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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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If it’s Tuesday, this must be the Rue de Bouchers in Brussels. Photo from Shutterstock.

Today’s guest post, by Canadian resident Robert Waite, argues that baby boomers should slow down a bit in pursuing bucket list items and spend more quality time in a destination to absorb the culture and life of the people there.

As Bob told me, his piece is meant to stir debate,  and I found myself debating his points within my own mind —  which is exactly what a good piece of journalism should provoke.

I’ll share my opinions on this topic in a later post, but for now I’ll yield the floor to Bob:

By Robert Waite

Those of us of a certain age might recall the film “If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium,” a 1969 United Artists release that poked fun at American tourists for their penchant for rushing from European… Continue reading

The expedition ship MV Cascadia sailed the Haida Gwaii islands. Photo by Robert Waite.

In Part II of Robert Waite’s chronicle of his trip to remote Haida Gwaii — an archipelago off the west coast of Canada, in British Columbia — he takes us aboard the MV Cascadia, a small  expedition vessel that holds a maximum of 24 passengers.

Along with comfortable accommodations and amenities, the Cascadia provided plenty of opportunities for visiting the islands, formerly known as the Queen Charlottes, where the biological diversity is the richest on earth and Haida tribal culture is making a comeback.

If you haven’t read Part I of this two-part series, I suggest you go there now and you’ll have the full context for reading about this extraordinary journey.

By Robert Waite

Once aboard the Cascadia, much of our seven-day voyage was determined by weather and tides.

Tides on the east… 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

Berlin sightseers have plenty of options for boat rides around the city. Photo by Lia Norton

Here’s part two of Lia Norton’s mini-series on Berlin. The first post focused on art and food in the cutting-edge German capital, which apparently has inspired several readers to add it to their bucket lists.

In this post, Lia writes about some of the more unexpected experiences that both surprised and charmed her, making her visit to Berlin so memorable.

By Lia Norton

Berlin by Boot

There are plenty of options for seeing Berlin by water, but whichever you choose, don’t miss out on this special way of traversing the city. Berlin is home to two rivers (Spree and Havel), a number of lakes, and canals that run alongside neighborhood streets, all navigable by small boat.

With sandwiches and beers in our backpacks, my partner Mike and I joined our German friend Jens,… Continue reading

The Pergamonmuseum is filled with artworks from ancient Babylon, Islamic cultures, and classical antiquity. Photo by Lia Norton

It’s been 30 years since I was in Berlin. The Berlin Wall was about to come down, but East Germany was still hanging on and Checkpoint Charlie was still up.  It was pretty grim.

Berlin, of course, has undergone tremendous changes since then, as my daughter, Lia, writes about in her first guest post for this blog. The city is now a swirl of activity, culture, and culinary experimentation.

In this post, Lia focuses on Berlin’s art and food, both of which she absorbed with gusto. For baby boomers like me who remember Berlin mostly as an outpost of the Cold War, the transformation is a revelation — I can’t wait to go back.

By Lia Norton

The last time I was in Berlin, back in 2008, it was for a… Continue reading

One of Prince Edward Island’s historic lighthouses. Photo from Pixabay.

One of my regrets from our years spent in upstate New York (before moving to Tucson) was not spending more time in the Canadian maritime provinces. Somehow we never made it to Prince Edward Island, for example, but one of these days…

In any event, this guest post from Josh Patoka reminds me of what we’ve missed — and, I hope, will inspire others to go where we have not (yet).

By Josh Patoka

Literary fans know Canada’s Prince Edward Island (PEI) best as the setting of Anne of Green Gables, but there are plenty of things for baby boomer travelers with other interests to see and do there. 

The island combines rolling scenery, a relaxed pace of life, historic lighthouses, fresh seafood, and biking and hiking trails — along with Anne of Green Gables-related activities, of… Continue reading

Classic cars in Havana, Cuba, are now a cruise itinerary attraction. Photo by Clark Norton

Most Americans will no longer be able to view Havana’s famous classic cars. Photo by Clark Norton

A little over three years ago, I was able to travel to Cuba on a cruise ship and write about my trip for a AAA publication in Colorado and a cruise magazine, as well as for this blog.

The cruise ship was mostly populated by Americans traveling on a “people-to-people” program run by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, a Riverhead, New York-based organization promoting U.S.-Cuba relations.

The cruise included lectures on Cuban culture, tours of historic sites, a visit to the famed Tropicana nightclub, and other activities, such as visiting a privately owned restaurant as well as various Hemingway haunts around Havana.

And yes, we did meet many Cubans along the way, including government tour guides who spoke remarkably candidly about how they surreptitously supplemented their meager official incomes.

Restrictions had… Continue reading

Notre Dame as I'd like to remember it. Photo from Paris-visit.org

Notre Dame as I’d like to remember it. Photo from Paris-visit.org

The news out of Paris is beyond imagining — fire is ravaging Notre Dame Cathedral. As I write this, Parisian officials fear catastrophic damage and perhaps total loss of this world treasure — with late word that its towers and façade may be saved. French President Macron has vowed to rebuild.

For the millions who have visited and loved and worshipped in this magnifient edifice — with so much historic, artistic, and architectural glory — as well as for residents of Paris who have been privileged to view it on an almost daily basis, the news is heartbreaking. And for those who have not had the good fortune to see it and now perhaps never will, words cannot express.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Paris — from my first visit in 1966 until my latest visit three… Continue reading

Time for the pig to squeal. Image from China Travel Guide.

Time for the pig to squeal. Image from China Travel Guide.

Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival), starts on February 5 this year and continues for 15 days.

It’s the most important festival time of the year in China — when millions of Chinese travel to their home villages and cities to be with family or friends for holiday reunions.

One of the world’s most celebrated festivals, Chinese New Year is also a star occasion  in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and some other Asian countries as well as Chinatowns around the world. And in recent years, the celebrations in New York, London, Vancouver, Sydney and other overseas cities have spread out of Chinatowns.

Parades with dragon and lion dances and fireworks, family feasts, and, on the final day, a Lantern Festival illuminated by red lanterns are all traditional.

This is the Year of… Continue reading

What town is named after this "jolly old elf"?

What town is named after this “jolly old elf”?

I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season.

Now, as promised last week, here are the answers to our Merry Christmas Travel Quiz. In case you missed the earlier post and would like to take the quiz, I’m listing the answers at the bottom.

1. Christmas Island was discovered by British Royal Navy Captain William Mynors on December 25, 1643, hence the name. Which ocean would you travel to to spend the holiday season on Christmas Island?

a. The South Pacific

b. The South Atlantic

c. The Indian Ocean

d. The Antarctic Ocean

2. Which U.S. state would you travel to in search of a town named Santa Claus?

a. Indiana

b. Ohio

c. Michigan

d. Illinois

3. Where would you travel to retrace the footsteps of the original St. Nicholas,… 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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