Bucket List Travel


Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers

If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.

Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.

Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.

My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.

Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler.  Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.

We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.

Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town,  walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.

Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.

When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.

Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.

Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.

Travel is fun.

And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.

So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys.            This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.

 

Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in  Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.

Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”

 

 

Our second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona,  was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.

In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.

Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this  about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page.  I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”

And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.

          I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?

But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.

At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.

If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it.  Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.

Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.

Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook.  Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.  You can contact the Lockwoods at  sunnyandallockwood@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Originally posted 2016-09-09 08:55:48.

Don’t Let Life Keep You Down

Even in the most difficult times, there are things that we can do to keep life from keeping us down. This is but a few of those things, in addition to writing, that helps me.

Folks, this has been one of those weeks.  I am sure that you have had them too.  It is after midnight. Sleep will not come.  I need to write.  As I have said before, writing is healthy.  It is time to stand up and continue on.  Life is to be lived.  It is short.  Even in the most difficult times, there are things that we can do to keep life from keeping us down.  This is but a few of those things, in addition to writing, that helps me.

  1. If you receive a message by text or face book that is upsetting, try to accept the fact that texting is the way things are done in this modern day and time. It is a way to communicate.  If it upsets you then let that person know.  If you don’t need email or text then you might want to consider taking it off your telephone and computer. Learn from written messages.   We must remember that there are real people using computers and telephones.  We do not know how their life is going.  They may be  suffering from an illness, or going through a difficult time.    Be appropriate when communicating.
  2. Do not expect others to think like you do.  Do not expect others to deal with death or any grief situation like you do.  Everyone has their own way of working through things in their own time.
  3. Try not to take your anxiety out on someone that is close to you, as you go through your grief process.  They are grieving too, but they are NOT YOU.   Share your feelings but respect the feelings of others too.
  4. When you get to the anger part of grief, do not give up. Feel it!  If it is necessary to drop a tear or two, then do it.  Try to keep your mind focused on the moment.  Stay centered.  Be real!  Share with people that understand and care.  Do what you need to do.  Just don’t allow anger to become YOU.
  5. Use slogans such as, “Easy Does It, First Things First, and Keep It Simple, This Too Shall Pass.  Try to get in touch with the spiritual part of yourself.
  6. Take time to breathe.  Do not go back to unhealthy habits or behaviors.  Remember, this only sabotages getting through the grief.  It hurts you and sometimes those closest to you.
  7. Kick something. Smack a pillow.  Tear up a telephone book.  Get rid of that negative energy.  There is enough hurt right at the moment.   Be gentle with yourself.
  8. Cry if you must.  Those are your tears.  You can let them drop.  If you are a man and feel it will hurt your image, then go some where alone.  Let them flow.  Crying is natural.  Let those tears wash away the pain, then wipe your face off, get up, and face the world.  You can do it!  After all you are a boomer, remember!
  9. Show compassion.  Be real.  Do not deny your feelings.  Console others.  Listen.  Rest. Do what you need to do to deal.  It is your life.  You have that right.  Exercise your rights as a boomer with wisdom in a constructive,understanding and loving way.
  10. Grief is a natural part of life that must be done in order to carry on.  Be who you are.  Put your best foot forward.  You are experiencing life.  You will probably remember happy times, sad times and  laughter.   That is what LOVE  is all about and this is life.  Live it!  Share your feelings and thoughts because much later in your life, you may find yourself at an age, or in a situation where you are unable to communicate.

I just wrote some of my thoughts and feelings down. I have shared them with you.  It helps to write.  I want to thank those that have encouraged me to write again as I put on my big girl pants and continue on in this thing called life.  By sharing, I hope that you always know that there is someone out there that cares.  You are not alone.  Put on your big girl or guy pants and take a boomer walk with me.  Peace, love and light!

Senior Centers offer lots of support – see SeniorCenterDirectory.com

Originally posted 2012-02-10 15:26:36.

How Being Age 62 Is Today

When my mother was age 62, I was about 22 years old.  Mom had white hair and worn an apron over her dress.  All her meals were made from scratch.  She worked in the garden and canned vegetables for the winter.  Mom relaxed at the end of a day under a shade tree in her favorite lawn chair.  My parents did not have air conditioning and did not complain about that.  She was poor but proud.  She enjoyed the simple things in life until she passed on at age 70.  Mom enjoyed small town living.

Now I am 62 and my oldest daughter is in her 40’s. Unlike my Mom, I am divorced and still working.  My wardrobe consists of uniforms, jeans, tee shirts, sandals,shorts, and leisure outfits.  There is no apron and my hair is bright RED.  I only put on dresses for weddings and such.  Most of my meals are fixed in the microwave.  My air conditioning runs at top speed in my apartment.  I DO complain if it does not work properly.  The nearest shade tree that I can sit under is down the street at the city park.  There is no garden to work in because my little concrete patio is outside my front door and gardening is not allowed here.  The patio is big enough though for a potted plant.

