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Travel While You Can

I have used this site now for several years and always try to keep up with what is going on. Often see posts about wanting to travel soon or when I retire, when I have more time, or whatever. I look at the scrapbooks, tour reviews, and most of the topics.
This post is not for any other reason other than to let everyone know, that now and not later is the best time to travel. Don't keep putting if off for another day, year, or when it might fit into your schedule a little better.
I have been planning a 2016 trip for about 15 months now and it is still in the planning and pretty sure I will get to make the trip.
But, just to make my point, in May, I woke up one morning with a little blurred vision in one eye. Within two weeks that eye was completely closed and unable to open. I was diagnosed with a disease I had never even heard of. Since May, I have been in critical care ER twice, have had as many as 15 different symptoms going on at one time and was 95% blind. When you walk into Vanderbilt hospital ER and they don't even let you register and have 8 people working on you within two minutes, you realize how sick you are. Lots of issues that people would not even believe.
Now after 4 months, I'm pretty well on the road to full recovery. But, what kept me going, was knowing I still want to travel to Europe again and still being able to talk travel, and looking at this site has helped so much.

I don't want anyone to think I posted this for any pity or anything. I just want people to know that if at all possible, make your plans and follow through with them as quickly as possible. I know a lot of seniors use this site, and we see health issues posted all the time for travelers or for their partners, parents, etc.
Travel is a joy and should never be taken for granted.

I almost waited too long and I hope nobody misses out on the chance for your dream trip by doing the same.
Happy & Healthy Travels To All.

Posted by
175 posts

Tony,
One of my favorite travel quotes: The biggest mistake people make is....thinking they have time.

Hope you have a wonderful trip in 2016.....and many more after that.

Posted by
3580 posts

Beautifully said, Tony. I face some of the same issues every year when deciding if I will go "one more time." I'm slower now and have to take more taxis, avoid stairs, rest more. But I still enjoy being in Europe. I'm glad I started going in my 30's and kept going every few years while I was working. Post-retirement I stepped up the pace and started traveling to Europe and other places several times a year. It's all been pretty darn interesting and worthwhile. When I can no longer haul myself off to Europe I will have bunches of memories, and pictures of course.

Posted by
5546 posts

Tony, That is great advice. I was lucky and got to travel when I was young. Then I got wrapped up in work and didn't think that trips of less than a month were worth it. Or worried that I didn't have the money. Luckily, I discovered in my 40's that not only could you have a good time in less than a month, you could travel to the UK for less than a week! And that I could afford it. I've once again been a travel lull, but am about to start planning my next trip very soon!

Posted by
115 posts

Good post.

Another favorite travel quote.. TAKE VACATIONS...go to as many places as you can. You can always make money, you can't always make memories.

Posted by
1114 posts

You didn't ask for pity but I am sorry that you haven't been well and hope you are feeling better soon. I totally agree with your philosphy about travel. The memories we create for ourselves are the most important things we have. Far more important than things. My husband and I have been travelling for 25+ years and do not regret a single trip. You can fund your retirement and travel, too. You just have to have priorities. Look at ways to economize the day to day stuff and the travel. My husband travelled on business (and hated it) and I had to drag him on these trips. Funny thing is he continually reminisces about our travels."Remember when?" As we get older, we are starting to have some health issues (still minor thankfully) and know that at some point they may be debilitating enough that we will not be able to travel. I have family members who are so focused on saving for the future (a worthy goal) that they are not living in the now which is all we have. I send you my wishes for many more years of happy travels.

Posted by
1068 posts

Glad you are feeling better. I totally agree with your sentiment and tell people that all the time.

Posted by
1084 posts

Tony..such wise words. So glad to hear you are on the road to recovery, that must have been so scary.

2 years ago my 49 year old husband was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer (same cancer that my sister died of). He was fortunate in that all that was required was surgery, but boy did that wake us up on the fact that sometimes you do not have a tomorrow or next year or "when we retire". Our 18 day Italy/France trip is just around the corner. When we come back our lives may change again as my elderly parents may soon need to move in with us, possibly limiting our chances of travel (I have one sister who is a huge help with them!).

I like the one comment that you can save for retirement and still travel. I am constantly thinking "where do I draw the line between saving for travel and 401K contributions?".

Posted by
1926 posts

Tony, you have an amazing attitude and that will take you far-literally. I whole-heartedly agree with you and I treasure each minute of the many trips my husband and I took while he was still alive, even when we had to stretch the budget a little-or even a lot! Together we learned to love the adventure of leaving home and our comfort zone. And most of all, we learned to appreciate the differences in the world while recognizing at the same time that people are still just people, no matter which country issues their passports. I am traveling as much as I can and enjoying the ability to do so. Yes, indeed; go while you can, go with your favorite travel partner (for me sometimes, it's myself!) and enjoy every second. Here's to you for more wonderful traveling experiences, continued improvement in your health and maybe you will post here about your trips?

Posted by
31271 posts

Tony,

Sorry to hear that you had health problems, but happy to hear that you'll make a full recovery. I most definitely agree with the points you made in your post, as I came to that same conclusion several years ago after suffering a serious leg injury which kept me out of commission for 4-6 months. I realized at that time that if there were things I wanted to do in life, I'd better get cracking and do them while I can because one event can change things in a big hurry!

I've spoken with many relatives and other people over the years who have said, "we'd love to travel to Europe but (insert excuse here)". I always tell them they'd better get on with it and make their plans a reality, as waiting may mean that they never get to Europe. Sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a brick wall though!

I hope you're able to make your trip a reality in the very near future!

Posted by
4657 posts

Amen, Tony. I went to Europe several times in my late teens and early 20s, while living on the east coast, and figured I'd keep getting back every few years one way or another. Then life happened, including a move to the west coast, and it was 40 years between my first and second visits to Paris. (I had changed more than the city had.) Now, as retirees, we travel as much as we can, but my wife has trouble with stairs and neither of us moves as fast as we used to, so our sightseeing and lodging options are constrained. We probably couldn't handle the pace of a Rick Steves tour even though we've heard they are great (unsolicited plug). We'll keep traveling as long as we can and wish we'd done more when we were younger (even though, seemingly, busier).

