Mrs. Matthews and I just returned from a trip to Europe. We went to Lisbon, Portugal for a Rotary International Convention and then to Munich, Germany to visit with friends.

The thrill of international travel can often be marred by the fact of international travel. Plane delays, for example, often derail plans and force travelers into unexpected circumstances. But here’s something we noticed — senior travelers seem to cope the best. Why is that? Often, I think, each new thing that happens to us is considered an adventure. Seniors have had many ‘adventures’ during their lives and that makes it easier to look at the next ‘inconvenience’ as just yet another turn in the road.

There were families with toddlers who also managed to cope — but overall, coping is easier when you don’t have little ones. (On the flight from Munich to San Francisco, there was a toddler who could be the next opera star. He yelled and hollered for 10 hours straight. Try that, Michael Buble!)

The downside to traveling as a senior is that your pill, lotion, ointment, remedy, soothing oils bag may not fit in the overhead bin. Get used to it. It’s not likely to stop there.

In Portugal and Germany, there were crowded town squares where people from all generations gathered. Seniors were treated with respect, given the right-of-way when they needed it, doors opened for them, they were allowed to move to the front of the line when it appeared they were weakening. We were, in many cases, in tourist destinations and yet the courtesy on the part of residents was extended to visitors and neighbors alike.

The message here … don’t be afraid to travel for the adventure, for the learning, for the experience if you are a senior. In most cases, you will be treated with style and grace by the people whose country you are visiting.


The Elderhood Project airs on KHON2 Friday morning news at 5:45 a.m. and Thursday news at 5 p.m.

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