Dr. Tobias Vogt von Heselholt.
The future Ranger Instructor wearing his Grandfather’s World War II web gear and helmet liner. Note the German bullet hole in the helmet liner from April 1945. For more see Tobias’ first book, The Iron Men of Metz.
Meet the Doc
Dr. Tobias Vogt von Heselholt (shortened to “Vote”) is the founder of My Retirement Doc.
Tobias is a retired U.S. Army officer that served in numerous Infantry, Special Operations, and Intelligence assignments throughout a three-decade career.
He’s a veteran of Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, with overseas service in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
He’s the former Chief of Advanced Civil Schooling for the U.S. Army and served in several senior Joint/Interagency positions within the U.S. Government prior to retirement.
A snapshot of his more than fifty awards and decorations includes the:
- Bronze Star
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Special Forces Tab and Green Beret
- Ranger Tab
- Master Parachutist Badge
- Pathfinder Badge
- Air Assault Badge
- Mountain Warfare Ram’s Head Device
- Venezuelan Combat Diver Badge
- German Taetigkeitsabzeichen Personal Allgemeinen Heeresdienst (Gold)
Tobias earned a doctor of philosophy degree in War Studies from King’s College, London.
He was a U.S. Army Professor of Strategic Intelligence and Chairman in the School of Science and Technology Intelligence at the National Intelligence University in Washington, DC.
While at the University, Tobias also co-chaired the Weapons of Mass Destruction Intelligence Institute and was an elected member of the Faculty Senate.
Tobias is a former Visiting Professor of Public Policy in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.
In retirement, he’s also lectured part-time in the Department of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. For more see Tobias’ second book, Combating the Bureaucracy.
Currently, Tobias and his wife Annelie own a small business that focuses on helping people with retirement and cancer nutrition topics.
For more on the cancer nutrition efforts, visit DietitianDoc.
Our Retirement Story
So, it’s finally time for retirement. I won’t lie, this is a scary time — will we have enough money, what am I going to do all day, how will my organization survive without me!
The last few months of your work-life aren’t all that fun, especially if you decide to move right away. You have one foot in the working world, trying to do a good job, but it’s difficult with all the competing demands.
It starts to hit home when you schedule events and meetings that you won’t be around for.
But somehow, you muddle through despite mandatory retirement appointments, medical appointments, and everything else that you didn’t realize you’d have to do before that long-awaited day arrives – RETIREMENT.
Well, we decided to move. Add buying, selling, and packing out a house to all the work and retirement events you didn’t see coming.
We looked at the house hunting task with a sense of adventure, that is, until we were on our third trip, our house was sold, and we still hadn’t found anything!
We initially rented a lake house and visited family in conjunction with our house hunting trips, but all of this went out the window as time went by.
On our second trip, we put an offer on a house, got pre-approved for a loan, and put our current house up for sale.
Everything looked fine until we didn’t get the retirement house, the two backup houses sold a day apart, and our current house sold in four days!
At this point we shifted our focus to building, packed up a U-Haul with a one-bedroom apartment worth of furniture, and headed South for our last house hunting adventure.
It has to be easier to find land and a builder, right? Not really, this turned out to be even harder. The 19-acre property I originally found sold right away, and the builders were backed up so there was no telling when we’d move into a finished house.
Not to mention, my wife wasn’t as interested in living in the country as I was, cue every episode of House Hunters International.
Luckily, the last house we looked at was the same floor plan that our earlier backup houses were, and coincidentally a version of the same floor plan that we intended to build.
19-acres became 1/3 of an acre, but all the modern conveniences were available in the new community, thank you Google Fiber!
Luckily the previous owners were very nice and accepted our offer right away. What a relief!!!!!!!!!
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing. A year or two prior my cousin Paul recommended TravelZoo.
It’s a webpage of multiple travel agencies where you can get some really good deals. We love it and have recommended it a bunch since then.
One of their offerings is a weekly Top 20. I always tell people that this will be your favorite email every week, but a bit of advice, the Top 20 sell out fast.
About the same week that we sold our house my cousin texted a pic of a medieval Italian castle in Umbria that my wife and I had just talked about.
We were interested, but our schedule was so chaotic that we couldn’t decide on any firm dates. No worries, the Paolo clan (Paul’s Italian name) had already booked their trip, so it was take it or leave it if we wanted to go at the same time. We took it, Relais il Canalicchio here we come!
Fun, but first I had to pack out our house with the moving company while my wife continued to work until just before the trip.
We moved a lot in three decades in the Army, but hands down, this was the worst move ever. Since we planned to build, I arranged for our stuff to go to long-term storage.
By this time plans had changed, but I wasn’t able to change the move plan (a recurring theme in the next post or two). We managed to move our stuff, clean the house inside and out, and store a few things in the Florida room for our drive down South.
We extended our Italy trip to span almost a month, heading to Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast after the week with friends and family.
Somewhere along the way our goddaughter Valeria decided to join us and bring her friend Faith. The more the merrier!
The plan was to return at the end of the month, finish packing the cars, close on the house the next afternoon, and head for Virginia. Right now, it didn’t matter, we were headed for Italy!
We left a day ahead of everyone, but after a bumpy start and canceled flights, we arrived a few hours after everyone?
I don’t recommend flying from DC to Newark, Newark to Charlotte, Charlotte to Miami, Miami to Spain (I don’t remember which airport), and Spain to Rome. Whew, I’m worn out again just thinking about that part of the trip!!!!!!
