Last season Ed called us, a little nervous about joining an Active Adventures trip. He explained, “I run 3 days a week, bike on the other days and just finished a triathlon, but I don’t want to hold the group back.” “Well, it sounds like we’ll be trying to keep up with you!” I assured him. “But… I’m 64, is that too old?”
Now clearly Ed, like so many who join us, never considered joining a typical bus tour where a mob of senior citizens shuffle behind a guide holding an umbrella. And Ed clearly knew the adventure tours we lead are physically active, sweaty, and well, adventurous. He was right to inquire if he was too old because most folks assume the typical adventure travel trip taker is either a thirty or forty-something gym rat or weekend athlete who runs marathons or climbs mountains every month. We’ve noticed that there is this odd assumption that adventure travel is for youngsters all searching for the next crazy stunt or adrenaline rush.
But what folks discover, time and time again, is that adventure travel is really about getting out of your rut and trying something new, doing something that maybe scares you a little bit (conquering perceived risks vs. real risks) and accomplishing something tangible, all the while discovering new people and places and seeing the world through new eyes. And there’s the added bonus of snapping pictures for show and tell at home afterwards.
So despite Ed’s concern and the assumptions about it, adventure travel works for a surprising range of ages — from those pre-baby boomer era all the way to the new young-old (50 and 60 year olds) and a bit beyond. It’s about being keen to give it a go, even if you’re not as fit as Ed. Joining an adventure tour makes it simple – you don’t have to handle the logistics and there are experienced guides there to keep you happy regardless of your personal pace. No triathlon training required, but there’s plenty to challenge you if you have!
The days of sitting around in air conditioned luxury, playing bingo and sipping Bloody Marys or Scotch on the Rocks before you turn it in seem to be gone. That’s for the old at heart.
As my martial arts instructor used to say, 80 percent of success is just showing up. If you keep showing up, chances are one day you’ll have a black belt. This is the sort of thing you don’t even consider when you’re a spring chicken, but as you gain age, and by proxy experience, over time the tortoise and the hare parable starts to mean something. The point is, our beyond thirty and forty something clients know how to keep showing up, put in the training to be able to reasonably hike and bike, and stay focused.
I reckon when I’m a granny, I may not have the raw strength of some of the young ‘uns, but I plan to cruise past them on the trails based on my mental toughness — we’ve certainly seen plenty of our clients do just that! And maybe I’ll even pass the guide, who will be young enough to be my grandson, just like Ed will I’m sure.
So yes Ed, at 64, 74, whatever, you’re not too old, not at all. In fact, you are an inspiration to all of us. You happily have our permission to pass the young ‘uns and say “Hey kiddo – eat my dust!”
Written by Pam