I’m right now in The Villages, the biggest retirement community of the world. Here live 100.000 people above 55 together in the middle of Florida. It’s hard to describe this place, for there is nothing like it elsewhere in the world.
You love this place or you hate it. It’s totally different from all other retirement communities because of the numerous forms of recreation. You name it, they have it. There are 2077 different clubs (like Polo Cheerleaders, Ukulele Players and German American dances). They also call it Disneyland for adults.
The centerpiece is its huge amount of lush golf courses, there are 530 holes of golf. In and around them are houses grouped into small communities. Most residents use golf carts to travel around this community. They built special golf cart roads, tunnels and bridges.
The retirees here sport a lot, that’s how they keep fit. There are 66 big swimming pools, 9 softball fields (228 teams), a polo stadium. But they also have the Lifelong Learning College. The majority of the costs are paid for via a monthly amenities fee.
It’s a world in itself. People enjoy themselves and make fun, meet people and do activities. Every evening they can dance (or look at it) on the downtown market square; till 21.00, because all activities stop early.
A man said yesterday: ‘I feel like I’m in kindergarten again. In the morning I wake up, eat my cereal and go to play. Come home for lunch, have a nap and go back to play.’
I’m interviewing a cross section of the inhabitants. I’m learning why they moved here, why their friends were shocked when they told them and why they are so happy. This man-made paradise is one of the most unusual places I’ve ever been.