We’ve all got that dream that’s been creepin’ and crawlin’ around in the back of our minds for years. Perhaps it’s something we’ve always wanted to do but never got the chance or had the nerve.
Our client, Barbi, is the mother of two grown sons and a “Gigi” to three precious grandchildren. She retired after more than twenty-five years as a teacher and substitute and another ten as an executive administrator. On her seventy-fifth birthday, she decided the time had finally come to pack her Wrangler jeans, boots, and a wide-brimmed hat to spend ten incredible days at Do the Dreams Boot Camp in the Colorado mountains.
Barbi in her boot camp gear, looking out at the Colorado mountains.
Do The Dreams Boot Camp in the Fall of 2023
The trip is described as a cowgirl escapade and takes its guests on a ten-day horseback retreat on a working ranch in Yampa, Colorado. Barbi and one of her good friends along with ten of their new friends, all in their sixties and seventies, hit the high altitude to elevate their cowgirl skills—learning how to toss a lasso and driving cattle. If you’ve seen the 1991 movie City Slickers, you have a general idea. But instead of a salty Jack Palance barking orders, it’s more of a pampering, all-frills, all-inclusive experience. Barbi and her companions stayed in a beautiful ranch lodge with actual bathrooms, showers, and comfort. And unlike Billy Crystal’s clueless urbanite character, Barbi had experience with horses. She even owned one in her youth. But she gave it up when her kids came along and had been dreaming of that cowgirl life for as long as she could remember.
Barbi and her friends live their cowgirl dreams, driving cattle and horseback riding on mountainous trails.
The trip entailed all the magical moments one might expect: horseback riding on mountainous trails underneath quaking Aspen trees, spotting majestic eagles soaring high above, enjoying lunch alongside sparkling lakes and nourishing homemade meals back at the ranch. And those were just the daytime activities. In the evenings the group often enjoyed making delicious s’mores on an open fire. Under the clear Colorado night sky, Barbi spotted her first falling star. Ironic, for someone whose star is clearly rising. One of the most memorable evenings was spent dining at the Antlers Cafe, established in 1903.
Photos from their night spent dining at Antlers Cafe & Bar.
New adventures can be scary, especially the ones we’ve secretly yearned for our entire lives. And, of course, it requires planning. Barbi had to figure out where her finances needed to be to afford her future travels and overall expenses. How did she do it? Before retiring, her mortgage and car were paid in full. She updated expensive household items such as the HVAC, hot water heater, roof, and kitchen appliances. These steps allowed her to enter retirement debt-free. Barbi waited until seventy-one to retire because she had done the math and knew she needed those extra earnings to help meet her financial goals. As you may know, we love seeing people retire sooner, but we’re never against someone doing what is right for them. Because Barbi had a plan and purpose, she knew the actions that were needed.
Retirement can be the perfect time for bravery. Barbi decided to go for it; now she has fantastic memories to last a lifetime. And she’s not resting on her laurels. In 2024, she plans to fly to Vancouver, where she’ll visit Victoria, take an Alaskan cruise, and see Denali—the tallest mountain in North America.
Barbi believes you’re never too old to live your dream, and we couldn’t agree more. Retirement isn’t the end. It’s the beginning. If you can’t live your dreams now, when? Make a plan and go for it!
Please note, Barbi gave us permission to share her photos and story.