Travelling abroad post retirement usually falls into one of two camps. You either stick with what you know (if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it!) and visit destinations that fit within your comfort zone, in some cases you may even visit the same resort more than once and are happy with some poolside relaxation, sandy beaches and a good book (and why not?).
But for others, the sudden realisation that often goes hand-in-hand with retirement is that complete sense of newfound freedom. Perhaps you now have fewer responsibilities than you had in your youth? Either way, retirement is often the start of a new chapter in one’s life and can be quite an exciting prospect, one that may feed the appetite for more adventurous and life-changing travel experiences.
Whether you like the idea of being an adrenalin junkie, a bit of a daredevil or you simply want to try something new to create lasting memories, making your travel experiences life-changing is not as hard as you might think.
Here are five different ways you could try to turn your travels into intrepid adventures. Try one, I dare you!
- See an endangered species or cultural treasure before it’s too late! The world is full of incredible animals, many of which sadly face extinction in the near future. Safaris can be a popular kind of holiday for those wanting to experience wildlife in their own surroundings but how great would it be to say you saw an animal before time ran out and you have the photograph to prove it! I for one would have loved to have seen a dodo! For cultural treasures try Namibia to slide down the highest sand dune in the world, or visit South Africa to see the African white rhino in the wild.
- Eat something you can’t identify – you’ve probably got a list of your favourite dishes in your mind, but why not extend this list? Whether you are trying frog legs in Paris for the first time or fried spiders in Thailand, the destination is irrelevant. Whenever you travel abroad, there will always be something you don’t recognise on the menu – so try it! What’s the worst that can happen, you may even like it!
- See what lies beneath the waves – the magical underwater world is something everyone should try and experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s shallow snorkelling or more elaborate diving experiences try the beautiful island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania for beautiful marine life, you may even spot endangered green turtles! Ghar Lapsi, Malta – is another great, hard to reach, and therefore unspoilt, spot to snorkel in. These Maltese waters are fantastically clear and you can snorkel a little way into some of the open caves there, which are a fantastic shelter for many fish. Outside the caves are great sandy reefs with a huge variety of fish including scorpion fish and also a lot of octopus and brightly coloured sea grasses. Eels and gurnards are also common in this area.
- Travel Solo – unarguably one of the hardest and bravest travel decisions to make. But if you try it once (even for a shorter holiday) you might be surprised at how much you gain from this experience both mentally and physically; and it may give you future courage to try more things outside of your comfort zone. Why not book onto a holiday which is popular with solo travellers if you are doing this for the first time? It’s a great confidence-booster and you will definitely make plenty of new friends from all corners of the globe.
- Volunteer abroad – today, there are so many opportunities to volunteer and make a difference in people’s lives (including your own) but what’s equally great is there are many volunteer options available today which cater specifically for mature volunteers. Often it’s the more mature volunteers with the greater life experience that are able to make such a big difference to the lives of others and it is easy to swap your traditional holiday for an amazing travel experience, or even add on tourist activities to your volunteering trip. Whether that is getting a real ‘hands-on’ safari experience on a Lion Rehabilitation Project in Zimbabwe, helping out in a veterinary practice/charity or teaching young disadvantaged children in South Africa, there is something for everyone. This is also a great solo travelling option as most volunteers travel on their own to project locations.
About African Impact (www.africanimpact.com)
African Impact is the largest on-the-ground volunteering operator in Africa, providing a wide range of responsible, authentic and ethical volunteer projects and internship programmes to travellers across the globe. With approximately 500 staff working across its many project locations in Africa, African Impact is well-established and respected by local communities who value the vital support of its volunteers.
Projects range from community development programmes such as rural family support and teaching, to conservation volunteering such as dolphin & marine conservation and facilitated lion research. Specialist volunteering such as wildlife photography and projects aimed specifically at over 30s, are also available along with a range of internship programmes and bespoke group volunteering options.
As part of its commitment to making a positive impact, African Impact has its own independent charity arm ‘The Happy Africa Foundation’ (www.happyafricafoundation.org) which independently monitors its projects and provides tools and expertise to ensure sustainability of its operations and that donations given by volunteers are managed responsibly.
By Natalie Spires at African Impact (www.africanimpact.com)