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Unlocking the Power of Connection

A Letter from the Founders – Anelynda & Ali

Ageism is the last ism that we tolerate in our society. Despite being the fastest-growing global demographic, we’re failing to appreciate the knowledge and potential of retired and semi-retired citizens. Instead of rallying behind these individuals, we’re allowing loneliness and isolation to diminish their spirits.  

But the world is slowly starting to welcome new solutions to these issues. Doctors in the UK are taking a holistic approach to treatment, considering factors such as lack of connectedness as an ailment to our physical well being. They’ve introduced what they’ve termed Social Prescriptions — dance and cooking classes, volunteering and similar activities — as a treatment to conditions they would’ve otherwise prescribed medication.   A similar program is currently being piloted in Ontario by the Alliance for Healthier Communities.

Boomerang’s approach is similar. While we’re not medical doctors, we’ve studied the issues created by the lack of connection of retired and semi-retired Canadians. Through workshops like creative writing, photography, and organizing your home, we’re creating communities where aging adults can connect through similar interests and begin or continue the process of living life with purpose.    

Boomerang started with a real human need and we built something based on that. When we came up with the idea to create this platform, we made sure to test all of our hypotheses. Four weeks to the day since we began, we had built a website, figured out how to test the whole process, run two workshops, and had 700 people on our sign up list. That was a moment. 

Now we see Boomerang as a place for real human connections. Our weekly creative workshops are an opportunity to bring retired and semi-retired Canadians into physical spaces where they can feel safe to share their stories and learn new skills. That being said, the true impact of Boomerang takes it one step passed the initial connection.  

While connecting people is definitely an objective, what’s more important is unlocking the power of what happens when you get two people together in the physical space. The sharing of ideas, the creation of new concepts, the defeat of social isolation or just sitting there and having someone to cry with, those outcomes are more interesting and more powerful. 

Our plan for the future is to add purpose to a phase of our lives that many people often dismiss or ignore. We want millions of people entering or in retirement to look at their future and see possibility instead of solely reflecting on their past with nostalgia.  

This is a phase of your life that should be filled with opportunity, with novelty, with new things to do and new experiences. We hope when we reach this phase, Boomerang will help us live through it.  

See you at a Boomerang Workshop soon!

– Anelynda & Ali

P.S. If there’s ever a topic you’re interested in seeing at a workshop or sharing your skills as a workshop leader, let us know

Shomee talks about his Mask and Mirrors workshop

There’s something a bit zen about sitting with Shomee. You almost feel like you’ve entered this alternate universe that he somehow knows how to navigate with ease. His passion is quiet but intense and listening to Shomee speak about acting and writing and his world of creativity, you become even more drawn to his spirit. 

That’s why we’re so excited to have him host workshops with Boomerang. We know the knowledge he is willing to share will make you more thoughtful about whatever you create. When we spoke to Shomee, he also expressed excitement at hosting upcoming workshops along with reflecting on his experiences hosting previous events for Boomerang. 

Boomerang: Do you remember your first workshop?

Shomee: That was the first time that I’ve taught creative writing to a group of people using kind of all my experiences as an actor and as a writer. It was amazing to finally share that process and just focus on the writing and storytelling. Using my acting coaching model is kind of a beginning. 

Boomerang: What kind of reaction do you feel like you got? How did you feel afterwards and what did you take away from it? 

Shomee: Awesome. That’s my favorite part about being a teacher. It’s like when you see that light go-on in someone’s mind when they’re gaining new information, like everyone came in from many different stages in terms of their writing life as well as just their artistic life or even just curious dropping in on this workshop kinda thing. But that was so gratifying for me to know that what I’ve been doing as a writer and as an artist, just connecting with people, and that’s what it’s all about, helping them connect with other people. 

Boomerang: Let’s get into what’s coming up? You’re going to be hosting a new workshop. How would you describe it? 

Shomee: Yeah, I’m doing two brand new workshops that are coming up soon. One expanding on the original creative writing workshop that we did and developing it more into a course. My starting point has always been the hero’s journey. It all came through myths and legends and cultural history across the planet and I really want to tap into that. 

The second one is the one that I’d been developing first. Like I started working with actors on using mask. I started to understand myself better every time I worked with a mask more so than any other form in a way, which I’m still blown away by. 

Boomerang: That sounds so interesting. Can you give a bit more detail on what people who attend the workshop can expect with this mask experience? 

Shomee: With the mask, you put everything on the mask first and you see that mask as a full other person. You have a conversation with it in a sense like this is who you are now. And so the mask gives you a moment to step outside of yourself. That will give you permission to see through its eyes and it’s that moment. You realize that the mask is not even necessary. It’s the most magical thing. 

