Prepping for Peru: How to Make the Most of Your Holiday, Part I

There is no single image that can capture the essence of Peru; it’s more than llamas.

I’m soon heading out on what I’d call the “starter tour” of Peru. Ten days visiting some of the high spots: Cusco, Sacred Valley, Manchu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and, of course, Lima.

I’m going with Yampu Tours, an excellent travel company I’ve used before, traveling to Argentina. 

With Yampu, I experienced  Buenos Aires, the incomparable wine country around Mendoza (and a wonderful city in itself), and the magnificent, awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls.

The Peru trip promises to be special as it’s the home country of Jose Irauzqui, founder and president of Yampu. So when I say they really put their heart into it… I’m looking forward to great, great experiences.

But 10 days is barely enough time to scratch the surface of Peru.

Start with the country’s almost incomprehensible geographic diversity.

Just a bit bigger than Alaska, Peru boasts the world’s highest city (the mining town La Rinconada, at 16, 700 ft), a 1500 mile Pacific coastline, sand dunes of the Huacachina desert oasis, glaciers and dense jungles, and the soaring the Andean peaks surrounding Manchu Picchu.

Kingdom Compass on Unsplash

And the Amazon rainforest. In fact, this region covers over 60% of Peru, the second-largest chunk within a single country. (Brazil has the most).

Zachary Spears on Unsplash

Literature as insight into Peru’s cultural diversity and rich history.

Any of the guidebooks — FodorsEyewitnessLonely Planet, or for that matter, Wikipedia — will take you through the drill, but what’s the larger context?

It’s found in stories.

Mario Vargas Llosa, a prolific Peruvian whom the New York Times dubbed the “elder statesman of Latin America literature.” He is an essayist, novelist, and political activist.

He has the soul of his country in his heart.

His skills brought me to the fantastical reaches of Peru’s Amazonian tribes in the 1950’s: The Storyteller.

His Lima-centered Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is something I’m saving for the plane.

Then there is the grim tale depicting Peru’s grinding stand-off with guerilla Maoists of the Shining Path in the 1980’s: Death in the Andes.

The novel gives us a quick brush stroke, a tiny keyhole glimpse of conflict through the eyes of the characters, both noble and not so much.

I’ve found a probing intellect in Vargas Llosa’s Notes on the Death of Culture.

While not meant to be a “travel book” per se, I find thought-provoking for the serious traveler in our “post-culture” world.

He laments a global sameness, an aspirational materialism stoking the world’s economic engine, the primacy of image over the word. All, he posits, have contrived to change what it means for a society to have a culture.

Culture has little to do with quantity, everything to do with quality. — Mario Vargas Llosa

In travel, culture matters. A lot.


Other Must-Reads for Peru

These provide an insight into Peru you won’t find in travel guides, on Trip Advisor, or even the most informed travel itineraries.

It’s the work you’ve got to do to get behind the brochures.

• The Peru Reader

If you have the time or inclination for just one book before traveling to Peru, make it this one. A collection of essays, short stories, legends and biographies, this provides a look at the diversity that makes Peru so fascinating.

• Turn Right at Machu Picchu

This one is on every list of must-reads on Peru. Focusing on the history of the Incas, it retraces the steps of Hiram Bingham, the early 20th-century explorer who claimed to “find” the lost traces of the remarkable Incan civilization near modern-day Cusco.

• The Lost City of the Incas

The seminal work of Hiram Bingham. You might as well read his first-hand account, written soon after his 1911 exploration that made him famous.

The Upshot

‘If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.’  – James Michener

 

This article was first published on Medium.com

Featured photo credit:  Alexis Huertas on Unsplash


N.B. Purchases on Amazon from links herein will generate a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

Copyright 2018 Jane Trombley All rights reserved.

3 Reasons Why Travel is More Important in Retirement

clock at Grand Central Terminal

Editor’s note: this post was first published on Medium

Travel is important at any time in life. Travel gets you out of your shell, your culture, your background, your self-imposed confines.

At a young age, travel exposes you to the world, whether across the state, across the country or around the globe.

Later in life, and particularly in retirement, time seems to speed up, to enter a different continuum. Travel seems more urgent, the experience is more alive and somehow, more profound.

The distance and the destination are not critical, it’s the fact that you’re doing it at all.

Travel in retirement keeps you sharp

You have lots of ways to spend your time and resources once you hit retirement. A trip is just one option. But it keeps you actively engaged in life’s “game.” Regardless of whether you choose a full package such as a tour or a cruise, or more independent travel, the dynamics are similar.

