Baby Boomer Travel Experts (or Senior Travel Experts) Reveal Their 3 Favorite Places to Travel
There are so many favorite places to travel in the world, including some of the most stunning landscapes located right here in our own country. Everyone knows it’s almost impossible to decide where to go. Therefore, we at Southwest Discoveries have made the task less daunting for. We interviewed our top baby boomer travel experts and asked them if you could only travel to 3 places in your lifetime, what would be your 3 favorite places to travel to?
Let me tell you, the insights we received from these well-established authors were nothing short of amazing. We’ve listed all of them below.
Clark Norton – clarknorton.com
Clark Norton is an extraordinary travel copywriter and Baby-Boomer travel expert, truly one of the most inspiring people I’ve met. He is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel-related copywriting assignments. A voracious traveler, Clark has roamed the globe – throughout the Far East and across Europe – and has recently relocated and set up camp here in Tucson, Arizona. The perspective he brings to his articles is truly worth the read.
This is a tough question because I want to go everywhere I haven’t been and return almost everywhere I have been, but I find myself preoccupied these days with:
1. Cruising the Mekong River to Angkor Wat, Cambodia. I love SE Asia, I love river cruising, and Angkor Wat is one of the two great archaeological wonders of the world I still haven’t seen (see below). Just being on any SE Asian river is an amazing experience, with the passing parade of boats of every description, so that alone would be enough, but adding Angkor Wat puts it over the top.
2. Hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru. The second of the two remaining world archaeological wonders I’ve yet to see. The photography is so great, how can the real thing be anything but? I’d also be perfectly happy riding the train there.
3. The Great Migration in the Serengeti in Tanzania. When I was in Tanzania I was doing political reporting way back when and didn’t make it to the Serengeti. Along with the Galapagos, this has to be the greatest animal spectacle on earth.
Clark’s website is located at: clarknorton.com
Donna and Alan Hull – myitchytravelfeet.com
Donna and Alan Hull provide some of the most complete and thorough guides to baby boomer travel on the web and are usually off on another exciting adventure. Their writing, photography and travel resources are excellent and they will inform you of what to expect on your next trip. Their forays include not only domestic trips but international adventures as well. This is absolutely one of the best baby boomer travel sites on the list!
If I could only travel to 3 places in my lifetime, I’d include in my travel plans:
Antarctica, Glacier National Park, and the South Pacific.
Antarctica is the most awe-inspiring place on the planet. Besides the wild, icy landscape, seeing penguins in their natural environment is a treat. Of course, as a Montana resident, I’m extra partial to Glacier National Park. The mountains, lakes and forests inspire my love of nature. And then there’s the wildlife: grizzly bears, moose, mountain goats, big horn sheep. Adding a warm weather destination like the South Pacific offers balance to my list. The Pacific is so blue, the islands so exotic and swimming with stingrays is one of my most memorable travel experiences.
You can find Donna and Alan’s website at: myitchytravelfeet.com
Linda Ballou – lindaballouauthor.com
Travel Writer and author of Wai-nani, A voice from Old Hawaii, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales and The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon, Linda Ballou believes that the secret to youth is to fill your mind with beauty. She writes, “It is the absorption of the beauty, found free of charge in nature, that will keep your heart clear and your mind cleansed.” In her previous life, Linda sold real estate in Los Angeles. Without her daily hikes into the Santa Monica Mountains, the stress of her profession would have overcome her. Today, her goal is to experience as many spectacular places as possible while they are still pristine. Her soon-to-be-published collection of travels essays Lost Angel Walkabout focuses on the healing power of wild places. I couldn’t agree more!
Linda is the adventure travel expert on National Association of Baby Boomer Women.
Three favorite places to travel to would be:
The wonders down under are on my mind. I don’t want to miss the Daintree Forest, Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas with a cruise over the Great Barrier Reef. I want to walk on the beach along the Great Ocean Road and then take a flight to Tasmania to hike in the Cradle Mountains and to explore Marie Island to cap off my stay. A stop at Cook Islands where I think I want my ashes scattered in a tranquil, azure lagoon, is on my list, as well. Hope to get to all three in 2018!