How do you not get goosebumps thinking about that. Shomee will bring this experience to his next workshop on (date). We hope to see you there!

Part-time jobs to keep you busy in retirement

If there’s one thing we learned at Boomerang about retirement, it’s that there is no singular experience. Some of you are extremely well prepared while for many of you, retirement happens a bit suddenly. One common experience, though, is that when you’re not travelling or spending time with kids and grandkids, retirement can be a bit…boring. 

It’s almost amusing because we’ve been told all our working lives that free time is a luxury. Now that you’re retired or approaching retirement, that luxury becomes a gap that constantly needs to be filled. Boomerang is definitely one great way of occupying your time. If you’re interested in being a host, we actually pay. But there are other, more formal part-time jobs that can keep you occupied while you make a few dollars. 

Top part-time jobs for retirees in Toronto 

Shuttle Bus Driver

Potential Salary: $34,000-$44,000 

There are actually companies that specialize in offering shuttle services to certain groups. So if you don’t mind exploring the city a few times a week, you can drive around individuals who are disabled, kids or even other seniors. It’s more like performing a civic duty as much as it is a part-time job. You may also need some specialized license so keep that in mind. 

Home Care Specialist 

Potential Salary: $53,000

Home care is about to become (if it’s not already) a huge demand throughout all of Canada. As our population continues to age, we’ll need as many able-bodied people as possible to take care of them. This is another job that requires a big heart as a prerequisite. It’s also a job where you can control how much you’re willing to handle. 

Building Concierge 

Female receptionist working at the front desk

Potential Salary: $35,000

This is a low-key part-time job. If you find the right placement, you’ll be able to spend most of your time reading and getting to know people in the building. You’ll need to have a genuine like of people and some patience, but a concierge is a low-pressure position that can still help you pay some bills. 

Receptionist 

Potential Salary: $30,000

You know what this is about. You’ll be answering phones, dealing with walk-ins, and being an overall positive reflection of the company you’re working for. This tends to be a bit more fast-paced, but that also depends on the company. 

Companion 

Potential Income: $17/hr 

A companion is a level or two down from a PSW (personal care assistant). Your main job is exactly what the job title entails: being a companion to another senior who needs in-home assistance. Most companies will offer some training, but it’s the emotional and psychological aspect of this position that can be the biggest challenge. There really is no way to prepare, so it’s something you’ll have to try before knowing if you can manage. 

Server

Potential Salary: $10/hr plus tips

If you’re comfortable being on your feet and love conversation, then why not be a server. You don’t need to go to some big-box restaurant. Most local cafes or restaurants can use the help, particularly around the holidays. This is another job where you get to control your own hours plus the tips are usually worth it. You should probably visit the restaurant you’re thinking of working at first to get an idea of the type of traffic that comes through. Once you’re confident you can take orders and hold a conversation, give it a try.  

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

What Kind of Traveller Are You?

You’ve finally got more time to travel and like many people, are thinking about how to get the most out of those experiences. While there are all kinds of practical tips for how to book the cheapest flight, or which piece of carry-on luggage is lightest, (I have some tips of my own, too!), I believe that to get the most out of any travel experience, you first need to start by understanding the kind of person you are. 

Whether you are new to travel or are an experienced explorer, who you are as a person is who you will be as a traveller, too. So choosing the kind of travel that suits your personality is probably the first way to make your travel experience the best it can be. 

So, what kind of person/traveller are you?

The Control Freak

Control freaks get a bad rap. (maybe because of the word ‘freak’…) In their defence, and probably because I am one myself, they are the kind of people who know exactly what they want, love to do their own research, and are happiest when they execute the plans themselves. Which in the world of travel makes them ideal independent travellers

Independent travellers tend to focus on things that specifically appeal to their tastes. Maybe you are a culture sponge who loves to visit a museum and can spend hours in each gallery, drinking in one particular exhibit? Perhaps you are a superfan of a particular sport and want to build your travels around a must-see event happening somewhere in the world? Or maybe you just like to choose exactly the kind of hotel that appeals to your design aesthetic.

If you like to call your own shots, make your own timetable, and are comfortable scheduling your own itinerary to accommodate your specific wants or needs, you are ideally suited to travel independently. But you do need to be prepared to deal with any hiccups that happen along the way. However, being an independent traveller doesn’t mean you won’t use a travel agent, or other travel services to help plan your trip. You might even opt for a customized private tour which gives you all the flexibility you need. It’s just that pre-packaged travel is not your thing. 

