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Bert and I went to visit an old friend in the nursing home unit of the retirement complex in which she lives. Wilma is probably about 84-85 by now; she seems to have outlived most of her friends.  She’s an independent, feisty gal, who despite severe mobility issues was living independently in a retirement village until she had a heart attack a few months ago.   Her recovery wasn’t easy, and her subsequent inability to breathe without 24/7 oxygen, plus weakness in her extremities has led to her needing to stop driving, and leave the independent living apartment in her community.  I thought her acceptance of this blow remarkable. She has one dutiful son and daughter-in-law, who make every effort to make her life as easy as it can be. (more…)

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I ran out of fingers counting how many people were surprised that I was spending 2 ½ weeks traveling abroad with my mother. Their reactions were not because we were heading to China or that we opted to forgo an organized group tour.  Their astonishment was that I was spending that much time alone with my mother. Over and over friends said “I could never do that with my mom” and over and over I am so grateful that we made the trip together.

For both of us it was our first trip to China and the wonder of the sites was a huge piece of what made the adventure so special. Yet, it was much more than exploring the amazing temples or watching villagers carry buckets of water from the town well. For me, it was the opportunity to step out of my life and share this suspended time with my 80 year old mother.  We had never-ending fun exploring so many completely unfamiliar places. If you ask me about our itinerary, there’s a good chance I would forget some of the details.  But if you ask me to describe what we did, I could accurately and succinctly say “we giggled and laughed our way together through China!”

In the end, my favorite part of the trip was the solid layer of friendship we added to our mother-daughter connection.  So to any daughters considering a trip with their elderchick mother, or any elderchicks considering a get-a-way with their daughter, my emphatic advice is “take the leap”.  There’s a good chance that along with the new memories from your travels you’ll add a cherished dimension to your relationship.

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Travel Poll

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My husband was a textile designer and travelled to Japan to visit textile mills.  I have always been fascinated by the Japanese cultures but could never go him as our children were very small and had no one to care for them and then in later years, he became physically unable to endure the trip.

He died 5 years ago but my longing to travel to Japan never ceased.  I have always felt a connection with Japanese people – a feeling which I cannot explain.  So 2 years ago I decided that “while I can, I will”.  Since we had been on a few Elderhostel programs, I felt secure doing this trip without any of my friends as there are usually a few single people on their trips.

At Kennedy Airport, I met a couple of other “singles” on the same tour and already felt comfortable with my decision to go solo. The trip focused on the cultural heritage and customs of Japan and we travelled to Matsue by plane, to Kyoto by bullet train, to Kanazawa by train and to Tokyo by plane.

The hotel in Matsue provided cotton kimonos that could be worn while walking around the hotel, so I did.  It felt comfortable and natural.  We visited samurai residences and castles.  We got to meet some local people and I began to feel comfortable using the hotel’s unique toilets.   And the Adachi Museum of Art Garden – voted #1 in all of Japan.  The graceful way that they prune and cut-utterly magnificent! (more…)

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