Conscious Aging: Why Travel Gets Hard

Many of my friends tell me that somewhere between 75 and 80, travel just gets a lot less enticing. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve noticed some changes resulting from my own experience. Every so often, statistically speaking, you have the trip from hell – delays, bumpy ride, sub-par flight service, difficult transition in connecting airport. My last trip home from Panama had a substantial delay, and by the time I was in my apartment and tumbling into bed I’d been up for about 18 hours. I can still do that, but it exhausts me. I also notice that it’s harder for me to recover my stamina and get back in sync after crossing multiple time zones.

Other reasons that travel gets less appealing: older immune systems are more vulnerable to infection. A friend just returned from a trip to Europe with a cough and laryngitis — she said many people on her flight were hacking away the whole time they were in the air. And, she had a super long walk from being dropped off curbside from the tour and having to get to her gate, pulling both of her bags herself. Not fun, although she is fit and able to do it.

Part of what makes life nourishing is the chance to experience new things. Of course, “new things” doesn’t have to mean new places. But if not travel, the fulfilled life has to mean “new experiences” in other ways.

Glad to hear stories of yours.

10 thoughts on “Conscious Aging: Why Travel Gets Hard

  1. I completely agree with this. Someone made the statement to us many years ago. We are now finding it to be true. At 79 and nearly 78, Bob and I find we have less enthusiasm for long distance travel. We just came back from a month long visit to England and Scotland. I have relatives and friends there (from the time when Bob had a company assignment in England). As we planned this trip, we acknowledged to ourselves that this may be the last time. All of those friends and relatives have visited us here – many more than once, but have not been here for at least ten years. They, too, are aging! Travel is tiring. Airplane travel has devolved into Greyhound – not that I am knocking Greyhound. Fortunately, we have always been able to use points to travel business class. Without that, I don’t think we would go – although I did fly in the back of the bus to attend my cousin’s funeral in 2012 – not enough time to use points. Planes are uncomfortable, airport security screening is difficult, and sometimes walking distances in the airport are problematic. I still do okay with that, but know that may not last forever.
    I remember looking at my “bucket list” recently – yes, I have one – and thinking, “Does it really matter if I ever see Vienna?”
    Seattle, however, is no too far away ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I’m right in the middle of this age range, and yes, it gets harder. Beyond the travel itself, the recovery time takes longer. I now notice this after a day of volunteering at Brookgreen on Wednesdays……Thursday goes more slowly,
    I’m not giving up yet either, but……

  3. for Ada: Glad Seattle is still within range. ๐Ÿ™‚ Re your most recent trip: feels odd to me when I realize that I may have done something for the last time, like I’ll probably never own property again, or buy another expensive car like my beloved Jaguar. It’s not that I couldn’t do those things, but they seem not to make sense at my age. I haven’t hit the point of cutting back on travel, but I can imagine the day coming. As I say, it feels odd.

  4. for Phyllis: You and I and Ada are women I consider to be in very good health for our age … but aging is real, and we are all slower than we used to be. Archie’s favorite place to play is the floor, and I sat there with him for a half hour or so today. When I went to get up, I was as stiff as a board. Old joints and ligaments for sure.

  5. for Ada: I really felt it on my trip to Singapore a couple of years ago. Going over was OK, but yes, it took almost a week to get back to normal upon my return.

  6. Interesting. I find that traveling east is much easier than traveling west. I had no problem with jet lag when we got to the UK, but sure had more trouble than usual coming home. As for sitting on the floor…Ha! I remember having tea parties with my now 20 year old granddaughter, both of us on the floor. I could not do that with my 9 and 10 year old ones now. Not that they are into tea parties. But if they want to play a board game or cards, I always do it at the table. As for it being the last time………..yes, it is sobering. I imagine we probably will return to the UK in the next couple of years, but we also know how quickly things can change and so went there this time with the thought in the back of our minds that it might very well be the “last time.” We own a 2005 Town and Country with nearly 190,000 miles on it. We plan to replace it now. And once again realized that the next car might be the last one we buy! Our Volkswagen Beetle is a 2001, so we do keep our cars for a long time.

  7. for Ada: That’s how I think of my trips to Panama. Still willing and able, but it’s a long trek: 4+ hours to Houston, layover, 4+ hours to Panama City, then a 2 hour drive to the village — which I usually do the next day, staying overnight at an airport hotel. There are no lights on the Pan American highway, and no services like open gas stations or AAA if you run into trouble after dark. I wouldn’t set out after dark from Panama City unless there was some critical reason for doing so.LOL at your car with 190K miles on it. My Subaru Forrester is a 2010 but only has 30,000 miles — no reason to change it other than I feel as if it’s old. But I still have two carseats in the back. One of my neighbors in the building was selling a Porsche Macaan, which I loved — his parking space is next to mine. He told me he’d give me a good deal, but can you imagine a Porsche with two car seats in the back? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Had to look it up. NICE car, I think it would be a hoot to have two car seats in the back ๐Ÿ™‚

    Panama itinerary sounds exhausting just reading it!

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