(Hang-gliding ... the silence, the view, the feeling like a bird and moving with the wind)
Name: Donna Meyer
Home base: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Number of countries visited: 21
How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: I travel slower, not so much from necessity but by choice. I am no longer in such a big hurry, which may seem counter-intuitive given that I am much more aware of the passing of time, how very fast it scurries past on its little rabbit feet. But I am far more interested in really SEEING what I see, in experiencing it on every level, tasting it, smelling it, touching its textures. I don't want to just be passing through. I want to sink in, if only a bit. I also take much more trouble to meet people, talk to strangers, make new friends. I am far less shy about approaching strangers than I was years ago and also far more ready to accept invitations from friends of friends, follow up on on-line invites for coffee or a drink, call or message friends of friends I've been given contact numbers for and I think I might find interesting. I sign up for classes in things that interest me or meet people on walking or food tours. On the other hand, I am not at all afraid to spend time alone. I go to the theater alone, eat alone, walk alone, and enjoy my own company far more than I ever did.
The destination I would go back to in a minute: I feel like Amsterdam is my second home as I lived and worked there for a year 45 years ago! When I returned last year for the first time in 25 years, I sought out old friends and reconnected with people not seen for almost half-a-century. If I ever win a lottery, I will buy an apartment there.
I met this unforgettable person while traveling: Yvette is 96 and lives in Estoril, Portugal. Born in France, she's had four husbands (French, American, Polish and a Dutch Count), and innumerable lovers, worked at an RAF canteen in England serving Polish pilots during WWII, has lived all over the world, and has forgotten how many languages she speaks. She's got a wicked sense of humor, an enormous sense of style, and now spends her time making and selling beaded jewelry and writing her memoirs-which is sure to make for a juicy read!
My funniest or most unusual travel experience: In London years ago, I had a polo lesson on a wooden horse in a high-end boots-and-saddles shop. While researching a story about the oldest shops in the city, I came across a single line that mentioned it in passing and that was all I needed! I made an appointment, climbed on that wooden giant (in a safely netted room with a small and thankfully empty observers' gallery) and took up my mallet. Whacking a polo ball turns out to be a lot harder than you'd think, even when the horse is made of wood and not moving!
My two bits of wisdom for other travellers: (1) Slow down when you travel so you can really open up to the world! Close your eyes and let it seep into your pores. Touch the wind and taste the air. Drink in the silence of a mountain and feel the heat of a habanero chile on your tongue. Walk it, bike it, train it. See it at a human pace. Walk barefoot in a foreign forest, swim in another sea, eat something you've never eaten before. Do something you never thought you would do. Then come home changed forever. (2) Meet the people on their own turf. Nothing will make or break your trip more than making a real connection with local people. No matter where you go and how "foreign" they seem, you will surprise yourself by how much we all have in common. Eat their food. Visit their homes if you can. Ask them to tell you their stories. And LISTEN-even if you don't speak their language. There are so many ways of communicating. Listen to the accents, notice how people communicate with their hands and their faces. Smile-it's the universal language. Share yourself and your life with them. You will come away realizing that no matter how different your lives may seem on the surface, most of the people in the world are good, warm-hearted and welcoming.
My website: www.nomadwomen.com
Name: Nancie McKinnon
Home base: Seoul, South Korea
Number of countries visited: 40+
How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: I'm no longer a whirlwind diva on the road. I take my time, and savor the moment.
The destination I would go back to in a minute: Venice, definitely Venice! The city has an atmosphere that I love, and I can never get enough of it.
I met this unforgettable person while traveling: I unexpectedly met Pope John ll. (I couldn't figure out why there were men on rooftops with guns, and then the next thing I knew I was standing beside his Pope Mobile).
My funniest or most unusual travel experience: In Venice, I ended up in a storage room with an ancient helmet on my head brandishing a sword. I still have the photo somewhere.
My two bits of wisdom for other travellers: (1) Commonsense is your best friend. Never leave home without it. (2) It's your travel adventure, do what makes you happy!
My website: www.budgettravelerssandbox.com
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