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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Adventure travel

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In the midst of a world pandemic — and, in the United States, the culmination of a bitterly divided, exhausting election season — I can offer a few words of advice: Take a hike.

Hiking is an ideal way to get out of your cooped-up house into the fresh air and, certainly for less-crowded trails, is well suited to social distancing.

It’s a healthy activity and usually fun as well. (Some tougher trails aren’t always fun, but tackling — and conquering — them can be highly satisfying.)

But hiking right — meaning minimizing any risk of injury or other problem that may occur — requires adequate preparation and thought.

Guest writer Rebecca Brown lays out the key things to keep in mind for three different types of hikers: day hikers, overnighters, and multi-day hikers.

So lace up your boots, fill your water bottles, and don your backpack — but first,… Continue reading

Here’s something I hadn’t thought much about — but probably should have.

In case of emergency on a remote hiking trail, or on a lonely highway, or anywhere that your cell phone doesn’t get service, what do you do?

Guest poster Harding Bush of Global Rescue has a suggestion: satellite communications. And you can get it for not all that much money.

I do have satellite TV — but that wouldn’t help much if I encountered some Rutger Hauer (RIP) or Javier Bardem character out on that lonely highway. (If you haven’t seen The Hitcher or No Country for Old Men, check them out).

And, one hopes, I could reach AAA, a park ranger, a rescue service — or my favorite ER doc who makes remote trail calls. Well, hope springs eternal. But you get the idea.

By Harding Bush

Traveling near or far? Going with friends, family or… Continue reading

Traditional fishermen ply their trade near ancient Galle, Sri Lanka. Photo from SkyHaven Tours.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a periodic series on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism providers across the globe.

Back in the late 1960s, when I was still mostly fantasizing about globetrotting, I picked up a paperback book called Bargain Paradises of the World.

Although all the pictures were in black and white and the information inside was perhaps overly colorful, it was the kind of book that got my travel juices flowing.

One particular “paradise” that caught my eye was Ceylon, the tear-drop-shaped Indian Ocean island nation that has been known as Sri Lanka since 1972.

My fantasy Ceylon — which had been colonized by Britain until 1948 and was known in the West mostly for its tea exports — was pictured by Bargain Paradises as an idyllic place where… Continue reading

Sacha Lodge, as seen from the lake. Photo from Sacha Lodge

I have no idea why I came to trust Dave.

The man loved snakes, scorpions, and spiders.  I hate spiders — and I’m not too keen on snakes or scorpions.

But this was the rain forest, where Dave seemed at home, and where, to me, everything seemed strange and foreboding.

I watched as a line of ants, dwarfed by the leaves they were hauling, marched past my feet.

I listened as distant howler monkeys made eerie noises like the wind wailing through the trees.

I cringed as a bright yellow spider made its resolute journey across the shoulder of one of my companions. Dave’s face lit up as he snatched the spider and held it in his palm, showing it off like a trophy.

“Completely harmless!” he announced. Anne, the young woman who provided the shoulder, merely shuddered.… Continue reading

An elephant enjoys a mud bath in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite.

Here’s part II of contributing writer Robert Waite’s riveting account from his trip to Rwanda, following up on his previous post about tracking endangered mountain gorillas in that tiny central African country.

In this post, Bob and his wife, Karen, discover a national park teeming with wildlife (including amorous hippos), a sobering genocide museum, an oddly shaped palace, a “killer” lake, and the “joys” of experiencing a “Rwandan massage.”

By Robert Waite

Kigali, Rwanda – Most people, if they are aware of Rwanda at all, likely only know two things: 1) It is an excellent place to observe the mountain gorilla in its natural habitat and, 2) The country experienced a horrific genocide in the 1990’s. The former inspired the film “Gorillas in the Mist”; the latter, “Hotel Rwanda”. Neither movie had a happy ending.… Continue reading

A troop of mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite

In this guest post about unforgettable encounters with endangered mountain gorillas in the tiny African nation of Rwanda, contributing writer Robert Waite also provides an update on the status of the gorillas in the midst of the COVID-19  pandemic — and sees hope for optimism.

In his next post, Bob will detail the rest of his trip to Rwanda, a nation that endured a devastating genocide in the 1990’s and has now become one of Africa’s success stories.

By Robert Waite

Ruhengeri, Rwanda – As devastating as COVID-19 is to human populations, the consequences could be equally adverse for rhinos, elephants, gorillas and other sub-Saharan wildlife.

With flights suspended, borders closed and organized tours cancelled or indefinitely postponed, the region’s national parks and game reserves are struggling to protect animals that, at the… Continue reading

Haida Gwaii’s mist-covered islands are sheer magic. Photo by Robert Waite.

In this post, Part I of a two-part series, guest contributor and baby boomer Robert Waite chronicles his journey to little-visited Haida Gwaii, previously known as the Queen Charlotte islands, off the coast of British Columbia.

Part I offers an introduction to the tumultuous history and compelling culture of the islands, while part II will detail his voyage through them aboard the MV Cascadia, a small expedition ship that allows for shallow landings and coastal kayaking trips while balancing comfortable accommodations with environmental protection.

Getting to explore Haida Gwaii personally is a far cry from the distant views afforded from Alaska-bound cruise ships as they pass Haida Gwaii sailing along the Inside Passage, often in the dead of night. Like me, if you’ve made that trip, you may have wondered what you were missing on those islands. Now we… Continue reading

A boomer goes backpacking in Arizona's Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

A boomer goes backpacking in Aria’s Superstition Mountains. Photo from southwestdiscoveries.com

As frequent guest-poster and financial expert Jim McKinley points out in this piece, boomers on a budget can help realize their dreams of outdoor adventure — or any kind of travel, for that matter — by taking a number of relatively easy steps.

Tracking flight deals, accruing mileage points racked up by responsible use of credit cards, planning ahead, and saving on gear by finding coupons and promo codes online are all very doable.

And that list doesn’t even include camping or RVing to save on lodging (though maybe not your back). Or the great options now available on vacation rentals (airbnb, VRBO) that can make staying in a house more affordable than hotels, especially if you have other family or friends in tow.

Jim also provides a number of helpful links — so enjoy browsing through them, but… Continue reading

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

The Grand Canyon taught Mitch a hard-earned lesson in trail guiding.

One of our frequent contributors to clarknorton.com, my friend Mitch Stevens, is kicking off our occasional series of first-person pieces on how various baby boomers got started traveling for a living.

Mitch’s odyssey led him from summer camp in Pennsylvania to the depths of the Grand Canyon to college field trips in Wyoming and eventually to Tucson in the (mostly) sunny deserts of southern Arizona, where’s he’s been leading Sierra Club hikes for years and more recently founded his adventure travel company Southwest Discoveries.

Like the intrepid cyclists who compete in the 100-mile El Tour de Tucson race each fall, Mitch’s long-distance hikes through the canyons and across the mountains of the Southwest provide inspiration to me as I sit here at my computer giving my typing fingers a thorough workout.

So lace up your hiking boots, grab… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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