Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Too old for travel or expat life? 'No Way!', you say. . .

“The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible.”
Judith Regan

Wow! You do have some thoughts on 'boomer' lifestyle and travel!  Your response to my most recent post made that very clear. . .

Elders in Tripoli, Greece reading the news

In that post (The Night I Danced with the Barmaid and other tales.  . .)I wrote of the juxtaposition of  my experiences in dancing with a barmaid in a Greek taverna and falling over a suitcase at an airport with my first U. S. Medicare Wellness Exam. While neither of the falls I took had given me cause to think about ageing and health, the exam certainly did. 

I began pondering if 'a woman my age' (that phrase doctors start using when you turn 50) just might be getting too old for the adventures we have been having as full-time expats in Greece and avid world travelers.

Aging playground in the village of Trachila, Greece

Ending that post with the question, 'what do you boomer travelers and ex pats think about the impact of aging on your lifestyle. . .or do you think about aging?' we didn't expect such an outpouring of thoughts.

Boomers are ready for new vistas and discovery

For those getting Travelnwrite delivered as an email, you miss the richness of the comments that are added by readers to the blog post. If you respond to the email you receive, we are the only ones who see it. Those of you not on Facebook also miss the comments posted there. And for that reason, your most recent comments -- which deserved to be seen by more than the two of us --  prompted me to shelve my planned post on updates from The Stone House on the Hill and instead share a sampling of your thoughts on boomer travel and lifestyle choices.  And I've included links to the blogs written by many who left comments - I'd recommend them all!

Kalderimis - ancient Greek roads make excellent hiking paths

 Anita Oliver, co-creator of the blog No Particular Place to Go, a friend and fellow American ex-pat who lives in Portugal wrote:

We've talked in the past of common experiences we share but this post lands on the top of the list! I've tripped over chairs in restaurants, fallen off bikes and down stairs, skidded across gravel and rocks when walking and yes, sprawled over my own damn suitcase in front of crowds of people. 😁 All you can do is laugh and be thankful that nothing's broken. I couldn't agree more with your words, "... they've made me appreciate even more our decision to live differently; to dance, to travel, to climb stairs without handrails and to walk on uneven surfaces for as long as our old bodies and minds allow us to do so." How boring our lives would be if we didn't challenge ourselves to search for new experiences and adventures rather than play it safe

Boomers are ready to travel new roads

Philadelphia-based traveler Suzanne Fluhr, who authors the blog, Boomeresque wrote:

My Medicare card just arrived effective April 1, the month I turn that age. Is it cheating if I start memorizing those words before my Medicare Wellness Exam? I wish I could honestly say I travel with as much abandon as I did when I was younger although some people might think I'm still a little cray cray. However, with apologies to the country music singer whose name I can't remember ;) , I still dance like nobody's watching at every opportunity, especially if frozen mai tais are available.
Greek village of Stoupa at sunset

Fellow American ex pat in The Mani Linda Jackim Werlein, writer and one of the creators of Write Club The Podcast Group summarized her thoughts on aging and ex pat life:

I love living in Greece in large part because of the pace of life. We're not necessarily expected to show up on time (unless you're going to an affair hosted by other Americans), and the cashier doesn't panic if you don't have enough money with you ("Don't worry. Bring it later.") and nobody dresses up for much of anything. Everything is down to what's really important: Are you comfortable? Are you happy? Do you need help with anything? . . ..

Life here is good, people are friendly and generous, and the landscape is unspeakably beautiful. I'm 74, Hal is 81, and we wake up grateful every day for the privilege of living here. And hell no, we don't feel old!!

Springtime in The Man

From Viet Nam, Elena, slow-traveler and co-creator of Traveling Bytes blog writes:

I’d been slow traveling around the world for the past 7 years. I noticed that outside of the US, there is a very different perception of what “age” means. My host in Sicily was a tiny lady with boundless energy. Once, in a conversation, she mentioned that she was born a decade before Mussolini came to power. Ouch! I needed a break in the middle of hot summer days, but she didn’t. In rural Japan, during my morning runs along the river, I often saw a gentleman effortlessly (and tirelessly) running back and forth. As it transpired, he was training for an upcoming marathon. He mentioned that his wife joked that at 82 he would be the only entry in that age category. He was pleased that his tenacity and wise approach to training produced results that put him in an almost half-a-century younger bracket. I wonder if whoever put together questions for the “Wellness Visit,” ever saw stairs of homes in Amsterdam or knew that elevators are a rarity in many French buildings. In my yoga class, here in southern Vietnam, half of the participants would qualify for Medicare in the US. However, they do not get any different treatment than others and would be puzzled if somebody asked them about feeling unsteady while walking. Cheers!

“Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. 
But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, 
or spread out.”
Phyllis Diller 

Stairs without handrails are normal in this part of Greece

Goatdi who raises La Mancha goats and a few chickens on '42 acres of paradise at the most southern tip of the Cascade Mountain Range and who writes New Life on the Farm Last Chapter, said:

When the folks who run the rules and regs at Medicare volunteer to help me haul and stack a load of alfalfa bales for my dairy goats (125# per bale ) we will talk. 

Mani in the Springtime

Forest Ranger Gaelyn who writes Geo Gypsy Traveler travel blog from various locations in America's Southwest replied:

I just got signed up for Medicare and haven't taken that test. Please don't ask me to stop dancing, sauntering and traveling. Who is that wrinkled Ranger in my mirror? I will do what I do until I am unable.