Two weeks ago I broke a rib falling off my bike, which has temporarily curtailed a lot of things I enjoy. While nothing comparable to your experience, it's reminded me that the future is unknown. As someone said, "we only think we plan our lives." And as the late Warren Zevon said, "enjoy every sandiwich." I look forward to those baguettes.

Best wishes for your recovery, and thanks for this inspiring post.

Posted by
2586 posts

Tony, great post. I am so glad to hear you are on the road to complete recovery! We think things like this will never happen to us, but they do. "Travel while you can" is right. We never know what the next week of life will bring. It is good to save money for retirement but wise to do as many trips as possible while young and fit. I am also glad to hear that this Forum and talking travel has helped you. You have many friends here, and we are all sending our best wishes to you and hoping you have a great trip next fall!

Posted by
3091 posts

Well said Tony , and glad to hear that you will recover , I won't write anything further , I can't add to what has already been said in response , however , a particularly touching interpretation of these sentiments can be found in the Pixar film from 2009 , " UP " If you can't watch the whole film , the first fifteen or so minutes will hit you very hard , something you will never forget . Coincidentally , my wife and I began to travel to Europe in 2010 , understanding the brevity of life . Finally , at the risk of being melodramatic , this poem by the English poet ,

Ernest Dowson

1867-1900

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Posted by
2246 posts

Not melodramatic at all, Steven, more like a cold slap in the face-beautiful.

When I was in junior high school, I thought gosh it would be great to go to Europe after high school. When in high school I figured, yes, lot's of kids are going as soon as they are out, that would be a good thing to do. At about thirty five I thought, wow I really missed the boat there. At fifty four, we went to Europe. At fifty five, we did it again. The trick is to wake up in time, though some never will. Working on 2016 too.

Posted by
12402 posts

Great stuff. True stuff. Thanks for the kick in the pants, Tony.
Now go get that trip!!!

Posted by
2116 posts

No pity. Just good wishes for a complete recovery. And thanks for an excellent message.

Posted by
21161 posts

Get well Tony and hit the road. Life is short and unpredictable. Sometimes we need that reminder. I have had two major influences in my life for travel, one was ----

I had a very close colleague about 15 years my senior who loved to travel, wrote great books. Didn't live a high life style at home but always found a way to get an extra dollar or two for the next trip. During the year in the faculty lounge he would tell great stories of where he had been, what he had seen, and more importantly, what he had learned. There was always one more trip to take next summer. No real family but a long-time, kindred spirit who tagged alone sharing his time. He spent his last summer in a small house on the coast of Spain. He loved to take long walks. His friend found him late one morning along the path peacefully reclining on a rock chair overlooking the ocean. She scattered his ashes in the same place. Some day I am going to sit in that same rock chair.

Posted by
8203 posts

Tony, sending you warm thoughts (and I do mean warm, lol) from the Inland Northwest. You have put this out there beautifully and I could not agree more.

At 94 as my Mom neared the end of a long and travel-filled life, she often said the only life regrets she had were that she did not get to see The Great Wall and that she did not go on a wildlife safari. She did travel a lot in Europe and so enjoyed reliving those experiences when she could no longer manage a big trip.

I also spent my career as a hospital social worker and many times saw people's lives change in an instant. Dreams left unable to be fulfilled, retirement plans dashed or radically changed, lives turned upside down.

Yes, do as Tony says. Travel now. Don't wait.

Posted by
1047 posts

Tony,
That is great advice. I can remember many years ago when my dad had to put his father into a senior home. Many people lived in this facility. You could put the people into two categories: those who participated and those who didn't. I found, when talking to the residents, those who participated in events had one thing in common. They all loved to travel. Travel opened many doors for the residents to have conversations.

I like to recite this quote to my friends: "Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away." I know this quote has been used in one form or another since the 1800's but I think it is still relevant today.

Posted by
500 posts

Tony, good to hear you're recovering.

Thank you for sharing this most important attitude about life.
Happy travels to you!

Posted by
154 posts

Thank you, Tony, for a wonderful post. I'm so glad you're recovering. Thank you to all of you who participated in this thread, sharing your thoughts and stories. I lost both of my parents last year within a few months of each other - they were world travelers and encouraged others to travel as much as they could afford to. To honor them, our family and friends have taken their ashes, bit by bit, to the places they loved the most - last year it was Grand Marais, MN, Marco Island FL, Cabo San Lucas BCS, Aalborg, Copenhagen and Skagen, Denmark. My husband and I are taking our first RS Tour in several weeks (BOE Your Way) beginning September 21 in Paris. Their ashes will be scattered in Paris, Beaune, Switzerland, Munich, Venice, the Cinque Terre and Rome. I can't think of a better way to honor them. I am hoping to get on one of the Scandinavian tours in 2016 and plan extra time when the tour ends - that way Mom can join Dad in Denmark - in Copenhagen, Aalborg and where the two seas meet - Skagen. So many places to go after that - Sweden, Norway, Spain, Portugal, Bali, Morocco - we'll see. Bless you all.

Posted by
258 posts

Another thanks to Tony for starting this thread. I lived in Germany in the late 1970's (in the Army) but lived off base and outside of the "american" sphere of influence as much as possible. Ever since then, I wanted to go back for more. I took a couple of trips in the 1990's but not often. I restarted my travels after I retired early and went to Italy for the first time in 2011. I always wanted to go to Venice but hesitated because of the stories I had read that Venice was so romantic and best visited with the one you loved. Well, that hasn't happened.
Last year, a friend about my age became critically ill (think life support with continuous dialysis). That was a wake-up call. If she could get so critically ill then so could I. I went to Venice last year for the first time (a single traveler) and absolutely loved it. I am going back next week. I am lucky (some would say not) that I don't have dependents who will rely on my estate for support. So my plan is to do as much traveling as I am able to do while I am able to do it. Whatever $$ is left over, the nieces and nephews can have. If I could figure out a way to move to Europe without having to sell my house, I'd do it. My one unfulfilled dream is to live in Europe again for an extended period like texasgirl.