Mom was so happy to see 62.  Sixty two meant that she and my Dad could finally draw their social security and not have to worry about working outside the house.  It even enabled them to be able to purchase their first little home.  At 62, I have owned and sold five houses which are gone along with husbands.  Social security does not mean security nor the ability to purchase a house.  Mom wrote me letters each week and sent them by the United States Postal Service.  In them she made many strong suggestions on how I should live my life in the big city.  I don’t write letters to my daughters but do read about them on face book now and then.  I don’t tell my kids how to live their lives because that would not go over well with them AT ALL.

At 4a.m. most mornings, my Mom was ready to get out of bed to fix a down home cooked breakfast.  Since I work the night shift, 4a.m. is a time to stretch, rub my red eye balls, and dream about going to bed.  Mom never drove a car.  I drive one all night at work.  I wonder what she would say about THAT.

Yes, being 62 today is a bit different than when my Mom was age 62.  There are still some things that are the same.  My mother loved her children and I do too.  My mother appreciated the value system that her Mother taught her and I do too.  My mother did what was necessary to live her life one day at a time and I do too.  My mother had pride and I am grateful to say, “I do too!”

Originally posted 2011-04-14 22:06:50.

Should Annuities Be a Part of Your Retirement Portfolio?

Oh, the irony. Annuities are taking a bad rap these days, at a time when they should be held up as the ultimate retirement solution in many cases. Over the last decade, annuity products have evolved tremendously, offering features previously unheard of; while during the same period, the market has driven seniors away in droves.

Annuities

Oh, the irony.  Annuities are taking a bad rap these days, at a time when they should be held up as the ultimate retirement solution in many cases.  Over the last decade, annuity products have evolved tremendously, offering features previously unheard of; while during the same period, the market has driven seniors away in droves.  After the blind optimism of the late 1990’s and the inevitable market landslide since, retirement priorities have returned to what they should have always been; long-term perspective and safety.  While the vast array of annuity products today offers so much more, the basis of the annuity remains the same; the offer of safety and, as necessary, the guaranty of never outliving one’s assets.

There is no safer vehicle than a fixed annuity.  Insurance companies are required to maintain reserves far greater than those of  banks and credit unions, and state guaranty funds provide higher protection limits than the FDIC.  AIG, for example, has been completely solvent in terms of annuity deposits and claims paying ability, even though the company was in tremendous financial trouble.  Even without the government bailout, no AIG annuity holders were ever in any danger, even if the company had completely dissolved.  While variable annuities (VA) do not all offer the same safety of principle as fixed annuities, they offer other advantages, including tax treatment roughly equal to qualified retirement plans such as traditional IRAs and 401(k)s; and a death benefit that guarantees that even in the event of market losses, one’s heirs will not suffer those losses.  Some VAs, however, do in fact offer principle and/or minimum gain features that make them the optimal choice for persons who wish to remain in the market but need certain assurances.

Finally, this modern era of guaranteed investment products has introduced the equity index annuity (EIA), commonly referred to as the fixed index annuity (FIA); emphasizing that it does not actually invest in equities, but offers credited gains relating to any of several available indices of the investor’s choosing.  One has the opportunity to profit from market gains with no risk of financial loss.  Over the last decade, the S&P index has just about netted a zero gain; in the last five years, it has fallen very slightly; in each of the last three years, it has lost nearly three percent on average.  Three years ago, this article’s author transferred one of his father’s retirement accounts into an indexed annuity that has averaged about 6.2 percent annually, tax deferred, with ZERO RISK!  When the lowest an account can yield in a given year is zero, the potential is phenomenal.  The buzz phrase in the industry is “zeroes are heroes.”

Detractors of the annuity cite such criticisms as high expenses and commissions.  In actuality, annuities have expense charges commensurate with the risks they are insuring against; and the commission structure reflects the fact that an advisor gets paid only once for the management of his client’s account, rather than racking up management and trade fees continually throughout the lifetime of an account.  Also, the returns on annuity products are illustrated net of fees; they could not possibly be more transparent, and there is no incentive for the advisor to engage in unnecessary and potentially costly transactions.

So, should annuities be a part of every retirement portfolio?  Certainly not every one; but they are certainly appropriate for most people.  As with ANY financial product, annuities are not better or worse than other options; they are better for certain individuals in certain situations.  Select an independent financial planner or advisor who specializes in comprehensive planning, particularly in retirement and senior planning.

My name is Rob Drury, and I am the executive director of the Association of Christian Financial Advisors, headquartered in San Antonio, TX.   The ACFA is the nation’s largest nonprofit financial planning network.