The Carefree Social Butterfly

If you are the opposite kind of person who hates organizing the party, but loves to just show up and enjoy whatever experience someone else has planned – and you love to mix and mingle with other people-people – you’re probably well suited for group travel.

Group travel takes all the guesswork out of trip planning, leaving travellers free to simply enjoy the destinations and activities that are already organized on their behalf. There’s no need to worry about accommodations, reservations, opening and closing hours at attractions, organizing tours, etc., because all those details have been worked out for you by someone else. All you have to do is enjoy the ride along with the other people who are joining you on the adventure.

In fact, the social aspect of group travel is one of the most important parts of it, because whether your group is a large coach tour or a small group adventure, you’ll be travelling together from one destination to another. It’s a great opportunity to meet other people from different walks of life, and often different countries, without having to worry about where you’re sleeping each night. (Leave that to the control freaks.) 

The Tentative Traveller

Travelling may appeal to you, but travelling out of your comfort zone? Not so much. Maybe you’re a novice traveller, or travelling solo… maybe you are heading to a country where you can’t even read the street signs let alone pronounce them, or you just need to know you can find food that you can eat. Whatever the reason, you are more of a tentative traveller. Which is just fine, because there are plenty of options for travellers who need a comfortable base from which to go exploring.

Cruises are a great option for the more cautious traveller, as they offer a familiar place to return to after a day of exploring something new and different. Definitely take advantage of the organized tours offered by the ship, as they’ll make sure you’re well taken care of during the excursion and that you are back on the ship before it sails. (There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing that your ship won’t leave without you, even if there is a traffic snarl en route!) And an added bonus with cruising is that you’ll know exactly where you’re staying every night, without having to pack and unpack between destinations. 

Of course, group tours are another good alternative especially if it’s your first time going to a foreign country, or if you are travelling by yourself. Having a guide with you at all times takes much of the stress out of travel and is a good way to gain confidence. All you need to do is enjoy the adventure, knowing someone else will deal with any issues that might arise. 

The Go-With-the-Flow Adventurer

Man with map

Did you say adventure? Does spontaneity and the idea of seeing where the road may take you get your adrenaline pumping (in a good way, not in an anxiety-attack kind of way)? If you love this idea, then you’ll probably love road tripping, too. It’s the kind of independent travel where you’re the one behind the wheel – literally – but without all the research and organization that pre-plans your every move. 

The beauty of road trips is that they can be as planned or unplanned as you want, and even if you do have a good idea where you are going, chances are you’ll encounter some interesting things along the way that make the journey more memorable. See a quirky roadside attraction? Go ahead and check out that house made of beer bottles. Is that a ruin on top of that hill? Follow the sign with the castle on it and you may find yourself admiring a spectacular sunset from a vantage point that you’d never find on the internet.

Road tripping comes with its own downsides, too: you may not eat at the best restaurants every day, or you may not know where you’ll be sleeping from one night to the next, but that’s part of the adventure, and part of the appeal. Because whether you hit the road in your own country or abroad, in an RV or a flashy convertible, your ideal trip is any one with the word ‘road’ in front of it.

The Best Way to Travel is Your Way

Obviously there are as many ways to travel as there are people, not just these examples. And there is no ‘best way’ to do it, only the way that suits you best. Because it’s not about whether you travel independently, or in a group, or on a ship, a plane, a train, or an automobile – it’s about knowing yourself and knowing what feels right for you. That’s the surest way to make the most of your travel adventures.

All the rest is just logistics.

About the Author: Jane Canapini

Jane is Boomerang’s resident travel blogger & expert, not to mention the author of Grownup Travels. Read Jane’s last article on Boomerang: Overtourism & why travelling off the beaten path is good for everyone. Learn more about Jane’s journey from advertising to the travel blogger!

Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

Boomerang at the Zoomer Show

You couldn’t imagine the energy. That had to be the biggest surprise of last weekend, which we spent at the Zoomer Show. There were thousands of people walking around curiously from booth to booth listening to what each had to offer. The best way to describe it would be peaceful chaos excitement beaming through the entire venue – and we soaked it all in. 

If you’ve never been to the Zoomer Show, allow us to fill you in. We were inside of the Enercare Centre on the Exhibition grounds. The booths were categorized by themes like Home, Travel, Finance, and my personal favourite, the Fun Zone. From a mid-show aerobic workout to square-dancing classes to

There were presentations on how not to get scammed by fake insurers happening simultaneously with dozens of people participating in an aerobics workout. You can get info on the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) next to the booth where you could get your portrait drawn (OK, OK, we were the ones doing the portraits). Basically, lots of things were happening and everyone took their time to enjoy the experience. 

