Dr. Rhonda S. Work had a successful and meaningful career as a speech pathologist, and then 22 years ago made the momentous decision to retire.

“I took two weeks to do nothing. Then I said, this is not my life. I began volunteering at the Junior Museum – and from there, it all blossomed,” Rhonda recalls.

Blossomed, it did. Aside from her occasional forays into Burmese python rescuing and African safari-ing, Rhonda actively volunteers with a wide range of local organizations, including the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, St. Francis Wildlife Association, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, LeMoyne Art Foundation, Tai Chi Society, Delta Gamma Honor Society for Women Educators, Trinity United Methodist Church, and the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab.

At the moment, Rhonda’s favorite activity is her involvement with the FSU Coastal and Marine Lab. “It’s new, so it’s a challenge,” she says with an adventurous twinkle in her eye. When she isn’t volunteering, doing Tai Chi, singing in her church choir, reading, or taking care of her two cats and dog, she is traveling.

Rhonda fondly recalls annual summer vacations with her family throughout her childhood, which spurred her love for travel. So far she has traveled six of the seven continents. Her favorite destinations are “wild” places like the Amazon, the forests of Costa Rica, the vast expanses of Alaska, and countless national parks within the United States. But above all, her “love” is Africa, so it’s no surprise she has been on seven African safaris – with no plans to stop anytime soon.

For Rhonda, the key to graceful aging is staying socially, mentally, and physically active and surrounding yourself with a wide circle of friends. Rhonda added, “You know what they say: faith, family, and friends are the key to a fulfilled life,” she says, “and for me, it really is true.