Posted by
167 posts

Well said Tony! Here's wishing you good health and happy travels.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

Posted by
12252 posts

@ Tony...thanks for posting this, for showing your will to recover and travel to Europe, an appropriate reminder in terms of advice, am glad you're much better. I was fortunate to travel over there 1971 as a college student at 21, have been at it ever since, and count myself very fortunate now to be able to continue taking trips to Europe pretty much in the same fashion. You're so right right about not taking it for granted.

Posted by
2862 posts

Thanks for posting this personal reminder to keep on keeping on. I too wish you continuing recovery and health. Can't wait to hear about your special trip planned for 2016.

Posted by
11450 posts

Sorry to hear about health set backs.. glad to hear you are on the mend..

I totally agree with your message.

My mother died after a long illness.. during one of our heart to heart talks I asked her if she had "any regrets" .. she said she regretted not travelling more when she had her health.. she had enough money.. but was of a generation that one saved and saved and saved for a rainy day.. and did not self indulge themselves in something like travel too often.

I am living my life that way now.. I could get new appliances for my kitchen.. mine work just fine.. but they are ugly.. not modern stainless steel.. but I could also use that money for travel.
I could have purchased a 2015 car this year.. instead I purchased at 2012.. love it , and money saved.. you guessed it.. for travel.

Posted by
13 posts

Best wishes to you Tony and i hope you have a fabulous trip. It always amazes me when people with personal challenges use their experiences to help others gain perspective. Both of my parents health failed quickly after retiring and I know one of the things that gave us comfort was that they did so much when they were still working. We hopefully learn from all of our life experience, good and bad, and I know that every day is a gift. If there is something you want to do or somewhere you want to go, do it now.

Posted by
206 posts

Thanks for all the great support, and I knew many of you would have stories regarding travel now while you can. I had never been in a hospital since birth and no health issues at all but this hit like a ton of bricks. Yesterday was the first day since June 1st that I could actually drive myself to work. Being so independent and then having to rely of friends and family to do almost everything from driving, to yard work is something I really had an issue with. But, with good doctors, prayers and support I am almost back to normal and look forward to my next Europe trip. Leaning heavily toward a few days in Germany and then the new Switzerland tour.

We all hear of those who say I wish I had done this or that. and just keep on waiting until it is too late. This has changed my outlook on life very much. Even trying to talk some of those I know into finally doing something they have wanted to do for years. As we all know, there are just some people who won't ever do it. Dreaming is great but doing it is wonderful. I have decided to be a Dreaming Doer !

Happy, Healthy Travels To Everyone!

Posted by
2154 posts

Best wishes to you, Tony, and I hope you have much more travelling to come. I reached my mid-40s single and child-free and realized I needed to start making things happen for myself while I could do so easily.

Posted by
2700 posts

Well said and appreciate you writing . So sorry for what you went through and glad you're feeling better. We are at the "may never travel to Europe again" stage due to health/ability issues and still in our. 50's. We did a trip to Switzerland in 1989 and Germany/Austria in 1990. Finally, in 2001 we went to Austria and Germany again. Figured why wait, and did another 7 trips since the one in 2001. Zero regrets about spending the $$. Do it while you can enjoy it.

Paul

Posted by
1976 posts

Tony, I'm glad to hear you're doing better. Thank you for posting your story and this inspirational reminder. I consider myself lucky every time I travel, within the U.S. and outside it. I've talked to many people who say "Someday" with regard to travel, but I've also encountered people (including some family members) who disapprove of it. They think it's a waste of money. This attitude usually goes hand in hand with the inability to experience joy.

In October this year I'm spending two weeks in Europe, including one week in London with my sister. Until recently she was afraid to travel to places where she didn't know anyone, but at the end of 2011 she ended a long-term relationship and realized she needed to do something positive for herself. We went to Paris for a week in 2012 and she loved it. In May this year I told her about my trip and she said, "I want to go to the U.K" and bought her plane ticket a week later. Now she wishes she had traveled more. I told her it's never too late, and I'm so glad that she's coming to value something I've treasured since high school.

Posted by
206 posts

Paul, at least you got lots of good trips in while you could so you know why I posted this. Hope you can make it again sometime. Just being in your 50's, things can always turn positive, and you can go again. Hope so and thanks for your comments.

Posted by
2700 posts

Thanks Tony. I never say never...
Your post served two purposes, don't put off trips and for those of us that have been fortunate enough to travel, to appreciate it.

Posted by
24 posts

Tony, I am adding my thanks to the chorus of appreciation. We all need these reminders and I'm glad you are almost over your
setback and have inspired us. I have had three friends pass away in the past 8 months and a week after the last one, on the spur of the moment,I booked a flight to Finland. When I was younger I always felt I didn't deserve the joy of travel and I also didn't have much money. Now, I realize that I need to take advantage of the time I have left. For that reason, no cable, no computer at home - disposable income goes toward travel. Nothing energizes me as much as planning a trip. And, ah, the memories afterwards!
Thanks to everyone on this site, I've learned so much from all of you. Sharon

Posted by
3894 posts

I still remember after our first visit to Europe in 2008 (after wanting to go for many years) we were visiting my hubby's auntie and she had a friend there who was probably late 70's. She said she'd always wanted to travel, and her husband kept saying - we'll travel when I retire. Of course, he passed away within a year of retiring and she never got to do her travelling. She encouraged us and told us to go while we could because you never know. That has been my philosophy and we have been over again in 2010/12/14 and are going back over next month.

One thing my dad always wanted to do was travel to Newfoundland with my mom. They never got around to going and 4 months after he turned 65, he died from pancreatic cancer. Life is a bitch. If people want to travel, they gotta stop making excuses and make it happen.