At the Boomerang booth, we were having a great time. We hoped that people would be interested in what we were doing, but the response was greater than we could’ve dreamed. Maybe it’s because we held mini-workshops nearly every hour. Maybe it was the shuffleboard game. Whatever the attraction, people flocked to our booth and we were able to give them a small sample of what it’s like to be a member of Boomerang. 

And that was really our goal; to welcome even more people into our community. Zoomer has created an amazing platform for seniors and Boomerang is working hard to build our own space where you feel empowered to share your passions and learn new skills. The response we experienced this weekend is more proof we’re moving in the right direction. 

So what now? We keep going, of course! The holidays are around the corner and will be the first we celebrate at Boomerang. We’re definitely planning to make it special for all our members. Keep an eye on our newsletter for announcements and updates on what will be happening.  There will be holiday-themed workshops coming up!

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

7 Books to Add to Your Reading List This Winter

Oh, winter. Snowflakes and made-for-TV movies, hot chocolate and the holiday season. Winter is around the corner and it’s bringing the cold with it. But not to worry, we got you covered. We’ll make sure you’re prepared with the perfect books to curl up under your blanket on a chilly winter evening. 

Must-read books for the winter

There are literally millions of books to choose from, so narrowing down any kind of list is completely dependent on your taste. For this list, we’ll go with a mix of popular books and books we believe you won’t be able to put down. Most books on this list will be recent titles that have come out over the last few years and appeal to older adults. We’ll choose fiction and non-fiction, including some memoirs.

1. Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot

You’ll need to take a deep breath before reading this one. Heart Berries is a memoir by Terese Mailhot, written when she checked herself into a mental institution. It’s a story about a triggering relationship with her boyfriend, her attempt at a reconciliation with her father, and living with the rollercoaster in her mind after being diagnosed with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and bipolar II disorder. This is a heavy book, but a short read told from a raw perspective. 

2. Milkman by Anna Burns

Milkman by Anna burns

If you want one of the most unique, humourous, almost startling stories of the past couple years, you must read Anna Burns Milkman. The surface story is about a teenage female protagonist, who doesn’t have a name, that is being stalked by an older man the neighbourhood has tagged the Milkman. Though the setting is also unnamed, it’s pretty clear it’s Northern Ireland in the 70s. It’s difficult to even explain where this novel takes you. It’s better you just jump right in and remove any expectations of a normal ride. 

3. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Demaline

Yes, this is a Young Adult (YA) story, but worth reading nonetheless. The Marrow Thieves sets itself in a futuristic time when the population has lost its ability to dream. The only way they can regain this privilege is to steal the bone marrow from indigenous communities, who are on the run from these predators. Fair warning: you might want to grab the kleenex for the last 30 pages. 

4. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Where do we even begin with this book. The story’s inventiveness, both in how it’s written and the subject matter, captivates you from the very first page. Author Marlon James is a master, and A Brief History of Seven Killings is his masterpiece. The story tells the fictional (though based on real events) tale of the assassination attempt on Bob Marley.  Throughout the story, James uses magic, mystery, and deceit to describe what happens to the seven would-be assassins. People say must-read all the time, but this one is a MUST READ. 

5. Children of Blood and Bone by Tami Adeyemi

Another YA novel, but there’s nothing wrong with tapping into your inner adventurer. Children of Blood and Bone is one of the more popular books of the last couple years and is already being turned into a movie. The best part about this book is that the characters are diverse, both in skin tone and in gender. It’s a fantasy story about a young girl who discovers she’s much more powerful than she ever imagined. But that power makes her wanted, and the king of this mythical nation won’t stop until he finds her. 

6. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Every year, there’s one book that everyone can’t stop talking about. Where the Crawdads Sing is that book. It’s the number one bestseller of 2019 and is sure to win a bunch of literary prizes. Of course there’s a murder, and everyone wants to blame the “Marsh Girl.” But just because she’s spent years alone in the marsh and away from society doesn’t mean she’s a killer. This book has remnants of Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn) and Secret History (Donna Tartt) all over it. 

7. Becoming by Michelle Obama

OK, we held off as long as we could, but how can you resist. Becoming has sold over 10 million copies and is a runaway hit. Michelle Obama beautifully articulates her early life in Chicago to her time as a lawyer and on to the stress of being the first lady. This book has been on everyone’s list for the past two years and it should be. It’s an obvious choice but a good one nonetheless. It’s one of those moments that you need to experience.

Our Boomerang workshops are the perfect place to talk about your favourite books. What are you reading right now? Let us know.  Learn how to write your own fiction novel at our upcoming creative writing & storytelling workshop.

