The Challenge of Travelling

Have been travelling for the past couple of weeks, covering Switzerland (Geneva), Hungary (Budapest, Szentendre), Croatia (Plitvice National Park, Split, Hvar Island and Dubrovnik) and France (Annecy).

This journey is different in that we also have my Father-in-Law (FIL) of age 80+ travelling with us. While the planning of the trip has tried to be as less strenuous as possible, the trip did require quite a bit of walking up and down. We intended to cover all 16 lakes of great beauty in Plitivice National Park (below) and the 2 km (730 steps) walk on top of the Dubrovnik Castle walls in Dubronik, not to mention the daily walking of several hours when we were not travelling by car, catamaran or Ro-Ro ferry.

It was a test of will and strength for my FIL, as before the journey, he has developed a reluctance of climbing up or down even one flight of staircase between two stories in a building. While in our assessment, he should have the physical strength to complete all the walks in the journey, nevertheless, we were worried that he may not be able to overcome the psychological hurdle of tackling those climbs.

The trip did not have a good start. While loitering in the quiet streets of Budapest my FIL was approached by two men in the street, one pretending to be a tourist with a map in his hand, trying to snatch his backpack. Only when I shouted out loudly from afar did the men hastily turn away.

With the help of two walking sticks, my FIL was able to climb up to the very top of one section of the Plitvice lakes and should have been able to complete the other section if not for the very heavy rain which came pouring down like cats and dogs. When we reached Dubrovnik (above), he was also able to complete the picturesque 2 km up and down walk on the high castle walls of the Dubrovnik Castle on a hot day. All in all, he has reconquered the fears of climbing and was proud of that!

One of the things I pondered after the trip was – what lifestyle and exercise  should I adopt  now so that I would also be able to travel with confidence and strength as I approach 80 ? While life expectancy is increasing, this does not necessarily imply that we will still be sufficiently mobile in our later stages of life.

We have experienced immense beauty in our trip. . . . . . the unforgettable blue sea of the Adriatic, the scenic beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, the festival and cosy town at Hvar, the magnificent Dubronik castle, the quaint little medieval town of Annecy (above) and finally the tranquility of Geneva. This post is a preview and I will write in more detail about each of the places in this journey.

441 thoughts on “The Challenge of Travelling

  1. Congratulations to FIL. My Jack is 80 and I am 70 and we travel a lot. We consider a good diet, keep up the excercise and have a positive attitude will go a long way to keeping your health and fitness into old age or vintage years as one blogger so aptly put it…

  2. I can’t imagine my Dad (84) making such a trip. He loves to travel but it definitely has to be on the flat these days (he has “crane driver’s knees” as he describes them). He’s in Poland at present, bless him.
    Always wanted to see Annecy, and I know from my own travels that Dubrovnik is beautiful. I walk a lot, t’ai chi and zumba so am hoping to keep the gremlins away. Well done you.

    • For many people, it appears that the knees are the first to deteriorate. I read from a book that “wogging” – fast speed walking is more preferred than jogging or walking. T’ai Chi is good, I learned that but have forgotten most of it through no practising. It is good for the body balance and for the breathing. Thanks for the advice, the desire to travel may give me sufficient impetus to maintain myself in a good shape physically.

  3. I’ve been watching The Amazing Race regularly and almost in every season they have a couple of senior citizens. Your FIL reminds me of them and they always inspire me to stay healthy so that when I grow old it’s only a matter of age, not a matter of spirit.

    • This is my first trip to Croatia. The impressions of Dubronik and Plitvice National Park are good and more or less as expected. However, I find Hvar and the Adriatic sea partcularly delightful. The people in Croatia are also more sweet than as anticipated. Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking it!

    • The country was at war in the 1990s. I was surprised in fact the people are sweet and friendly. While at Split, they celebrated their patron siant day. The whole town came out to sing and have fun. There are fireworks in the harbour and was televised.

  4. Thanks for this lovely and compassionate (the way you care about your “FIL”) blog. And thank you for looking into our own blog. When we go overseas – to Germany, France, England, Ireland, Sweden – we are fortunate enough to stay with friends. However, and that is our addition to the “challenges of travelling” – sometimes it can be as stressful to be a guest as to be a host.

    • I have come from a culture and generation where, as kids, we were taught to respect and take care of our parents and the elderly although this culture is gradually disappearing. While I am glad to travel with my FIL, I also have regrets that I am no longer able to travel with my mum who is even older than my FIL and has a health condition. I am sure that there are more challenges we face in travelling. I guess the stress you refer to may be associated with hosts being too hospitable; I would try to enjoy that as well. I love the images in your blog and thank you for commenting on mine!