Posted by
3328 posts

Tony you have given good advice. I am hopeful that you will have many more trips.

My husband and I always planned for the great trips we would take when he retired. He passed away suddenly about two years ago, before he ever retired. I know he is in heaven with the Lord and he has no regrets, but it really prompted me to examine trying to find a balance between planning for a stable financial future and taking the time and money to enjoy things now. One of the very special memories I have is a trip we took to London for our 30th anniversary.

My sister went with me on one of those "dream trips" this summer. I was glad we went and we had a wonderful time. I know my husband would have been pleased that I had that opportunity.

I am not suggesting that people give no thought about saving for later. I am suggesting that investing in the now is also important because there is no knowing what the future holds.

Posted by
8203 posts

Oh my word Rebecca. Sending you huge hugs!

Posted by
206 posts

Rebecca, thanks so much for adding your comments on my topic. Your and George's friendships through the past few months have really helped me get through so much of this. Our travel meetings meant much on days when I could not even see or breathe well at all. I know how concerned you both were. I was aware of some of the issues you had with your mom but now understand how hard that must have been, Just believe now that from above, your mom can see all the world in all it's beauty. My middle son got married in Texas on July 18th and I was due to fly out on the 16th. I finished an infusion on the 15th and thought there was no way I would be able to get on a plane the next day. I could not hardly open my eyes, could not breathe, can't smile, could not chew, swallow, hold my head up, cough, use a straw, blow out, plus several other serious issues. So, while praying, I said, either show me a sign I will get better or just let me go. The next morning things were still bad but by the time I got to the airport, almost all issues were clear and stayed that way till I got back on Sunday. Myasenthenia Gravis is what I have and it is sometimes called the devils disease. But God was in my corner on this one and he always wins.
I met Rebecca and George back in the spring at our travel meeting in Mt Juliet. Hardly a week goes by that she does no ask about me and sends thoughts and prayers.

Just another chance to tell everyone what great and caring travelers we have using this site.
Thanks again to all of you.
Also Rebecca and George have a wonderful England trip in Sept. Can't wait for all the details.

Posted by
2586 posts

Tony, great thread! You have shown such great courage and had such a positive attitude since this disease began. George and I have been amazed by your great attitude. The symptoms and challenges you have faced had us very concerned, but you have kept on going, and now you are defeating this thing! We are glad if we have helped in any way.

Yes, there are wonderful, caring people on this Forum. We are all fortunate to have met here. Another thank you to Rick Steves!

Pam and Pat, thank you for your comments to me, above.

Posted by
7873 posts

Tony and Rebecca, big hug to you both. I relate very well to both your stories... <3

Posted by
461 posts

Great post Tony! In June of 2012 my 44 year old Son was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away 3 1/2 months after he was diagnosed. I remember saying to many friends and family, "I thought we would have more time". We always think we will have more time!

My husband and I had always talked about going to Europe "one day" and after my Son passed away, it made me realize we really needed to get going with our plans. We leave in a week for our 3rd trip to Europe since 2012 and hope we have many more to come.

Don't wait - don't keep putting it off - get going!

Posted by
265 posts

My wife kept a journal of our travels and experiences while I was in the Air Force stationed in England and Germany from May of 1973 to Feb of 1975. We had just gotten married and were in our mid 20's. Her first entry in the journal on the day she joined me in England said "travel while you are young and can enjoy it".
Of course Uncle Sam made our two years in Europe mostly possible. We lived on the economy (as opposed to living on base) and had a car to drive to places on most weekends. As an E-4 we didn't have that much spare income but again this is where Uncle Sam helped out with on base shopping and cheap service club tours. (i.e. 4 day bus tour to Scotland for two people with hotel and most meals $65 total for two. In 1973)
After the Air Force it was a work a day world of jobs and family. But we still took trips and vacations. We choose to spend our extra money on travel. Through my work (the Radio Station business) we were able to escort groups of our listeners on trips...mostly cruises. On cruise ships we saw lots of retired / older people many of whom were using walkers and oxygen bottles.
This led my wife to the next great travel statement. "We will travel NOW, we will stay home when we get old."

Posted by
4575 posts

Tony,

It's good to hear that you're feeling better now. Thank you for reminding me not to take my health & life for granted.
I sure hope you will be able to make your trip in 2016 & I'm looking forward to reading your trip report on this forum ;-)

Rebecca,
You story about your mom brought tears to my eyes...
Even though you were not able to take that trip (physically) with her, in many ways you did... by watching all those videos together which gave her joy & purpose. Cherish the memories of your time together...
You were an amazing daughter to her & your minister was right...

Posted by
206 posts

Thanks Pricilla. So looking forward to the trip and already doing a lot of pre planning. Still looking for a travel friend for the trip but will go alone if necessary. So many people love to talk about going somewhere but just won't take the final step and commit. Think I have asked 6 friends or relatives and have gotten about 15 different reasons why they can't or won't go. I can give then 15 different reasons to go but would rather not push it. If for some reason they did not enjoy the trip then that would be my fault and could ruin a friendship. So, when I get back and they hear of my travels and see pictures then they say, " Wow, wish I had gone." That happened on my last trip and two people were so sorry they did not go. Now, they are not healthy enough to do a Rick's tour with all the walking that is required.

I am either going to fly into Frankfurt or Munich and do a few days in Germany and then do the 2016 Swiss tour or fly into Paris early and do the BOE14 day tour. If I end up going alone, it will be the Swiss tour as I love the schedule for it. Also probably a better trip for someone travelling single. Would much rather have a travel friend along for Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome. But either trip I decide on is now less than a year away.

My health seems to be getting better each day and really don't anticipate anything that will stop me from getting the trip in.

Thanks to all for all the positive thoughts.
Bad health sucks, but good travel is the best medicine for anyone.