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

Palomino Columbia

5 Unexpected Travel Destinations for the Holidays

Do you plan on travelling over the holidays? We know it’s supposed to be all about getting together with family and sharing meals with kids and grandkids and cousins you haven’t seen all year. That’s the beauty of the holidays. But there’s beauty in a week-long Mediterranean cruise, too, so don’t feel too guilty about wanting to get away. 

And when you do start planning a trip, let’s try thinking a bit outside the norm. The Dominican Republic and Cuba are beautiful, but there are other destinations that offer a different kind of bliss.  

Where will you travel over the holidays? 

With the guilt gone, it’s time to decide where you want to explore. There are a million options, but not all destinations are ideal for late December. You’ll need to think about the climate where you’re going, whether it’s rainy season or possibly not as hot as you’d like it to be. Our list takes away some of the guesswork to give you five holiday destinations that may not immediately pop up on your radar. 

1. Kathmandu, Nepal 

Best time to travel to Kathmandu: November to March

If you’re looking for an active holiday getaway with mindblowing views of the Himalayas, then Nepal should be first on your list. You can stay in one of the quaint hill villages and gaze in wonder at the golden temples. Make sure you greet locals with a warm “namaste” when walking the streets of Kathmandu. And get ready to eat Dhal Bhat (rice and lentils) with potatoes and cauliflower and more cuisine that feeds your soul. (Quick note: you should take your shoes off before entering the home of a Nepali family). Oh, did we mention that Nepal is home to Mount Everest? Yeah, there’s that. 

2. Coorg, India 

Coorg India
Photo via Travel Triangle

Best time to travel to Coorg: October to March 

It’s hard to keep India off any travel list. It’s a country full of energy and vibrancy and lots of people, depending on where you visit, of course. During the holidays, Coorg is one of the best places in India to travel. The greenery of the coffee plantations will amaze you. So will Abbey and Iruppu Falls. If you’re up for it, you have to take a trip to Brahmagiri Peak. The trek there is just as beautiful as the destination. You’ll pass a wildlife sanctuary in addition to streams of water so clear you can take a selfie. Coorg is perfect for either relaxing and staring at the land or getting out there and being closer to nature.

3. Panama City, Panama 

Beach in Panama

Best time to travel to Panama City: Mid December to April 

2019 marks the 500th year of Panama’s history. The Panama Canal is one of the country’s biggest attractions, but there’s so much more to explore. Parque Nacional contains up to two dozen species of whale and dolphin and is located in the Veraguas province. The beaches of the Archipiélago de Bocas del Toro is where you’ll be able to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Panama. And if you’re ever missing the city life, Panama City offers the perfect mix of historic culture with modern tastes and activities. 

4. Bacalar, Mexico

Photo via The Culture Trip

Best time to travel to Bacalar: Early December to mid-March

Mexico has a rep for spring break partyers who want to get as drunk as possible in all-inclusive resorts. Maybe that’s true in some parts of the country, but Bacalar, Mexico offers a different experience. With less than 20,000 locals, Bacalar is a much more chill scene. The Lake of Seven Colours is as majestic as it sounds and is one of the most jawdropping natural attractions you’ll be bragging to your friends about. Travellers often refer to Bacalar as the Maldives of Mexico, whatever that means. All you need to know is that if you’re looking for a quiet getaway in a small town with beautiful weather and a chance to sail across the lagoons, then give Bacalar a chance.

5. Palomino, Columbia 

Palomino Columbia
Photo via Travel Grafia

Best time to travel to Palomino: December to March 

Columbia has become an unexpected jewel for travellers. If the allure of Caribbean beaches isn’t enough to convince you to book your ticket, maybe the jungles surrounding Palomino will give you that final little push. You’ll see monkeys and parrots and all kinds of other wildlife in what National Geographic has named one of the world’s most important ecological sites. Palomino is where you take a break from the hiking and cave diving in other destinations. It’s all about relaxing, sunbathing and enjoying the beaches on this trip. 

 Looking for more travel tips? Read more about the 5 best river cruises in Europe

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

5 musicals you should catch in Toronto this fall

One thing about Toronto: there’s never a dull moment. Anything you can imagine, you can do, especially when it comes to the art scene. Between ballets and the theatre, gallery openings and book launches, Toronto has a rich cultural scene. And you can add musicals to that list. 

5 can’t miss musicals coming to Toronto 

Here are some exciting musicals hitting Toronto this fall 2019: 

1. Priscilla Queen of the Desert 

Photo via The Globe and Mail

Where to watch: 

Randolph Theatre

Ticket price: 

From $165 

Description: 

“Back with more glitter and sassiness than ever before, ebullient cult-hit-movie-turned-Broadway-tuner Priscilla Queen of the Desert is rolling onto the Randolph Theatre stage during a hotly anticipated local revival this fall. Beginning its life as the 1994 Ozzy dramedy starring Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving and Terrence Stamp, the rollicking tale and its soundtrack full of gay and drag anthems made a glorious transition to the stage thanks to author Stephan Elliott and screenwriter Allan Scott.”

