Happy President’s Day everyone!
I hope you get the day off or at least can sneak out a little early to have a little fun. Playing hooky is one thing I miss from my working days. Today we are heading to the Portland Japanese Garden to take advantage of their free admission day. We’ll have to get there early because the parking spots fill up very quickly on these free days. We’ll be done pretty fast though. The last time we went, Baby RB40 blasted through the whole contemplative 5.5 acres in less than an hour. The Portland Japanese garden is evidently the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan and it’s a nice to pretend you’re in Japan for a little while.
Traveling is more fun when you are young
Anyway, I want to talk a bit about traveling and aging. We traveled quite a bit when we were a DINK (dual income no kids) couple because we both love seeing new places and experiencing other cultures. We traveled to over 20 countries and had a ton of fun on the cheap when we were younger. We slept in hostels, on a houseboat, yurt, and just in any vehicle. We also spent countless hours in unusual transportation situations. Now that we have a kid, we’re slowing down a bit and we are planning to see the US more over the next few years. We haven’t traveled that much in the US and there are so many great places that we want to visit. We’re putting off further international travel for now until Baby RB40 is a bit more under control.
International traveling is a ton of fun, but I think it’s most fun when you are young and can enjoy it to the fullest. That’s why I silently shake my head when I read about retirees’ plan to travel more. When you are young, you don’t mind traveling cheaply and I think that’s when you encounter the most authentic experiences. As you get older and richer, you can afford to travel in style, but it’s not as thrilling. Let’s see some examples of people I know.
Traveling is harder when you’re older
- My mom is 64 and she flew from Thailand to visit us. The travel time was about 24 hours (stuck in Seoul for an 8 hour layover) and she was in a bad shape when she landed. She couldn’t sleep much on the plane and she was completely worn out. She thought this trip took a lot out of her and she is dreading the flight back. When you get older, these long flights really suck. In contrast, when she was 52, she drove around the US with my dad in a van for 3 months and they didn’t have many problems at all.
- One of my uncles is 60 and he went to visit India last year. He had a memorable trip there when he was young (met Mother Teresa!) and wanted to experience it again. In short, it wasn’t what he remembered. He stayed in a nicer hotel this time, but now it wasn’t as fun as the first time he went. Life changes and you can’t go back to being your younger self again.
- My friend’s parents are going on a cruise this year. The dad has Parkinson’s disease and this might be the last chance for them to travel. Over the last few years, it’s been progressively getting worse. You never know how your health is going to hold up when you’re old so if there are any places you want to visit, do it while you are young.
- Mrs. RB40 carried a small backpack, her only piece of luggage, and stayed in a youth hostel when we traveled in our 20’s and early 30’s. Lately, I have been hearing more dissenting opinions about traveling cheaply. While in general, she is okay with staying in smaller places, she wants to be more comfortable when we travel. Camping out and staying in hostels will probably play a lesser role on our future trips.
When you get older, traveling is not as fun because the discomfort of being on the road starts to dominate. You can offset these by traveling more luxuriously, but I think that’s taking something away from the experience too. I never liked cruises, guided bus tours, or all inclusive resorts. I’d rather be on the ground walking around and see the local folks and culture. Mrs. RB40 feels the same way.
We are taking a short hiatus from international travel, but we plan to pick it up again in 5-6 years. By that time, Baby RB40 will be able to walk and carry his own backpack. There are still a lot of places that I want to see before traveling loses its allure.
How about you? Do you think traveling when you’re young is more fun or would you rather travel more comfortably when you’re older?
Here is my Travel bucket list in no particular order
- Morocco – Visit Marrakesh, Fes, and the Sahara desert. Eat lamb with the Berbers.
- Turkey – Mrs. RB40 visited Turkey when she was single and loved it. I want to go too!
- Angkor Wat – A great historical site.
- Shanghai – Visit the Bund and take a side trip to Suzhou. Eat the fabled hairy Shanghai crab!
- Rome – We only made it down to Sienna when we went to Europe last time.
- Bora Bora – This expensive beach paradise can probably wait until we’re old and have too much money. Maybe the Mrs. will settle for The Cook Islands instead?
- St. Petersburg and Moscow – Not sure if you can do these two in one trip, but I can try.
- Ireland, Scotland & Wales – This will probably have to be 3 separate trips.
- Egypt – Climb the pyramids and ride camels.
- Maldives – Another expensive beach destination…
What’s on your list?