Posted by
1068 posts

Many of my friends give similar "reasons" for not traveling. As I also look for a traveling companion their reasons are always interesting to me but often hollow. Like you, I don't want to ruin a friendship by pushing a trip on someone. As a result, I often travel alone or with a tour..... but I won't let not having a companion stop me. I worked in hospitals for 30 years and you never know when or how your health will fail. Feeling good is a precious gift too many people (IMHO) take for granted.

Posted by
4575 posts

Tony,

So looking forward to the trip and already doing a lot of pre planning. Still looking for a travel friend for the trip but will go alone if necessary.

There are many on this forum who travel solo & I applaud you for willing to do the same.

My mom was in her 70's the first time she traveled to Europe and she went solo too!

She encouraged me to travel and she has been my travel companion for the past 14 years (my DH does not like to travel)
and we've had the best of times together on our trips.

I hope you find a travel companion, but if not... may you enjoy going solo!

Actually.... Larry from Carmel may be willing to travel with you... read his funny reply on this post:https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/where-to-propose-in-rome

Posted by
206 posts

Imagine I could find someone easier if I was paying all the expenses. I am considering paying for the airfare and maybe even the $400 tour deposit but that would be the best I could do. That would cost me about $1500 so would be a good savings for someone if they decide to go. Would probably cost them about $4600 then for 17 days which is not bad. I know a couple that might jump at that but pretty sure they are not a grump free and good travel partner. Last trip I did was as a single and enjoyed it fine. Just nice to have someone along you have some knowledge of and sort of the same interest. Would love to find a high school senior or early college age person that would love music, art, and Europe but all are back in school when I plan to go. Most of the senior citizens I know can't walk across the street, let alone up a mountain. Guess I could carry them up the mountain and then let them roll back down. Would make a great scrapbook picture. Might win the contest and get me another trip. LOL!

Posted by
815 posts

Tony - awesome post! Glad things are better. I agree.... travel and don't put it off. I kind of did, but now I am going to try to go every year. My grandparents traveled a lot, took us on some trips ( states and one European), so I think I got that bug from them. Went to Europe for my senior year in high school, then college, married, work and kids. So I missed out on European trips during that time, but took small family vacations around some parts of the US. Why you need to travel now!! My dad died from Parkinson's in 20013. He wanted to go places but could not get around very well. My sister and I and his cousin sent to Scotland and the Shetland Islands. We went to Shetland to research our family genealogy. Shetland is where my g g g grandfather came from and founded Inkster Michigan. My dad wanted to go with us soooooo bad but he was in a walker and progressing to a wheelchair. So... don't wait til it is to late. My husband and I have worked for 30+ years in the work force, savins in our 401's etc. Now we both decided to retire (me 57, him 61) and now I want to travel somewhere every year. Been to Europe 1962 (four years old), 1976 (18 years old), 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2015 (going in nov/dec) and now have my 2016 RS tour booked and in planning process. Hopefully, we can still go every year. On top of that, our bucket list is to visit every MLB baseball stadium in the US. So if you have the time and money, go out and see the world.

Posted by
1918 posts

Tony,
Your story is so inspiring and I could not agree more that we have to live now and make those travel dreams a reality! I am glad you are recovering and planning your trip for 2016. It is a blessing to be healthy enough and to have the money to travel. Just meeting our ordinary living expenses when we are working or retired can be challenging. That is when setting priorities for what really matters helps us pay for "now", save for the "future" and "fund" our travel dreams.

I have had travel dreams for many years but did not follow through on them. My first trip to Europe was in 1999 and then I returned in 2000. Have wonderful memories. But did not go back until 2013! That trip made me realize life is short and you never know what will happen tomorrow just as you have experienced.

In 2014 I went on Rick's Paris and the Heart of France tour as a solo and had the time of my life! I realized that from now on I must somehow manage to do a trip every year by making travel a priority. I am a good budget manager so I trim as much as possible to go into the "travel" bucket without sacrificing the "future".

In June 2015 I went on Rick's The Best of Berlin Prague and Vienna tour and had a great time.

I am in my 60's and still working and still healthy so I feel truly blessed. Still noodling over where to go in 2016. There are so many places I have not been and want to visit...

Many of you have posted inspiring and heart-felt messages that have made me even more convinced to continue on my path. As Rick says, "Keep on traveling" In his jaunty way.
Thanks - I am going to be a Dreaming Doer or Dreaming Traveler!
Judy B

Posted by
206 posts

Judy, thanks for the post. Sounds like you are really enjoying your travels and plan on going as long as you can. All those weeks and months while I was so ill, I just kept thinking about the plans I have for 2016 and do not want to miss that trip. I took good health for granted as I had never had any issues at all so when it happens, it sure opens your eyes. In my case, it closed my eyes for a long time. Now I am about 90% sure all will be fine and I will make the Sept 16 trip. The keep on travelling theme is my goal.

Posted by
1918 posts

Tony,
I am enjoying my trips and have friends calling me to discuss what I did in Berlin, for example, on my free time in June on the RS Berlin Prague Vienna. It is my pleasure to suggest things to do based on what my friends' interests are, and, I get to relive the travel memories. What fun, I am able to help someone plan their time in a place where I learned and experienced such enlightening things.

I, too, have asked a number of friends to join me but I rarely hear yes and more often the opposite. One trip I went solo and had a great time, it took a while for people to realize that I was not a horror story or clingy so I made some wonderful new friends! I was the only person on their own, everyone was in couples.

Best wishes for a great trip next September! And, thanks for your reply to my post. I think the only antidote for the travel bug is travel!!!
Judy

Posted by
206 posts

Judy, travelling solo is not really so bad either. That is the way I did the Germany, Austria, Switzerland tour several years ago. Still had a great time and met lots of great people on the tour. Several other also on the tour as singles but everyone fit right in and all had great trips. I think I may have found a travel friend for the next one but will go solo if needed and not even think twice about it. I too, found that after the trip, many were interested in it and wished they had gone. They just for some reason won't take the plunge and go. So, they go back to Florida again and see the same things they have seen for 20 years. Maybe fun for them, but sure not for me.
Glad you enjoyed Berlin. It is a great city. I was there before the wall went down and spent a week there and had a great time. This will be my sixth trip and each one has special memories.