“A dragalicious comedy of errors, as well as a tale of resilience, acceptance and self-discovery, Priscilla Queen of the Desert follows three drag queens who attempt to bring their extravagant drag show to the remote desert town of Alice Springs. After accepting the offer to perform made by his estranged wife, Anthony (AKA Mitzi Del Bra) convinces his friends Bernadette Bassenger and Felicia Jollygoodfellow to join the trek and they embark on the titular pink bus, finding hostility, hospitality and themselves during the vibrant adventure that follows.” 

Learn more about Priscilla Queen of the Desert

2. Come from Away 

Photo via Toronto.com

Where to watch: 

Elgin Theatre 

Ticket price:

From $300

Description:

“As the full horror of the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001 became apparent, the US closed its airspace grounding thousands of passenger jets globally. Thirty-eight of them were forced to land in Gander, a remote Newfoundland town with a population of just 9,000 people.”

“The musical tells the story of a particular set of passengers from just one of the grounded planes and the hardy Gander residents who wholeheartedly welcomed them into their homes. Among this diverse set of characters is American Airlines’ first female pilot, a gay couple both called Colin, and an Egyptian chef, who fears a frosty reception from the community – only to be proved wrong entirely. Weaving together all of their storylines, the show creates an affirming portrait of human connection in the most trying of circumstances.”

Learn more about Come from Away

3. Spongebob Squarepants 

Photo via Variety

Where to watch:

Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre for the Performing Arts) 

Ticket prices: 

From $70+

Description: 

“The story follows Spongebob on a quest to save Bikini Bottom from complete and utter destruction from mysterious forces from the world above. When chaos erupts, their lives hang in the very balance – all until an unlikely hero rises to the challenge to save the day – with a little help of his friends.”

Learn more about Spongebob Squarepants

4. Taj Express 

Photo via Ticketmaster.ca

Where to watch: 

Bluma Appel Theatre 

Ticket prices: 

From $80 

Description: 

“The Taj Express brings the vibrant world of Bollywood musicals to the stage on this extensive tour. Directed and choreographed by sisters Vaibhavi and Shruti Merchant, granddaughters to one of the most famous dance choreographers in Indian movie history, Taj Express is a whirlwind of colorful costumes and dance, and the first Indian musical to have toured for more than five years. If you’ve ever wanted to dip a toe into the world of Bollywood, then this is the show for you.”

“Featuring a cast of experienced Bollywood dancers, Taj Express is built around a thrilling story of romance and adventure that evokes India’s rich cultural history while showcasing an incredible fusion of classical and contemporary dance. Featuring an unforgettable soundtrack by Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman.”

Learn more about Taj Express

5. Lil’ Red Robin Hood 

Photo via Toronto4kids

Where to watch:

Winter Garden Theatre 

Ticket prices: 

From $177

Description: 

“Purveyor of fantastic festive family musicals, Ross Petty is back for 2019 – marking their 24th year as one of Ontario’s best holiday traditions with this brand new show! Moving from the Elgin theatre to the 6th floor of the Winter Garden Theatre for the first time in their history, this stunning production promises all the adventure, romance, jokes, songs and participation that audiences of all ages have come to love.”

“Follow our hero Lil’ Red as he heads into the enchanted Sherway Gardens Forest along with Maid Marion, Friar Tuck, and friends to defeat the nefarious Sheriff of Naughtyham! Starring Robert Markus, AJ Bridel and firm favourite Eddie Glen and featuring fabulous sets and costumes, it’s a wonderful way to introduce your little ones to the pure magic of live theatre, providing a memory that’ll last long after New Year’s Eve!”

Learn more about Lil’ Red Robin Hood

Looking for more fall activities? Check out our list of best fall hikes in Ontario.

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

4 Ways To Make Money Online in Retirement

We learn a lot by speaking to our Boomerang community. You guys teach us so much and we try to take those lessons and try to improve what we offer. One of the lessons we’ve learned is that retirement isn’t always planned. There are so many circumstances that you’ve shared with us where you backed into retirement or you were laid off years before being ready. Either way, retirement came suddenly and you weren’t exactly prepared emotionally or financially. 

When that happens, you likely still want at least a little bit of money coming in, and making money online is a good option. In the following examples, you’ll see how simple it can be to earn the extra income you need. Let’s get into it. 

