Billy and I have been on the
road meandering through continents for
almost three decades.
While we like to think of ourselves as spry, flexible and ready to take on the
world, truth is, we are no longer twenty or thirty years old. Traveling at our
age of 66 presents
challenges that we didnít have when we were younger. Energy levels have changed and
our bodies require different comforts in order to feel well.
If you are in your fifties and
sixties with active wanderlust, independent journeying is still possible. Take
advantage of what we have learned over the years.
The Importance of Sleep
The value of sleep is a
priority that we protect, since its absence is felt for the next day
or two - creating havoc in moods, energy level and even decision
making. Whenever possible, we no longer take red-eye flights. Air
travel has become more complicated in recent years and itís enough
to handle the new requirements, the lines, and the disorientation of
time zones without adding severe sleep schedule interruptions. Besides, whatís the rush?
In years past weíd blow into a new location without a care, knowing
we would find
some kind of hotel arrangements. Now, we
are more inclined to reserve a room for our first night in a new
city or town, or at least have a definite address where our taxi can
take us. Once we arrive, we can scout out a more suitable hotel if
we arenít pleased with our first choice. We also check the beds for
firmness, get a quiet room off the street if possible and we pay a
bit more for better quality.
Sometimes an afternoon nap is
the height of luxury, and can be the pick-me-up needed for the rest
of the day, especially if there is an evening event planned. Weíre
retired, so why not enjoy it? Allowing time for rest instead of
continuous motion can be delicious.
Fueling the Machine
We donít skip meals and run on
empty. Solid, quality, protein-based
meals and snacks have always
been a focus for us. Weíre the machine that makes
lives run, and this machine needs proper fuel. Light-headedness,
indecision and fatigue due to lack of nutrition
contributes to needless bickering and is something we avoid at all
costs. Why make things harder on ourselves? We are sure to eat at
regular intervals and to bring travel food with us on buses,
trains, planes and even if we are out day-tripping. Dehydration is
another important consideration and we remember to bring bottled
water with us wherever we go.
There is no need to purchase expensive bottled water at the airport concessions.
When traveling by plane bring an empty water bottle with you through security.
Once through, find a drinking fountain and fill it up there.
Divide up Duties
travel full time, and it's more
pleasurable when duties are shared. Destinations and travel routes
must be determined, and figuring out which sort of transport we'll take
and whether or not visas are required all needs to be researched.
Tickets might haveto be purchased
ahead of time, lodging located, and arrangements for financial
management to cover expenses while on the road has to be thought
through. Even packing travel food is an essential element of
successful journeying. In your partnership, decide who will take
care of what, realizing that each of these categories is important.
When we leave our hotel room we
have a system that prevents sour surprises. Billy goes down to firm
up our bill, and I do a "room check" or "walk through" before we
turn in our keys. I look under the bed, in all the drawers, in the
bathroom, and on all the shelves to be sure we havenít left
something important behind. These days it can mean extra electronic
cables or phone chargers. This prevents lost and forgotten items
from becoming an issue and interrupting our travel plans.
When we traveled through both
Zealand on the
Magic Bus, Billy would stay with the
crowd to grab our luggage while I went ahead to choose our room and
pay for it. This allowed us to get both the best choices of rooms and our
bags without wasting time waiting in two lines.
Although it might be different in your partnership, when
searching for a hotel room, Iím usually the one to decide on where to stay. With most men, all they
need is a bed and bathroom, but we ladies seem to have other requirements. So to
prevent disappointment or needless fussing, we have found that itís best to let
Making notes of where we have
hidden our valuables in our home base location while we are on the road has
proven important several times. We write things down on lists instead of
committing them to memory and weíll email that list to ourselves so we donít
lose it. Being away from our home bases for months, even a year or more at a
time, can cause us to forget our best and most secret hiding places. If
we put our treasures or documents in such a good place that even WE canít
remember where they are, returning home can be a stress-filled event. Now we
simply check our list and refresh our memories.
Less Is More
We are the "Less
is More" type
of traveler, and it is our emphasized style even today. We donít have to pack
all the action into one day just so we can say we did it. Instead, we like our
time to be leisurely, not jammed-packed with something new to do every 2 hours
on the clock. Staying longer in one location and allowing more room for an event
on our calendar can provide many rewarding surprises and allow pleasant detours
around in a Jak-ka-ran
Consciously deciding to make
our travel days shorter when we are on the road has proven to be
rewarding also. It still takes us close to thirty hours to get to
Asia from our place in
Arizona, but if we are traveling on the
ground, we break up our destinations into manageable time bites to
make it possible for us to enjoy the journey itself. Itís not a
race, and weíre not in competition with other travelers. We prefer
this easy going approach. For instance, while traveling by bus in
we'll split up a 13 hour bus ride into a couple of days. This way we are
not worn out for our destination, we donít arrive late at night with all the
problems that it entails, and we get to
experience another town along the way.
As you may have read before, we
so we utilize public transport or hire a driver wherever we go. Leaving the
driving to others reduces our stress. We donít have to worry about vehicle
maintenance, where the next filling station is, if there will be a break down,
how to fix our vehicle in a foreign country, or whether we have taken a wrong
Packing Makes Perfect
still enjoy traveling with backpacks for their rugged practicality and ease of
transport, these days we find ourselves enjoying day packs and a shared rollie.
The daypacks are lighter and easier to schlep around, and the rolling luggage
gets checked at the airport gate, placed in the trunk by the taxi driver, or in
the luggage area of the
Premier Bus Lines we take in Mexico.
and convenience, we place the same items in the same location in our luggage each
time. There is no jumble. In this way we maintain a sense of order while on the
road and it cuts down on any mental confusion allowing us to enjoy our travels.
We are less likely to forget an item or misplace it, because it has its own
many advantages of having daypacks with us. While on the road, we can can carry anything of
importance close to us at all times. This may be our medicines, our digital equipment, our
maps or travel food. And if we go to
the market while on our trip,
easily carry the items back to our room.
Over the years, we have found
that what we pack has changed also. Now we make room for our digital equipment
and cords, cell phones, netbook computer, vitamins, personal medications and health aids like a
TENS unit. We use our online Yahoo! Calendar to mark
important dates like visa renewals
or when to catch that plane. We also send us reminders of automatic payments
taken out of our accounts or when to send physical checks so that we can stay financially current.
our physical checks online through our brokerage firm who then mails them out
for us to the recipient we have selected. The brokerage firm we utilize also has
the wonderful service of refunding our ATM fees from each withdrawal, and amount
that adds up over the year.
have a U.S. based phone number that we have purchased through Skype. With call
forwarding, we can receive a message from anyone who calls us and then we can
return that call the next time we are hooked up to the internet.
we also have an excellent mail service called
Traveling Mailbox, which
lets us know whenever we receive mail at our U.S. located address. They will
scan our mail and we can view it online from anywhere in the world. Or they will
forward a parcel to any address we give them in any country we may be visiting.
They will also deposit any checks that we might receive.
Catching up on email and
checking our guide book
safety, we place our valuables in a daypack and wrap them up with a PacSafe.
These PacSafes are rugged, made out of stainless steel cable and we connect the
wrapped daypack to something permanent in our room. This might be some plumbing
pipe, a wall attached TV stand, or an iron bed. Sure, it's not "guaranteed"
thief proof, but it serves as a remarkable deterrent.
27 fruitful years
of world travel and look forward to many more. Even though we have aged, and
some of our methods and equipment have changed, weíve adapted so that we can
continue our chosen lifestyle with both pleasure and ease.
Remember, if we can do it, you
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