Interview: Travel at Any Age

hillside of Guanajuato Mexico
Ladies who travel in their 70’s
Funicular in Guanajuato, Mexico

When I was in Mexico, separately I met two lovely ladies that were traveling at 72 years of age. I was inspired by their bravery, willingness and wit. I loved that they were not afraid to leave home–the United States for one and Canada for the other. Not only that, they were both in Mexico to learn Spanish.

I think they both prove the point that you can do anything at any age.

I asked them some questions to get their perspective:

wp-image-1078161493jpg.jpgBarbara from Canada:

Many people are afraid to leave the conveniences of home and this becomes even more true as people get older. What makes you travel at 72?

I have traveled my whole life beginning when I was 11 and my father was posted to Paris, France. 

I travel now at 74 because I still can. It is not everyone who has good health, or can afford it. When you are in your seventies, you get regular reminders in life that you have no time to waste. Tomorrow you may not be able to travel, but what memories you will have! Travel keeps you young, energized and engaged with life. It enables you to clear your mind and to break away from stagnating routine. It keeps you up to date. It gives you something to look forward to. What have you got to lose?

What have you learned from traveling?

Traveling is a great teacher. Not only do you learn about other places, people, and cultures, you learn about yourself. One discovery leads to another and you quickly realize that in the grand scheme of things, you don’t know much. There is so much more for you to learn and more opportunities for personal growth. I learned French as a child and started working on learning Spanish in Mexico at 70.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to travel? And special advice for people in their 70’s?

Now that I am older, I establish a home base, get to really know it, and take short trips to nearby locations. Sign up for language courses and take local tours. Use the local establishments around you like pharmacies, grocery stores, restaurants, hairdressers, markets. Surround yourself with people who recognize or know you in your neighborhood to eliminate feelings of loneliness. Local coffee shops or language schools are good places to meet fellow travelers and where you can often get good information about things to do or NOT do. Listen to the locals.

What is your favorite place that you have visited?

Mexico has been the joy of my 70’s. I hesitantly accepted an invitation to a wedding in Mexico, and the rest is history. I have returned every year since. I have fallen in love with the people, the language, the art, the history, the music and joie de vive. Mexicans take every opportunity to celebrate and their open hospitality has a place for everyone at the table. No matter what your age, you are invited to the fiesta.

wp-1486411290414.jpgKaren from the Untied States:

What makes you travel at 72?

Realizing that my adequate health/age clock is ticking, I want to continue traveling while I can. Also I like adventures “under semi-controlled conditions” like enough money to cover my adventures and misadventures as I travel. I want to experience life, not let it pass into another arena called death. Otherwise it is about using “time remaining” to live it.

What have you learned from traveling?

Be open to changes and enjoy every day’s adventure as you travel. Be sure to not take too big of travel bites so you will not be overwhelmed. Give yourself time to digest what you see/do/think.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to travel? And special advice for people in their 70’s?

Laugh alone with yourself when you goof up. Have a deep/wide sense of humor. Don’t be in a hurry to do too much.

What is your favorite place that you have visited?

San Miguel de Allende. For its people, architecture, and culture.

I hope my readers find this inspiring. It’s never too late to have adventure and learning.

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