Linda Ballou website is located here: lindaballouauthor.com
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli – retireearlylifestyle.com
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, retirement experts, are published authors on topics ranging from finance to world travel. In 1991 at the ripe old age of 38, they quit their full-time jobs in the brokerage and restaurant businesses and embarked on a journey which took them around the world. They have been traveling ever since. With the wealth of information, they share on their popular website, they have inspired other people to achieve their own retirement dreams. They wrote the popular books “The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement“ and “Your Retirement Dream IS Possible“. On their various excursions throughout the world, they have tales to tell!
Thailand. It’s completely exotic and very different from the Americas or Europe. The exquisite food offerings, the Thai massages, the emphasis on Buddhism and finding a pain-free life with meaning all add to the journey. People are friendly and charming with a great sense of fun (called ‘sanook’). Great for photography.
Mexico. A vast country with lots of geographic diversity from mountains and beaches to little dinky towns and great Colonial cities, Mexico has something for everyone. Food variety is awesome, people are friendly and family oriented, and it’s a good value.
Guatemala. For the colorful, ancient Mayan culture, incredible natural beauty, the Colonial city of Antigua and the stunning appeal of Lake Atitlan.”
Billy and Akaisha’s website is located at: retireearlylifestyle.com
Dean and Pauline – www.lavidaglobal.com
Living La Vida Global is a place for people who love to travel but do so looking for value for every dollar. Not necessarily cheap, but not needing to be pampered (maybe occasionally). It is for people like Dean and Pauline who have just gotten through the family travel era and want more than just to become “old people watching the world through a bus window.” They seek the best value for every travel dollar and every vacation day available in order to help create a once in a lifetime experience.
So much to choose from and a nearly impossible task but one place makes the list without so much as a second thought.
With a World Heritage listed food culture, some of the world’s most incredible ancient ruined cities, a colorful and vibrant atmosphere and some of the friendliest people on the planet our top spot has to be Mexico.
Five visits already and no plans to give up yet this place makes every list for us.
For our final two choices it would have to be places we haven’t been and, given that they will be the only two new places we would get to see, have to be something special. One of these would be Canada and Alaska with a cruise through the Inside Passage and a chance to see the stunning scenery and some of the local animals in their natural habitat.
The final selection is really tough and we wonder how to choose with options like an African Safari, Patagonia and the Swiss Alps on offer but when push comes to shove we would have to see the Galapagos Islands and some more the nearby regions of South America. Once again the thought of never seeing a place with so much natural beauty seems like a waste of a life filled with a determination to travel.
Dean and Pauline’s website can be found here: www.lavidaglobal.com
Di and Dave – www.meanderingwanderers.com
Di was always a “go-getter.” She wanted adventure and excitement and something new to do; from being a Scuba Diving Instructor to setting up her own business. She mountain biked, surfed, competed in bodybuilding and ran a personal training business. Di once headed off on a round the world trip with her family for 8 weeks. Her husband Dave decided to “turn his world completely upside down and walk out into the unknown.” He immigrated to Australia from Lancashire England with his parents in the early 1970’s and was an avid traveler throughout his 20’s and later sought adventure with his wife Diane. With kids in tow, they visited England, Europe, Asia and America. Now that their kids are gone, their desire for travel has increased even further. So Di and Dave decided to hit the open road, “spending their inheritance” as they term it. Their hope is to “circumnavigate the world without flying. ” They are always re-evaluating re-planning and setting new goals.
If I could only travel to three places in my lifetime where would I go?
Sabah in Borneo: the wildlife in their natural habitat is unique and varied. The history, in particular, World War 2, is enthralling; and it is off the beaten tourist track with a lot of untouched territory to explore.
Tibet: it is spiritually mystical, high above the world with views and culture, like no other, and is rich in history, both modern and ancient.