    • My FIL is really an inspiration but sometimes need encouragement to tackle the more difficult walks. Glad that you enjoy the post! Regards, Michael

  5. I would love to go to Plitvice National Park. Croatia is in my opinion one of the most beautiful destinations in Europe. And I was in Annecy a few weeks ago 🙂

    • This is my first trip to Croatia. I caertainly agree that Croatia is one of the most beautiful locations in Europe and is happy to include it in our trip. The Plitvice Lakes, like the lakes in Jiuzhaigou in China, are just amazing! I love your blog on Annecy and thank you for stopping by.

  6. Hello Michael. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m happy to discover yours! You are a very kind son-in-law indeed! It’s lovely to read about the travels you shared with your FIL – both of you are inspiring. Good luck keeping in shape! Gentle yoga should also help with the knees. 🙂 All the best to you and happy travels!

    • Hi Jenny, I am glad to discover your blog as well. Your pictures are just amazing!
      Thanks also for yor advice; I think gentle yoga should help.
      I think I am doing what I am supposed to do in this journey of life.
      Best of luck with your endeavours and safe travels!

    • I am also amazed that he was able to complete the whole journey, in particular, the very difficult walk on the slippery boardwalk in Plitivice lakes when the rain was falling very heavily. I am opened to be inspired by all people including our fellow bloggers. Thanks very much for stopping by and liking the post!

  7. Hello again Michael :D. First of all thank you for liking my posts of Italy :). Secondly I am so glad you had a chance to visit my country. I grew up in Dubrovnik 🙂 And Plitvice is a must too! I am happy you liked all these places. Wish you many happy travels!

    • Hi Paula, I love Croatia very much and, in partcular, the island of Hvar. The people in Croatia are friendly and I can even say, sweet. In fact, we spent most of our time in Croatia. Dubrovnik is one of my reasons for visitng the county. Glad to know it was the place you grew up. Cheers!

  8. Michael, thank you for liking my recent post. I enjoy your blog, photographs and especially your writing style. I look forward to reading through it and hearing more. As I get older I continue to try to eat healthier and keep my body strong, but I find that sometimes just having patience and going slower is all I need.

    • Thanks for the advice. I understand eating / chewing slowly and attentively is also important. Before retirement, I was always looking for effiency and excellence. I think this mind set has to be changed and I should conduct and enjoy my life at a slower pace. Thanks for your comment and liking my blog!

  9. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I find it very inspiring that you are travelling with your FIL. I myself limped a good way through Peru with sciatica of the left hip. It is amazing how once we get going the body responds and it gets easier!! Your writing and photographs are wonderful and an inspiration. I look forward to reading all of them.

    • Your Peru photos are amazing. When there is a will, there is a way. Your trip to Peru is also inspiring and courageous.
      Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking the articles!

    • Good for you. I am enjoying all of these comments, and love Michael’s posts, too. He has been to so many interesting places — destinations I will only reach through his photographs. I discovered that I have sciatica (and scoliosis) only about ten years ago (I’m 67), and I began yoga then to try and combat it and it did. The class I am in most often includes a number of older people and I am encouraged that generally they are in great shape. Yoga is gentle, yet challenging. It helps with most of what ails you, and helps to keep the body flexible and balanced. Now I have knee issues, and I keep going back, because even if there’s pain (and you’ve seen a doctor to rule out the worst scenarios) you have to keep moving!

    • Hi, I understand that hydrotherapy could be good for sciatica, this involves doing exercise in warm water. For 15 years, my mom thought she has a knee problem, but in fact the problem originate from the spine which was eased off a bit through hydrotherapy.

  10. Your photos are beautiful! I have provided a link to your blog on my blog: I was checking out your posts on Japan. Would love to visit there someday!

    • I love the colors on your photos. . . . . you really have brought out the colors in your travels. Japan is quite a special and interesting country; you will enjoy it. Thanks very much for providing the link in your blog and stopping by my blog! Regards, Michael

  11. Hello again, Michael.

    Clearly you have struck a positive chord with many readers already. Congratulations to your FIL for perservering, and to you for thinking ahead and reflecting upon how to prepare yourself to stay fit for the duration. If you recall, there is a handsome fellow in my most recent post (at the bottom of a number of photos from Zion National Park in Utah). He is the love of my life, my husband of almost 29 years. He turns 75 in December; I’ll turn 61 this month. He takes no meds, hikes, “wogs,” treadmills, and lifts weights, plus reads all the time and is currently writing his first novel (me too!). We have a blast, living in our Longleaf pine preserve in northwest Florida. Aren’t we lucky to live in an age where life expectancy and continued quality of life are in many cases attainable ?

