Can we afford to travel?

September 30, 2018

When our daughter attended college, she seized an opportunity to attend Semester at Sea. SAS is a study abroad program founded in 1963, whereby students cruise around the world and still earn college credit toward their degree.

Her journey began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and we traveled with her to see her off. Later we mounted a huge world map above our kitchen table and used push pins to mark her whereabouts beginning with Kobe, Japan, and ending with Havana, Cuba.

Staring at the map, I remarked to my husband, “What’s wrong with this picture? How come we can’t travel, if she can?”

As seniors on fixed incomes we ask ourselves: Can we afford to take this trip? What if we need the money for something more important? What if in a few years we don’t have our health?

We are wanting to travel more, and it seems that many of our friends are on board with yearly soujourns of their own.

My neighbors Dan and Dahni just returned home from their Alaskan land and sea cruise (see photos below). When I asked how it went, she quipped, “We had fun spending our children’s inheritance!”

Dahni writes, “We saw salmon leaping out of the water! We saw whale, otters, puffins, dolphins, cormorants, sea lions, seals and a calving glacier on our private boat tour of Resolute Bay. After a night in Anchorage, we caught a float plane to Crescent Lake, a remote fly-in-only lake where we saw unbelievable glaciers, lakes, mountain peaks and hidden valleys. Might well be our best trip ever, and we should have done it years ago.”

You don’t have to fly to Alaska to see a different world. My husband and I along with a few neighbors traveled to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania’s Amish countryside a few weeks ago. We marveled at the pristine landscapes and the Amish simplicity of living as we drove through their communities alongside their horse-drawn buggies.

In the September 2018 Amish Country News, I read an interesting article titled “Is Our Way of Life a Prison?” A real estate agent was introducing his 12-year-old daughter to the Amish man who had purchased his property. The realtor said, “Jackie, I want you to meet a man who doesn’t have electricity in his home. And he doesn’t have a TV. What do you think of that?”

Her answer, “A prison!” But the writer, Brad Igou, disagrees: “I think we have a meaningful and wonderful way of life where faith, family and community are cherished more than material objects.”

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