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Lifestyle : Forever Young 2011
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FOREVER YOUNG SPECIAL REPORT Sunday, November 20, 2011 A Sun-Herald Special Report Editor Matt Collins, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Tina Musumeci, 9282 1003, email@example.com Readerlink 9282 1569 An appetite for discovery Age isn't wearying these global jet-setters, who are part of a trend for adventure, writes Carolyn Boyd. Out there . . . John and Trish Dyball prefer independent travel with a little support. IN THEIR late 50s and with their children now grown, John Dyball and his wife, Trish, are discovering the world one pedal at a time. For the past eight years, the couple have been embarking on regular holidays, sometimes going overseas for up to eight weeks. Much of what they do involves cycling or hiking. And the trips are always active, ''otherwise I'd go stark raving mad'', says John, the deputy principal of a high school on the NSW south coast. On a trip to Bhutan a few years ago, the Dyballs were surprised to not only meet the then-queen of the country but also bump into former Australian deputy prime minister Tim Fischer, who was the co- chairman of the Australia Bhutan Friendship Association and in the country researching a book he was writing about the land-locked nation's history. That trip, which involved 20 days of hiking rough terrain, was one of their favourites. ''It was an extraordinary, challenging adventure,'' John says. ''It was great; it was not something that is everybody's cup of tea but you see things that not too many people on the planet will ever see.'' Next year, the Dyballs will head to South America, kicking off on the Galapagos Islands, then travelling to Peru and Bolivia. They plan to meet their 25-year-old daughter, who lives in Central America. The couple prefer independent travel with friends but often book through travel company World Expeditions, which plans their trips and provides support on the ground for their self-guided vacations. It's the little things, such as having accommodation booked and transport pre-arranged, that make things go smoothly, says John, who, with Trish, owns a holiday rental at Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay and so knows a bit about what travellers want from overnight stays. Going through a travel company, he says, also means travelling lighter day-to-day because while the couple cycles or hikes, transport is arranged from town to town for their luggage. ''Off you hike and then land in the next little town according to your itinerary -- and that might be 20 kilometres away over the mountains -- and your pack is sitting there [when you arrive].'' To prepare for each journey, the couple make sure they are fit by walking in the mountain range near their Jervis Bay home. ''If you're fit, you really enjoy it,'' John says. The most the Dyballs like to be away from home is about eight weeks. ''That seems to be our tolerance threshold,'' John says. They plan to keep travelling for many years yet. ''We'll keep going until we can't go any further.'' The big trend for older travellers is heading overseas, the chief executive of National Seniors Australia, Michael O'Neill, says. ''That's essentially about the strength of the Australian dollar. We have certainly seen a shift towards international travel over the past couple of years.'' O'Neill says coach tours through Europe and cruises in Canada, Alaska and along Europe's rivers remain popular -- but with a twist. ''Rather than just being focused on tours, they might be on a cruise but tack on to that some independent travel as well at the start or the end,'' O'Neill says. ''And we're seeing a few more folk go to the big adventures of Africa and South America. ''The younger generation of seniors is looking for that bit of adventure travel, a bit more than has traditionally been the accepted case with folk in that age group.'' O'Neill says there has also been a greater call for holidays to be graded, so travellers know what to expect, and for a more diverse range of offerings, rather than lumping all seniors into one travel basket. Age is no barrier to getting away, O'Neill says. ''We just did a travel-insurance policy here for a fellow who was 99. I think it's indicative of people of all ages looking for the opportunity to travel internationally.''
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