Travel takes you out of your comfort zone. It’s always about the new experience, even if it’s a place you’ve been to before. Travel is fresh, a dash of the unknown. In retirement, that’s an excellent thing. You didn’t retire to sit passively, did you? I didn’t think so.

Being out of your “comfort zone” doesn’t mean traipsing around the unknown. It just means putting a toe outside of your routine and widen the net of experience.

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveller only who is foreign.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

The upshot? Your comfort zone — the space you occupy in physical, mental and emotional states — just got bigger. Remember, there are no “foreign lands.”

Travel requires social and communication skills.

You need to interact with people you meet. That runs the gamut from service personnel, fellow travelers of your choosing or locals you meet along the way. You need to be able to communicate your needs and preferences. You’ll want to chat up your seat-mate on the tour, relive the day with your traveling companions (yes, even your spouse!), and discuss where-to next.

All this takes considerable cognitive power, social engagement and, sometimes, “attitude adjustment” (another term for patience).

Just keep your cool. You can do this. You’re not the old codger your children think you are.

Travel keeps you self-aware. When traveling you have a heightened awareness of your surroundings.

As the British-born author, Aldous Huxley famously said,

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.

Travel in retirement is about keeping those “doors of perception” open, wide open, between the known and the unknown.

This is the best time of your life to explore your “unknowns.”

You have the luxury of unhurried time. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts.

Travel in retirement is a huge part of life-long learning

Life-long learning is not only huge, and travel in retirement makes it fun and actionable.

If you’ve researched your destination, figured out the best way to travel that suited your budget, interests, any limitations, that’s learning.

You can up your tech game: Did you learn at least a phrase in another language, thanks to an app like Duolingo? Did you download a travel app? Did you use Google Maps or some other direction-finding software to get from Point A to Point B?

What assumptions were challenged?

What did you come back knowing you didn’t know before? What “doors of perception” were opened as a result of your travel, or the preparation for it?

That’s life-long learning.

Travel in retirement gives you information and experiences to share.

Coming back from travel, you’re a different “you.” It’s nearly impossible to have a travel experience and not have something stick

Unless you’re like my Aunt Flo. She and Uncle Art traveled the world in retirement, thanks to his life-long career with United Air Lines.

She was the “Teflon traveler” because nothing, and I mean nothing, stuck.They would go on a whim, world-wide on trips with other United-retirees, and come back emotionally void from the experience.

“It was nice,” she’d say. But it didn’t penetrate, it didn’t stick. She didn’t feel it.

I am indebted to my aunt and uncle for my travel curiosity. They took me along on a tour to Scandinavia when I was 15, in the early 1960’s. By luck, some Australian girls my age were on the tour, too. We remained pen pals for decades, long before email. That interaction is still a sweet memory. It stuck.

Please don’t be like dear Aunt Flo. Make travel “stick.”

The Upshot

Let travel make you a more interesting person.
Travel doesn’t need to be far, or exotic. It needn’t be expensive. But the experience will make you a more interesting person. You’ll have more to talk about. Even pictures to share.

You’ll even have bragging rights.

And the best part? Travel in retirement emboldens you to do more.

So, where are you off to?

Photo credit: Jane Trombley

Rheumatoid Arthritis? Here’s How to Have The Best Travel Experience

If you suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), you know travel can be a challenge. But it doesn’t mean you’re stuck at home!

With the following pro tips, and proper RA management, the best of travel is there for you.

Quick Facts About RA

  • RA, disease of the auto-immune system commonly affecting joints in fingers, wrists, ankles, knees and joints.  It is a chronic condition, meaning it can “flare”  or recede.
  • Over a  million people in the U.S.are diagnosed with RA, predominately women. It  is most commonly detected in the prime travel years, between the ages of 40-60.
  • Curiously, RA is symmetrical; it affects joints on both sides of the body. With pain or stiffness in your right knee or ankle, chances are you’ll feel it in on your left side, too.
  • With treatment and self-care, traveling with RA is very manageable. So, pack your bags and book that adventure. An RA diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t see the world!

Managing RA When Traveling

For solid advice, we turn to the experts in the video below.

Dr. Grace C. Wright, a noted Rheumatologist and  Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at New York University’s Langone  School of Medicine.

With her is Maria an RA patient, sharing her experiences as a traveler with RA. Maria  has built a successful company and active lifestyle and wishes to be presented by first name only.