Myanmar (Burma): its doors are opening to the world. The roads and sights are yet to be traveled by most, and it has so much diversity and culture.
Follow Di and Dave’s adventures at: www.meanderingwanderers.com
Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith – www.totraveltoo.com
The daily grind of corporate life had Duncan and Jane Dempster Smith working long hours and as they phrased it, ” commuting, earning a salary, paying taxes and putting money aside for retirement – it seemed a never-ending cycle.” When one of their sons took a gap year they decided to follow their own adventures, traveling to Macchu Pichu, Iguassu Falls, Myanmar, hot air ballooning in Cappadocia and many other bucket list forays. Jane and Duncan offer advice to Baby Boomers on how to get off the treadmill and start implementing their own travel bucket list. Moreover, they offer advice on travel planning, downsizing, time management and adventure on a budget.
Japan – Japan is a country that excites because it is so different. It is a country of superb infrastructure, delicious food, it’s clean, organized and a joy to travel around. The islands of Okinawa have some of the finest beaches.
Machu Picchu in Peru – to enter Machu Picchu by trekking for 4 days is one challenging experience. It is unique, mystical, historical and compelling, touching all 5 senses in one go.
Egypt – Cairo, and the Great Pyramid of Giza and a leisurely sail down the River Nile in a Dahabiya.
Jane and Duncan’s website can be found t: www.totraveltoo.com
Suzanne and Craig Stavert – adventuresofemptynesters.com
Suzanne and Craig have a passion for sharing their expertise and excitement for travel, including exotic restaurants featuring delicious food, and unique products. Their blog is geared for mid-life travelers. Suzanne writes “What is life without adventure? Now that their kids are grown and happily living on their own, it is time to focus on what we want!” They launched AdventuresofEmptyNesters.com in January 2014 to help galvanize a global community of people who don’t plan to spend this time of their life sitting on the sideline.
If I set out to create the perfect trip, there are several criteria that are important to us!
1. Great food and restaurants
2. Access to a nice beach
3. Fantastic architecture
4. Vibrant people
5. Superior Photography
Now to narrow the field down even further… if we had to only go to three destinations in our lifetime, these would be our top three choices.
This country is so vast and so full of wonderful locations to see and people to meet that this country Down Under suits the bill perfectly! Of course, they also offer some of the most spectacular beaches in the world! Need we comment on the architecture of the Sydney Opera House? It is truly breathtaking!
Next, we would travel to the coastal city of Barcelona, one of the most spectacular and vibrant cities in Europe. The famous architect Antoni Gaudí has created and built buildings and parks that are unequaled. His most famous masterpiece, Sagrada Familia, is our favorite building in the world. Eye-catching, aromatic paella is a must eat when visiting this Spanish gem of a city!
We must then travel to one of our favorite spots in the United States, the Emerald City of Seattle. Seattle, has it all! AMAZING restaurants, music festivals, gorgeous green parks, hip, friendly people and is located on the spectacular Puget Sound. The Seattle Space Needle is one of the most recognizable and unique buildings in the world.
Each of these three places offers all four of our destination criteria. These cities/countries are colorful, offer breathtaking vistas, delectable food, beaches to stroll, locals to engage and every photo you will take is prettier than the next.
If you have not visited all of these travel destinations, make a plan and get going!
Suzanne and Craig’s website can be found at: adventuresofemptynesters.com
Dave and Veronica: empty nesters – gypsynester.com
Dave and Veronica, empty nesters, decided to “rather than mope around the house,” sell their home and travel the world. On their successful blogpost, they chronicle their hilarious adventures while wandering the globe. They published a book called “Going Gypsy.” PBS’s Next Avenue said “If you are tempted by the awakening of your own long-dormant wanderlust, Going Gypsy can serve as a primer. The questions Veronica poses about ‘what next’ are relatable ones for all empty nesters.”
If we had to pick 3 places we’d have to start with Machu Picchu. Perhaps we should more accurately say the entire Sacred Valley of the Inca. We were in awe almost every step of the way.