    Take care,

    • Hi Beth,
      Your hubby must be doing all the right things to stay so active at his age. I think I should learn from him.
      Best wishes to both of you on your first novel!
      Yes, we are indeed lucky to live in an age of increaing life expectancy and quality. I guess Longleaf pine reserve must be an excellent place for retirment. Have never been anywhere near the area although I have been in Florida a few times.
      Take care, Michael

  12. What a trip! Love your photos. I hope to follow in your footsteps – a trip to Croatia and the Plitivice National Park may be in the cards this fall – so very excited. Thanks for sharing such amazing photos. Truly inspiring.

    • Apologize for the belated response; for reasons unknown, your comment was classifed as Spam. Croatia is indeed an interesting and lovely place, I hope you will enjoy it. Thanks for your comment and visiting my blog. Regards, Michael

  13. It is always a challenge to travel with someone who is compromised in some way, age, disability, whatever…but what a blessing to help them continue on the journey. Nice post.

    • Hi, we were very pleased when my FIL was able to hike up to the very top of the Plitivice lakes. Indeed, we felt blessed when we were able to help people achieiving what they want. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    • It is difficult not to enjoy Plitvice. . . . . to be so close to the water, both in terms of distance and elevation. We were bascially immersed into this water garden of Eden. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Regards, Michael

  14. What a beautiful journey you are on! This is one of my dream destinations and you are presenting it beautifully. Thank you for allowing us to travel vicariously through you! : )

  15. Hi again Michael,

    I join Restlessjo (many comments above) in encouraging you to take up t’ai chi again. I have practised it now for about 15 years, and find it more and more valuable the older I get. You are right: it does wonders for balance and flexibility, things we must maintain as we age — but it is also excellent for the spirit. That’s why it is called a Walking Meditation! Add a little leg work (up and down some flights of stairs every day) and regular walking (for the heart and circulation), and you will be doing very well, with a very simple regime.

    • Hi Penny,
      Thank you very much for the suggestion. I am doing tennis ( once every week), hiking (up to twice a week). I also need some exercise for the balance and breathing – I think that’s where Tai Chi is good for. I think I have to get back to Tai Chi class. Regards, Michael

  16. Hello, Michael! Thanks for taking time to read my blog. I’m glad to have discovered your blog, as well. I can relate much when you articulated about that element of our culture that teaches children to take care of their ageing parents. I arranged a travel itinerary for my parents when they retired from work last year – my gift for them, and I think I just might need to write about it soon. =)

    • Hi Ann, read from a recent article that this generation have first priority for the children, then their spouse and thinking that giving money to the parents is all that required. It is great that you are arranging travel itinerary for your parents. I look forward to reading your related blog! Regards, Michael

    • Hi, thanks for the “like” and the comment. If you like the first photo, you may also like my post on Plitvice Lakes National Park – A Watery Eden. Regards, Michael

    • Sorry to hear about the death of your dad. Will do the utmost to my FIL and my mum so that they would enjoy their journeys in life. Thanks for commenting and the “like”. Regards, Michael

  17. From Lyon enroute to Chamonix Mont-Blanc we stopped by Annecy but didn’t take time to have a good stroll. You should have made another 60km east to Mont Blanc! Lake Annecy is beautiful, I took the same last picture too.

    • I only have a good view of Mont Blanc from afar. Will make sure I stop by Mont Blanc in my next trip to this part of Europe. Regards, Michael

  18. Think you for visiting and liking my blog. I thought your article above was very inspirational, and the photos were lovely.

    • Hi Madoqua, your posts on Africa and wildlife make me feel very much wanting to travel to Africa. Thanks for your kind comment! Regards, Michael

  19. Lovely photos. Well done to your FIL. We took my 95-year-old MIL and my 85-year-old mom over to New York and Washington about 4 years ago. They were both as right as rain and joined in everything. I hope I will be as fit and healthy as they are when I reach old age. MIL will be 99 in August and wants to travel with us again. 😉

    • I think it is a blessing that our parents / FIL / MIL can still travel with us at a ripe old age. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! Regards, Michael

    • Hi Mary, fortunately, it didn’t dampen our enthusiams for the city. We still love Budapest very much especially the cruise on the Danube. Regards, Michael

    • In this trip, we were convinced that sometimes you have to treat the elders the same way we treat small children. . . with lots of love, care and attention. Thanks for your comment!

  20. I was very impressed with your sensitivity toward your family. Your parents must be very proud of you. You are right…role reversals occur many times when our parents are elderly. Thank you for the like and also for your beautiful images.

    • Hi, I am sure many of us are sensitive towards our parents / family, although we may not write about them. I am impressed by the large number of quality photos you have taken. I have only re-started taking photos after my retirement; so, I am just a learner. Many thanks for the comment! Regards, Michael

  21. Congratulations to FIL! We are in that same phase – 3 parents in their 80s. Watching the frustration of mentally being younger than their bodies. My husband and I are asking the question how can we better prepare ourselves for that stage. I think watching them helps. I think taking a few more walks would also help.

    • Hi Bonnie, you are certainly right. We can reflect on how their past way of living have affected positively / negatively their present health, their ways of trying to overcome their present predicament. These are all inspiring as to how we can prevent / reinforce our way of living. The baby boomers are now maturing, as one of those I also need to get prepared. Thanks vey much for your comment! Michael

  22. I’m glad your FIL met the challenge! Your many photos have certainly added to the inspiration that drives me to see the world. When I was fortunate enough to travel through Europe last year, it really awakened a curiosity in me to see everything there is to see in this world of ours. Good luck on your travels, I’ll definitely be following them!

  23. Those are great photos; the first is particularly nice. I want to go there! I am constantly shocked by seeing glimpses of the amazing places there are to visit in this world, ones that maybe don’t get as much publicity but are awesome nonetheless. Congratulations on being a retiree with the means to travel and see God’s splendor; He would want it so!

  24. Wonderful photos, and what a great travel spirit you are. You are giving me many ideas of places yet to see. Also, thank you for stopping by my blog and liking my posts.

  25. Thanks for the like today. I look forward to following your blog. I shot the same photo as your first one as my son lives in Croatia and he took me there. I just turned 60 but need to keep in shape for future traveling. Good idea. Hats off to your FIL.

    • The first image seems to be a classical image; although some angles may make it more interesting. We are aware of many ways to keep healthy but never know what exactly will work. My FIL is really restless. . . . . he is now out in yet another continent! Regards, Michael

  26. I like your story and hats off to your FIL.
    You aske what you should do to keep fit at FIL age, well I have just been told that if we do not take good care of the body whyle we are still young, we will have to pay for it after we are 60 years old. To take care of the body is not to exercise too much, pounds too much, but exercise moderately and in line with what we will do when we get older. Most our problems, later in life, are created at the age 20-40. I learned this the hard way but not to hard though.
    So take care and thank you for the story.

    • I think you are right. My dad was a sports captain, he suffered severe pain in his knees when he got old. My mom also suffered pain in her knees because of excessive indulgment in some martial arts when she was in fact overweight, putting too much pressure on her knees. My brother in law was a keen sport player, he has pain in his hips. Excessive exercise (without warming up. . . . this is my problem) is a problem. I hope your advice is taken in by some young readers. Thanks very much for the comment! Regards, Michael

  27. Thanks for liking my post.
    I really enjoyed reading yours and looking at these beautiful photos. I look forwarding to hearing more about your travels and seeing more of the places you’ve traveled!

    • Hi Andrea, I also love the oceans and reading posts about them and their conservation. Thank you for liking “The Challenge of Travelling”. Hope to “meet” you again on this platform! Regards, Michael

  28. Hello and thank you for reading my blog! I want to share with you that I heard recently the NY Times columnist on NPR in an interview. The question was asked: what one exercise is the most important to help us as we age, and her answer was to do squats a few times a week. She said all experts she speaks to agree that squats keep the knees in good shape and that’s most important. Beautiful photos by the way!!

  29. Hi Michael, I visited Croatia many years agfo when it was still Yugoslavia, but we were further north in the Istrian poeninsula (based in Rovinj which is a beautiful venetian style town) and really enjoyed it but Plitvice and Dubrovnik look special. My regards to the old boy! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Hi, you must have travelled quite a lot in the nearby countries. This is also something which I would like to do. I’ll pass on your regards to my FIL. Thanks very much for the comment! Regards, Michael

    • Like you, I have never written anything for others to read since high school days. Europe is a bit far from where I am based, otherwise I would have travelled there more frequently. Thanks for the kind comment! Michael

    • It is a joy to be able to travel with the seniors. Think it’s possible depending on how the trip is customized to suit them with planning for any fallbacks. Regards, Michael

  30. Michael, you must be congratulated from the perspective of the number of responses you receive, very impressive. My wife and i go on the road for four months every year with a rental car around Europe and it never gets easier, however always more interesting as you become more experienced. This year we will complete 3 mths europe (presently in final few weeks) the 6 weeks in Northern India the to South Africa for three weeks. i have parkinson disease and am 63 years of age so mate you have much going for you as an intrepid traveller.
    Well done on your blogs
    Wally Eaglesham
    Brisbane Australia (sending this from Badi (amazing village in Italy)

    • Hi Wally, salute to you for your willingness and energy to travel the world. That’s amazing. My friend also has parksion disease before he was 60. That has changed his life. Initially, he was depressed as a result of taking the pills. He has since then regained his health, jogging every day when he is home, to improve his body co-ordination and is now travelling the world. Looking forward to reading your lovely post on your travelling experience. Take care and safe travels, Michael

  31. Beautiful photos! Keep watching for pick-pockets. They have become inventive at separating money from travellers, even impersonating police (this happened in Italy). But despite these aspiring entreprenuers, I continue to travel. You obviously don’t let it stop you. I enjoyed my visit to your blog. Reluctant Medium at Large in Santa Fe

    • Hi,I’m more worried losing my traveling documents and credit cards than the paper notes. We know some of the places we visited have petty crimes; I suppose all we can do is to be more careful. As you said some of them are quite inventive, you may be caught out of your cuiorsity or even kindness. Glad that you enjoyed my blog! Safe travels and regards, Michael

  32. The best preparation for being active in your eighties is to be active when you are young. Stay healthy, and continue to activity, rigorous and easy until your final day. The question is whether your body will keep up with your mind.
    Good post, great pictures.

  33. Hello: I had to laugh at myself. When your page loaded, I said to myself, “How did I get to my page?” Then I realized the pics were different, and I wasn’t on my own page. I have the exact same template. Wanted to stop by, thank you for visiting my site and taking the time to read my blog post. Thanks again, and your pictures are phenomenal.

  34. One of my biggest fears about aging is possible loss of my ability to travel. Your father in law seems to be handling himself quite well, though! I hope I’m half as mobile as he is when I’m 80.

    These pictures are absolutely stunning. Can’t wait to read more about your journey!

    • Hi Emma, to keep healthy my FIL has been swimming every day; however, I am not a fan of swimming. Although, like you, I would still like to be able to travel in my 80s. Thanks for the comment! Michael

    • Can’t agree more, Annecy is so close to Geneva where we based on the last trip. In a way, Paris to me has lost some old charms. Regards, Michael

  35. this is a great post. I’ve never been to any of those places you mentioned, but I’d love to someday. they look gorgeous. my grandfather’s 80+ as well and still travelling. He just got back from visiting families in Australia and New Zealand and on December we’re going to Japan. When he’s at home he’s always complaining of his back or knees hurting, but when he’s travelling he seems to be fine. I guess travel can be a cure, too.

    • Hi Cindy, successfully completing tours could possibly boost their confidence which I think would have a positive impact on their psychology and health. Thanks for perusing and commenting! Michael

  36. amazing! we’re in the process of getting my mom her passport so she can finally travel out of the country (she’s excited!) this is very inspiring, thank you! 🙂

  37. Enjoyed your post and your adventurous and open spirit. My husband is 81 and still traveling, a very good thing since I travel with him. 🙂 Thanks for “liking” my Plaster Rock post…still sorting out the new memories.

  38. Thanks for visiting! We, too, recently returned from a trip with my FIL who will be 80 in October and who had hip replacement surgery in January. We stayed in a seaside village that had steep walks to the beach, which was a bit frustrating for him. I appreciate your sensitivity.

    • Hi Erin, we planned our trip to avaoid long flights of steep steps as far as possible but sometimes, the planning cannot go to that sort of detail. Sometimes, it is the psychology that prevents my FIL from walking; in any case, it was a blessing to have my FIL with us on the travel as he was an inspiration. Many thanks for the comment! Michael

    • Hi knod56, here is the information from Wiki:
      Annecy is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
      It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy (Lac d’Annecy), 35 kilometres south of Geneva.

      Annecy is close to Switzerland. Safe travels, Michael

  39. Annency looks beautiful! Also, you made a very good distinction between physical limitations and those limitations which exist only in our minds. Thanks or posting Michael. I’m enjoying your blog.

    • Hi bucketdave, thanks for the kind comment. Knowing my FIL well, we were able to distingush whether it was a mental inhibition during our travels and this certainly helped. For Annecy, I think I like the lake more than the town but they are really lovely. Regards, Michael

  40. We too had the challenge of traveling with a less than mobile senior citizen on our latest trip to Tennessee. She chose to stay in the condo much of the time. Although I felt bad about leaving her she seemed content with sitting on the balcony and watching the clouds all day. But it made me wonder too…How do I stay active so that I am not sitting on a balcony in my old age? Would my love of travel trump my limited mobility?

    • Hi Stunkard, these are also the questions I pondered. Our living habits and mind determine our health and our will to overcome. If it comes to a stage when I cannot physically and mentally handle the walk in a trip, I may have to be contented with watching the clouds from a balcony, but of course, hope this day will only come very late. Regards, Michael

  41. Hi Michael, your posts are great! and, the photos are outstanding. I think it’s very commendable that you have included your fil in your travels. Tony & I are both 70 and want to continue traveling as long as possible. He is in excellent shape due to his exercise regime his entire life. I have always been quite active and didn’t have any issues until the last 2 years. I am now adding water aerobics to my schedule and find that is relieving the pains in my legs & back from stenosis. Happy travels!

    • Hi, my mom now 85 has been doing hydro-therapy over the last 10 years relieving her pain in the knees and back. It is also good for the general health. I sometimes wonder what life will she lead if she doesn’t have the benefit of this exercise. Keep up with your water aerobics!

  42. Stunning shots, sounds like an amazing trip. I hike a great deal with a neighbor who just turned 99 and I watch her and marvel. I also am encouraged that it is possible to be active if you stay active.

  43. You really chose great places to see. dubrovnik is amazing. my hubby studied there so I got to spend plenty of time discovering it.

    • I have never been to Italy before; I look forward to reading your posts about it! Thank you for your kind comment. Safe travels and tell us your stories! Michael

    • Hi John and Mary, thanks very much for the kind comment. There are many parts of the US and Canada that I have not visited and would be delighted to see more of this from your blog. Regards, Michael

  44. Thank you for the ‘likes’ on my blog, Michael. You have such marvellous, colourful photographs. I have never been anywhere other than the UK so thank you for bringing the beauty of other cuntries to me. 🙂

    • Hi Anne, it is my pleasure to share my journeys with my readers. There are so many beautiful places in the UK and I would love to see them vicariously through you as well. Thanks for the kind comment! Michael

  45. Hi Michael, I am enjoying your blog posts since I discovered you as a result of a “like” from you on my blog. We retired people have to stick together and encourage each other to keep exploring new places, ideas, hobbies, etc. It seems that you have discovered the joys of combining blogging and a love of photography, as I have. Keep up the good work. Regards, Chris Gregory, NZ

    • Hi Chris, thanks for the comment. I have “met” quite a few retirees in my blogging and for some of them, they have referred my photos or articles in their posts and provide a link back to my site. No doubt, I will be doing the same. Yes, I am fortunate to be able to combine travel, photography and writing all into one. I like your blog too. Likewise, please keep up with your work! regards, Michael

  46. This is my first visit to your blog and the pictures are breathtaking! My husband and I have one child to go at home before we start our travels also. Lovely “meeting” you today!

  47. Got to give your FIL a lot of credit. Even at my age, I would have to think hard if I could tackle all that climbing. Walking is easy but the climbing is very challenging for me.

  48. What a wonderful trip and enjoy the photos. Reading about your FIL, reminded me too, to maintain physical fitness so that as I approach his age, I can be as mobile as I can be. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Hi Michael.
    Your photos and stories remind me of my own trips in the past.
    Thanks for checking out my blog.

    I live in Sydney Australia. Last year I travelled to the Netherlands with my 84 yr old father. We visited areas where he had grown up in The Hague and caught up with relatives in Utrecht and other small country villages like Nederhemert. It was a living history lesson with stories flowing freely from more than half a century ago.
    We also caught the fast train from Amsterdam to Paris and completed a short but leisurely 3 day visit.
    My father found travel quite tiring and was also struggling with dementia. I adjusted the pace of our trip so that we enjoyed many cafes in the sun and short strolls in parks with views. My father’s awareness of nature was acute and he would see and hear tiny birds in city parks among the hum of traffic and playing children. Our daily routine consisted of a morning stroll, visit to a place of interest, morning coffee break – in Holland this meant a piece of apple tart on the side. A bit more of a stroll. Lunch. Afternoon nap. Late afternoon stroll. Dinner. Early to bed.
    This kept my father on track, without drifting away too much. He actually became more fit over the month that we travelled and I learned to sit back and enjoy the coffee breaks.
    Slow travel and immersing oneself is a great way to enjoy a holiday.
    My dad’s best memory of Paris is -“gee there’s a lot of stairs!”

    • Hi Peter, travelling with the more elderly people could be quite inspiring. As you said, the slower travel also sets a new pace for enjoyment. As in your case, both FIL and ourselves find the trip memorable and are planning for more! Regards, Michael

  50. Hi Michael, thanks for liking my blog. I enjoy both your photos and narrative. I am not retired and have to steal time to write my blog, and I am strictly an amateur photographer. But it’s fun to have this avenue for expression. Your father-in-law is an inspiration. I don’t think there’s a magic bullet – there are things you can do to try to stay healthy but it’s also what’s in your genetic makeup. Good luck in your retirement and many bons voyages.

    • Hi jncprmn, I admire you still have time for your blog while still working. I am also an amateur photographer. As you say, there is no magic bullet, I am just trying to stay healthy and maintian some exercise; knowing that the the hereditary part cannot be changed. Thanks for the very useful and kind comment! Michael

  51. Josh here from the BlinkPack blog. Though your phase of life allows you to travel more extensively than I can at this point, I think the challenges you face are in the spirit of Blinkpacking — that is, recognizing the challenges that limit you and figuring out how to have adventures anyway. I find this post inspiring, and I look forward to reading more. Happy travels!

    • Hi blinkpack, the spirit is the same. I still have committments at where I am based, for instance, part time teaching etc. I am still constrained by budget etc and woukd try to travel off peak. Thanks very much for the encouraging comment! Michael

  52. Sounds a lot like the vacation we took in may to Spain, France and Portugal. Travelling with 3 generations of family members can be a challenge. We had to look at steps and slopes in a whole new way. We too were pick pocketed in the same way, as soon as we reached Portugal. But the whole trip was memorable and a lot if fun in the end

    • Hi prettytree, it is really a challenge to travel with the seniors / children. I’m sure, to them , it is equally challenging. It is a blesing that we are able to accomplish these trips and with a good memory too! Michael

  53. Try your FIL’s life style. It is beautiful and it is the one love I love most. I was worried, though, as I read the story that I would come to a dreadful point in the story. I have always wondered whether I will be as flexible and mobile as I am now if I live to my seventies and above like my parents and that FIL of yours. Some people are blessed and they realize it and keep their blessing. Thanks for blogging and having the courage and love to go along with the aged for an adventure. It takes a lot love and courage.

    • Hi mosrubn, the trip was inspiring to both my FIL and me, on both sides, we did take a lot of love and courage. Hope you enjoy perusing the post and thank you for the comment! Michael

  54. While I have not traveled with someone of “seasoned” age, I can very much relate to you. I’m on the opposite end of the age-traveling spectrum, currently traveling with my 1-year old and 7 months pregnant with my second child. Who says travel is only for the single, 20-somethings of the world?!

    • I admire your courage travelling with kids and while pregnant. Travel is definitely not just for the youthful. I have seen several people with total age of several hundres years travelling together! Thanks for the comment wickedforeign.

  55. Beautiful photos…they almost don’t look real. I took a trip with my father to the Olympic peninsula before it was too late. He was aging. And the trip had a certain rhythm…not mine. But he’s no longer alive, so I’m so glad I did that…these trips are so important. And yours looks very beautiful indeed.

  56. Thank you so much for ‘liking’ and following my blog, mainly because it lead me here! I’ve so enjoyed reading your posts – you are an inspiration to us all – and I look forward to reading about many more! Best Wishes, Yvonne

    • Annecy is indeed a very charming place. My wife and I would like to see as many paces while we are still mobile, and, as you said who knows what the future holds! Regards, Michael

  57. Good post! My husband (in his 70s) and I made a very similar trip a few years ago. Last year we hiked Patagonia. The key is to keep moving, eat right and have a good attitude. Hoping to be still going at 80!

    • Hi Mazigrace, I think I have come to a phase of sharing. . . . sharing my knowledge through part time teaching anmd helping in a book, sharing my posts / photos with everyone interested, finding time to share more with my family etc. Thank you for your kind comment! Michael

  58. Thanks for checking out my site- Your pics are gorgeous! Looks like you’re having one heck of an adventure yourself! Warmest Wishes, Inge

  59. Great post! Sorry to hear about Budapest! I did notice that there seem to be alot of opportunistic potential pickpockets, but didn’t experience anything so confronting as your FIL. I loved Budapest as a city though, very picturesque. I wish you good fortune on your coming travels !

  60. Your post was excellent. Your Fil is such an inspiration! I would like to do what he has done at 60! In 7 years time. I have been terribly accident prone and have wrecked my body. I’ve just come back from my first trip overseas, hobbling around on an undiagnosed broken ankle! I am now recovering fom surgery on that ankle. I am already considering the purchase of a scooter for the disabled. I pray I will be able to continue to travel, whatever the challenges!

  61. We see only photographs of great wonders and scenic spots but behind those photographs are the travails to get there. Thanks for sharing your travel experiences, Michael; and — of course — your photographs. Equally awesome! 🙂

    • Hi Ferdinand, yes, there are a lot of travails which people don’t bother to write about and there is also the excitement that goes into the planning and anticpiation of the journey. Regards, Michael

  62. Hi Michael ,l would like to tell you that l have nominated you with pleasure for the (Blog of the year 2012 Award).Please read the details at my post. Regards.Jalal Michael

    • Hi Jalal Michael, thanks so much for the nomination. I have decided not to pursue or accept any nomination / award during my retirement and for this reason, I have already turned down all similar awards. Knowing that my blog is read in many places of the world is already my biggest reward. With regret, I have to decline the nomination. Thank you once again for the nomination which is very much appreciated! Regards, Michael

    • Hi Amy, same happened to me, the like clicks on some posts are not working – this may be a common issue. Thanks very much for liking my posts and the kind comment! Michael

  63. Love to hear your story and see the pictures. As someone who has worked with older folks for physical therapy, all I have to say is, “keep doing what your doing.”

