Travel is a fantastic way to broaden one’s horizons

June 17, 2009

by Dr. Carolyn Anderson

This month’s issue of Impowerage is packed full of inspiring adventures and displays the Power of 60 plus trekking all over the globe. We have adventures in the Middle East to hikes up Mt. Kilimanjaro proving once again that age is but a number.

Travel is a fantastic way to broaden our horizons, expose ourselves to new languages and cultures and maintain that zest for life. It got me thinking though that it can have its challenges for seniors. From the difficulty of travelling alone to the increasing costs of travel medical insurance, there are sometimes obstacles to that perfect vacation.

I met a couple in their 80s while I was skiing in Sun Peaks last winter. They had spent $3000.00 on their Travel Medical Insurance to come to Canada for 2 weeks from New Zealand. They were both vibrant and great skiers but I could not help but think that this may be cost prohibitive for many.

Another difficulty can be finding a travelling companion. My mom is having a difficult time finding a travelling partner since my father passed away and sometimes to travel as a single and pay the double occupancy rates can be too expensive to be workable.

These issues need to be addressed further and many seniors travel companies are attempting to do just that. We at Impowerage would love to work with you to find solutions to these issues. If you have any ideas or suggestions please email us

Challenges aside, the adventures that await you while travelling can be amazing and can contribute greatly to the process of lifelong learning that helps to keep us young. I recently met an interesting couple on a flight back to Vancouver. Dorothy and her husband Jim, both in their mid-eighties, were returning home from their vacation in Europe. I noticed that despite the long trip and their advanced age, they both looked vibrant (unlike me, I might add). I saw that Jim had a thick book. When I asked about it, he said last year he decided to learn to speak Greek so he could translate the original writings of the scriptures. I understandably did a double take. Learning to speak Greek in your eighties?

It reminded me of the response of Cato the Roman Scholar when asked why he began learning Greek at the ripe age of 80; “It is the earliest age I have left.” The point is: Learning should be a lifelong process, not a singular event. As I continued to chat with Jim and Dorothy, it was clear they lived this concept. They spoke of their extensive travels, community involvement and volunteer work as well as their many hobbies and activities. When I asked Dorothy her secret to staying young and vital, she said, “Keep moving, keep learning and wear jeans.” Someone should make that into a T-shirt. Travelling is a great way to keep moving, to keep learning and to stay engaged, excited and vital.

Here’s to travelling…so many adventures are out there waiting to be discovered.

About the Author: Dr. Carolyn Anderson is the founder of Impowerage. Her mission in life is to empower older adults with the information they need to continue living healthy active lifestyles.

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