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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Clark Norton

Travel Copywriter

Angkor Wat Temple from the west gate. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Contributing writer Robert Waite, who lately has chronicled his journeys from Albania to Namibia, Rwanda to Laos, didn’t know how well-timed his recent visit to Southeast Asia would prove to be.

Bob says that he and his wife, Karen, had purposely decided to travel to Laos and Cambodia in January of this year — “because January is somewhat cooler and a lot drier than, say, July. As it happened, that was just as COVID-19 was beginning to wend its way out of Wuhan.”

And so, just in time, Bob finally made it to Angkor Wat, one of the top destinations on his life list and the featured topic of Part I of his two-part series about the memorable sights and activities in the area around Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here are Bob’s reflections on visiting one of the… Continue reading

Aly during filming of Red Dirt Road Trip video in Alice Springs. Photo by Amy Shields

One of the great pleasures of writing a travel blog is that I get to hear from travel lovers all over the world.

Recently I got an email from Aly Cook, a singer/songwriter (and baby boomer) from New Zealand who is particularly well known in Australia. Her music — including three albums and a raft of  number one country hits in Australia — combines country with rock, blues, and soul influences.

Among many other awards, she was named New Zealand Female Country Artist of the Year in 2012 and has been nominated five times for that honor.

Aly lives in the town of Nelson, New Zealand, nestled on Tasman Bay on the north coast of the South Island. (Before visiting Nelson some years ago, I had never heard of it. Talk about… Continue reading

The Roman Coloseum dates from the time of the Roman Empire.

Arrivederci, for now.

So it’s official: the 27-nation European Union will block travelers from the United States from entering their countries indefinitely after reopening their borders July 1 to a number of other nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand — and even China, should the Chinese reciprocate.

So it’s arrivederci Roma, au revoir Paris, and adiós Barcelona — most likely for the summer and probably longer, since the U.S. leads the rest of the world, by far, in confirmed cases of both COVID-19 infections and deaths. And there’s little hope of this tragedy slowing down in the near future, with the virus currently sweeping like wildfire across the American South and Southwest, including the three most populous states: California, Texas, and Florida.

The outlook is equally bleak in Arizona, where I’ve lived for the past five years — and where I’ve seldom ventured from my home for the past three… Continue reading

Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, Georgia. Photo courtesy of GoldenIsles.com.

Looking for an uncrowded beach this summer where you can maintain social distancing, keeping you safe and virus free?

That’s not easy to do on the East Coast of the U.S.  But according to the website Homes.com, these 10 secluded beaches — situated along the Atlantic Ocean coast from Maine down to Florida — will allow you to relax in or near a beach town in style, away from the tourist hordes.

“Some of these beaches are in state parks or owned by conservation trusts dedicated to preserving coastal land to provide habitat for threatened species. Others are simply local, out-of-the-way beaches untouched by development,” notes Homes.com.

So pack your swimsuit, beach towels, and sunscreen and get ready to stake out your place on the sand. It should be all yours.

Island Beach State Park, Seaside Park, New… Continue reading

Award-winning travel photographer Dennis Cox and I have been friends since high school. We’ve collaborated on several magazine and newspaper projects over the years, and Dennis has contributed a number of his photos for use on clarknorton.com.

Our collaboration has worked out well since my photography skills are about on a par with his writing abilities. In other words, if he sticks to camera work and I stick to words, we do OK.

One of our collaborative pieces for Hemispheres Magazine, on China’s ethereal Mt. Huangshan, was named Best Magazine Travel Article of the year in 1995 by the Pacific Asia Travel Association. We’ve also worked together on pieces for The Washington Post Magazine, Destinations magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and other publications.

But we had never done a book together until now. The final product, which we finished earlier this year — Cruising the World: From Gondolas to Megaships… Continue reading

El Tovar is perched on the Grand Canyon’s dramatic South Rim. Photo from Xanterra.

Historic inns at some of  the most popular U.S. national parks are sending out alerts that, because of cancellations and travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19, there is potential space to be had this summer if you act quickly to reserve.

The lodgings run by the Xanterra company — including historic and atmospheric inns such as El Tovar perched on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon,  Zion Lodge in Utah, and The Oasis in Death Valley — are even offering up to 30 percent off their regular rates this summer  to entice customers.

Summers are usually fully booked months in advance, so for those who do want to travel and feel they can safely do so, this is an opportunity to experience some of America’s greatest outdoor spaces in style.… Continue reading

Namibia: Sossusvlei dune with dead tree in Deadvlei salt pan at Namib-Naukluft Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Here’s Part II of Robert Waite’s account of 12 days of traveling through Namibia, a remarkable desert land wedged in a corner of southwest Africa between Angola and South Africa.

(If you missed Part I of Bob’s Namibia narrative, read it here.)

In this piece, Bob encounters towering sand dunes, otherworldly dried lakes, a bay cruise complete with some of the world’s best oysters, a visit to Damaraland, and a top-flight game park where one may encounter lions and herds of elephants and zebras.

By Robert Waite

Walvis Bay, Namibia – If you know Namibia at all, it is likely because of the country’s sand dunes, the largest on earth.

I grew up in Massachusetts, close to Crane Beach in Ipswich. We locals would brag about our “huge” 30-40 foot dunes. It… Continue reading

The Quiver Tree Forest is actually comprised of towering aloe plants. Photo by Karen Shigeishi-Waite.

In this two-part series on Namibia, veteran travel writer Robert Waite continues his series of pieces from outposts around the world, which have taken us from far western Canada to East Africa, Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe, and now to remote southwestern Africa.

I asked Bob what attracts him to places like Namibia, which, while gaining in popularity as a tourist destination, is still off the beaten track.

“I’m drawn to places that might easily be overlooked,” Bob says. “Namibia was a place I initially knew little about, but the more I researched it, the more I became intrigued. I also realized that safaris there were likely to be less crowded than one might find in South Africa or Kenya — which turned out to be the case.”

Here’s Part I of Bob’s piece on… Continue reading

The beach at Jost Van Dyke today -- deceptively peaceful. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

Pacing yourself is easy on a beach in the British Virgin Islands. Photo by nickelstar, on Flickr.

With travel largely curtailed this summer, basic travel wellness procedures may get overlooked. But when it’s time to travel again, it’s wise to review some of the basics, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, pacing yourself, and making sure any medications are in order.

Guest writer Shaun DMello has some good tips and reminders for staying healthy on the road, especially for those past 50.

By Shaun DMello

The growing population of senior travellers is evidence that you can live a life of travel and adventure no matter your age —  especially if you stay healthy. Adopting healthy habits won’t diminish your vacation fun – it’s just about making smart choices that allow you to keep having fun. Here are some you can incorporate into your travel routines:

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

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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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