5 Top Tips for Travelers with RA

  • Stay hydrated!  Make sure you have a water bottle handy at all times, especially in dry conditions (such as long flights).
  • Get comfy!  Use a neck pillow, stretch out, get up and move around in a plane or train as soon as it is safe to do so.  Frequent rest stops while driving long distances will help keep stiffness at bay.
  • Rx: plenty of rest. A good sleep routine is very important!  Time changes can disrupt your sleep patterns, so use the first few days to get into a good sleep rhythm.
  • Balance exercise and rest. In addition to a good night’s sleep, be sure to balance rest and exercise. It’s easy, when traveling, to push onward to that next shop, the next museum.  Schedule rest periods during the day, to help manage joint inflammation when walking.
  • Warm/cold therapies.  As Maria notes in the interviews, a warm soak can work wonders when traveling. Heat, or massage, will serve to reduce minor inflammation. Cold therapies such as an ice bag, will help relieve more acute pain and inflammation.

The Upshot: RA?  So what?

Choose your destination and safe travels!

 

© 2018  Jane Trombley

 

 

How Time With Your Parents Can Make You a Better Adult

clock at Grand Central Terminal

 

Editor’s Note: This originally published on Medium, addressing Millennials.  Feel free to pass it along…

Hey twenty-somethings, now it’s your turn.

It doesn’t have to be travel, but it could be.

Remember “take your child to work” day when you were a kid?

Some employers made it a big deal, providing a plethora of snacks and diversionary activities so you could mingle with other employee’s children. After all, the worker bees still had to work.

If super lucky, you played with an ancient computer, ravaged through the desk, went to lunch.

Beyond the excitement of a ‘free’ day from school, you got a glimpse of the mysterious adult world of work.

And now you’re in that adult world with the laid bare: the need for an income.

It turns out the work part is but a piece of the adulthood puzzle.

Here’s another piece:

Take on the adult role of the host: invite your parent/s to join you. Maybe for just an afternoon, maybe for an overnight, perhaps for just a day trip.

WHAAAT?

Before the anticipated WTF moment hijacks your amygdala and you close down this post in disgust, or before your partner/spouse says, “over my dead body,” hear me out.

It’s the actual marker of having passed beyond adolescence.

If you can’t make it through a holiday dinner with your parents, a longer duration is not in the cards. You can stop reading now.

But for the rest of you, this is an opportunity to cultivate a more vibrant relationship. You’ll be the winner.

Sure they drive you nuts.

You drive them nuts.

But here’s what’s in it for you

Experience your parents as people.

Your parent/s may not be the uptight jerk/s you think they are.

They may be entirely different people over drinks than over the Thanksgiving table with the insufferable Aunt Susie.

Your invitation to spend time together may reveal some unrealized truths.

Isn’t it time to find out?

Give your parents the opportunity to witness your maturity.

You’re probably not the narcissistic jerk your parents think you are — or thought you were.

A near-universal dictate is that parents become smarter after their children turn 25. The reverse holds true: adult children become less annoying, and more interesting after they turn 25.

In truth, age 25 is considered a significant milestone. It’s not just an adage; behavioral science tells us that by the mid-20’s a person’s mindset becomes more long-range and less self-centered. Thanks, hormones.

Consider the value of building social skills.

Your parents taught you your primary language, how to ride a bike. Now you can use interaction with them as a tutorial honing advanced social navigation skills.

It will serve you very well in any number of your own personal or professional interactions.

What do I mean by this? Mull over these scenarios:

The Difficult Conversation. It’s often political. How do you disarm without offense? If you can do it with your father or father-in-law, you can do it with a client.

Too Much Booze.This is different from your pal over-indulging. Perfect the social pirouette of ‘getting mom to bed’ after that one-too-many daiquiris. Swap out “mom” for the tipsy sales prospect. See the connection?

Disaster Museum Visit. Not every plan is going to hit the mark. Vagaries abound. It can rain, it can be too hot, too cold, too far to walk.

But again, to use the work analogy: what happens when your PowerPoint presentation goes awry? Or when the wrong facts embedded in the “killer” summary prepared for your boss’s boss are your responsibility?

You pivot, you scramble, you concoct Plan B on the fly. It’s no different here.

Consider it a low-risk training exercise for life.

Parents want a touchstone to your adult lives and not be left behind.

Parents of adult children (and I am one, so I speak with authority) value nothing more than the gift of your time.

If you can treat, great; pride will burst their buttons, and it’s arguably the fast track to heaven.

But this isn’t about your credit line; it’s about your calendar. The true gift is your time. Parent/s know that.

Make it an afternoon, an overnight. A long weekend. Plan as a surprise or dive into the planning process together.

Agree on some ground rules from the git-go.

  • This event is not a make-over. Of your life or theirs.
  • This is not an intervention. There is another time and place for that.
  • You are not inviting them to opine on your life choices, nor will you opine on theirs
  • If your politics are at polarity, then put that topic in the no-fly zone.
  • If there is disapproval of either’s partner, lifestyle, or choices, well, likewise.

