Invaluable Advice From Two Masters on Traveling Throughout Your Life

This Grandma is a child of Holocaust survivors. My mother was the only survivor of her village in Poland.* My father, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Treblinka Death Camp,** after the end of the World War II, learned that his brother, my Uncle Eddie, and one of his sisters, my Aunt Fay, survived.  My uncle survived by joining the Russian army to fight the Nazis.  My aunt survived the infamous death camp, Auschwitz.  Both came to the United States after the war, so I was lucky to have a few family members who survived the Nazis.

My Aunt Fay embraced being a modern American working woman, and married in America to my Uncle Harry.  They planned all their adult lives to travel when they retired. My Aunt Fay always planned to go around the world, and spoke often about where she intended to travel.

Before my Aunt Fay could travel as she and my Uncle Harry planned, at retirement, she became ill, diagnosed with lymphoma, and died shortly thereafter. Before she died, Aunt Fay told me not to make her mistake.

My Aunt Fay gave me invaluable advice on traveling throughout your life.

My loving aunt said travel when you are young. You can make it happen even with little income.  Do not wait for retirement.  You never know what is going to happen in your life.  Do not postpone travel.

My husband and I listened to her advice.  My husband, Stephen, and I had a bucket list to visit all the United States national parks and all the wonders of the world. We traveled starting in our thirties, finding a discount tour company called Weekends International, that no longer exists, even staying in a college dormitory in Stockholm with them, as well as seeing China, Japan, Hong Kong, and much of Europe in our thirties and forties with them. Whenever they had a sale or special rate we took advantage of it, hearing Aunt Fay whispering in our ears. We would not wait until retirement to begin traveling.

Travel and experiences expand our horizons and we passed this along to our children and grandchildren, to take advantage of the time you have on earth and experience the world.  Create a bucket list, create family traditions and rituals, and the experiences you create live on after you.

Whatever it is that you desire for your life, whatever your bucket list, as now a retiree myself, I recommend also that you do not wait until retirement for it to happen.  You never know what will happen in your life. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

The next invaluable advice on traveling throughout your life came from my husband’s mother. My mother-in-law, GG (great grandmother) Lee was active and vibrant until her death at age 98!

She told us that there are two stages of old: young old and old old, and to remember the impact of each upon your life and your goals and aspirations in life, and upon your travel.  She said you are young old until you are age 83.  Until 83, do everything you want to, travel where you want, go and do.  When you are young old, if in good health, you will not only be able, you will still have the desire to travel.  GG Lee said after about age 83, you are old-old, and however long you live thereafter, whatever your health, traveling becomes more difficult, and may not be worth the effort, if you even have the desire to do so.  There is an opinion editorial in the New York Times, “What They Don’t Tell You About Getting Old,” by Roger Rosenblatt, September 30, 2023, who talks about recently turning 83, and becoming “old.” GG has it right.

GG Lee also advocated traveling throughout your life, not waiting even to young old, as you never know what life brings.  You never know what will happen tomorrow.

We listened to GG Lee as well, to her invaluable advice on aging in life.

My husband, Stephen, and I did not finish our bucket list at age sixty-five, as Aunt Fay advocated.  Yes, this caused me consternation and stress.  We started traveling more often each year, crossing off our list.  We saw the natural wonders, the ancient wonders (that still exist), the seven wonders of the modern world, the man made wonders, and just when we thought we finished, a list of New Wonders came out with a few new ones that we were off to experience. 

We finished everything on our national park and wonders of the world bucket list at age 70, except Glacier National Park. At age 71, my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  We  were glad we listened to the invaluable advice of two incredible women dear to us. My husband died this past March 1, 2023.  In his memory,  I am going to Glacier National Park this June to July, finished our intended travel journeys.

If you think this travel is beyond your ability, there is likely a national park within driving distance of your home. Start in your backyard and expand from there. Then find a discount budget tour company that has sales! Plan a list of places you want to start with, and watch for a sale, and jump on the sale, as the dates sell out quickly.

We traveled to many parts of the world with such a wonderful discount budget company.  Gate 1 Travel.  We never paid full price, even for their low priced tours.  Having signed up for their weekly emails, we made a list of where we wanted to go, and watched for their flash sales, discounting further their fabulous itineraries.  Their motto is “see the world for less,” and Gate 1 Travel can really help you do that.  Here is a blog post with tips on using Gate 1 Travel, ”Best Five Tips for Experiencing Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

Here are previous travel blog posts with additional tips:

Five Best Tips To Maximize and Personalize Your Group Tour or Travel to Anywhere in the World After COVID

Top Five Tips for Planning The Perfect Travel Experiences for the First Three Years Of Retirement

Life goes by faster than you can imagine.

Travel with joy,


*Our Holocaust Family History, Part II. My Mother, Holocaust Survivor

**Our Holocaust Family History, Part I. My Father, Survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Treblinka Concentration Camp Uprising

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