After a month in Europe, followed by a 6-week trip to Ladakh, Nepal, and China, including base camp Mt Everest and Mt Kailash in Tibet, I’m home again on the West Coast of America.
Adventurous, you may think, for a 72-year-old.
I’m back with a new view of the globalization of the world, politics, global migration, and my place in it.
For one part of the journey, my Dutch travel buddy – whom BTW I met on a long distance hike a few years ago – and I were on our own, organizing our activities as we went, with or without a guide. Another part of the trip (in Tibet) was an organized tour.
I felt safe during the journey, though the circumstances kept me on alert to avoid accidents and sickness, and made me try new things and work hard at figuring out logistics and unfamiliar situations. Alertness stimulates the brain. Travel keeps me growing. Growing means living.
Home again, I’m meeting up with my local hiking community and hear stories of the other women’s summer adventures. One woman (73), who visited the Galapagos and the Dolomites, told me she takes at least one trip every year to a place where nature is changing/disappearing because of climate change.
She chooses organized tours where she only has to arrange for her flight and transportation to the tour departure point.
Another woman (66) told me she returned to areas she had hiked when she was younger. By doing short distances, she could backpack and experience the wild beauty of the Sierras.
A third one (71) has gotten so enthused about hiking that she bought an RV. That lets her walk and paint farther from home and have a comfortable place to sleep at night.
My trip buddy (50), who had never before been in Asia, discovered a new world. She is ready to go back and see/do more!
What do these women have in common that makes them set off on adventure travel as they get older? They are part of a growing group of elder women who cannot accept “retired” means belonging to the passive stay-at-home-and-watch-television section of our society.
In Tibet/China, people expect “old” people to behave in this passive way. Even my tour guide tried hard to have me stay at the hotel in Darchen instead of hiking the 52km kora around Mt Kailash! It wasn’t in his scope of possibilities that a 72-year-old could do such a thing. I changed his outlook on aging!
Adventure travel women set themselves apart by taking care of their physical health. Often, they are part of an active local group. They have diverse interests. They share tips about cost cutting travel. AND they support each other.
Maybe you know an adventurous woman and want some of what she has. I want to support you in venturing out by writing and sharing about being active and adventurous as you age.
If you want to join the many women over 60, who travel and bring a new perspective in their life, you must consider:
Physical changes that are taking place as you age include slower reaction, reduced eyesight, hearing loss, loss of agility, sleep disturbances.
Stay in good physical condition by having an exercise routine and challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone at least once a week. Traveling long distances can be hard on the body and you need your body to cooperate when you go!
Budget your income, figure out how much you can put aside each month/quarter for travel, and use the money for a trip. This is outside your “rainy day” fund. Learn about budget travel or reduce your costs by creating adventures nearby. Sixty and Me is full of advice and travel tips.
Most likely, your social circle will change as you reach retirement. Are your connections inspiring, adventurous? Make (new) friends who share your sense of adventure and will travel with you. Join an organization or club that helps you go on adventures.
Think hiking club, a choir (my choir went to Japan!), a painting group or a travel club. Invite family members with a sense of adventure; take your grandchild on a trip of their choice. You’ll go places you haven’t imagined!
Subscribe to travel organizations who cater to over-50 people (Road Scholar, Elder trek) if you want to step outside of your community.
Keep exploring new things and learning new skills as you age. From knitting to mountain climbing, cooking to music. These interests might take you to Ireland to research wool production and local knitting styles, or Mt Kailash to do the 52 km kora around the mountain.
You might find yourself exploring Italy, attending a cooking course in Tuscany, or joining a combination painting/walking tour in the Apennines.
Or, for more local adventurers, learn about your local flora and fauna, go on identifying walks, butterfly counting days, and add to your knowledge and local preservation efforts.
Adventures, big or small, faraway or nearby, will stimulate your senses, your brain synapses, and your enjoyment of life. I came away from this summer of travel with a solid idea for a novel I can write as winter sets in. Don’t let life slip away from you. Grab the possibilities and lose your age!
Where did you go this past summer? What adventures did you find? Why did you choose to go there? What experiences did you bring back home? Please share with our community.
Tags Senior Tours