“You are so brave!”
So often that is the response when we talk of some destination or our plans for reaching and discovering it. (That's us high above Dubrovnik, Croatia in the photo above.)
No, not brave.
Just passionate about seeing the world while we are ‘young’ enough to do so.
Along the way we’ve met others who haven't let age or health deter pursuit of their passions. As the year draws to a close, we've been remembering some of those folks who’ve inspired us along the way:
The two ladies in the photo above finally paused long enough for me to snap a photo of them while on a stop in Ravenna, Italy. They were fellow cruisers who had been a continual source of inspiration from the moment we first noticed them aboard the ship.
Their white-hair and frail-frames masked the spirits of a couple of independent travelers who were constantly on the go; never missing a port of call – nor an afternoon of reading at poolside when on the ship.
~~~Poros, Greece ~~~~
Two years ago, on the Greek island of Poros we visited one afternoon with self-taught artist Vasilas Poriotis as he sat in his sidewalk gallery.
As our visit ended we told him that we hoped to return one day and find him there. He said he would be "if I am not dead." Then with a sweeping gesture over his work, he added, "I am not focused on the end - I am not afraid of it when it comes. . .it is what you leave behind that matters. And I have left something behind. . .It is important to leave something behind."
John Koruga, who splits his time between Seattle and Mexico, has pursued his travel passions for decades. But it wasn’t until this fall, at age 86, he tried the world of cruising. He flew from Seattle to Rome and boarded the Celebrity Silhouette, the cruise on which we also ‘looped Italy’s boot’.
Age and health are not topics John readily discusses (although he had both knees replaced a few years ago); he’d prefer to talk about the next trip he’d like to make and he’s got quite a few on his list. In this photo he was teaching me the art of bocce ball.
It was Anna Maria Monari, the 72-year-old owner of Trattoria Anna Maria that inspired during our visit to Bologna, Italy. She founded her restaurant 24 years ago in a smaller location a few blocks from its present site. Back then, Anna Maria was both waitress and chef, serving menu items created from her mother’s recipes.
She’s not entertaining thoughts of retirement either, as she told us, “I am here every day. Where else do I have to go? This is the party. . .Mama Mia!”
“Pero, por que piedra? (But, why stone?), Joel asked of the 76-year-old artist as he explained how he goes to the river and searches for rocks, loads them into a wheelbarrow and hauls them.
“Porque es mi pasion, (Because it is my passion),” he answered simply with a shrug and a grin.
“The colors of the sea” is what I told him when he said he wanted to make me a gift. But the real gift was the time I spent with Georgios Chalkoutsakis on that warm spring afternoon on Crete’s southern shore. Georgios is a glass bead artist whom some might label as 'handicapped', but I would call him talented!
He is wheelchair bound as a result of a premature birth. His hand movement is a bit limited but that hasn't kept him from perfecting his art of glass bead making. My colors of the sea are pictured on the left.
Yes, we believe it all comes down to daring to pursue a passion. Will 2013 be the year that you begin pursuing a long-put-off passion? Or will you simply step up the pursuit of an existing one?
Stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox today if you need a bit more travel inspiration. And if you want to receive TravelnWrite posts in your inbox, sign up in the box on the corner,become a friend by signing up below that box (where our other friend’s photos appear) or follow us on Facebook. We'll get back to the Winter Western Road Trip this weekend.