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Learning Adventures with Like-Minded People

Posted Sep 12 2008 2:05pm

Do you relish the opportunity to learn about the lives and history of people all over the world from local experts? Do you like to have time to investigate the area on your own? Do you want to travel and challenge yourself, physically and mentally?

Road Scholar, a program for Baby Boomers, the generation of lifelong learners, is run by Elder Hostel, the decades-established non-profit educational travel organization. Road Scholar has developed hands-on experiences designed to give participants a flavor for the real people, rather than just the service people whom one usually encounters on a tour.

No longer just for “elders.” No longer associated with “hostelling” or basic amenities as in the early days where participants stayed in university dorms, this program is geared toward the 50 and 60-year old crowd, who are energetic, fit, adventurous, and want to keep learning and experiencing life at its fullest.

Some of the descriptions sound tantalizing to me. Here’s a few examples:

  • Not for the faint-hearted, a trip to Papua New Guinea, where you meet peoplein remote villages, accessible by small boat. You learn about their age-old traditions of food preparation, celebrations and art forms, plant and animal species, introduced by local experts
  • Spiritual journey through India with holy men who guide you through ancient temples and monuments, where you learn the history of Eastern religions and the traditions of yoga and meditation.
  • Ireland, where many Americans claim their roots, is introduced to you via scholars, schoolchildren, politicians, musicians, and film producers as they guide you through rural lands and urban centers. Discuss the works of great Irish writers, Joyce, Beckett and Yeats with a literary scholar.

No, I don’t get any kickback from the organization. Just heard about it from Steve Lembke, VP of Elder Hostel Programs, Worldwide, whom I met at the Positive Aging Conference last year. Let me know if you’ve had experiences with this rather new offshoot of the Elder Hostel we knew about from our parents’ generation. Is it as good as it sounds, or just new packaging?

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