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When I Grow Old…

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When I grow up, I want to be an old woman. And wear purple, lots of it. And a tutu. And start a llama farm, and sing songs as I waltz down the street. And trek the Himalayas, go hot air ballooning, and jump out of an airplane on my 85th birthday. Luckily, by the time I get there, the world might be ready. Apparently, there’s been a huge increase in experiental traveling for the elderly.

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Ten years ago, Tom Lackey lost his wife Isabel. Instead of losing his lust for life, he started attaching himself to the wings of bi-planes. Today, at 89 years old, he holds the record for being the world’s oldest wing-walker. ‘My family thinks I’m mad,’ he told the New York Times. ‘I probably am.’

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In all likelihood, few of us will have Lackey’s gusto, but apparently more and more of us will be putting together our bucket lists and taking off. Rather than putting our feet up and waiting to kick it. The bucket, that is.

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More seniors than ever are choosing adventure tours over cosy coach tours. Grand Circle Travel, a tour company that specializes in older travelers, reports that the average traveler’s age has risen from 62 to 68, and adventure tours are up from 16% of passenger volume in 2001 to 50% this year. Non-profit educational travel group Exploritas notes the sharpest growth is in the over-85s, at more than 70 percent.

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As we all know, age provides us with wisdom, which can translate into the know-how to travel bravely but wisely. There’s also an element of ‘what the heck’ that comes with knowing you have nothing to lose by having the time of your life. RM

Images: World Records AcademyTravel Insurance for the Elderly; Slovenske zeleznice; Transitions Abroad;

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