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The Changing Times of Travel – Ageless Travel
Since we have been travelling we have met many interesting young travellers who are surprised and delighted that we are travelling and living in a foreign country at our “age”. This in turn surprises me because firstly I always forget that I am this age and secondly I didn’t think it was that unusual.
So my question is, are there many of us are out there?
I really do believe in Ageless Travel. The one thing I have found since we started travelling full time, is that mentally I’m beginning to feel younger and younger as time goes by. Physically of course I am no longer 20 and that is one of the differences of travelling in your late 50’s.
What do you find different about travelling now than when you were young?
Times Change – Things We Find Different
In the “Olden Days” (before the internet), no travel would be complete without a trip to your local Travel Agent, limiting your travel to whatever products the Agent had for sale. Thankfully we now have the internet and the World is open to an infinite amount of possibilities.
We started booking holidays on the internet in the early 2000’s and pretty soon planning imaginary holidays became one of my favourite hobbies. With a family our budget was always small but by researching the internet we found ways to make these imaginary holidays become a reality, the rest was sheer determination to save enough money to make it happen.
Means of Travel
During my 20’s I usually to took package tours because I was new to travel and often travelled alone. Package tours also allowed me to see a lot of countries in a short space of time. The backpacking industry was in its infancy when I started travelling and certainly not the place for a girl on her own.
For us the internet transformed the way we travelled, what started out as a way to save money, quickly became our preferred means of travel. For example, taking public transport, using supermarkets and walking gave us the freedom to discover the real city and culture that you only get a glimpse of on guided tours.
Style of Travel
In my youth catching a plane was an event, everyone boarded looking like a movie star, only to disembark 24 hours later (from Australia) looking like something out of a horror movie.
Along came low cost airlines making airline travel much more affordable. Travel was no longer a once in a lifetime novelty. As more seats were added to planes we found ourselves dressing more for comfort than to impress.
9/11 changed security forever. No longer could we quickly zip through customs and board the plane, now we have to make up for the extra hours it takes to get through security, another reason for dressing comfortably when travelling.
In a World where connecting with family and friends is instant, it’s hard to believe that there was a time when the only form of communication was through landline. I remember trying to make a phone call from Rome to Australia and waiting hours for a connection that never came.
There are so many products available these days that make life so much easier for a long term traveller, I really have no idea how long term travellers existed before the internet set us free. We also highly recommend travelling with a smart phone/tablet as the range apps make travel so much easier.
Gone (thankfully) are the days when you had to wait a week for your photos to be developed, only to discover they were rubbish (especially when you weren’t going to return to Europe for another 25 years). Now we can see the photo instantly and if you don’t like it you can take another (at that angle that shaves 10 years off your age).
Again the phone comes to the rescue, when wanting to take a quick holiday snap. I love taking photos with my phone, it fits in my pocket, it is easy to use and with me at all times.
One thing we do need is a new camera, our camera died of old age in Ha long Bay Vietnam.
When I as in my 20’s it was essential to pack hairdryer, iron, heaps of makeup, (kitchen sink) shoes for every occasion, and the clothes to go with them. Having to look spectacular at all times to impress my peers.
One of the advantages of age is that it sets you free and although I still like to look nice, I no longer feel that I have to impress anyone, I am either liked or not! I have learned to live with less when travelling and now travel with mainly carry on luggage which is so much easier than lugging a large suitcase.
I had a lot of fun travelling in my 20’s, hitting different nightspots, meeting those hunky foreigners, rushing here and there to experience as much as I could.
I still have a lot of fun, I still like hitting the nightspots and having a good time. The difference for me now is that I like travelling at a slower pace. When I gave up work I realised just how rushed my life was, constantly running around, never having enough time to notice all the wonderful things about me. Now I get so much pleasure in taking the time to observe and participate in the world around me.
The package tours of my 20’s made it very easy for us to get around, we enjoyed ourselves and we saw everything we wanted to see, but never really saw the soul of the places we visited.
Fast forward to our 50’s. We love walking and find it not just a form of exercise but a great way to explore during our travels. While out walking Alan and I have witnessed so many remarkable things that will stay with us for the rest of my life.
Public transport is not only cheap but also a window into local life, I have seen so many acts of kindness and had many joyful experiences interacting with people on public transport.
When I travelled in my youth we were told not to eat the local food because it would make us sick, something I really regret.
Now going to local markets is one of my hobbies, not only do you discover the diverse range fresh produce the region has to offer, but it’s a chance to try delicious authentic local cuisine at reasonable prices. Over the past 10 years I have tried many different dishes from the local markets and have only been sick once. I love markets, I love the noise, smell and participating in the day to day life of the local population.
Ok! So now we get to the part that we don’t want to talk about, “aging”. We don’t want to grow old before your time, but we need to take care of ourselves while travelling. Travel insurance is a MUST! Check-ups before you go are a MUST! Vaccinations are a MUST!
Think before you fling yourself down that 30ft sand dune (ok I shouldn’t have, but it was fun). Just remember we break easier than we did when we were 20, so have fun responsibly.
On a lighter note, travel keeps you young, opens your mind and you learn so much about yourself and the world around you.
Gone are the days of Travellers Cheques (Hip Hip Hooray!). Credit Cards and pre-paid Travel Cards have made our lives so much easier. Internet banking makes money transfers overseas very simple and if they could get rid of all the fees it would make our lives simpler still.
Don’t Put It off
If you have a desire to travel but think you are too old, don’t put it off. We have met youngsters in their mid 70’s, who also believe in ageless travel, they love travelling and experiencing new things and wouldn’t change it for the world. When I say youngsters I mean it, they have the attitude of people decades younger than themselves all because travel is keeping them young at heart.
SO! If you’re a little on the mature side and dream of travelling, just get out there and do it, you never know, it just may change your life.
If you have any views on ageless travel we would love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to leave a comment below.