Our second choice would be driving an RV across Newfoundland. Above and beyond the incredible landscapes and natural beauty, the people are the friendliest we have ever encountered.
Our third pick would be the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The concentration of animals in this small area is truly amazing. At times we had to pinch ourselves to believe what we were seeing.
Dave and Veronica’s website is located here: gypsynester.com
Michele Peterson – www.atastefortravel.ca
A Taste for Travel is a resource for travellers who love food, drink and sun destinations. Showcasing the best of Mexico, the Caribbean and southern Europe and North America, it celebrates seasonal, locally-sourced and traditional cuisines as well as local experiences, hotels and select accommodations. In 2017, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) recognized A Taste for Travel’s post “12 Reasons I’m Tempted to Drop Everything and Move to Grenada” with the award for the Best Caribbean Blog Post of 2016, a selection made by public vote in the Canadian media awards. Published by Michele Peterson with several contributing writers who are experts in their fields, the A Taste for Travel website also includes recipes, travel tips and special discounts for readers.
Even world-weary adventurers will be awestruck by the views in Panajachel located on Lake Atitlan in the highlands of Guatemala. Considered one of the world’s most beautiful lakes by luminaries such as sci-fi writer Aldous Huxley, this deep, mirrored lake is surrounded by volcanoes and dotted with indigenous Mayan villages, each unique with its own customs, culinary traditions and artisanal weavings.
Another top choice would be Churchill Canada where visitors can spot polar bears in the winter and snorkel alongside white belugas in the summertime.
Another top choice for nature and food lovers is Puerto Escondido Mexico where it’s possible to dine on delicious Oaxacan cuisine and experience natural wonders such as swimming in a bioluminescent lagoon or witnessing an arribada, a spectacular event when 5,000 or more sea turtles come ashore to nest.
Michele’s website can be found here: www.atastefortravel.ca/
Nancy Brown – nancydbrown.com
When the majority of Nancy Brown’s classmates were headed to UC Berkeley, a few miles from her old high school, she broke from the flock and attended the University of Oregon’s Journalism School. Upon graduation, she escaped California to live in Boston to experience the East Coast. About the time that her peers were getting married and starting families, Nancy started a public relations agency with a friend, quit her job, put her possessions in storage and backpacked through Europe with her newlywed husband. While Nancy has not necessarily followed the yellow brick road, she has pursued her passion of travel and writing. What a trip it has been!
What a difficult question. As I specialize in equestrian travel, one of the places that I would like to visit in my lifetime is Africa. Specifically, I would like to ride safari on horseback. I’ve seen pictures of horses riding alongside herds of zebra’s during their migration and it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to ride near the elephants and come across a pride of lions.
My next journey would be to Switzerland for a hot air balloon ride. As this would be a flight of a lifetime I would ask my skilled pilot to prepare for an epic adventure with touch and go landings in the many fairytale locations that lend itself to Switzerland; the lakes, countryside and Swiss alps.
My final trip would be to the dude ranches of Montana. Montana is one of my favorite places to ride horseback. I’d start my equestrian adventure at small family-run dude ranches and end at my favorite three high-end luxury resorts; Triple Creek Ranch, Paws Up and The Ranch at Rock Creek.
Nancy Brown’s website can be found here: nancydbrown.com
Leyla – women-on-the-road.com
Leyla, of Women on the Road, has set out to empower women to travel solo by providing useful and inspiring information on travel safety as well as highlighting great destinations geared toward women. She loves inspiring women to overcome their fears and see the world on their own terms. Her blogsite shows women how to make money as they travel, choose the best volunteer vacation and eating out alone, among many other things.
My favorite kind of question… here goes…
Madagascar: I’ve been wanting to see its lemurs and chameleons in the wild but my secret dream is to walk along the grandeur of the island’s giant baobabs, their ancient power reaching straight up to the sky.
St Petersburg in Russia – for its art, history and architecture. As a fan of Russian history and literature, every famous building and every street would speak to me through pages I’d already read.
