Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are we travel Gonzos or Geezers?

Gonzos or Geezers
The question has been nagging since a recent e-chat with a self-described '20-something' vagabond/blogger who shares our passion for travel and also writes a (very popular) blog, Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.  His blogging goals are much like mine: inspire others to travel, to stretch their comfort zones, and of course, offer tips for doing it as cheaply as possible. I call him the "Rick Steves of the 21st Century".

The circumstances of Matt and I e-chatting are irrelevant. But the questions he asked have left me pondering a bigger question: are we Gonzo (gutsy, no-fear,  long-term explorers) or Geezer (somewhat cautious old folks on the move) travelers. . .and I've decided we are poster children for a new genre:  Gonzo Geezers!

Matt had asked me:
"How often do you travel? All the time?"
"How long are your trips?"
"Would you consider yourself 'backpackers?"
"Where do you travel to?"
"Are you retired?"

I suspect my answers left the decades-younger-than-me traveler rolling his eyes and pronouncing us geezers.

But I am comforted the memory of a chat last fall with a fellow traveler (of my age) who asked of our after-cruise-plans. I replied, "We've got two weeks and plan to explore Greece but we don't know where we will go.  We've might just catch the first ferry to leave after we get off the ship and go where it takes us."

"Oh my!," she exclaimed, "You are so brave!  We've gotten too old to do that. . . but I am not sure we would have done that even when we could have."

A five-week trip began with city bus
to SeaTac - we took carry-ons
j.smith photo, (c) 2010 
And as for that backpack: We come across many our age who are traveling just as much - if not more than us - and frankly, we don't see many of them lugging those body-sized packs. . .well, maybe small carry-on size, if for no other reason than to carry those meds. Nuts, the pills alone required for even  healthy middle age, could fill a small backpack. Ever tried to pack one of those fish oil tablet bottles? It's the size of a Coho salmon. And sadly. . .wearing a suit or cocktail dress on cruise ship formal nights that you've just pulled out of the REI all-weather pack, does cause heads to turn.
25-euros a night -
Southern Coast of Crete
j.smith photo (c) 2010


We hike and log many, many miles  on our trips. What we don't want to hike is a hallway in the middle of the night to get to a bathroom. We seek cheap accommodations, but our standards are high. The room must be clean, the bed free of bedbugs and  EN SUITE bathroom is a must.  (Someday those Gonzo 20-somethings will understand that magic word, en suite.)

Re-tired? No, we've re-treaded into a new life style.

So how about you?
Have you re-tired or re-treaded into new adventures?
Are you a Gonzo Geezer?
If you're an armchair traveler, where would you go if you could?
They are questions worth pondering.

(And Matt, tuck a copy of this post away. Read it again when you are sucking air to blow out the candles on your 50th birthday.  My answers will make more sense to you then.)

2 comments:

  1. Again, you have me laughing outta my chair - descriptions of the backpack's contents too funny...
    I now aspire to become a Gonzo Geezer!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sue, Next time you are in the Northwest we will take a Gonzo Geezer tutorial trip together. . .you know, sort of like Oprah and Gayle's adventures but with a Gonzo Geezer twist.

    ReplyDelete

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