An increasing number of mature travellers are following in the footsteps of their backpacking children and grandchildren and setting off around the world. Ian Waller, the editor of Real Travel Magazine, meets two of these so-called denture venturers
Why should student backpackers have all the fun?
More and more 50-somethings are following in the footprints of their children and grandchildren and spending their new-found spare time and wealth traveling to exotic locations and taking part in exciting adventures.
Turning away from the traditional clichés of coach tours around Scotland and package holidays in Spain, these aptly named ‘denture venturers’ are instead choosing to set off on organized tours of China, hitting the jungle trail through South America or going in search of fantastic wildlife in Africa.
Encouraged by the growth in cheap airlines and the chance to book their trips on the internet, for most of these mature traveler this can result in a number of two to three week trips each year. So while this could mean motor caravanning around New Zealand, it might also include working for charitable concerns in any number of overseas locations.
In the first issue of Real Travel magazine, 51 year-old Janet Green tells of the work with dolphins that she undertook in Brazil through the conservation concern the Earthwatch Institute.
“At the end of 2005 I decided to give up work and retire early so that I could spend time on other, more worthwhile and fulfilling interests. Going to Brazil on the Earthwatch project was a very deliberate choice to make the break from my work as a finance director and to mark the next phase of my life.
“In this regard, the Earthwatch experience was ideal and couldn’t have been bettered. It gave me the chance to see Brazil from a local’s point of view and was a great way of being introduced to this type of conservation work in a safe environment.”
For would-be travellers who haven’t been away much before, travelling within an organised group, such as those offered by Earthwatch and any number of exotic tour operators, gives them to experience new countries within a safe and comfortable environment, while still experiencing new culture and activities. It’s then not unusual for such travellers to move on more independent adventures, perhaps traveling on their own or as a couple, allowing them the freedom to choose exactly where they want to go and for how long.
Real Travel magazine, for example, tells the story of 57-year-old Steve James from Bath, who two years ago, decided to sell his home, pack up his photographic business and spend the next 12 months traveling the world. This included spending time in South New Zealand, Australia and South America (where he met up with his daughter Hannah who was already traveling the world), then finishing up in Cape Town, from where he set off on a ten-week tour of Southern Africa. During his year away, Steve found himself snorkeling with sea lions and marine iguanas off the Galapagos Islands, hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro and mountain biking down ‘death road’ in Bolivia.
In fact, Steve loved the traveling life so much that after returning home to the West Country, it was only a matter of a few months before he was off again, this time touring India, Nepal and China.
Real Travel magazine is now available in WH Smiths, Tescos and Borders, price £2.99. Issue one includes touring features on New Zealand, Southern Africa, Iceland, Thailand and Ecuador, as well as city breaks to Budapest and Dubai