The Yukon: I love modern life but I also love escaping it. In the Yukon, I could look towards the horizon, uninterrupted by human life, to where the stars meet the tundra, bright winter lights dancing in the darkness.
You can find Leyla’s website here: women-on-the-road.com
Michelle Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, NY Travel Writers Association and American Society of Journalists and Authors. Growing up abroad, combined with being a Pan Am stewardess in the 1970’s, fueled her passion for travel. That experience with the world offered a vast amount of travel stories; she relishes sharing them with her readers. As a longtime resident of Mexico City raising a young family, Michelle naturally developed an editorial slant which was primarily geared towards family travel. Consequently, her two daughters – who often accompanied her – were privy to priceless experiences as a result of her vocation.
It’s hard to narrow my choices down to just three places! However, I would choose: Portugal, Mexico and Egypt.
1 – Portugal, because my dad was from Portugal and I lived there growing up. It’s still one of the world’s best kept secrets and I kind of hope it remains that way. The people, the culture, the food, the music, the scenery, the history …. where do I begin! It’s also one of the most affordable countries in Europe.
2 – Mexico is very close to my heart as I lived in Mexico City for nearly 20 years. This beautiful country gets a bad rap because of the drug-related problems along the border but to know Mexico is to love it. You won’t find kinder, more welcoming people anywhere. It has everything – from beautiful beaches to charming colonial towns and a scintillating, sophisticated capital. Once again, the food, the culture, the overall ambiente (atmosphere) is hard to beat
3 – Egypt is another one of my favorites because I’ve always been drawn to its ancient history and archaeology is one of my secret passions. Once again, the people are warm and welcoming and it’s an overall fantastic experience!
Her website can be found here: therestlessvoyager.com
Nancie McKinnon – budgettravelerssandbox.com
A long time expat discovering the world with her camera, and her taste buds; one country, one photo, one chili pepper at a time, Nancie is a transplanted Canadian who has been living, working, and taking photographs in Asia since late 2000. Prior to beginning her one-year expat adventure (now into year 9) She earned a Master’s degree, and now teaches at the university level. This allows her both the time and money required to travel several times a year. Nancie is also a freelance writer and has co-authored several TOEFL testing textbooks with Compass Publishing. Her goal with budgettravelerssandbox.com is to provide readers with a firsthand account of Nancie’s travel experiences.
Choosing only 3 places is a challenge. Here goes!
1. The Maldives. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to swim in those gorgeous turquoise waters and walk on the white sand beaches.
2. The Antarctic. I’m not a big fan of snow, ice or the cold, but I would make an exception for this adventure. Glaciers, icebergs, and penguins, and learning about the Antarctic’s vast ecosystem are drawing cards for me.
3. Uganda. The opportunity to go gorilla trekking is irresistible. Sitting close to one of these magnificent creatures would be the thrill of a lifetime.
Nancy’s website can be found at: budgettravelerssandbox.com
Lois Alter Mark – midlifeattheoasis.com
Lois Alter Mark is the reigning champion of Blogger Idol (yes, that’s really a thing!) and an award-winning writer who sees the world through rose-colored bifocals. She has documented some of the best experiences of her life on her blog since turning 50, including going to Australia with Oprah, winning three BlogHer Voices of the Year Awards and making her bucket list trip to Londolozi in South Africa. She knows what makes her happy and she’s going for it. Her blog Midlife at the Oasis is a community of women who feel the same way, and who have the power to make things happen — for themselves and others.
Oh, picking just three places is such a tease! I would definitely choose Africa because there is something truly spiritual and awe-inspiring about seeing the animals in their natural habitat. I would choose Miraval in Tucson, Arizona because all the delicious food is included; I could get in shape, experience daily spa treatments and never tire of the beautiful landscape. And, last, like those who ask the genie for three more wishes as their third wish, I would have to choose a Viking Ocean Cruise. I always feel like I’m home (well, a much more luxurious version of home!) when I’m on one, and I could still get to see the world.
Lois’ website can be found here: midlifeattheoasis.com
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