1706469042 The joys of traveling after retirement three globetrotters tell us

The joys of traveling after retirement: three globetrotters tell us

The joys of traveling after retirement three globetrotters tell us

The train that was supposed to take them from the town of Espinosa de Villagonzalo in Palencia to Santander had to stop in Reinosa due to a breakdown. It was night and cold. Although they had cell phones, none of them notified their respective families. They were fine, they were on the way to where they wanted to be, and they had each other. Domitila Calvo is almost 90 years old and María del Carmen Polo is 71. The fact that they did not call opened the eyes of the rest of the family members when we learned of the mishap. It helped us understand her and not let our appearance age her. For us there was no reason to make this journey, for them it was as necessary as it was exciting to get on this train. It was their way of expressing that they felt good and a romantic act, like “Wanderer on the Sea of ​​Clouds” (1817), a painting by Caspar David Friedrich that shows a man standing on a rocky peak and turns his back to anyone who looks at him. In front of this man an abyss stretches to a horizon of steep peaks that seemingly cannot be hidden by the fog. Condition that people, especially women, experience socially from a certain age.

Population aging is a combination of the increase in average life expectancy and the decline in birth rates. A social and financial problem that requires creative solutions. Along with South Korea and Hong Kong, Japan is the oldest country; the average life expectancy is over 84 years. In Spain it is 82. In this context, the group of 65 to 85 year olds is increasingly generating more interest in the tourism industry due to their ability to break with the seasonality of travel and their number. According to the UN World Population Projection 2019, of the estimated 9.7 billion people, 1.552 million, slightly more than the population of China, will be over 65 years old in 2050. There are now around 720 million. And the World Tourism Organization estimates that the population over 60 will take more than 2,000 million trips by 2060. A juicy number.

More information

Health, time and money

Croatian Sania Jelic is 67 years old and has been taking a five-month solo trip through South America since retiring after a professional career in the tourism industry and is now traveling to part of Africa. He has not yet returned and is already planning a trip to Asia and French Polynesia. For those whose retirement is not far away, Sania says: “With a bit of luck, most people will reach the age of 65 in good physical and mental health.” With the opportunity to enjoy at least another 10 years of active life to the fullest .” She is one of the very active retirees, a generation segment between two others; those over 50 and up to 65 years old and those of older adults aged 80 and over, more or less. Juan Carlos Alcaide, professor at ESIC Business & Marketing School, explains that people like Sania, who have good health, time and purchasing power (pension, savings or inheritance), want to have new experiences in natural, historical and cultural destinations. : “They like the integration into the landscape and the country. The learning and experience in the field of activity make the tourism they practice much more active than what people of their age have done before.”

Stories on the networks


The best travel recommendations, in your inbox every week


For Isabel Martínez Higueras (68 years old), the pandemic coincided with her retirement as a clinical psychologist, forcing her to postpone her trip to Japan. It was the fall of 2023 and she spent two months as a visitor, as she calls her profile in this country. Isabel asserts that retirement is an opportunity to redirect her attention to things that interest her and that do not require financial necessity. In a café in Pozuelo (Madrid), dressed in a red kimono jacket, she says: “I went to Japan to feel like myself.” In her opinion, this is not a tourist trip, but one Adventure trip. She did it alone, although she knew and met Japanese people during her stay. “I don’t go to places where I don’t know anyone. “It excites me to meet people and see what's in store for them.” To get to know people, he uses Couchsurfing, an application that allows him to connect with locals who give him time, company and even his home offer. To find accommodation, use previous contacts and the Homestay platform, a global hospitality and family accommodation network.

The people we call “elderly,” “veteran,” or “old” have knowledge and skills that are assumed not because of their age, but because of preconceived notions of people in their 40s, 30s, and 20s. Sania talks about her travels on Instagram with photos, videos, reels and live shows. Through this network he met Isabel, through whom she also talked about her everyday life in Japan. The content Sania creates during her trip to Africa is sent to and published by Isabel. Unlike Sania, Isabel says she doesn't want to be anyone's model, but if there is someone who is interested in what she does, check out @japonconcanas: “I share experiences that other people can't have, though “My primary goal is to experiment, learn and connect.” What they both do, in addition to publishing in Spanish and English, is traveling light; Cabin suitcase with wheels and backpack.

Alone or in a group

Katrin Dams (71 years old, @katrindams2) is a Belgian woman living in Hondarribia for whom packing a small suitcase is her biggest trauma. “I always have too many things with me,” he says on the phone. Her first trips were on vacation, when she put aside her work as a translator, an aerobics instructor and as the owner of the small hotel she converted her house into after her divorce. He turned 70, retired and continued to travel. She's not surprised that her 19-year-old granddaughters tell her that she's not like her friends' grandmothers and that her children don't know where she's going or where she comes from. In 2023 he was in Angola, Congo, northern and southern Sudan, northern Nigeria, Chad, Mauritania and Senegal. In 2024 he initially wants to travel to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She is aware that to travel like she does, you need both money and will. She travels more than Tintin, alone and to conflict-ridden places, with the support of the Last Places agency.

When he travels in a group, he doesn't care about the age of the others, what he doesn't like is traveling with couples. Couples who are increasingly encouraged to travel in groups for practical and economic reasons, like Eva Sanz Arévalo (50 years old, economist), who went to Iceland with her husband. He did this under the auspices of Huna, a Huakai Group tour operator aimed at people between 40 and 60 years old, accompanied by a group leader in charge of coordination, logistics and assistance when needed. People who traveled with Katrin, even if they are younger, ask her to travel together again, her family asks her to do what normal people do. To his granddaughters, who always tell him how afraid they are of him leaving, he replies that he has already lived his life and that he wants to die doing what he can in this moment and for as long as he can, although he wants to enjoy living as long as possible. : “Our lives belong to us, not to others,” concludes Katrin, who adds that Benidorm is not yet for her. She is not among the 30 million foreign tourists over 50 who visit Spain and spend an average of 1,100 euros per person.

Larger offer

Benidorm, Levante, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are the geography par excellence as destinations for retirees (in 2019, seniors contributed almost 9,000 million euros, 28%, to the Spanish tourism industry, according to estimates from the Silver Economy White Paper). of total), although José de Juan Saboya, general manager of the Silver Economy Group, says: “There are more and more destinations that are working to offer an attractive offer for this segment; Adaptation of the offer on site and work on communication and marketing. In recent years, a more comprehensive offer has emerged, marketed by travel agencies specialized in senior tourists, responding to the new needs and expectations of this public that no longer expects the same as 10 or 20 years ago.” Ask Domitila and María del Carmen , two veterans with the courage to continue trying to escape.

Subscribe to the El Viajero newsletter here and get inspiration for your next trips on our Facebook accounts. X and Instagram.