I've had a great life. I exercise regularly and eat healthy food. I don't drink or smoke and I love to dance and sing.
I have 9 grandchildren and I swim, play tennis, and basketball with them. The youngest is 4 months old, so I limited on the play with her. But I have a great time reading and singing to her.
I like to read and I'm always learning new things, especially through travel.
I started traveling when I was about 25. Three of my friends and I took a 25 day pack back trip to Europe. We had quite the experience traveling to England, Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, and Italy. I will never forget it and especially Italy. One day we were having dinner at an outdoor cafe. We left to walk back to our hotel which was about 2 blocks away and all of a sudden a car drives on the sidewalk where we were walking. The windows were open and hands outstretched to reach our purses. We got as close to the buildings as we could to get away. But that didn't stop them. They came back a second time and drove closer to the buildings, thinking that they would be able to reach our purses. But we were too smart for them. We got away as fast as we could and back into our hotel for safety for the night. What an experience. Little did they know, we didn't have much as poor teachers from the US.
Another adventure was our quest to find a hotel in a small town in Germany. We had just gotten off a boat and it was getting late. We used Arthur Frommer's, Europe on $5 per Day and found a place to stay. The only problem is that they wanted German money. We had only exchanged very little before the trip and there were no ATMs back then and no banks open. We decided to approach a man on the street who looked older. We told him our situation and he was fine with exchanging some money for us. This was our second angel on the trip. We learned our lesson about how much money we needed to exchange before we left the states.
My third experience happened even before we left for the trip. About 4 days before leaving, I went to put all my travel documents together and couldn't find my passport. I looked and looked in my apartment, but to no avail. I contacted a travel agent and she said the only thing I could do was to go on the trip and then talk to the embassy over in England to get it straightened out. At that time, they didn't have the expedited services we now have for replacement of passports. After I arrived in England, I went to the place I needed to go and talked to a gentlemen for about an hour. He questioned me and said, “How could you lose your passport in your apartment?”
“Believe me, if I new, I'd tell you.” I really think I threw it away when I was cleaning. It was grueling. He said I needed to come back in about an hour and that he would have his decision. I cried and cried, thinking that this could really turn out badly. When I came back with my teary eyes he could see I was serious. He said he would give me the documents that I needed for the passport. This was my third angel.
We learned many lessons as we traveled. Not only about safety, money, and the goodness of people, but about ourselves. We were very compatible travelers. We liked to see many things and we good at getting up around the same time to get to our next adventure.
I have other stories from my travels including my trip to the West Coast. Traveling from LA to San Francisco. I was on a tour which went on Hwy 1 along the Big Surf, passing by the Hearst Castle and many other amazing sites. When we were in LA, we went to the hotel bar. There were about 6 of us and we were having a good time talking and meeting people. One of the people we met was a retired military person. He even invited us to a concert at a large arena in LA. He provided the transportation and said there would be an after party. You'll never guess who was performing. The Jackson Five. We had amazing seats. I'll never forget little Michael Jackson. He was only about 7 or 8 at the time but had a great voice. Afterwards, we went back to our hotel for the party. However, it wasn't much of a party. It was just our group and only Tito showed up with his parrot. We were a little disappointed, but we really didn't know how big this group would become at the time. It was amazing.
Have you ever been showered with kindness from a complete stranger? I was about 26 at the time and forever grateful.
One of my most recent trips was to Costa Rica. Again I was on a group trip with about 40 people of various ages. One couple was well traveled but hadn't traveled for awhile as the husband had been sick. They said with us for dinner and told us stories from their past. The next day, we found out that the man had fallen in the shower and had to be medevaced to a hospital in another town. He was eventually flown home. He had a heart attack. They had the best travel insurance you can find and they weren't out any money for this emergency, but it could have been much different Always buy travel insurance.
My last story is about traveling with my family. I have 3 children and we took a 14 day camping trip when they were about 7, 9 and 10. We went to the Black Hills, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Glacier, and The Tetons. It is a trip they still talk about today. It wasn't the most luxurious, but it was a lot of fun. We gelled as a family, putting up the tent and using our camping stove. The kids became jr. park rangers and we saw a lot of wildlife and learned some history. It was a great story to talk and write about when they got back.
One of my last trips was to Japan where I learned how polite everyone is. It is a small country so they all have to learn how to get a long. They have some wonderful traditions and their country is beautiful.
This is only a small portion of places I've been, but as I travel I always learn something. It might be about a culture, history, and even the language. We usually build exercise into our trips so it keeps both the body and mind in shape. On one cruise to Alaska we ran into a man that was about 82. He said it was his 8th trip to Alaska. He loved the scenery and what a better way to see the world. No unpacking and repacking and there is a lot to do on board the ship. He exercised by only taking the stairs - no elevators.
My advice is start exercising when you are young and work it into your daily life, whether it is a walk, extra steps by parking farther away from an entrance, or picking a fun activity to do. Keep learning new things and have a social network that you can rely on. My family is great as I have 3 kids and 9 grand kids. I still work, but I find time to spend with them. Take care of yourself and always keep people guessing about your age. It's a lot of fun.
Written by Judy Peterson, founder of Peterson Travel Pros. For more information, check out https://www.petersontravelpros.com