“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.
Love every minute of it. Ravenna, Italy reminded me of my long-time-ago hometown, Ravena, New York !ReplyDelete
Thanks for commenting Michael. You've got a beautiful blog, I visited it last night. Hope you're a regular at TravelnWrite.Delete
These are truly inspirational. I like Don Francisco Rodriguez's story. I'm hoping that I have many more decades of travel ahead of me. My parents figure that they only have a few more international trips before they stop, and my in-laws who were amazing family world travelers in their heyday have decided that it's now too hard for them to do long, overseas flights. If only there was a cruise that could take them from America to visit us in Malaysia!ReplyDelete
Maybe they could do two segments of a repositioning cruise. One from the West Coast we've considered goes to Australia, perhaps then on to Singapore which would at least put them within train ride -- maybe -- distance of you?Delete
Thanks for the tip! I'll have to look into it. They've done repositioning cruises before, so they may be open to this.Delete
Great photos :)ReplyDelete
This post reminded me of my resolve to write about the people I've met in my travels. Some of them are quite inspirational too, and by putting their stories on paper (or in my blog), I'm sure they can help others as well.ReplyDelete
I'll look forward to reading about those folks you meet -- they all add such a new dimension to the travel experience, don't they?Delete
What a touching anecdote about the man at Kastri, Crete. Travel teaches you how to be optimistic and love the gifts you have been given. Bravo on this beautiful and inspired post!ReplyDelete
Charu, Thanks for taking the time to write. Glad you enjoyed this post. I love the title of your blog.Delete
I know what you mean. My in-laws are a source in inspiration. They are always looking to take on new travel adventures without worrying about barriers.ReplyDelete
Yes, we are firm believers that 'aging' and 'ending' don't need to go hand-in-hand!Delete
I like the way you showcased the people with such spirit you met on your travels. They are always the unforgettable ones even if their body lets them down. One of my best friends is 20 years my senior and I enjoy her joie de vivre and wisdom.She reminds me to surround myself with friends of all ages.ReplyDelete
Wishing you happy travels over the coming year. I'm focused on Canada this year as I've now got a book in the works. It should be quite an interesting year.
Happy New Year.
Thanks Leigh. I suspected that a book was in the works from some of the things you've mentioned of late. Good luck with it and great success! Happy New Year to you and yours~Delete
This was such an inspiring post and you've met some very interesting people along the way. It always amazes me to meet the cruisers who spend more time at sea than their homes and a desire to see the world while they can. I love your outlook on travel as a passion and taking risks. Wishing the both of you many more travels and adventures in 2013.ReplyDelete
It's the people we meet on our travels that make it all worth while, isn't it Jackie! These people you've introduced us to are quite inspiring.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing their stories with us and reminding us how important it is to keep a positive attitude.
Nice story, Jackie. You're only as old as you think you are (even if your bones think you are really a lot older!).ReplyDelete
I'd make that bones, back, muscles and facial wrinkles, Dick!Delete
Amazing and truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us! This is what travel is all about...ReplyDelete
Thanks Heather! I agree these folks are all true inspirations.Delete
Isn't it nice to meet such nice & inspiring people as we travel? Travel is certainly my passion & always has been. I can't imagine ever letting age or other factors stand in the way -- or so I hope. :)ReplyDelete
I share your determination to not let factors get in the way (let's keep our fingers crossed that they don't)!Delete
What a wonderful year-end post, Jackie. Each one in an inspiration. I don't see my travel passion lessening any in 2013, with the goal to travel somewhere I have never been before. At this moment, I have no idea where that might be :) Happy New Year to you and Joel. All the best in 2013!ReplyDelete
Thanks Nancie! We are of the same mindset. Look forward to reading about your travels in 2013. In the meantime enjoy your holidays at the beach (envy!). Happy New Year!!Delete
Ultimately, it's people that make the lasting impressions. 5 years ago, on the Nile, we met a fabulous Danish lady in her 80s who rented cars and drove around in Egypt all on her own. My kids still remember her as the coolest ever.ReplyDelete
I know we would have liked that Danish lady! Wouldn't that be the ultimate compliment. . .to be remembered as 'the coolest ever'?ReplyDelete