The Travel Bug

Who has not been riveted to the small screen to follow explorers crossing countries or read accounts of daring individuals' treks through the jungle? If this was the apanage of the few or the under 30 some time ago, making those dreams a reality is now easier than ever.

And, it’s never too late to start. In fact, 50s, 60s and beyond might be the ideal time to connect with your inner traveler, and if you’ve found yourself fantasizing about getting fit and tackling the Inca Trail now the kids have flown the nest, or giving whitewater rafting in Canada a go to celebrate a milestone birthday, you’re in good company.

Saga, the over 50's specialists recently approached me and asked my opinion on why people should travel despite their age. Here are my thoughts. 

When I was 20, with a record of failed studies and failed relationships in order to put as much distance between me and my troubles, I travelled to Mauritius and l'Ile de la Reunion in the Indian Ocean where my uncles live. When I came back, I had a vague notion that I could, one day, be a travel writer.

Putting pen to paper was difficult and in these days it was more a case of copying others original. I hadn't yet learned the art of stealing ideas and styles and make them my own, that would take several decades. In fact, be the first to hear the news, I have signed a contract to write a guidebook for an international publisher: 111 Places in the Lake District that you should miss. An amazing series.

But back to young me, as the writing was not going too well, I turned to the travelling, headed for Cairo Egypt, only to end up in Karachi Pakistan, clearly the organisation was lacking precision, even though, I was better at travelling than at writing.  Travel Bug springs to mind. A bug with a list, a list of exciting places.

There is no age limit to travels, I remember an 80-year-old British lady whom I met in the jungle of Borneo. Inspired by a TV program, she was on her way to pay a visit to the Orangutans. She stood out but there is no reason why she should have, Indonesian people in the later years, do travel from one island to another every day. 

Inspiration is everywhere, a list is a start but is it enough? It appears not. How many times do you hear people saying, I dream of going to ... but that it won't happen. And why not? we are very good at putting barriers to our travelling dreams or choosing the wrong destination to go to.  I'll never climb Everest but that doesn't stop the fact that taking a road trip along the foot of the Himalayas is probably one of the most awe-inspiring journeys I've ever done.


The Canadian Train

There is something about travelling long distance by rail which can't be beaten.  Taking a train from a place to another far far away slows down the travelling process. Nose pressed against the window, the journey itself becomes the trip. When on a shoestring, it makes for weird and wonderful encounters and if the train is more luxurious the key word is "enjoy". Enjoy the food, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the time travelling. 

I have a fond memory of our trip from Toronto to Vancouver, I didn't see a black bear but he did and that was the cherry on the cake.


Palmyra before the war

People often ask "What's your favourite place?" No answer to that one. I enjoyed many places, Mongolia with its vast panoramas is an opportunity to see earth the way you never see it. I loved Jordan, the Lebanon for the hospitality of its people and count myself blessed for having visited Syria before the war 

Marshes in Albania
I have fond memories of Albania, its rural sceneries and incredible archaeological sites, Scotland always blows me away. And when it comes to the Lake District, well, the love affair started the day he rowed a little boat on Windermere, just for the two of us.

Saga sponsored this post. The opinions expressed are my own and are not held by Saga.

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