Sometimes the “travel bug” strikes us young—but other travelers prove that it’s never too late to catch it … or to catch up. We asked some travel “late bloomers” to share their stories.
Ready to Go
I took my first trip abroad when I was 60. You see, I had a son who was hit by a truck when he was 11 and was a profoundly brain injured, spastic quadriplegic who required total care until he died at age 35. When Chris was alive, I felt some relief that I couldn’t travel far and leave him. I didn’t want to fly over the ocean, sitting on a plane for eight hours. That thought really gave me anxiety.
As I approached 60, my six children and husband had all been overseas and my best friend was from Germany. I was ready to try overseas travel. My first trip was with my friend, her husband, and my husband and we spent 19 days traveling Germany. I now tell people that I was bitten by the travel bug while in Germany because after that trip I was ready to go.
That was in 2007, and since then I have traveled to more than 24 countries, and will be adding a few more this summer when my son and I travel Eastern Europe to the Black Sea. I remember tears in my eyes as I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I remember the awe I felt seeing the marushka dolls on display at the airport in St. Petersburg, Russia. I have certainly been blessed with the ability to travel and am grateful for all the memories and pictures in my mind.
Thanks to: Faye P., 4-time traveler & 3-time Vacation Ambassador from Park Forest, IL • Most recently traveled on: Ireland in Depth
“One Day” Finally Came
My father was a World War II veteran. He brought back a large hand-carved chest from China after the war ended. As a child, I would open that chest and smell the "foreign" smells that were unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. I saw the beautiful shells he brought back, the beautiful materials contained in the chest, and decided early that "one day" I was going to experience these countries for myself.
I started traveling at age 40 with a three-week rafting trip down the Grand Canyon and have never looked back. I'm now 65. In December 2018, I visited Antarctica, completing my seventh continent with an exhilarating Polar Plunge of celebration.
I LOVE TRAVELING AND WOULDN'T CHANGE MY LIFE FOR ANYTHING! (I also love O.A.T., having just completed my eight trip in January! I just visited six countries in the physical and emotional heart of Africa!)
Thank you O.A.T., for helping to make my dreams come true!
Thanks to: Ann H., 8-time traveler from Salt Lake City Utah • Most recently traveled on: Out of Africa: Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya & Tanzania
Making New Memories
I remember my first trip abroad. I went to England, Scotland, and a little taste of Wales. I had never traveled alone before and when my kids were mostly grown I decided that if I don't start now I will never go. So, I got a passport and went. On the night before departure I had a dream that I was on the plane and as it was taking off I realized I didn't have my passport. I woke up from that dream (or nightmare) and checked to make sure I did have it.
It was a lovely trip though. Met some interesting people. Ate haggis in Scotland and it wasn't bad; I don't know what everyone's problem was. Stayed in a hotel that Mary Queen of Scots stayed in when she traveled to England. Loved London. So much to see. Met a new friend and hung out with her for the trip.
This year I am going back to England, Scotland and Wales with Grand Circle to see what I missed when I went 21 years ago. My old memories are stuck in my head so I am excited to make new memories.
Thanks to: Deena R., 9-time traveler from Los Angeles, CA • Most recently traveled on: Crossroads of the Adriatic: Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Slovenia
Not One of “Those” Ladies
After my husband passed away I said I would not be one of those old ladies who did nothing but whine because their spouse was gone. At 76, I took my two grandsons, ages 9 and 12 to Yellowstone Park in our motor home. It worried my kids about my being alone so far from home, so I looked for a travel company that did not charge a single supplement and found O.A.T. and Grand Circle. On my trip to the Amazon and Machu Picchu I ended up in the hospital. I received such good care and concern from the company that I knew this was the company for me to travel with. I am a piano teacher, so I have an income which I spend on traveling—mostly with O.A.T. and Grand Circle. My students see my pictures and hear my stories and often take my mementoes to school: ash from the volcano in Iceland, papyrus from Egypt, a toy yurt from Mongolia, etc. Now, at age 91, I have been to all seven continents and 61 countries. My traveling has come to an end, but I have fantastic memories.
Thanks to: Marie M., 15-time traveler from Lancaster, OH • Most recently traveled on: Romantic Blue Danube: Budapest to Prague
A Lifelong Goal Realized
When I was 68, I received a stent in my heart. Outside of Canada, I had never been abroad. I had all but eight states, so I had traveled domestically. My wife and I decided that if we were going to travel, we had better get going.
When I taught school, I taught a goal-seeking class. My students asked me what my goal was. I told them I wanted to see the three great falls of the world: Niagara, Iguassu, and Victoria Falls. Our first trip was to Argentina to see Iguassu. We had a marvelous trip which included Buenos Aires, El Calafate, Ushuaia, and Valdez Peninsula. We marveled at Patagonia and the Andes. We saw guanacos, mara, southern right whales, Magellanic penguins, rea, and an Andean condor.
We have since taken 14 more trips. We have been in 25 countries. Recently, we returned from Vietnam where I visited the site where I served 53 years ago.
My wife and I had both seen Niagara Falls, so we added Victoria Falls, twice. My goal was met a long time ago but we keep going. I will be 77 in June and am busy planning 2020. My heart condition is very stable, so who knows how many more countries we will visit. Maybe we will have to go to some twice.
Thanks to: Raymond M. from Thompson Falls, MT, who we hope to welcome on his first trip soon!
Thinking about your first trip—or know someone who might be? Check out some of our most popular adventures for first-time travelers with O.A.T.