We originally planned this blog for North American seniors who want to explore Europe, whether as tourists, travelers or visitors. We soon realized, however, that the original scope was too narrow and so have launched a new blog. Our new blog — intended for anyone interested in European travel — offers a wider range of topics and a growing list of guest bloggers. Please visit us at: http://www.travlearning.net/blog/
The blog was inspired by a passing comments made by a Canadian colleague I met at a conference held in Rome several years ago. This world famous psychologist told me how much she and her husband enjoyed travelling and about their long-range travel strategy. The couple had already visited many exotic destinations around the world ranging from the jungles of Borneo to the peaks of the Andes. Their plan was to reserve for “later on” comparatively “easy” but equally interesting destinations such as Italy.
The trichotomy mentioned earlier (tourist – traveler – visitor) seems to represent a natural evolution. A tourist, to my mind, is someone who buys a tour package from a tour operator and is then transported, as part of a group of varying size, between well-defined points of interest on a pre-established itinerary. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with coming to Europe as a tourist. Many people lack the time needed to plot their own itinerary, are bewildered by the wide range of possibilities, or simply fear the unknown. Many people have a limited amount of vacation time. They often feel compelled to travel efficiently to “see” as much of Europe as possible of Europe, and want to avoid wasting time waiting for the next train or the museum to open.
Travellers take some or all the trip planning into their own hands and have defined their own modifiable itinerary. Travelers may stay a bit longer in Europe than tourists. Most come as a couple, a few by themselves or as part of a threesome. Travelers usually consult a guidebook before purchasing a flight; they often watch travel videos and ask friends for suggestions. Paul Theroux wrote that “tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going” but this is too strong. Travelers usually have ideas about where to go and what to see but not precise ones; they are open to serendipity.
Some travellers end up becoming visitors to a country, region or town in Europe that has pleased them on past trips. The transition to becoming a visitor as the result of intentional long-range plan, personal connections, or happenstance. Planning is apt to long-range, the stay longer, and the preparation more thorough.
In this blog we welcome questions from those planning a trip to Europe, especially newcomers. We ask frequent travellers and visitors to the old continent to help respond to those questions, and to share something of their own experiences as contributors to this blog. There’s always something new to learn, even for the seasoned world traveller. When at 87 years of age of Michelangelo was queried about his technique and art making, the greatest artist of the Italian Renaissance replied “ancora imparo” [I’m still learning].
Here is a partial list of the topics we hope to discuss for the benefit of senior travellers to Europe:
- What was your favorite trip to Europe? Why?
- What was worst trip you ever took? Why?
- Has a trip ever changed your life or affected the way you see things?
- Sustainable travel
- Is it possible to live in Europe and not just travel there?
- Why do you like to travel?
- Are there travel opportunities you seek but cannot find?
- Travel perils and pitfalls to avoid