|Expanding Travelers Horizons
Planning for retirement starts early in many people's lives with
pension plans, IRAs and other financial planning schemes, but it
is not until we near the transition into retirement that serious
thought is given to what form and style this new way of life
will take. What are my interests? What do I want to do? Where do
I want to go? Who will be my new friends and colleagues? What
will I do to stay active and alert? And where can I make my
contribution? Answers to these questions do not come easy and
often evolve as one settles into this new living style.
Todays retirees are filled with vim and vigor and are eager to
be active, engaged and involved. Many have found new direction
when opening their sights and minds to lifelong learning and enrichment programs.
This renewed energy is being heralded by members of the
medical community who have noted that adults who continually
challenge their intellect and are active thinkers and learners
are less likely to experience certain ailments and conditions
associated with the aging process. They also report that those
who are active participants in personal interests remain
mentally vital throughout their life.
There are many programs designed specifically for adults who are
seeking to expand their interests and increase their knowledge.
Communities throughout North America offer adult education and
enrichment programs with park and recreation and
senior service activities. Local hospitals, museums, theaters,
libraries, universities and other groups serve the interests of
the adult population through classes, projects and volunteerism.
And there are national organizations like The OASIS Institute,
which offers programs in the arts, humanities, wellness,
technology and volunteer services. The Lifelong Learning and
Learning in Retirement Institutes found at hundreds of U.S. and
Canadian colleges provide courses of study for retirees at a
Adult learning programs offer topnotch material and are
presented by experts in varied fields of learning but, unlike a
typical collegiate course, there are no tests or grades. The
settings vary and could be in a class room, outside on field
trips or in a workshop. The program could also be part of a travel
experience, as the tourism industry is increasingly
attuned to what travelers are asking for in their tours and
Tour operators report that travelers are seeking more indepth
historical, cultural, political and social information about
destinations being visited. A recent study conducted by the Travel
Industry Association of America and Smithsonian Magazine
revealed that 81% of adult travelers desire a cultural, arts,
historic and heritage experience while on vacation. At the
National Tour Association, many of its member tour operators
offer packages that include learning experiences (38%), cultural
activities (58%), museums and special exhibitions (54%) and
historical sites/events (73%).
Here are some examples of programs that have been designed
specifically to add enrichment and lifelong learning
opportunities for adults.
Traveling Academic Programs
The University of New Hampshire Continuing Education program is
the grandfather of traveling
continuing education and enrichment programs for adults.
What started as a summer vacation-learning experience for
academics over 30 years ago continues with its series of
Distinctive Learning Vacations that are available to the public.
Tours are offered to destinations in North and South America,
Europe and Asia, each led by UNH faculty and local destination
experts. Most itineraries cover specific cities, regions or
topics and are designed to give travelers insights into the
culture, philosophy and lifestyles of people being visited.
There are two types of programs: Interhostel, for adults 50
years and older; and Familyhostel, for adults and children
traveling together. Contact: 800-733-9753, www.learn.unh.edu/interhostel.