I've written before about adventure travel for women over 50 - how, barring illness or physical disability, women over 50 were just as capable of hiking, backpacking, kayaking etc. as women under 50; and that the major element to consider when choosing adventure travel was not your age, but your level of conditioning and desire for physical activity. It's not so much the level of fitness you can achieve (unless you are into competitive sports) that declines with age, but how long it takes to get there, how soon fitness declines, and how many recovery periods you need. Age also has the advantage of experience and attitude, which often compensate for any physical differences.
But honestly I, and many of the women who have traveled with us over the past 20 years, passed the 50 year-old mark years ago. So how about adventure travel for women over 60?
I was very lucky to have a mother who went on a 5-day canoe and camping trip in the Boundary Waters with me when she was 79 - but not many of us have had the good luck to have such active role models.
This probably explains why, when women call the office about a trip, they may preface their questions with "I'm 52 or 62 (or whatever) but I'm very active". Whenever I hear this, knowing that I sound very young on the phone, I usually tell women that I am in my late 60s. This is always met by a relieved laugh, and agreement that I do indeed sound about 25 and they had just wanted to be sure they hadn't accidentally stumbled into a group for 20-somethings.
Fortunately as my generation has aged, our perspective on what is possible has changed - and our daughters have many more role models for active aging then we did. We continually see women celebrate turning 60 by signing up for challenging trips, be it trekking To Machu Picchu, backpacking the Appalachian Trail, or climbing Kilimanjaro.
Now most women (and men) actually have no interest in doing something that strenuous - but that lack of interest is not age-related. If you don't want to climb Kili to celebrate turning 60, the chances are really good that you didn't want to when you turned 40 either.
This is not to deny that as we age, the probability of developing a life-threatening or -limiting illness increases. And even if we have remained healthy, most of us have more morning stiffness and a variety of aches and pains. But there is a silver lining here; these consequences of aging strip us of THE ILLUSION THAT WE CAN PUT THINGS OFF that we want to do. We will not be fitter or more skilled next year - unless we make that a goal right now and start actively working towards it. Our 60s are when we start realizing that making a decision not to do something this year could, through circumstance, become a decision never to do it. A choice to pursue one path is a choice not to pursue other paths - so we better choose wisely.
Do we offer adventure travel for women over 60? Absolutely. It's called our Trip Calendar.