My grandparents golfed, cruised and often traveled in tour groups. They would bring things home for me from their travels, such as a Norwegian sweater, a Scottish blanket (I still use it after all these years) and a turquoise ring from a Native America Reservation they loved to visit in Arizona — wonderfully traditional stuff.
My parents are way more adventurous, but it still would probably stress them out to travel the way I often do: informed, well read, but ready to alter my plans at any moment. I have to hand it to them though, for folks in their 70s, they are pretty inspirational.
Just like a concerned parent, I fretted when my father traveled to Myanmar on his own and when my mom and her best friend took a whirlwind trip to Greece and Turkey. They are young at heart and never wanted to follow a travel formula, which is in part why I love to travel so much.
These days, grandparents are not constrained by previous generations’ notions of a great trip. Many want adventure and are willing to break the shackles of the seniors travel model. A recent article in the New York Times, Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure, puts the spotlight on active, thrill seeking seniors.
People are living longer, and now many older folks are grappling with issues, such as how to pack medications appropriately for the Australian outback or Alaskan glaciers, not merely trying to decide which restaurant to hit for the early bird special. One 74-year-old mountaineer made it 28,000 feet up Mount Everest before turning back, just 1,000 feet short of the summit. Whether it is bragging rights, return to adolescence or the sheer joy of adventure seniors are seeking, travel experts are taking note of the growing phenomenon.