Posted by
491 posts

Oh my...this thread is bringing tears to my eyes...

Tony, I wish you a full recovery and happy travels!

I visited England when I was 20, 22 and 23. I always thought I would go back. First I was going back when I was 30. Then I was going when I graduated from college at age 38. Then I was going when I was 40. Then 50. I'm 51 now...and I'm definitely going in the next couple of years! As soon as I can accumulate enough vacation time from work.

Posted by
206 posts

SandraL, just don't put it off too long. You mentioned you had planned to go several times and did not. Two years in the future is not so long, but if you don't go then, maybe another year or two goes by. Only takes about 10 days vacation time for a decent trip and with weekends you get about 16 days which is plenty. I have only had to put off one trip and regretted that.
Illness, is getting better each day and getting ready to put down the deposit for the 2016 trip. Will also know next week if I have a travel partner for the trip also. That also looks positive. So, things are getting better and so glad. I know many people who missed the chance to travel and have regretted it for years as health declined and they just could not go.
Go while you can and make it a memory instead of a dream.
Tony

Posted by
12252 posts

@ Sandral....I go by this saying: "If you don't decide, then time decides for you." That's really sad. Go as soon as you can, the earlier the better while the $ is so strong (relative to the Euro and the GBP) the first time in 12 years.

Posted by
2700 posts

Sandra,

Keep in mind you don't need a lot of vacation time to make a trip work. For instance, we get off Thanksgiving day and next day, the Friday after, we took 2 trips to Bavaria and Austria for the Christmas Markets. Had 9 days off using just 3 vacation days. We stayed 8 nights both trips and had a wonderful time. If it's a specific city that is of great interest, you could get by with even less time perhaps.

Paul

Posted by
269 posts

Dreaming Doer! I love it.
Thank you Tony for the reminder and a great phrase. Our life experiences shape who we are. I was fortunate enough to have been taken all across the US except for the upper Midwest and Northwest. I went to Germany my first time at the age of 24 by myself on a guided tour and fell in love with the thought of traveling to Europe. My next trip was 7 years after that for my honeymoon. My wife and I self guided and just wandered through southern Germany and Switzerland. We have been back to England and Europe a combined 5 times since. In 2003 we were at the ticketing area waiting to go up to NeuSchwanstein when we struck up a conversation with 2 retired couples. One of the wives commented to us that we were smart to travel at a young age (mid 40's at the time). One of the husbands had had heart surgery at some point and was having difficulty doing all of the steps they encountered. A few years before that trip I lost a friend to a heart attack at age 42. Those life experiences taught me that it is now or never. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. I too have heard the excuses or the comments "must be nice to be able to afford to go". What a lot of people don't understand is it is not any more expensive than traveling here. If you can get past the cost of the ticket to get there you can travel as cheaply or expensively as you like. As my wife likes to say "I have to eat out if I'm in Florida or if I'm in Germany". It is true that ticket prices now make it really more difficult. However, you can still find a deal sometimes.
I have found this thread to be inspirational to person who likes to travel already. Thank you all and good luck on your recovery Tony. If you think you can, you will!

Posted by
206 posts

.John, thanks for your positive comments and appreciate your attitude on travel. I also like to think of myself as a dreaming doer, as I think and dream of my next trip a lot, but also know it will happen soon. I have asked my cousin to go several times. She lives in a small town in Indiana. Her answer is still the same. " I would love to go but I'm too afraid of terrorist." So sad, as she will never experience the beauty and joy of Europe.

Posted by
112 posts

Add me to the list of "Dreaming Doer's" - I love that phrase!

Thank you, Tony, for initiating this post. I've thought many times that although it's fine and well to plan for the future, the time that matters most is the present. After all, life is ultimately a collection of countless "present moments", so ideally we should make each one count!

With that in mind, my mother and I are going to Scotland and Cornwall in May 2016. It seems a long way away at the moment, but we are enjoying every minute of the planning and anticipation. I'd considered waiting another year until I could better afford it financially, then decided "To heck with that - we need to go now!". I've been fortunate enough to enjoy annual trips with my mom in the States, and we've visited Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the Oregon coast and redwood forest, Utah national parks, etc, but a few years ago we decided to make a longstanding dream come true and visit England together. At the time of our first trip to England, I was only working part-time and we were cash-poor, and travelling with Mom meant I had to leave my husband and 7 year old son at home, which I didn't think I could do. It turns out that father and son do quite well on their own for a couple of weeks, we never missed the money I spent on the trip, and the memories I formed with my mom were priceless. This next trip will be our third trip to the UK together, and if we're lucky, we may fit in another.

Here's a great little Chinese proverb I happened upon once: Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think.

Posted by
5634 posts

Didn't know that was a Chinese proverb -- I heard it as a song (published 1949, recorded by Guy Lombardo) -- but a good thought nonetheless.
A co-worker and I were talking about our lives one day and it turned out that both of us had taken long European trips with our husbands in our 20's ... and we had both been unexpectedly widowed in our 30's. We were both SO glad that we had those wonderful memories; we were able to earn back the money that was spent, but we could never recreate that time together.

Posted by
112 posts

I would imagine a lot of those sayings are recycled, but it's because they're so good (and so true). In any case, Tony - I wish you the very best for your trip and your health.

Posted by
7527 posts

Thinking of you Tony, wishing you strength and many years of travel.

Posted by
7876 posts

My parents were always going to travel, but wanted to wait until retirement even though they could have afforded it and had sufficient vacation time. They made one trip to Germany 24 years ago that included a short bus trip to Italy. Then mom got an MS diagnosis and they then just took cruises which was easier for her. Travel was twice as difficult, especially the flights. I could have shown them so much of Europe and Germany, they could have enjoyed their grandchildren more than seeing them once every 4-5 years when I could afford to fly to the US. Seems like such a shame that they waited so long.