Originally posted 2011-01-02 17:25:34.

Is It A Stigmata For Men To Dye Their Hair?

Is It A Stigmata For Men To Dye Their Hair?

I was just getting a haircut in my unisex salon and struck up a conversation with Shasta my stylist about my blogging.  I told her I was thinking of doing a post about gray hair and men.

Shasta is a good conservationist (aren’t all stylist?) and was a wealth of knowledge on the subject. When does hair normally turn gray, around the early forties I asked. No not necessarily, some get gray hair even in their twenties but after age 30 the chances of getting gray hair increase every year. By age fifty half your hair is likely to become gray. Also stress or worry does turn your hair gray.

On the other hand some men keep their hair color much longer. My dad had black hair in his seventies. I think that was because he used Vatalis Hair Tonic to keep his hair looking wet and dark.  Others used  Brylcreem. That’s old school.

So why do most women dye their hair and have for a long time (remember those Clairol commercials)  but much fewer men do?

Shasta says it is for several reasons that men don’t color as much.

Men are told they look distinguished when they turn gray; as opposed to women who look old.  Where is the sex equality in that?

When women color their hair it will last longer than when a man does it because of the man’s more frequent hair cuts. That could get expensive. Shasta charges $50 for a man’s cut and color (I just had to ask, lol) and that would last about three weeks.

But also it is part stigma.  Men traditionally have not colored their hair. Men don’t want to be kidded about dyeing their hair. Men may think it is weak or feminine to color their hair.  All kinds of viewpoints trying to hold the status quo in place on this issue.

On a recent cruise I was sitting toward the back of the Princess Theater before a show and noticed all the old men sitting with the younger women.  As I started noticing each couple turning their heads I could see they were the same age but hair color made the difference.

Shasta says you should dye your hair to make you feel good, not for other people or to make it seem like you are younger. However I did hear of a few friends  who did not normally dye their hair, did so while looking for employment.

More baby boomer men probably dye their hair than you think. Many who don’t notice think it will be jet black but men and women’s hair dye coloring today has a most natural look. For men it may leave a little gray and not be obvious.  See Paul McCarty, Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise and you will see what is possible.

What about you, do you think it is still a stigma for men to dye their hair.   And if so, why?

Originally posted 2014-03-04 16:56:19.

Boomers on Royal Princess and Regent Princess Cruise Ships

These two ships are recent additions to Princess Cruises and my wife wanted to sail with the Royal Princess. We just did the reposition cruise on the Royal from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal down to Fort Lauderdale with three stops in the Caribbean.

It is hard to answer when people ask me what is the best cruise line for baby boomers and just as hard to compare ships because it really is up to your personal taste and desires. But having taken 22 cruises and having sailed on the Royal with 2600 guests with Princess Platinum or better cards, here are some observations. The sweet spot of the ages on this cruise was say mid 60’s to early 70’s, so we now fit it perfectly.  That is kind of strange since we used to think the people were older, now they are our fellow baby boomers.

The Royal is a nice big glitzy ship with 3560 guests and 1700 crew but you don’t feel too crowded. There are some large spaces like the Piazza atrium which some felt was too much for their taste but most people liked it. We noticed there is no problem finding a seat at the bar lounges and around the Piazza atrium’s three levels. That was nice.

Atrium on Royal Princess

 I must say the food and the Royal’s singers and dancers were the best I have seen. Also we had no problem at all with our anything dining getting in without any wait. Those are a big part the cruising experience right there.

Smaller things people were complaining about were no stairs above deck 8 on the center of the ship. Shower curtains rather than glass doors. A small balcony in their cabins.

Alfredo’s

But as the cruise got on you saw many positives like I have mentioned above with the food, shows and no wait to dine. There is Alfredo’s  Pizzeria, a new no fee restaurant with is nice for lunch and a full size Gelateria bar serving ice cream and Italian crepes. The SeaWalk on the side of the ship was fun to walk across and look down 128 feet to the ocean under your feet.

Top of the SeaWalk gives a good view.

The Movies Under the Stairs on Pool side was amazing. It is the largest movie screen of any cruise ship. It look great even during the day. The sound qualify was amazing and resulted in some great pool parties during the day.

The Princess Theater has the most up to date technology and the digital props on stage were amazing.

I loved the Royal’s ship horn which plays part of the Love Boat Theme which I capture here as we were leaving Antigua. The passengers on the Carnival ship next to us got a kick of it and cheered us goodbye!

The Royal Princess (and Regent Princess) are beautiful ships and you should give them a try. They will be sailing the Caribbean this Winter through April.

More about Cruises for Boomers
Celebrity Equinox Cruise Photos
Cruise Travel Tips
British Isles Cruise
Veterans Cruise Discounts

Originally posted 2014-11-09 16:32:29.