Don’t worry, everything was great after we landed and the airline gave us travel vouchers for two future trips. We had a fabulous time, exploring, eating, drinking, going to chef school, car racing, figuring out parking machines, trespassing, and so on.
I could write and write about that trip, but the pictures on MyRetirementDoc Pinterest will tell you the rest of the story.
We had a vineyard trip interrupted by a termite inspection, did some mortgage paperwork on a rainy day in Florence, and tried in vain to reschedule delivery of our furniture (a word of advice, the Army’s online system isn’t for retirees and doesn’t work all that well anyway), but that’s about it for move distractions.
If you haven’t been to Italy, I highly recommend it — breathtaking scenery, delicious food, and a relaxed lifestyle. We enjoyed the small towns in Umbria and Tuscany the most, and I can’t say enough about how great the pizza was!
OK, time to snap back to reality. The flights were on schedule on the way back, our friend Barb grabbed us at the airport, we packed the cars, and hit the neighbor’s guest bed exhausted that night.
Closing went well the next day with the nice family that bought our house, and by late afternoon my wife, our 17-year-old cat, and I were headed south.
After a brief visit with my Dad, we made it to Alabama. Closing went well again, and within the week we were in a 4,000 sqft house with one couch, one chair, a bed, and some kitchen necessities.
It would be two more months before the kind folks at Redstone Arsenal could convince Fort Belvoir to send us our furniture, frustrating! Unfortunately, there was a lot of damage, but let’s move on to the good part, settling in.
We thought the house was move-in ready, but as with anything you want to put your stamp on it. We had the entire house painted, windows replaced by Window Depot USA, and laid 1,600 sqft of wood floors, a DIY project that went on, and on, and on.
I did enjoy sending my working friends pics of my new office, aka the pool, sleeping as long as I wanted, and generally trying to relax while doing projects. I’m better at relaxing than my wife.
This is the case with a lot of people, some take to an empty schedule, while others feel like there’s a void where work used to be.
I like having things to do, but I also like doing what I want, when I want. I tell people it takes six months to two years to settle in, find hobbies, and really start enjoying retirement.
We took time to explore the area, relax at the pool, play tennis, walk, hike, hunt, go to the beach, and attend college football games, so it wasn’t all work.
There are always projects around the house to do, but the major efforts were complete after the first six months, so why not head to Paris.
France in November is a bit rainy, but it reminded us of the Northwest with overcast skies and a light mist. Paris is a beautiful city with rich history, and luckily, we were there before the protests and the Notre Dame fire.
We used Tripmasters for this trip and flew right out of our local airport. It’s surprising how small the world feels when you can hop on an airplane and be on a different continent in a few hours.
By this time, we had our accounts and doctors switched and things were starting to calm down. My wife is a former gymnast so women’s gymnastics is our winter college sport.
As time went on, we started to get more and more friend and family visits, so much so that we became unofficial chamber of commerce representatives for the region.
We enjoyed seeing famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Ron White, Carlos Mencia, Joe Machi, and many others that come this way regularly to the Von Braun Center and Stand Up Live.
Nashville, Jack Daniels factory, an annual balloon festival, the beach, and charcuterie classes are a testament to the saying that time really does fly when you’re having fun.
Head to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, what else? We used Tripmasters again for this trip and flew out of our local airport.
Fantastic experience, especially since my wife is originally from Sweden and as of my last Ancestry.com update, I’m 6% Swedish!
We also have a friend that volunteers at Harrison Brothers Hardware that’s from Denmark so it was fun to joke about how confusing the Copenhagen train station is.
Think “Being John Malkovich” ½ floor concept and you’ll understand how we missed our train to Stockholm, since the departure ½ track was on the other side of the road from the main track of the same number. Weird, no one could tell us before the departure time?
I missed the first game of college football season on this trip, but thanks to ESPN radio I wasn’t totally isolated, Roll Tide Roll! — and since we’re a house divided, I’m compelled to give an honorable mention to the Georgia Bulldogs.
We came home bubbling with business ideas, especially since my wife was getting antsy in retirement. It took a few more months to nail down particulars, but we think we’ve designed a perfect business for us.
It allows us to share our passions with a large audience from the comfort of our own home, and yes, continue the theme of doing what we want, when we want.
We didn’t realize when we returned that we were also about to host three straight months of visits from family and friends, but again the more the merrier!
I signed on to teach part-time at the University of Alabama in Huntsville so class prep and teaching took up some of my week, but everything looked good for our second year of retirement.
I planned a hunting trip to Argentina with my Dad over spring break, and we booked a month in Europe to see Berlin, Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.
And then came COVID-19. So… instead of heading to Europe to see the sights and eat delicious food paired with wine (and whiskey), we decided to launch a couple of websites – MyRetirementDoc.com and DietitianDoc.com. Thanks Coronavirus lockdown!!!!!
Starting a couple websites sounded simple enough, especially when you’re in and around the house most days because of the COVID lockdown that went on, and on, and on some more.
We — and by we, I mean my wife, who wears many hats, to include our Chief Technical Officer — decided to learn how to build and manage our websites.
I have to say that I’m very proud of her, she found a FREE step-by-step website building tutorial and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) training* and taught herself how to design and create high-quality websites.
This was slower than outsourcing the build, but now she’s an expert on every little detail and controls each change that we make going forward, very well-done Doc Annelie!
If everything stays on track, we’re scheduled to launch in 2022. I could probably finish a little sooner if I tried, but remember, I’m retired. On that note, we’re off to Sweden for the summer!
*This is an affiliate link for the SEO training, meaning that we will get paid at no extra cost to you if you choose to use it!