This blog is not about travel or tourism, but it is about making good life choices while you still have time.
Foreign travel is deeply embedded in UK culture according to evidence up until the end of 2019. Coronavirus has had a major affect during 2020 for a number of reasons. Nobody knows what the future holds, though the premise of ever decreasing circles remains the same.
Source: finder.com and ONS
In this article you will see that while planet Earth is an exciting opportunity for adventure and discovery, perceptions tend to change as you age.
The Gap Year generation
For the young, fit, and healthy, the world is their oyster in a non-Coronavirus period. There are very few destinations that are 100% off-limits.
International SOS has an interactive map of countries that may be deemed dangerous. You can find it here. Coronavirus aside, the tropical corridor has a number of high or extreme risks. Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are listed for obvious reasons.
Even after excluding these nations, there is still a wide choice of countries, with the Foreign Office listing 226 countries.
Foreign travel is relatively cheap. The cost of living in some countries is well below that in the UK. Whether it is Patagonia, Namibia, Borneo or the Arctic, someone you know is likely to have been somewhere ‘exotic’.
With increasingly accessible internet connections, contact with friends and family has become simple, while the Instagram generation are also able to easily share their adventures and exploits.
The Gap Year generation have it all when it comes to foreign travel: the health and resilience to cope with long-haul flights; the energy to explore relentlessly; and speedy recovery times from extra-late nights out.
The Mid Life generation
At this stage in life travel starts to become more routine, specific or refined.
It’s frequently a series of well-beaten paths, far fewer long-haul trips (expensive and noisy), and your travel circle begins to decrease. There are often children to accommodate as well.
Europe looms large, as does the east coast of the USA, in particular Florida, due to the weather and flight times. According to the UN there are 44 countries in Europe. That is a wide diversity of culture, language, gastronomy, and geography. Just exploring Europe could take a lifetime.
There may be a celebratory one-off trip to a far-flung island.
Thrill and danger slips down the table of appeal as you age (for most but not all people). Without noticing the change, the world got just a little bit smaller.
The Retired generation
For some retired people, the bucket lists come out. Time is now not so open-ended. Events become more appealing: following the British Lions on their tours, going to Olympic events, or perhaps supporting the England cricket team in warmer climes.
Many major sporting events, including the football World Cup, only come around every four years. For a 66 year-old there may only be five opportunities before they are 86. That alone is worth stopping and thinking about.
Ocean cruises may also move on to the agenda. Perhaps the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, or a slow trip down the Danube or Rhine. Others might venture to cooler climates in the Arctic ice caps or perhaps just a Fjord or two.
Trips like these are carefully thought out. Health is a consideration now, as is mobility. Checking your travel and health insurance policies becomes a priority.
English Heritage and the National Trust (NT) in the UK do very well from those at this time of life. Parks, gardens, country houses and the obligatory tearooms and gift shops are popular. The age of an NT member was 65-70 but a marketing push for children and junior members has reduced this to the mid-50’s.
These travel occasions are now a drive away from home, perhaps with an overnight stay somewhere nice.
The majority of trips at this age are UK centric. Close to home, with only occasional foreign/European trips.
The Senior generation
At this point in life, friends and family typically travel to you.
Not only does this stage have a UK bias, it is often restricted to a short drive from home.
Perhaps a visit to the garden centre with family, or with friends to a local theatre in a coach. Mobility is more difficult; those aches and pains are troublesome now. A fall would be calamitous. Home is cosy and the food, language, and currency is well known.
Long haul is possible, with a good medical record or a letter from your GP, but it remains a tiring experience, while the healthcare system of the country to be visited becomes very important and must be thoroughly researched.
Your heart may long for distant tropical islands, but the body just can’t make it. As such, the circle once again decreases.
Accordingly, and without appreciating it, the ever-decreasing spheres of global travel gradually conclude at hearth and home. Opportunities missed and not taken are out of reach and perhaps gone for good.
As you age, you change. Few adults in retirement really yearn for an 18-30 rabble-rousing two weeks in the sun.
This is ultimately the point of this article. Recognise the stage of life you are in and take the opportunities open to you that you cherish. Regrets can last a lifetime.
One factor frequently comes up in conversation. The “We cannot afford that kind of travel” or “If only we could travel business class both ways”. Being packed like sardines in ‘coach’ eventually becomes tiresome and puts people off.
A full and frank detailed review of savings, investments, income, and expenditure often results in amazing and life-changing outcomes.
If you would like to know if business class is for you, contact one of the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.