I have to admit, this is a first for me. I usually write about a destination but today I am going to write about the journey. As a travel editor, it is my job to bring to life places that I feel would be a good fit for my readers, including destinations and activities that you might not have thought of or did and dismissed for various reasons.
I’m sitting in the library of the Viking Sea cruise ship having coffee, listening to Bocelli and thinking how so many of my younger readers would have dismissed this cruise due to the age demographics… and consequently would have missed so much. The cruise is fabulous and I will write in detail regarding that next month, but today I want to write about travel not just being the sights and activities of a destination but it’s also about the journey, which includes the people.
I boarded this cruise realizing that I would probably be the youngest on board by at least 30 years and I was correct. Even as a seasoned traveler, I have avoided “old people” destinations like the plague but fate has a way of stepping in and opening one’s eyes and heart.
This is a 14-day cruise originating in Norway with its final port of call in Montreal. The sights have been spectacular but it’s the passengers that have made my trip so memorable. I have heard the most beautiful love stories and, while I dine on sorbet for fear of gaining five pounds, have watched the 80-year young laughing and enjoying every bite of their scrumptious dessert. I have learned of past hardships only to witness their smiles of today. I sat with tears in my eyes as a wife danced with her wheelchair bound husband and then felt such joy as we all did the Conga line behind him.
I have been on many cruises both for personal travel as well as business where I watched people drinking, gambling, dancing and socializing till dawn and I honestly believe they felt they were living life to the fullest but I have been made privy to something different.
Living life to the fullest isn’t always about partying and self-absorption. I have seen devotion from the husband who was reading to his wife, love from the son who takes the time to be with his dad every year on a vacation, caring from the husband who would stop reading to ask his sea sick wife how she was feeling, happiness that comes from the laughter of a group of newfound friends, joy from the smile of a man who could barely walk but with the help of his wife, made it to the dance floor to hold her tight. This is living your life to the fullest. They have accepted they can’t do it all and embrace with gratefulness what they can do on this cruise. Acceptance is a big part of their day therefore I don’t hear the petty complaining I have heard from the younger crowd cruises. They are happy to just be.
I wish you all could experience this trip through my eyes but then it wouldn’t be your journey, now would it? The moral of this story is not to judge a book by its cover as within each book is it’s own story that just might surprise you. I encourage you to not dismiss a trip due to the demographics because you will truly be robbing yourself of a wonderful journey.