sunset over ocean

By Residents Dave and Becky Skeen —

Both Becky and I traveled a great deal throughout the United States as we were growing up. Becky spent nearly every summer at her families’ vacation cottage in Ontario and I spent my vacations on the shore of Lake Michigan in South Haven or in the mountains of northern Utah near Ogden. Following our marriage we lived for three years in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which meant traveling to western Pennsylvania and northern Kentucky or Ogden, Utah, to visit family over summer breaks. Becky enjoyed a summer through Europe while in college and my first international trip, to Europe, was with family in the early 1980s.

Our serious travel began with my sabbatical leave in the spring of 2003 when we lived for six month in Thessaloniki Greece while I worked at the American College there. This gave us the opportunity to travel throughout Greece, a country to which we have returned three times. This experience spurred us to consider living and working abroad following our retirement in 2005. I spent my career as a faculty member and administrator at Muskingum University, where Becky served as the Director of Career Services. Since neither of us speaks any language other than English, our search for a place to use our experience was somewhat limited.

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This was where we caught the “live abroad after retirement fever”— Santorini at sunset 2013.

I was most fortunate to receive a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at LCC International University in Klaipeda, Lithuania, for the academic year of 2005–06, where English is the language of instruction. We enjoyed the opportunity to work with students from the Baltic countries, Russia and central Asia. Our experience was so special that we returned for the next 8 years as volunteers. Our last trip was in 2014.

Returning home in the spring of 2010, while flying over Iceland we looked at one another and simultaneously said it was time to move to Kendal at Granville. As Denison University graduates, we had been following the development of the Kendal community and had even made an initial deposit to add our name to the list of future residents. Our home in New Concord, Ohio, which we built and occupied for 42 years had become a bit of a burden as we were living in Lithuania for 6 months or more each year. We immediately put out the word that our home was for sale and within 3 months were moving from New Concord to our new home at Kendal in Granville!

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We continued to return to Lithuania through 2014, leaving the care for our residence to the Kendal staff. It made our travel more worry free knowing that our cottage would be cleaned regularly and checked for any maintenance issues that might arise, and that our possessions would be secure. These assurances allowed us to travel extensively throughout Europe before and after our commitments in Lithuania.

We have traveled in the United States as well. Just this year we traveled to San Antonio, Texas, to see our granddaughter compete in the National Collegiate Synchronized Swimming competition. Later in the spring we managed to attend her graduation from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and the same weekend a grandson’s high school graduation in Naperville, Illinois. In July we spent three weeks at our family cottage in eastern Ontario, and next month we’ll be traveling to New York by train for a long weekend adventure. Looking ahead we are planning a three- to four-week eastern European adventure to Poland, Ukraine, Romania and Hungary.

Yes, we love to travel, and we have found Kendal at Granville the perfect home base for these adventures. Beyond the benefits mentioned above, Kendal is located just 30 minutes from the Columbus airport. There is only one stoplight on leaving the Kendal community until pulling up to the departure gate at Port Columbus. Airport parking is very inexpensive if you care to leave your car while traveling, but there are often Kendal friends who are more than willing to provide transport, and Uber is always available. Flights from Port Columbus provide connections to most gateway airports for travel to any destination outside the United States and nonstop service to many major cities on both the East and West Coast.

I would note that many Kendal at Granville residents have their own travel experiences to share. Becky and I have enjoyed hearing of visits from friends to parts of the world we have not explored. Even though we may never have the opportunity to visit Japan, China or Southeast Asia, our lives have been enriched from hearing our Kendal friends relate their experiences to these destinations.

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This is where we enjoyed nine terrific years in Lithuania with students, faculty and staff watching sunsets over the Baltic Sea

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