Or indeed anywhere, but Croatia has one of the best sea kayaking infrastructures, expertise and of course exquisite seascapes, with its burgeoning, beautiful archipelago. This is one of those activities you are never too old to try. Most vacations give beginner techniques, and sea kayaking vacations are about paddling slowly and gently, so that you can enjoy the coves and secret hideaways that are on offer.
If you have read any Murakami, then Japan’s forests, mountains and coastal pathways must be calling. Just as Murakami seduces us into his beautiful world, so do the Nakasendo and Kumano Kodo long distance walking trails. Both following ancient footsteps of Samurai on the former, or pilgrims on the more southern and spiritual, shrine-bedecked Kumano Kodo Trail. Places where you can ‘Hear the Wind Sing’.
Safaris in South Africa, Kenya or Botswana, for example, are high on anyone’s list. But remember that the wildlife world stretches way beyond Africa. And beyond the back seat of a jeep. Go see Rajasthan’s tigers in the morning, and camel trek through desert in the afternoon. Explore the glories of the Galapagos aboard a traditional schooner, or do some serious trekking into Rwanda’s rainforest to watch gorillas in the mist.
One of the Australia’s best kept secrets, and not just for tagging onto a trip to see the rellies. Spend a couple of weeks taking in its 19 national parks (yes, nnnnnn-nineteen), every day offering a different view, whether you are hiking on the Cradle Mountain Overland Track, bushwalking in the northernmost Narawntapau NP, or blissing out on one of its 300 islands. Oh, and fine food and wine. Tassie-tastic.
Seeing a few more of those cities you have always wanted to see is wonderful, but do take time to check out what lies just beyond them. Dubrovnik is gorgeous, but Mljet National Park offers idyllic island cycling only two hours away for. Florence is not to be missed, but hiking through Tuscany or Umbria paints a whole other pretty picture. And Edinburgh always rocks, but so do Scotland’s rail vacations.
Going on a walking vacation doesn’t equate with slowing down in life. It just means you appreciate the true meaning of slow travel. Now one of the most popular ways to vacation among people of all ages, as many of us are craving a need to get back to nature. Eat local food and engage with local people as you walk the Lycian Way in Turkey, the Tour de Mont Blanc or even the Inca Trail.
Famed for years for its glamorous colonial scene, as well as Paul Theroux’s 1975 hit travel journal, The Great Railway Bazaar, this vibe still exists. But post tsunami, many Sri Lankans have taken ownership of their fine attractions and trained expert guides, in both cultural and natural heritage. They offer homestays, take pride in their superb culinary prowess, Ayurvedic skills and wildlife watching – including whales.
Who doesn’t love Italy? By your 50s the chances are you have already been at least once. However, there are always more beautiful landscapes waiting in the wings, more wines to drink, and gourmet gorgeousness to indulge in. Hike in Umbria, snowshoe on Mount Etna, cross country ski in the Dolomites, or cycle in Puglia. Ramble the Riviera and then just chill on Capri. Because everywhere, la via è bella.
So long the clichéd domain of the mature traveler, perceived as an easy way to see the world. But you also have to go easy ON the world. Unlike the giant polluting behemoths. To make life easier, opt for a tailor made vacation to suit all your needs, and set you up with a local driver guide in India, or eco resorts in Vietnam or Burma. Whatever suits you, sir. Or just go for a smaller boat - on a small ship cruise.
Who wouldn’t love a second home on, say, the French Riviera? Most of the French to be honest. You may be the exception to the rule, use it lots and leave plenty of money in the local economy. But the fact is there are over two million empty homes in France at any one time. Mass second ownership nearly always creates community resentment too. In short, rarely is it the epitome of responsible tourism.
Sometimes it is necessary, but consider a self-guided walking or cycling vacation instead, where your bags are transported for you from one hotel to another. SO much more fun, no arguing over maps (except OS ones), take things at your own pace, and see the country properly. Not from behind a wheel, with a GPS shouting at you. Or go on a small group vacation and hand over your keys and all hassles to an expert guide.
Either you have been going downhill skiing every year for as long as you can remember, or you have never skied and think you are too old to start. Downhill is a disaster environmentally anytime, and beginners can learn to cross country ski or snowshoe, well away from the chalet brigade and piste posers, in cool places like the Carpathians, or Lapland, where you can also do incredible husky sledding.