A springtime sunset over Messinian Bay

An email from long-time reader, Sue C., who is a tireless 'can do' volunteer with whom I've worked in civic and political efforts in the Seattle suburb where we used to live, provided more food for thought:

I just got an email that said "How old would you feel if you didn't know your birthday? ".  Food for thought.  Luckily I sure don't feel 77!  I can even do stairs without railings!

Greece and olive groves - timeless

Cindy Carlsson, fellow travel enthusiast and author of Exploration Vacation blog, responded:

I'm younger, but my spouse passed the Medicare milestone the other year and, of course, my mother deals with these questions all the time and that nagging fear "am I too old to do this?" For many people 65 is simply not old anymore and we shouldn't be rushed to stop living our lives because "something might happen." Something could happen to anyone at anytime - especially if you are klutzy like I am. I love that you've decided to live life on your terms and not society's expectations and I try to do the same. I just hope that when they do the memory test they don't ask me what day of the week it is, because I never have a clue - why would I need to know if I'm not living every moment on someone else's schedule?! Keep those dancing shoes handy just in case!

Spring wild flowers carpet olive groves in The Mani

From Israel, Dina, author of Jerusalem Hills Daily Photo blog, observed:

I think the best way for us not to get old is to hang on to our sense of humor. :) 

Taygetos Mountains frame The Mani

Tom Bartel, who along with his wife, Kristin Henning, created Travel Past 50 blog, wrote during their current travels in Cambodia:

And yes, I too, passed the memory test. At least I think I did. I can't remember. We're in Cambodia right now and I haven't so much as seen a hand rail yet. However, we do also have rugs on hardwood floors at home, and we measured them and got thin rubber pads non slip pads for them. Cheap insurance. At least cheaper than Medicare.

A toast to boomers everywhere!

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, 
the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. 
When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Sophia Loren 

Our sincere thanks to all of you who take the time read our blog and share your thoughts in return. The richness of the discussion is what makes the blogosphere so interesting!  We wish you safe and happy travels.  Carpe Diem and hope to see you back again soon - bring some friends with you!

Linking with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday


  1. For one who us way into Medicare and us having her 6th Wellness tests soon, thus was such an interesting read. I still travel 6 months a year but I am mire careful!

    1. It is interesting to hear others' points of view isn't it? Thanks for stopping by Carol and you'd never know by looking at you that you are having your sixth wellness exam!

  2. I never tire of seeing your photos of Greece and particularly enjoyed the springtime photos in the Mani. It's not hard to imagine that the same views you enjoy now were seen centuries ago by the inhabitants of the region. *Timeless* is the perfect word to describe the landscapes and perhaps ageless is the best way to describe the mindset of the growing number of boomers who ignore the constraints of a conventional retirement and choose to live their lives with enthusiasm and gusto! Anita P.S. From reading the comments you received, I have to admit that I was glad I wasn't the only one who wondered about passing the memory test! πŸ˜„

    1. Living in a place where the setting is so timeless, we do find ourselves feeling 'ageless' or at least a lot younger than our surroundings! One of these days I am hoping we get to show you our world in real life!! And that memory test is one which should be forgotten!! Hugs to you! (Are you on this side of the pond or are you with family on the other side of the pond?)

  3. Never too old. Only as old as you allow yourself to be. Beautiful photographs!

    1. So agreed: you are only as old as you allow yourself to be! Thanks so much for the visit and the comment. Hope to see you back again soon.

  4. Traveling is a joy at any age!
    Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/03/hellebore-or-lenten-rose.html

    1. I love being a part of your link-up! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Just catching up, and went back to read your Dancing With Barmaids post. I'm reminded of the name of a blog post my chiropractor wrote called "Death By Chair." Basically, he says, don't sit.....dance! Travel on!

  6. I love that phrase, "Death By Chair" and am going to put it on my bulletin board in our den. A most appropriate reminder that dangers of dancing are no worse than dangers of vegetating!

  7. oops...I missed the "am I too old"...
    at my advanced age, I AM too old to do a lot of things I used to do. I am very blessed to be in as good health as I am and can still do a lot of things others my age aren't able to do...it still shocks the heck out of me to know that both my children are in their 50's....my gosh!!!
    I sure don't think that you and your sweetheart are too old to travel and live in beautiful Greece.Having fun and staying "on the go" is the fountain of youth...xoxo

    1. Aging and slowing our pace is a part of life but I would hate to think that I gave up something that gave me pleasure just because 'at my age' it might not be the norm to do it! So far we are able to 'do the stairs' and that means we can still live in Greece awhile longer.

  8. I'm European so I don't know about this Medicare test, but everyone ages at a different rate, right? My husband (62) is older than I am but far more physically fit, which may have to do with the tennis and/or soccer he plays 4-5 times a week, and the fact that I don't do more than just walking. The idea of not traveling because you might get hurt just makes no sense to me! If anything, traveling keeps me healthy because I do a lot more walking when I'm sightseeing than when I'm at home. I also don't get why people keep telling me I'm so "brave" to travel so much. It's no more risky than being here at home, and older people should not be pressured to stop!

  9. I think regardless of where we live we go through similar things in life. Ageing...and all that comes with it is one. I know I don't get enough exercise, but I do love to travel, and as much as I dream of a "stone house on the hill" I don't think I can take that plunge. But I love reading about those who do! Have a great week! I hope you have got through the paperwork and appointments. And thank you for your visit last week. Happy travels!

  10. I love this post. I have no idea what the Medicare test is :-). I will definitely check out some of these blogs. Anytime someone asks my age, I actually have to think about it and count down from my oldest sister because in my mind, I feel like l did 30 years ago. I however have no shame in proclaiming my 54 years of age :-)


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