Passion Never Retires

With this “Passion Never Retires” expedition in Rome in the footsteps of Michelangelo, travellers readers will quickly discover how to achieve the freedom to pursue their goals at their own pace, on their own terms regardless of their age.

Most people won’t experience the same retirement that their parents did, nor do they necessarily want to. Story by story, Jan van Opstal & Peter de Kuster reveal how new opportunities will enable individuals to create tailor-made stories about their second half of life.

Whether you’re trying to find your passion, make a dream come true, or face a major career change, there are lessons to be learned from the life of Michelangelo. The world’s all-time master of sculpture, painting, and architecture, Michelangelo had the unique ability to “see” a masterpiece inside a block of stone–or hidden in the curves of a chapel ceiling. Then, with astonishing purpose and drive, he would bring his unique vision to life.

There’s a masterpiece inside of you too. It’s the life and career you’ve always wanted, buried beneath layers of doubt, fear, and untapped potential. All you have to do is “see” it–and release it–with Passion Never Retires, the story of Michelangelo.

Created by Jan & Peter and with the stories from the great artist himself– Passion Never Retires, the story of Michelangelo is a remarkable step-by-step guide that will show you how to master the same creative strategies that inspired the paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Michelangelo approached every aspect of his life with passion, commitment, and courage. By applying these principles to your own life, you’ll quickly learn how to:

  • Open your eyes to the skills, strengths, and values you already possess
  • Turn your secret passion into a lifelong commitment
  • Take your career to new levels of personal achievement and joy
  • Design and live a life that fits you

Filled with colorful real-life stories, insightful self-assessments Passion Never Retires – the story of Michelangelo will help you to release your inner masterpiece–and live your life artfully, meaningfully, and joyfully in the second half of your life.

Day 1.  The Old Retiremyths.  St. Peter’s Basicila: Rome Pieta and Dome 

Michelangelo was just 24 when he was commissioned to create the Rome Pietà or “pity.” Unveiled during St. Peter’s Jubilee in 1500, it was one of three Pietà sculptures the artist created during his lifetime. When asked why he chose to portray Mary as a young woman, Michelangelo replied, “Women who are pure in soul and body never grow old.” Legend has it that when Michelangelo overheard admirers of the statue attributing it to another artist, he decided to inscribe his name on the Virgin Mary’s sash. It seems he regretted it, since he never signed another work again.

In day 1. we look at the Great “Retiremyths” and the end of the Work/Retire Ultimatum                          –  Myth 1.  65 is old.                                                                                                                                                          – Myth 2. to retire = not work.                                                                                                                                   –  Myth 3.  a life of ease is the ultimate goal                                                                                                           –  Myth 4.  you have to retire to follow your dreams                                                                                           –  Myth 5.  it is only about the money

Forty-seven years later, riddled with kidney stones, Michelangelo once again set his sights on St. Peter’s, this time as chief architect of the basilica’s dome. Visitors to St. Peter’s can climb the 320 steps (or take the elevator) to the top of the dome, with views of the Pantheon and Vatican City.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (above, left) moved from Caprese to Rome when he was 21 years old. At age 24, he was asked to create the Rome Pietà, found in St. Peter’s Basilica (above, right). (Wikimedia Commons & © Ocean / Corbis)

In the evening we will meet in a Roman restaurant a 50+ entrepreneur/professional who works and lives in Rome doing work they love and engage in a interesting conversation how they did this and how we can do it.

Day 2.  A New Story.  The Sistine Chapel,  the Vatican

Michelangelo considered himself to be foremost a sculptor, not a painter, and when Julius II asked him to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in May of 1508—tearing him away from his work at the pope’s tomb—the artist was less than pleased. A mildew infestation threatened a portion of the work, and Michelangelo pressed his advantage, telling Julius, “I already told your holiness that painting is not my trade; what I have done is spoiled; if you do not believe it, send and see.” The issue was eventually resolved; Michelangelo set back to work on the 343 human figures and nine stories from the Book of Genesis that the 12,000-square-foot masterpiece would eventually comprise.

The second day of our journey we will explore a new way of thinking.                                                           –   New Story 1. :  Work may Always Be a Part of Your Life                                                                                 –  New Story 2.  You are Only Old When You Think You can                                                                               –  New Story 3.  You Don’t Have to Be 65 to Do What You Want to Do                                                            – New Story 4. Don’t Settle for a Lukewarm Life                                                                                                    – New Story 5.  Your Money and your Life 

Michelangelo often locked horns with the Pope about money and sometimes referred to him as “my Medusa,” while Julius, on at least one occasion, allegedly threatened to beat or throw the artist from the scaffolding of the Sistine Chapel if he did not finish his work more quickly. This abuse aside, the painting eventually took its toll on the artist, who suffered a leg injury when he fell from the scaffolding and partial blindness—a result of staring upwards at the ceiling for so long—which forced him to read letters by raising his arms above his head. In 1536, Michelangelo was summoned back to the chapel to paint The Last Judgment above the altar, this time for Pope Paul III.

In the evening we will meet in a Roman restaurant a 50+ entrepreneur/professional who works and lives in Rome doing work they love and engage in a interesting conversation how they did this and how we can do it.

Day 3.  Living your New Story:  Piazza del Campidoglio

Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill, is one of the seven hills Rome was founded upon and has been central to the city’s government for more than 2,000 years. In 1538, when Michelangelo was asked to put a new face on the ancient site, the task was great: it had been used as headquarters for the Roman guilds during the Middle Ages, and required a major overhaul.

The third day we are creating with you your action plan how to make a Meaningful Transition to your second half of life and how to make it a Resourceful Transition. We brainstorm with you about making a Testdrive in your Dream Life; to meet people of 50+ who have created a life and work they love and never want to retire from. Mentor and rolemodels for you who can help you get your own story straight about what you want. You will learn how to:                                                                          – Plan a Testdrive in your Dream Life of your own.                                                                                              – Build the skills and gather the knowledge you will need to embark on your new career                          and life.                                                                                                                                                                            – Overcome the fear of changing careers.                                                                                                                – Turn a layoff, retirement or other involuntary career change into the opportunity of a lifetime.        – Design and create a dream job and life that doesn’t exist yet   –  Manage a smooth,                                 safe transition from your present job to your dreamjob.                                                                                  – Minimize financial risk as you embark on your bold new second half of life. 

The artist set to work on the main square, reshaping it as an oval to create symmetry; adding a third structure, the Palazzo Nuovo; and re-sculpting the base of the 2nd century A.D. statue of Marcus Aurelius (which has since been moved to the Capitoline Museums, nearby). Although the piazza wasn’t finished at the time of Michelangelo’s death, it was completed in various stages during the next 100 years using the artist’s designs. In 1940, Benito Mussolini installed the final element, Michelangelo’s brilliant starburst pattern in the pavement.

In the evening we will celebrate our journey in Rome with live music in an Roman restaurant.


This journey is organized every month. Ask us dates by mailing 

Your investment is  Euro 1.895 excluding VAT and excluding hotel nights & diners

The number of travel companions is 4 -8 plus your travel guides Jan & Peter 

Customized Tour:

Passion Never Retires is available in one- and two-day formats and as a private tour or 10+ person tour.  It can be delivered directly to client groups by The Hero’s Journey travel guides, or by third-party trainers, coaches and consultants who are trained and licensed by The Hero’s Journey.