1. Teach English online 

Teaching English online is much easier than you may think. As long as you’re fluent in speaking English, you’re ready to make some money (some platforms may require you to have a college or university degree, but it doesn’t have to be in education). It used to be different. Before all these online platforms, you’d actually have to travel to these countries to get a job. But now you can sit in your living room with your laptop open and teach students how to speak English over video. 

How much money can you make teaching online?

You might be surprised how much money you can make teaching English online. It’s going to depend on the platform you choose, but let’s just say it varies. Some platforms pay about $10/hr, but many pay up to $25/hr. Depending on how much time you can spare each week, you can earn a steady monthly income. 

What websites can you use to teach English online? Here are 5 popular online English tutoring platforms to check out:

Some of these platforms are more demanding than others. Cambly, for example, is usually filled with people looking to improve their english. You’ll be doing more conversing than actually teaching. A platform like DaDa, on the other hand, will have lesson plans set up for you to teach younger students who don’t speak much or any english at all. 

2. Become a Virtual Assistant 

This is a good way to use your skills to make some money online. If you’ve just left the workforce, it’s safe to assume your skills are still sharp. And if you’ve been retired for a little while, that’s no problem too. There are ways to sharpen your skills before pitching yourself as a Virtual Assistant (VA).  

OK, so what’s a Virtual Assistant? 

Basically, it’s anyone who uses their skills to support a project virtually. The most common tasks for Virtual Assistants are admin and secretarial duties. That said, there are lots of other ways to be a Virtual Assistant.  

What does a Virtual Assistant do?

Being a Virtual Assistant is all about providing support. That means you’ll need to identify a skill you’re most confident in and offer it as a service. And don’t worry if you feel like you’ve been out of the job too long. Spaces like LinkedIn and Hubspot offer free courses where you can sharpen your skills or learn new ones that work in the online world. Also, sign up for one of Boomerang’s workshops. We give you the opportunity to learn new skills for as little as $5. 

How much money can you make as a Virtual Assistant?

The average wage for a Virtual Assistant is $20.68/hour. Don’t let that limit you, though. VAs have been known to charge up to $55/hour for select services. It’s all about how well you can do the task that’s assigned and how confident you are in your abilities. 

How do you make money as a Virtual Assistant 

This is where most of the work happens. You’ll have to let people know that you’re offering your services. Speak to your friends. If you’re on social media, share a post letting everyone know what you’re up to. 

Once you’ve taken those first few steps, here are a few platforms you can check out to find Virtual Assistant jobs:

3. Fill out online surveys 

Of all the ways to make money online while you’re retired, filling out online surveys has to be the least stressful. You can fill out surveys while you’re watching TV or listening to a podcast.  All you really need is time. As you can imagine, you won’t make a living filling out surveys, but if you do enough, you could make a couple hundred bucks a month without much effort. 

What websites can you use to find online surveys?

Here are 5 platforms to find surveys with the best payouts: 

4. Turn a hobby into a career

Ok, ok. This one isn’t online but it’s definitely worth adding to the list. Boomerang is all about connecting with new people and learning new skills. Our workshops help you learn everything from writing to photography, baking to gardening.

If you have a hobby or are experienced in something and would like to teach a Boomerang workshop, we would love to hear about it. Reach out to us at contact@goboomerang.com to learn more about hosting!

These 5 Podcasts Will Give You Plenty to Talk About

Who thought radio would make a comeback! Well it’s not really. But podcasts are this generation’s version of radio and pretty much anyone can do it. But like most things that have shifted online, you need to search through the bad to get to the good. Lucky for you we’re here to do the searching for you. We’ve put together a list of cool and sometimes controversial podcasts that are both informative and entertaining. 

Podcasts that get your brain going 

1. Death, Sex and Money 

Oh, you thought this was going to be a boring list of podcasts. Sorry to disappoint you, but we’re trying to stimulate your brain, not have you falling asleep with your headphones on. Death, Sex and Money ignores “polite conversation.” Host Anna Sale tackles the topics that you’ll probably have to ask your grandkids to leave the room so you can discuss with your friends. Some of the recent episodes talk about living with a husband with low self-esteem and a listener’s story about her stillborn birth.  

Learn more about Death, Sex and Money 

Apple Podcast

2. Reply All 

Reply All talks about the internet and technology, but not in the way you think. It’s more of a contemporary life guide. They speak about things like why people would only order one bottle of pop online from a big chain pizza store (hint, the credit card they used is probably stolen). They have a broad range of episodes, so take your time and choose the ones that really ignite your interest. 