You know what will work. You know the buttons that can get pushed. Get agreement on not pushing them, or having them pushed — by anyone.

You’re a grown-up. You have more power, more leverage than you think. You can set the guidelines. It’s your party.

Let’s get specific.

You might be booking away WITHOUT finishing this article. If so, you’re welcome.

Otherwise here are some tips and tricks:

  • Make it pretty local as transportation can escalate the costs.
  • Is it realistic to tie in a sibling? Possibly tie in a sibling?
  • Play to parent interests:

– A favorite sport? A favorite team?

– Culture/museums/city day or weekend

– Country day or weekend

– Spa/Yoga/hair

– Cooking weekend

  • Play to joint interests

– Active stuff like hiking, biking, golf, sailing

You know your family’s interests better than I do.

A final word.

Do it. Do it now.

It gets more complicated with time.

It’s you who has the time constraint.

It’s you who has the distractions (or will) of family, spouse/significant other, job obligations. Working like crazy. Building that start-up — or the next start- up. Or the one after that.

It’s you whose life is the expanding universe with options, choices, obligations, decisions, and demands that are concurrent with the most productive years of your life.

Before things get too crazy, plan the time. You won’t regret it.

Who knows? This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. One that has been decades in the making.

Let me know how it goes.

Copyright 2018  Jane Trombley

This article first appeared in Medium.

 

 

 

 

 

 


5 insider tips to ensure the best Airbnb experience

Duffel on apartment floor

Using Airbnb for the first time can be daunting. Concerns abound.  Maybe it’s just for kids, you think. Or,  you’d rather have the safety of a hotel.  Maybe as a solo traveler, the idea of an apartment is not inviting.  Questions arise. What if the apartment isn’t as advertised, or the location is near…..nothing. What if the host isn’t there to meet me? How do I get the keys? Who can I ask for restaurant suggestions?   You’ve got some questions, here are some answers to ensure the best Airbnb experience…. Continue reading “5 insider tips to ensure the best Airbnb experience”

How to find the best trip insurance at 60+

Travel insurance is a considered choice and, frankly, sometimes not necessary.  However, it is absolutely essential for an older American traveler with international destinations in mind.  The primary reason is adequate medical coverage.  Employer-based medical coverage may be sufficient (check your policy), but Medicare falls far short outside the U.S.  Supplemental “Medigap” policies will provide you with only very limited coverage if you become sick or injured abroad. Furthermore, you’ll want to protect your international travel investment against an array of mishaps, from lost luggage to unforeseen cancellations.   Here’s how to find the right travel insurance plan for you. Continue reading “How to find the best trip insurance at 60+”

How to be an Xenophile in your 60’s

Say  whaaat?   A  Xenophile? Sounds weird.  A bit creepy even.  But it really is the essence of travel.   In English, the word xenophile derives from Greek xenos meaning strange/unfamiliar (person or object). Combine that with the phile –  to love something or be an enthusiast. So think Anglophile, bibliophile, cinephile. A xenophile embraces new people, places, and experiences, the  very definition of travel.  One could say being an intentional xenophile enables living life to its fullest and richest.  In that case, yes, we want to be xenophiles in our 60’s.  Here’s how…

Continue reading “How to be an Xenophile in your 60’s”

It’s 2018: What happened to your wonderful travel plans?

 

Here we are at the end January 2018 – how are all your wonderful travel plans coming along?  

I confess my travel plans for the year aren’t as clear as I’d wish them to be, quite a confession for a travel blogger!  But I do have one wonderful idea in place:  a July wedding in Italy will take me to the Lake Como in Italy, a region I’ve been dying to see. Hopefully, one of the big bucket destinations like Antarctica, Patagonia, maybe even Africa, can be ticked off the list this year.

Continue reading “It’s 2018: What happened to your wonderful travel plans?”

Ringing in the New (Year)

Each New Year brings a commitment to change: making resolutions (preferably ones we actually keep), kicking old bad habits,  starting anew.

Continue reading “Ringing in the New (Year)”

REAL ID UPDATE: What you need to know

  • NOTE:  A more recent post on REAL ID can be found here.

The updated top line: your current driver’s license will remain valid as TSA-approved ID for boarding aircraft on domestic flights for a while.  The DHS  compliance deadline for states to provide REAL ID driver’s licenses is expected to be extended to October 2018.

Here’s the background and what you should know about REAL ID and the TSA security protocol.

Continue reading “REAL ID UPDATE: What you need to know”