Travel while you still can

March 1, 2020

How adventurous are you? Brave enough to visit Antarctica? A few weeks ago, members of the Coastal Camera Club of Sussex County shared photos and discussed their experiences during their visits to the seventh continent.

I was enthralled by the incredible photos of penguins and how the members captured the beauty of the natural world, but I came home thinking about one member’s instruction: You have to be physically able to get in and out of the Zodiac.

Zodiac is the brand name for a type of inflatable boat which has been around since the 1930s. They were used by Jacques Cousteau in the 1960s during his documentary efforts. These boats can take you up close and personal to the icebergs.

I mention the word Zodiac to my neighbor Joe, who has just returned from his dream vacation to the Galapagos Islands. “We know all about Zodiacs. My wife and I are bikers and consider ourselves in pretty good shape, but we were surprised at how much agility we’ve lost in recent years. We’re so glad we did this trip now.”

Joe got me thinking about the saying, “Seize the day!”

Last fall, my husband and I ventured into Zion National Park in Utah, for the simple reason that we had never been to that part of our country and wanted to capture the beauty before hiking might not be an option. Many times we were winded, but when we stopped to rest, we saw our first mountain goat.

My criticism of large cruise lines is that these vessels take you to ports which can accommodate them. Often these are the more crowded cities, geared toward tourist shopping, and not necessarily the sites which fill you with wonder.

The trips to Antarctica were between 15 and 130 people in all. Of course, there is a high price to pay as well. One member of the Coastal Camera Club, Donna, is already planning her second trip to Antarctica. “There is nothing to compare to raw nature, the incredibly colorful wildlife, and the experience of nature's true wonder,” she said.

Maybe I should save those cruises for my 80s. That is, assuming I live that long. None of us knows how much time we have or what health issues may thwart our plans. My husband and I have planned well for our retirement, but one thing we never talked about was how many trips we wanted to take or how much they would cost. I am ready to go almost anywhere in the world, but he says we can only afford so much. What does that word “afford” mean?

We don’t have long-term health insurance. But we also don’t have assurance for what the future holds. Sometimes I think about that question: What if this were the last day you had on earth? Or what is the one vacation you know you just have to take before you die?

I applaud the adventurous! Maybe there is truth in that saying, “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” But what sights we see can make us wiser.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter