Ready to Go!

By Jane Cassie

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Who says it’s all downhill after 50? For many modern-day boomers and seniors, this is a time when life moves full-speed ahead. Once that sedentary 9-to-5 grind is put to rest, there’s often a resurgence of energy and quest for new activities. Finally, there’s room to fit in that morning swim, midday yoga stretch and brisk evening walk. Many retirees even take on a new sport. Pickleball courts are filled with the fit 50-plus crowd. Though this tennis/badminton cross-trainer looks like a real breeze, it’s a great workout!

With more time on their hands and savings in their pockets, the active-ager is combining a little adventure with a lot of travel. Unlike their predecessors, who were raised during the Depression and despairing war years, they’ve become accustomed to getting what they want and having it now - even if it requires using plastic to get there. Many also want to have more fun than their parents ever did. Instead of perceiving themselves as sedentary and pre-senior-ish, most will claim they’re fit and fabulously 50-something.

Phil Goodman, co-author of the *Boomer Marketing Revolution*, describes this age group as "adult teenagers." He states “boomers try to act much younger than their chronological age and won't think of themselves as seniors until they are in their seventies.”

Many steer away from the hum drum bus trips and herding-type group tours and go for the more physically challenging activities or off-the-beaten-path destinations. Check out the zip trekkers in Costa Rica, the snorkellers in the South Pacific and cyclists on the Big Island of Hawaii. There are plenty of wrinkled brows and balding heads getting in on the action. And because this sector is interested in bettering themselves both physically and intellectually, they will often seek out more in-depth ways of experiencing places. Making an impact in their own backyards is not enough for this conscientious generation (page 18). Volun-tourism, hostelling, spiritual retreats and eco-getaways have all come buzz travel words among the boomer crowd.

Those who are empty-nesters can even experience these vacations at a fraction of the cost. After the kids have flown the coop, they’re no longer restricted to spring break, Christmas or other school holidays when travel rates soar. And during the low season, just think of all those last-minute deals they can cash in on. Cha-ching, cha-ching! That’s the sound of extra savings being deposited in that active-travel fund.

Yes, many are catching a ride on the getaway wagon. The Travel Industry Association (TIA) reports that boomers spend more money on travel than any other age group. Go figure! Weighted down with bulging wallets (Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration) and still feeling pretty peppy, they hit the road to freedom, flit from port to port or fly away to some far-off Eden. While some take to the skies, others choose the open road. Once Labour Day passes, and the flocks go back to school, many boomers and seniors go into motorhome mode and hit the highway. And with less traffic, fewer crowds and lower inflation, it makes for lots of happy campers.

But there’s no need to stray too far from home to get a little adventure. B.C. is bulging with opportunities. Whether it’s sailing the Salish Sea (page 14) or hiking the Stawamus Chief (page 12), active B.C. boomers and seniors are in for a treat.

And if you’re more of an armchair traveller, sit back and enjoy. This issue of *Senior Living* is filled with all kinds of adventure. So, hunker down, flip through the pages, and escape without even leaving home.



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