Glasses Half Full

Midlife can and should be the best years of our lives, but they can often fall short if we let life get in the way. To ensure they are the best, asked topic experts to share special advice on everything from healthy living to planning for retirement. Our experts’ uplifting stories will inspire you to approach every situation with a Glass(es) Half Full mentality, so check back each month for more in this series and like us on Facebook for additional tips!

Today’s guest post comes from Donna Hull, the blogger and writer behind My Itchy Travel Feet, The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel. Donna and her husband Alan (he’s the photographer) travel the world recording their experiences and inspiring empty nesters to get off the couch and go! Donna was kind enough to share her top five adventure destinations for those ready to catch the travel bug. Read on for her picks!

Alaska Cruise Excursion

Is your idea of travel changing? Would you like to trade that seat on the tour bus for a swim with the rays in the South Pacific or a jet boat ride in New Zealand? You don’t have to be a hardcore adventurer to experience the adrenaline-pumping fun of trying something new. Here are five of my favorite boomer adventures. They’ll push your boundaries while boosting your confidence!

1. Kayaking in Alaska

On a small ship cruise in Alaska, my husband and I kayaked for the first time ever. The ship’s guide helped us into the kayak, offered instruction, then pushed our kayak out into the quiet cove. The only noise was the sound of our paddles dipping into the water, accompanied by the screech of a bald eagle peering down from a treetop. Cruises are a great way to try this type of adventure. Look for lines that offer activities divided by ability, like Un-Cruise Adventures — that way, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

2. Hiking in Glacier National Park

We stood in a meadow just off the trail to Bullhead Lake in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. The guide motioned for us to be quiet, as a moose and her baby slowly moved down the hillside. The moose’s heavy footsteps were accompanied by the clicking of cameras. It’s one of my favorite memories from a Road Scholar Hiking Program. Of course, I could have hiked on an independent trip to Glacier National Park, but enjoying the camaraderie of hikers in my general age bracket added to the experience. And knowledgeable guides meant that I learned something, too!

Donna and Alan Hull, My Itchy Travel Feet

3. Four-Wheeling in Colorado

The Jeep Rubicon lurched along a narrow trail climbing into the San Juan Mountains, farther out than our feet would ever be able to take us. Near a steep drop-off, I shut my eyes to avoid gazing down below. “Look at that!” my husband said. I opened my eyes to see a ghost town of abandoned vehicles, homes, and equipment — remnants from Colorado silver mining history. We discovered this combination of mountain scenery and history on a Jeep Jamboree. Prefer to have someone else do the driving? Many different types of guided tours are available in Ouray, Colorado.

4. Exploring Slot Canyons in Arizona

The journey started by walking along a crack in the Arizona desert. Soon, the crack widened, leading down a metal staircase into the twisty, curvy, colorful world of Lower Antelope Canyon. You won’t need a group to go exploring in Lower Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona, but you will need to purchase a ticket and be accompanied by a Navajo guide for the real experience!

5. Swimming with Stingrays in Bora Bora

Can you find adventure on a cruise? I did on an excursion in Bora Bora. Standing in the crystal clear water of a lagoon, the guide fed a manta ray while I touched its silky, smooth skin. The rays glided around me, bumping into my chest looking for more food. I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s a cruise excursion worth repeating.

So, are you ready to jump off that tour bus and into adventure? Come on in. The water’s just fine!

Thank you so much to Donna for sharing her traveling adventures with us! Make sure you sign up for her newsletter on My Itchy Travel Feet for more boomer travel news and advice!