Never put off til tomorrow, what you can do today.

Posted by
3894 posts

There was an obit in our paper today for a 38 year old woman (married with two small children under 5) and in the obit, it said one of her regrets was that she hadn't travelled more, but she was thankful for the little trips that her family made around the Maritimes. Most people would think at 38 that you had all the time in the world (and luckily, a majority of us do)...makes you realize that if you want to travel, do it while you can...if you want to see the world, find a way to make it happen...

Posted by
206 posts

Sam, that song tells it all. Thanks for posting it.

Also Ms. Jo, based on your parents story, I know this topic is so true. I doubt there is anyone on this site that does not have some type of experience with someone, either family or friend, that just waited too long, and never got to experience great travel.

Posted by
6562 posts

Thanks for bringing this subject up, Tony. We returned 2 days ago from Scandinavia and a Baltic cruise. I cannot tell you the number of elderly people we ran into that were literally unable to walk, but somehow making their dream trip in Europe.
I am so fortunate to have had parents that instilled the desire to travel into their family and were world travelers.
We all just have so many days on this earth, and it's so important to grab life by the horns and get it while the gettin's good.

Posted by
980 posts

Tony, wishing you well and can't wait to hear about how your trip goes. This really is a great topic. My dad died of pancreatic cancer at 46. I was the oldest of 4 kids at 23. We had immigrated from the Philippines when I was 13 and my dad worked so hard, sometimes working 2 jobs to support us while my mom stayed home and earned extra income babysitting. I got married and had 3 kids by the time I was in my early 30s and although we travelled around the US as far as the east coast and Hawaii, going to Europe just seemed like a dream.

So when I was 42 and my husband at the time decided he "wasn't happy" with his life and asked for a divorce, I decided I needed to make my dream come true. In the 10 years since, I've been to Europe 4 times, once taking all 3 kids (thanks for half of that 401k, jerk!). I'm now itching to plan a trip for next year.When people ask me why I travel so much, I tell them of how I do it because of my dad. He died so suddenly at such a young age and didn't have a chance to enjoy his life because he was taking care of his family. My ex husband actually did me a favor because I had no qualms leaving the kids with him when I traveled! They are now 19, 24 and 25 and totally understand my wanderlust.

Posted by
1918 posts

Tony,
Someone referenced your original post in the other thread of "Study Abroad or RS Tour?" And I re read some of the stories people wrote on traveling when you can. I wanted to bump it back in the spotlight for others to write their comments. This is such a great topic.
I hope your plans for a trip in 2016 are coming along. I am planning to go somewhere, still up in the air. I received the RS tour catalog recently - it's like the Sears & Roebuck catalog from my childhood! It feeds my dreams.
Judy B

Posted by
206 posts

Thanks Judy. Still planning on fall of 2016. Really have considered just going on my own in July and going to Maastricht, Netherlands for the Andre Rieu Homecoming concert, but just don't like mid summer due to crowds and heat. Still undecided on which trip I will take but am still leaning toward the 14 day BOE in mid Sept. Health wise, I am getting better and only have a couple issues now. Probably back to about 85% of where I need to be.

Just hope everyone that has read this topic, gets the point and start making plans for sooner, and not for years down the road. The money you spend can be replaced later, but the time can't be. Travel while you can.

Posted by
449 posts

Tony, you are so right. After losing several family members to cancer, I know for sure that life is very SHORT!

My brother's biggest regret was not traveling when he could have. He died before age 40.

Waiting for retirement sounds like the end of the road to me. I travel as often and as much as I can, and like Pat, I ignore what needs updating and changing out for travel. I can always buy a new refrigerator down the road, but I might not be able to travel one day.

Hope you have the best trip ever!!!

Posted by
206 posts

Well, I had planned to book in November for my 2016 Best of Europe tour. Really can't do that as I'm still having some health issues. Hate to put it off another year but may have to do that. Overall, I am doing better but just don't think I would be able to do all the walking that is required each day. Now six months plus since all this started.

So, if you are sitting there debating on taking a trip now or later, I say go now and don't wait any longer. 2015 has sure changed my outlook on taking things for granted.

Posted by
491 posts

Sorry to hear about your ongoing troubles, Tony. Hang in there!! best of luck to you.

I have made a room reservation for London for May 2016 and I am in the midst of checking airfares as we "speak!" I'm really excited and happy about my decision to go now vs. later. Your words were inspiring for me.

Posted by
433 posts

Good luck Tony.

Your post inspired us to commit to our next trip, now scheduled for March 2016. We had been debating waiting another year to save up, but my husband decided the greater risk was not going while we are healthy enough to ski. The ideal time may never occur, and you are so right: Travel while you can! Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by
1976 posts

Tony, I too am sorry to hear that you won't be able to go in 2016. But you have great drive and passion for travel and experiencing new adventures, and that will get you through a lot.

The stories other posters told about their parents wanting to travel but putting it off, reminds me of my dad. He and my mom talked about going to Europe for their honeymoon in 1972: France for him to see car-racing, and England for her to see Stratford-upon-Avon and other Shakespeare / English lit. sites. But my mom was afraid to fly that far so they went to New Orleans instead. My mom never talks about traveling but my dad does. We watch "House Hunters International" and "The Amazing Race" together and he seems very interested in all these places. A couple years ago he entered a contest to win a Volvo made in Sweden. The winner would get airfare to Sweden, pick up the car, and drive around Europe for 2 weeks before getting the car shipped home. I asked if he won the contest, would he go to Sweden, and he said yes. Sometimes I half-joke about us taking a trip together in which I'd take care of all the planning and logistics and in exchange he'd subsidize my expenses and he laughs with me, but that's as far as it goes. It makes me sad that he seems to want to do this but won't because of his own reasons, whatever they may be.