3. Deliciously Ella 

Love the name of this podcast, although it’s probably a bit misleading. By its own definition, Deliciously Ella, “delves into the world of physical and mental health, well-being, the realities of building a business and a brand and staying positive in a busy world.” That’s a lot to soak up, but these topics are so necessary today. Like one of their episodes is called “Imposter Syndrome.” See where this is going? You’re dealing with a lot and knowing how to manage that and not lose your mind takes some know-how. Listening to others share their stories and offer some opinions is always a good place to start. 

Learn more about Deliciously Ella

4. 10% Happier with Dan Harris 

Remember that Dan Harris guy? He’s the news anchor who had a panic attack on national TV. Now he hosts a podcast that talks about ways to inch 10% happier and who better to lead those conversations than someone who gave up a degree of fame to take that step. Harris brings on guests who are philosophers, best-selling authors and basically some really smart people. The question Dan is really trying to answer is how does enlightenment fit into a world where accomplishment is celebrated? This is a podcast you don’t want to pass up. 

Learn more about 10% Happier

5. Sleep With Me 

OK, we have to have a little fun. Not all podcasts are focused on all the craziness of our existence. Sleep With Me has this really cool concept. It’s like your bedtime story, except it’s not really stories you’re interested in hearing. In their own words, this podcast tells a “bedtime story that lets you forget your problems and progressively gets more boring until you fall to sleep.” It’s kind of like sleeping with your TV on except you won’t wake up upset you missed something. 

Learn more about Sleep With Me

Where to find your favourite podcasts 

There are a few ways to access these podcasts. If you have an iPhone, you don’t have to do much work. The Apple Podcasts platform is already built into your phone. Just open it up and start selecting categories (or specific podcasts) you think you’d enjoy.  

Android phones are similar. You’ll actually have to go to the Google Play app store and search for the Google Podcasts app, but it’s still free and still has a wide range of popular podcasts. Some other cool options include Podcast Player and Spotify.   

Any one of these platforms will take you to some intriguing podcasts. Some podcasts are exclusive to specific platforms, but all of the platforms we’ve mentioned have enough variety to keep your ears occupied. 

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Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.

6 Benefits of Learning to Play an Instrument

“Music soothes the soul.” That has to be one of the most authentic sayings ever. How many times has listening to a song made you dance in your bedroom or sing in the shower? There’s just something about music that gets deep into our guts and accentuates our mood. Nothing is more universally appreciated than music. A memorable melody is all it takes to make you feel good. We’ve all wished we could strum a guitar or roll our fingers across a piano to create rhythms that people can move to. 

It’s never too late to learn. There are some real benefits to knowing how to play any instrument. Benefits that would push you to at least try to pick up those drum sticks. It’s not about how good you are. Just putting in the effort means you’ll feel many of the benefits we’ll describe below. 

Here are 6 reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to pick up an instrument 

1. Helps with Your Breathing

Throughout the day our breathing typically stays shallow. But singing or picking up a wind instrument like a flute or a saxophone encourages what’s called deep breathing. Deep breathing helps keep your respiratory system strong and expands your lung capacity. 

2. Levels out your mood 

Studies have proven that you can reduce stress by creating your own music. Being able to express your emotions through an outlet like music gives you an opportunity to define your own sadness or joy or confusion in a way that is soothing. It’s a better sounding alternative to screaming into a pillow when you’re upset. 

3. It’s good exercise 

Whether you’re playing the drums or sitting up straight to play the piano, music is more physical than you think. Your arm and back muscles are always being challenged, and if you stand up, so are your legs. Just holding an instrument up for short periods of time is a workout. 

4. Helps your coordination 

 It’s not easy to get your fingers to move the way you need them to when you’re trying to get songs right. It’s actually one of the more difficult things to do when learning to play any instrument. Trying to get that right while at the same time remembering what note to play next is challenging for anyone. 

5. Improves concentration 

 In the same vein as the last point, learning to play an instrument improves your concentration. There’s a lot going on at the same time that requires your attention. Are your fingers in the right place, are you getting the melody right, are you going to improvise the next section? And if you get a few of your friends together, it actually forces you to concentrate even more because you also have to be in harmony with everyone else.  

6. Meeting new people 

You don’t have to think of learning to play an instrument as an isolated activity. Take group lessons so you meet other people who share your interest in learning how to play. If you’re into singing, maybe you can volunteer to be part of a choir. The point is to enjoy yourself and enjoy the company of other people. Nothing soothes the soul like friendship. 

Ready to learn how to play a new instrument?

Boomerang is a new creative workshops platform that makes it easy for retired & semi-retired individuals to learn new skills, explore their passions & connect with the community. Become a Boomerang Member for free to explore and sign up for upcoming workshops.