Sally and Peter

Sally, Tony and Peter in Chiang Rai

There are two ways of looking at retirement: a scary void in your life or unlimited time to follow your passion. For Sally and Peter, their passion seems to have always been traveling. And even now, at ages 65 and 70, they are fully embracing their freedom. Yes, the baby boomer generation is quickly aging, but they seem to be aging gracefully, and I love that we are seeing more and more backpackers in their sixties, seventies and even eighties doing their thing. They definitely set an example for all of us “young ones” who missed the hippie trail by quite a few years.

We first got to talk to the Milwaukee couple at the Scandinavian Bakery in Luang Prabang, Laos where they told us all about their travels through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in the 70’s. It seems that public transportation then was even worse than it is now. (Hard to imagine in India.) Fed up with power-tripping bus drivers, they decided that exploring the world by bicycle was the only way to go. They’ve been doing just that ever since. And it shows. Looking at the photo, would you ever guess that Tony is 30 years younger?

Retirement and old age are no excuse for settling down (especially if you are healthy and have some pocket money to spend). So what if your children need you to babysit? We, the younger generation of travelers, need you too. We need to hear your stories, we want to learn from your experience, and we need to know that seeing the world and having adventures shouldn’t stop when you turn 60. Sally and Peter represent a new generation of older backpackers who still take to the road. As the baby boomers and hippie trailers age, we’ll hopefully be seeing more and more senior travelers dragging their bikes through the mud or balancing precariously on top of a speeding bus.

After we randomly bumped into Peter and Sally a few more times, our last encounter being in Chiang Rai, Thailand, we said our good-byes. They were off to Borneo for a month-long bike trip while we were headed for the Philippines via Bangkok. Having biked the Philippines multiple times, they gave us some last-minute advice on the best beaches. Clearly, amid all that biking, Sally and Peter have also made time for some R&R – and deservedly so.

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