Posted by
206 posts

Sarah, thanks for your story. Have you really just sat down and talked with your dad about taking a trip to Europe. You said you both joke about it, but maybe a serious talk would be all it would take. If health is not an issue, he might surprise you and go. Don't just let it pass as a joke. If he has dreamed about it for all these years, show him some of the stories on this post. He might just finally want to go instead of dream about it. Good luck.

Also good to see that my topic got several of you inspired, and hope you enjoy your upcoming trips.

Posted by
104 posts

Sarah- I think my mom was for many years like your dad. She liked to travel other places and had talked about going to Europe for a long time but it never went beyond that. In my case , I won a trip for 2 to Paris last year and I offered to take my mom. It was a short 5 day trip but she loved Paris. Right after we came home she was talking about wanting to do a longer trip so this year we are going to Italy. My mom ended up having major surgery a few weeks ago, but since our trip is a few months out we are still planning to go.

Posted by
1918 posts

Hi Tony,
So sorry to hear that your health problems will keep you from your trip next year. I was thinking about you the other day when I was on the forum.

I have 3 friends who want to talk about going to Europe, not in 2016 but 2017. In other words, they keep putting off traveling, something they really want to do!
So, I will probably sign up to go on my own on my 3rd RS tour next year. I have held a drawing for the last three days with three pieces of paper: a trip on each paper, and each time, drew only the Belgium/Holland tour, the winner so far. I plan to continue the drawing before I make my final decision. I really want to go to Belgium and Holland, and I promise I did not cheat. For today's drawing I asked a colleague to shuffle the papers and I turned my back and then picked! I think this may be a sign.

Take care of yourself,
Judy B

Posted by
415 posts

Tony, thank you so much for your post. We took our 8 & 10 year old kids to Europe this summer--6 countries in 35 days. There was an article in NYT where the author and his wife took their young children to Europe for a month. A lot responses were very critical. All I can say is as a family we had the absolute best time. And am am so happy we took them at this age. Thanks agan for sharing.

Posted by
269 posts

Tony, I am sorry to read of your delay but I am confident that with your positive attitude you will make it. A delay is better than a denial.
Sara, please have a talk with your Father. My Father passed away way before I had the ability to travel with him. If the 2 of you are that interested, make a plan and stick to it. Go without your Mother if you must as I am sure she will understand. You will create a memory that time will not erase.

Posted by
1976 posts

Tony and John, thank you for your advice and consideration. You've convinced me to talk to my dad seriously and see what he says. If he really doesn't want to go, no amount of cajoling will change his mind; but if he does, then maybe he just needs encouragement from someone as stubborn as he is.

Posted by
3416 posts

I've been watching the news reports about the terror strikes in Paris tonight. For me, it is just another reason to go while you can. Other may see it as a reason to stay home, but I say , "GO!" Go now, before some lovely, historic place is changed beyond belief. Go while we can still- maybe- make a positive impact, at least on our own mindset. Encourage other to travel- it will broaden their experience base, and maybe their mind.

And pray for all those involved in the incidents tonight. Those killed, hurt, scared; those responding as police, medics, etc.; the hospital workers, and their families and friends. And even those who committed these atrocities and their families. Pray for peace and acceptance and tolerance. At least, that's what I'm doing.

Posted by
4841 posts

Tony - thanks for your original post, and best of luck for your recovery and future travel when you can.

Toni - Well said. I'm heading to France in less than a week. You never know what's going to happen, so do whatever you can, when you can!

Posted by
6562 posts

I'm so glad you're doing well, Tony. You were fortunate to have Vanderbilt Hospital and their incredible emergency room to attend to your needs. (I'm originally from Nashville and live 2 hrs. south of you.)
My wife and I retired young, and we're what you would call perpetual travelers. We couldn't plan for a trip 15 weeks--much less 15 months. When your health gets to where you can travel comfortably, do it then--don't wait. No one knows what's in store for them in life.
Right now, we're able to plan and execute our own travel with the information and reservations online. Organized tours are being saved for when we cannot handle going on trips without assistance.

Posted by
206 posts

Sarah, way to go, and hope the talk with your dad goes well. Let us know how it turns out. Even if he won't go, don't let it stop you from travelling.

Posted by
815 posts

Hi Tony,

I can semi relate to your story. My travel bug started with my grandparents. They took us as kids to places every summer. So I dream of traveling often. Your story hit home with my dad's health. My ancestors came from Ireland, Scotland and England. I am into genealogy (another obsession, got bug from my grandfather, again). So, my sister and cousin (my dad's 1st cousin) decided to go to Shetland Islands June 2010 (islands north of Scotland). My dad had Parkinson's disease( now deceased in 2012) and unable to get around walking (had to use the walker, then into a wheelchair). He wanted to go so bad to where are ancestors came from. Bob, our cousin, was willing to help with him coming, but my sister and I decided it would be too hard on him. It was so sad and heartbreaking that he was unable to go. Because of this, I totally agree that don't put off traveling. Having health issues suck. I have a bad knee so I had to give up running per Dr. I try to go to gym to work out to strengthen my knees. I am not going to let this stop me from my travels. My husband and I are newly retired (I am only 57, he is 61). Lifetime of savings, so my hope are to travel to Europe once a year. My first trip overseas was the summer I turned 4 yr in Holland to visit grandparents who lived there for a few years (he worked for Shell oil as a geologist). I returned to Europe my senior year in high school 1976. I have wanted to go back for years 20 year old, 30 year old, etc. Life, kids and excuses happen. End up going in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014 (England, France, Switzerland, Italy & Scotland). Made by 1st RS tour, best of Ireland 2014 . Now going into two weeks on a river boat Christmas market cruise down the Danube. Then return on my 2nd RS tour 11 Holland/Belgium in April 2016. So in closing, I hope everyony like Sandra L, you and others stay healthy and get to travel often. Don't put it off if you can, because it all is worth it in the end. It make me sad that I did not take my dad and now he is gone. Glad you can make your trip next year.

Happy travels and health to all!!

Kim