I earned to go travelling and took three or four weeks off work at a time when they would let me, visiting places such as Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, both in Canada.
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