Retirement with a Difference

mangrove     school

This year I spent 3 months on the island of Zanzibar. By day I taught English at a local school to 5 and 6 year olds, and by night I helped my friend run her and her husband’s eco lodge, the Mangrove Lodge (

At the lodge I met some incredible people from all walks of life. Since it wasn’t a 5 star resort or even a hostel, more of a middle class style accommodation that attracted a certain type of guest; volunteers, nature lovers, off the beaten track, adventurous people. As you can imagine, the eclectic mix of people brought many stories to the table.

One of our guests was an older gentleman from a small town in the Netherlands. He was tall, formal looking, nonchalant but anyone who finds the Mangrove Lodge usually has an interesting story to tell and I wanted to know it. Every morning he would come for breakfast at 8am dressed in a shirt and trousers. Now an office attire on an island intrigued me, as there isn’t much business going on in Zanzibar.

One morning I finally took the plunge and asked him what he was doing in town and this was his inspirational response. He works for a non-profit organisation that differs slightly to the normal international aid. Instead of raising money for charity they act as professional mentors helping businesses in third world countries make a business plan in order to expand their activity. A group of high level professionals with over 20 years experience who, in their retirement, give their time and expertise to assist others achieve financial success.

How it works:

Contact your local mentor program and send them details about your company.

They assess your business and strategy and get back to you if they think they can help.

They send an expert in your required field to spend 2 weeks with you to overlook your current business.

The mentor provides a detailed business plan and points out where the business is currently not performing and how they can grow.

It is then up to the business to implement the business plan.

The mentor is contactable for the following 12 months to assist where necessary.

This type of retirement plan enables you to share what you know so your mind stays active, others can benefit from your knowledge, it allows you to travel and learn about other cultures and fulfils you on a personal level.

We all become “experts” in our fields by the time we reach retirement age and we have the life skills and knowledge to help others reach their potential. This man’s inspirational story inspired me to follow his lead when I finally retire and I’m hoping it will inspire you too. Even if you don’t take it on personally, it’s nice to know these opportunities are out there and there is more to retirement than sitting on a rocking chair, watching life pass you by.



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