Expeditions ‘R Us
By Dr. Jeri Fink
Do you believe that expeditions aren’t for Boomers?
I’ve been on two expedition cruises – celebrating my 60th and 62nd birthdays – on the Linblad/National Geographic Explorer and Endeavor.
Now I’m thinking about celebrating my 65th by following Lewis & Clark on the Snake and Columbia Rivers, searching for Orangutans in Indonesia, exploring the Amazon, or checking out Loch Ness in Scotland.
Expeditions are a special brand of travel. You tour on small, tough ships that are comfortable but without the amenities of luxury cruises. Instead of a cruise director and staff, there’s an expedition team, naturalists, and science-oriented speakers who give presentations on everything from politics and geology to ecotourism. There’s no art auction or midnight buffet – hikes, explorations, zodiacs, snorkels, and destination-appropriate adventures are the entertainment.
My first expedition cruise was to Antarctica. People asked me why we wanted to go to the icy bottom of the world. The next generation smirked. “Why wouldn’t you go to a beach?”
We were starry-eyed explorers behind our sunglasses!
Antarctica was a breathtaking experience, filled with icebergs, penguins, whales, and a sense of what the world looks like without human intervention. (see August 20, 2013)
When we returned with photos, videos and life-changing experiences, the kids were impressed. And curious. Everyone wanted to know what it was like at the bottom of the world.
Two years later my son and his wife joined us on our next expedition to the Galapagos Islands. We sailed on the Endeavor to a magical place with strange and beautiful creatures. There were King Angelfish, Yellow Warblers, Great Blue Herons, and Orange Land Iguanas. Not to mention our favorite, Blue-footed Boobies.
We saw Sea Lions cavort in the water and on land, watched a flock of Pelicans begging for scraps from a local fisherman, and visited prehistoric-looking Galapagos Giant Tortoises, who “smiled” as they moved along in slow motion.
Sally Lightfoot crabs sunned on volcanic cliffs while Great Frigate Birds puffed up their red finery in a colorful mating ritual.
The world would never look the same!
Now our kids have kids – along with mortgages and lawn mowers. They’re no longer free to travel the world – like us.
There’s pure joy in seeing places where few venture. So much awaits beyond the beaches and resorts of conventional travel destinations. If you prefer to stay domestic, consider expeditions that follow breaching Humpback whales in Alaska, a living Aquarium in Baja California, or the land of the Nez Perce Indians in the Pacific Northwest. Or stay in your "backyard" with a DIY expedition, visiting caverns, strange land formations, ancient settlements, and nature's anomalies that surround all of us.
There’s so much to see and experience – no bottom to our bucket list. So why stay home?
If your kids think you’re crazy, don’t worry. Your grandkids think you’re heroes. Look at it this way - why do they need explorers like Lewis & Clark, Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus when they have Nana and Poppy?
Visit Jeri at her website: www.drjerifink.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org