Patti Stueland is an adventurer, life coach, public speaker, and Founder of Pathways with Patti, an active group dedicated to helping motivate men and women in their later years to get out, explore, and celebrate their lives while stressing the message that you don’t need to slow down simply because you’re retired.

She shares about living your best “dash”… the dash between your birth and death date on your tombstone. Are you living your best dash?

In this thrilling and highly inspirational conversation with Christina, Patti discusses what led her to create Pathways with Patti, her passion for traveling and her current exploration goals, being a “life cycle celebrant,” and how she uses technology to connect her adventuring with her mother and other loved ones who may not be able to physically join her. 

Enthusiastically Embracing Wanderlust

Patti Stueland, a motivational speaker and transformational coach, shares her inspiring journey of traveling the United States in an RV for the past four years. She’s currently at her home base in Southern California, nestled in her mother’s backyard, but Patti’s wanderlust spirit remains strong as she plans to hit the road again soon.

Reflecting on her upbringing, Patti credits her parents for instilling in her a love for travel and adventure from a young age. She fondly recalls a family meeting where they chose to invest in a camper—this sparked her passion for exploration. Patti’s retirement goal was always to traverse the country in her motorhome, a dream she didn’t expect to fulfill so soon but embraced wholeheartedly when the opportunity arose.

Patti’s parents played a pivotal role in shaping her wanderlust-filled journey. With a touch of humor and profound gratitude, Patti expresses her belief in following divine guidance and seizing the adventures life presents.

Retired From Teaching, But Not From Life

Before she leaned into her wanderlust, Patti was a passionate and dedicated teacher for more than 30 years. Now a vibrant 62-year-old, Patti traces her love for education back to her early years—she always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Despite facing personal challenges, including the loss of her father to cancer, Patti remained dedicated to her teaching career for over three decades.

However, the loss of her father prompted Patti to reevaluate her priorities and recognize the need for self-care and self-love. Her journey of rediscovering her passions included things from taking piano and drawing classes to embracing woodworking, all while preparing for retirement. Patti’s story embodies the essence of living life to the fullest, debunking stereotypes of retirement as simply idle time.

With unwavering faith in divine guidance, Patti embraces the next chapter of her life with optimism and enthusiasm. Remember that retirement is not the end but rather a new beginning filled with endless possibilities. Embrace change, prioritize self-care, and continue to pursue your passions.

The Second Act: Living Her Best “Dash”

The journey of discovering her “second act” in life after retiring from a fulfilling 30-year career in education was remarkable for Patti. After stumbling upon the idea of becoming a life cycle celebrant in a magazine article, Patti found her calling in officiating weddings and funerals, drawing from her extensive experience as an activities director during her teaching career.

She experienced profound joy and fulfillment when officiating ceremonies for former students and families. Patti’s journey took a surprising turn when she felt a divine calling to sell her beloved home and embark on a full-time RV adventure across the United States.

With unwavering faith and determination, Patti embraces this new chapter wholeheartedly, viewing it as an opportunity to live out her retirement goal and leave a lasting legacy. She passionately shares her concept of “living your best dash,” emphasizing the importance of making the most of the time between birth and death by pursuing one’s passions and creating a legacy to be proud of.

This is a calling for listeners of all ages—seize the present moment and embrace the journey of creating a meaningful and fulfilling life. Craft a life filled with purpose, joy, and endless possibilities. Patti shows us that it’s never too early, or too late, to follow your heart in pursuit of living your best dash.

RAD Connections

When mapping out her travels, Patti plans meticulously—focusing on safety and maximizing the experience within her budget. She also enjoys exploring local gems when she’s home, like the Norton Simon Museum that’s right in her own backyard in Southern California. Patti’s commitment to discovering these hidden treasures inspired her to start a group called RAD (Retired Activities and Destinations), consisting of 18 retired women who embark on monthly adventures together.

Even during the challenges of COVID-19, Patti found creative ways to keep the spirit of adventure alive, organizing socially distanced outings to parks and outdoor spaces. These gatherings served as a lifeline for connection and support in a time when connection was more important than ever.

Using Technology to Foster Friendships

Although the RAD group is primarily based in the high desert area, their adventures and camaraderie have caught the attention of others who express interest in joining. Despite geographical limitations, Patti encourages the formation of similar groups, even if it starts with a simple gathering at a local coffee shop or via Zoom.

Technology can be an incredible tool in maintaining connections—it can help people stay connected and support one another, even if physically apart.

Christina echoes Patti’s sentiments, reflecting on the profound effects of isolation during COVID-19, particularly on vulnerable populations like the elderly. She praises Patti’s initiative in forming the RAD group and integrating technology into their activities, ensuring that no one feels alone.

Patti was purposeful when running RAD during the pandemic. She even organized a team-building activity over Zoom, complete with surprise packages mailed to each participant. The activity culminated in a shared moment of making s’mores together virtually, a perfect example of the creativity and warmth that technology can bring to interpersonal connections.

Companionship + Lifelong Learning

As we age, companionship and lifelong learning help to maintain cognitive health and emotional well-being.

Christina shares insights from a previous podcast guest, Dr. Melissa Batchelor, an expert on aging and dementia, emphasizing the role of camaraderie and continuous learning in warding off cognitive decline. Patti shares her experience with her RAD group, underscoring how their diverse backgrounds and life stages enrich their collective wisdom and support network.

Patti reflects on the unexpected benefits of RAD beyond adventure. Sometimes the group serves as a forum for sharing experiences and seeking advice on navigating various aspects of aging, such as healthcare and caregiving. She emphasizes the power of knowledge in empowering individuals to prepare for life’s transitions and challenges, echoing her belief in the importance of lifelong learning.

Fostering meaningful connections and embracing opportunities for growth and discovery are important, regardless of age. Patti’s story serves as a touching reminder of the value of community and curiosity in enhancing the quality of life as we journey through the golden years.

Positive Mental Attitude

Patti’s life philosophy of maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) reflects her priority to learn from every experience, whether positive or challenging. Her PMA allows her to experience the richness of human connections and diversity of each state she visits in the United States—she likens them to unique countries with their own characteristics and cultures.

With a focus on gratitude for her ability and opportunity to travel, Patti finds joy in every place she visits. She cherishes the adventure and journey of life and acknowledges what a privilege it is to travel. Patti uses social media to share her experiences, allowing loved ones like her mother to virtually join her on her adventures.

Through her outlook on life and travels, Patti reminds us to seek the beauty and goodness in every place and moment, reinforcing the idea that there is something valuable to be found wherever we go.

As she enters her next chapter, Patti is excited to continue to fill her life with purposeful choices and meaningful experiences.

Looking ahead 10 years, Patti envisions herself still traveling in her motorhome but also sees herself in a brick-and-mortar establishment—writing books, and hosting her own podcast. Her ultimate goal is to pay forward the blessings she’s received by enriching the lives of others with her knowledge and experiences.

To follow Patti’s adventures or learn more about how she’s living her best dash, check out her website and follow her on Instagram.

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