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Bucket Lists

We spent a recent milestone birthday on Milos, Greece. Photo by Clark Norton

We spent a recent milestone birthday on Milos, Greece. Photo by Clark Norton

Our family has long tried to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a major trip.

I won’t specify which birthdays or anniversaries, but these celebratory trips have taken us to Paris, Alaska, Norway, Greece, and Antarctica, among other far-flung destinations.

Sometimes you just need a good excuse to travel. (Other times, not — whatever works.)

So I was intrigued to come across this list of suggested milestone birthday celebratory trips from the folks at Wilderness Travel, which has been taking adventurous travelers to remote regions of the globe since 1978.  (It was named AFAR Magazine’s World’s Best Tour Operator for 2017.)

The company, known for their itineraries that delve deep into a region’s culture and cuisine, has suggestions for destinations perfect for a 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th birthday celebration.

Baby boomers have… Continue reading

What you'll see when you look up during a total eclipse.

What you’ll see when you look up during a total eclipse.

On Monday, August 21, 2017, a 2,200-mile-long, coast-to-coast swath of the United States stretching from Lincoln Beach, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, will experience a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks out the sun and only the sun’s corona is visible. As the moon casts its shadow, midday darkness ensues, if only for just a few minutes (or seconds).

This, as they say, is a Big Deal — one of nature’s true wonders, the stuff of myth and memory.

The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the entire continental United States was in 1918 — almost a century ago.  (There have been several other instances where total solar eclipses could be viewed in certain regions of the country — the last in 1979, when only Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota were treated… Continue reading

Like to ride a camel through the Hindu Kush? Contact Exodus Travels. Photo from Exodus Travels

Like to ride a camel through the Hindu Kush? Contact Exodus Travels. Photo from Exodus Travels

What’s the top experience that folks seek out after turning 50?

A new survey of 2,000 passport-carrying Americans aged 50 and up shows that traveling abroad is their number one choice for realizing their passions.

The survey, commissioned by Exodus Travels — a UK-based  adventure travel company with a substantial  presence in the U.S. and Canada — confirmed  what Exodus leaders say they had observed for a number of years: that Americans gain a new “lust for life” after age 50.

And that “second wind” translates most heavily into travel.

Asked “What led you to gaining a new passion/appreciation for life?“, one-third of respondents close “a travel experience” — which tied with “retirement” in that category.

The next question was key: “What have you done or do… Continue reading

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Chinese New Year parade features the dragon dance.

Asking you to relive 2016 may be asking a lot, but here at clarknorton.com we offer sheer escapism!

Well, maybe not quite — but travel can, we hope, help take your mind off other things.

So, in that spirit, we offer up Our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016 as found on clarknorton.com and voted on, in effect, by your clicks.

Yes, this is purely a popularity contest, with no quality control whatsoever. (Kind of like an election.) And because there was a tie for the tenth spot, there’s a bonus post to check out, should you wish to seek penance for overindulging during the holidays.

Here they are in order, counting down to Number One:

10. Top Bucket List Items: What’s Number One? and Top Ten Travel Predictions for 2016. (Tie)

Top Ten or Top Five lists (almost) always… Continue reading

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism.

Since just about every travel publication tries to predict – or, more accurately, tries to convince you – where you’ll go in the New Year, clarknorton.com is no exception.

Here are my predictions for what will be the three hottest destinations for Americans in 2017:

*  CANADA – Approximately half the population of the United Sates says they expect to visit Canada in 2017, according to recent surveys, and many say they are planning extended visits of from four to eight years. Interest is particularly strong among residents of the western and northeastern coastal areas, as well as pockets of travelers from the Midwest and Virginia.

Perhaps surprisingly, Canada will apparently be inundated with U.S. visitors at the coldest time of year, in late January. And despite… Continue reading

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

Mont-Saint-Michel is a remarkable sight as you approach. Photo from Normandy Tourist Board.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a soft spot for off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Yes, I love Paris and Venice and London, but I also like to explore the lesser-known out-of-the-wsy places that many travelers never reach.

Once years ago, I  set off by train from Paris to visit Mont-Saint-Michel, a medieval abbey off the coast of Normandy that I had read about in college in the Henry Adams’ book, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres.

The trip took two full days because the train connections were awful, but I made it, and didn’t regret it. It’s a dramatically situated Gothic masterpiece, rising atop a rocky island with a maze of narrow streets surrounding it.

Traditionally, Mont-Saint-Michel has only been reachable by land when the tides are out, via squishy mud flats. When the tides come in,… Continue reading

1ef61fa7bf921f1dc6fc666030b62d88A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.

And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.

As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.

While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading

A dramatically perched fortress tops Mount Titano. Photo by Catharine Norton.

A dramatically perched fortress tops Mount Titano. Photo by Catharine Norton.

In a recent post, I noted that the tiny Republic of San Marino, which is entirely surrounded by Italy, was number one on my personal bucket list.

The main reason was that it was the only country in Western Europe that I hadn’t visited, and that since I would be visiting Italy soon, I could then cross it off my list. Of course, I also wanted to go for all the reasons I want to go anywhere — seeing what there is to see and, I hope, enjoying it — but I admit the list thing was the top consideration.

As it happens, I did visit Italy shortly after the post appeared, and I did make it to San Marino — whose irresistible full name is The Most Serene Republic of San Marino.

And — as a… Continue reading

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Punakha monastery, Bhutan Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last two posts, we took a look at some of the most popular travel-related bucket list destinations and activities based on a survey of 1,000 travelers by the website TotallyMoney.com. You can view those results, and my comments, by clicking here and here.

While my own experiences with a few of the items — such as gambling in Las Vegas — were on the margins (in the case of Vegas, dropping a few quarters into slot machines), I had pretty much done all those on the list.

My own bucket list tends to be a little quirkier than most. Places that end up on my list are pretty far-flung, represent something I’ve missed in past trips, or are just items that fulfill my admittedly peculiar travel obsessions. (I suspect that a lot of baby boomer frequent travelers’ lists are… Continue reading

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Man with camel at Great Pyramid of Giza at sunset. Note how souvenir shops are not visible. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

In our last post, we took a look at the top five travel-related Bucket List items as determined in a survey of 1,000 people by TotallyMoney.com.

The Northern Lights, a wildlife safari, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, and taking a cruise were all perfectly good choices — for baby boomers or active travelers of most any age — keeping in mind, of course, that everyone’s individual lists will be different.

A few of the second five in the Top 10 surprised me a bit — simply because they edged out others I would have expected — though they’re all understandable as highly ranked picks.

So here, with my comments and added travel info, are the five sights and activities that finished out the Bucket List Top… 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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