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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Travel obsessions

Part of my phillumeny collection

Last year, I confessed to being a hodophile (which is just a fancy word for someone who loves to travel).

Now I’m admitting to being a phillumenist.

If you don’t know what a phillumenist is, don’t worry — I didn’t even know it myself until yesterday, when I came across the word in a trivia quiz.

A phillumenist is someone who, naturally enough, engages in phillumeny: namely, collecting souvenir matchbook covers and match boxes. The word was coined in 1943 , derived from the Latin “lumen” for light, “philo” for loving, and “ist” for one who does something.

It’s apparently a particularly popular hobby in the UK, though major collectors are scattered across the globe.

My own collection dates from my childhood, and, truth to tell, I haven’t really practiced much phillumeny since the 1980s; my interest waned, and labeled matchbooks are also less ubiquitous… Continue reading

Hoxha built his nuclear bunker to survive an expected nuclear attack. Photo by Robert Waite

In the second part of a two-part series, contributing writer Robert Waite finally gets to turn his Albanian travel dream into reality. Among other things, he finds a wealth of bizarre historical remnants — including former dictator’s Enver Hoxha’s vast nuclear bunker — which have now become tourist attractions.

Here’s Part I of the series, By Travel Obsessed: Albanian Edition, in case you missed it.

By Robert Waite

Tirana, Albania – After narrowly escaping having our car impounded and my decades-long dream of visiting Albania dashed, we were finally on our way.

Barred from driving ourselves, we engaged Roberto, a Dubrovnik-based guide, to take us to Kotor in Montenegro.

Along the way, he proved quite gregarious, providing colorful commentary on the traits we should expect to observe upon meeting the locals in Kotor. It… Continue reading

Dictator Enver Hoxha ruled Albania with an iron fist until his death in 1985; here he’s depicted in a “Socialist Realism”-style painting, surrounded by adoring workers. Photo by Robert Waite.

Here is the third installment in contributing writer Robert Waite’s literary tour of what I call “countries that I really want to visit but haven’t yet.”

Like Rwanda and Laos before it, Albania — the subject of this highly entertaining two-part series — has been on my list for years but I haven’t quite made it to any of them.

I came tantalizingly close to the latter a few years ago while on a cruise that stopped in Corfu, Greece, just 22 miles (35 kilometres) from Albania. Ferry boats heading to Albania beckoned, but the cruise ship — during just a four-hour stop in Corfu — would not wait.

Longtime readers of this blog might also recall that I’m something… 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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