    • Hi, I recently did 10 rounds of physical therapy because of a frozen shoulder. I think I should remind myself every now and then that I have to treat my body my gently. Thanks for the kind comment!

  64. Wonderful story! My father is 92 and travelled well up until about a year ago. He kept very active, and could still travel, but his mind is wandering too much now. He is quite childlike, and can’t be trusted to be safe. So he can travel, but we must treat him carefully, like a child to watch out for his safety.
    It is our turn as his children to give him the care and love he gave us as children.
    I really enjoyed your pictures!

    • It is incredible that your dad can still travel at 92! The Chinese saying is that as we become older, we will behave more childlike – this is so true. It is very true that they will require more attention and protection as if they are children. Again, for Chinese, it is a virture which has always been emphasized. Glad that you like my pictures. Regards, Michael

  65. Gorgeous shots! I especially love the first image of Pitivich and the canals. Great story too. Thank you for the post and also for visiting my blog.

  66. So glad to find your blog! I found this visit to Croatia fascinating – and the photographs are superb.
    Your FIL is amazing – and so are you as you must be incredibly patient and understanding.
    Dingo (as you will have seen) is popping off to Thailand in a couple of weeks – and he has asked me to ask you if you would very kindly spread the message. He wants a memorable trip!!!!! PS: He also went to Kreutzlingen, Switzerland recently with unfortunate results. (THAT can be seen on if you’re interested!)
    Kind regards, Thurstan

    • Hi Michael,
      Thank you for your kind wishes. I expect it’ll be wonderful – but Dingo and Co., are going to be a bit of a handful, I think!
      (Actually I’m not really going myself. Peggy Tee is the one who is doing the trip and will be writing up about it on her blog. She, poor girl, has agreed to take Dingo & Co., along with her just for fun!) It should be interesting!
      With my best wishes,

  67. Thanks for liking my blog. New Zealand has natural scenery that stops people in their tracks with its beauty. I’ve seen stunned tourists who couldn’t talk looking at Mt Cook and the Southern Alps reflected in a lake. We haven’t got the ancientness of European buildings, just ancient trees.

  68. Annecy is a jewel…we got the same classic photo ourselves in 2009! Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing these wonderful scenes. Best, – Bill

  69. Oh my, what a wonderful story with beautiful photographs. I enjoyed reading this today over coffee and would love to re blog with your permission for my readers on my new blog – the blog will have a travel section for my fashion clients to learn about new places to visit wearing my designs, of coarse. LoL. But this story really caught my attention and it would be a price ledge to share it. Sincerely,
    Jacqueline Jax

  70. Thank you for your giving your time to read my blog and liking it. It means so much to me. And I’m so glad to had this chance to see your blog which made me so happy because of there pictures. Secondly I’m so happy for you to have still a big family, ‘Cause most of my family is passed away since my childhood and I’ll never have this kinda chances or challenges as you said. I started to travel by my own. I only have my mother around. But she’s quiet good partner in my life!;) anyways thank you again!

    • I suppose as one gets older, there will be less and less family members and friends around as they get disappearing. It is good that you have your mother around; it is indeed a blessing. My dad passed away quite early and I never had a chance to travel with him overseas. It is my pleasure to peruse your posts! Michael

  71. I am very impressed with your FIL. He is a testament that if one wannts to do something then determination will help make it happen. Your travel photo’s have so much clarity. The sharpeness brings out the beauty in whatever you are trying to show us. I felt like I had been sightseeing right along with you. Thank you for posting them.

    • Hi Isadora, thanks for visiting the posts and the very kind comment. I hope you will join me vicariously in my future travels too. Have a great weekend! Michael

  72. Thank you Michael for liking my new post.This post of yours is outstanding ,specially the pictures .Have a healthy and successful new year.jalal

  73. You certainly capture the natural beauty of the scenery on your travels, Michael. Having done a tour of Hungary, Austria and Germany last year, I am curious to see your photos of Budapest. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and liking my post. Love your photos so far!

  74. Croatia has been on my list of places to see for awhile now and this post just adds fuel to the fire. 🙂 As I spend whats left of my 20s working more than traveling it gives me hope to know that people are still traveling the world at the age of 80. It makes me feel like maybe there is plenty of time.

    Also, I just want to say that I really admire you for answering so many of your comments when you get so many of them.

    • Hi rika9, I think if we do things correctly when we are young, we can still maintain mobility and health in old age. I appreciate people taking the efforts to drop me a line and I would try to answer it if time allows. Today, I got some 35 comments! Thank you for the kind comment!

    • Glad that it gives you some ideas for your European travels. I respect volunteers working in Africa very much and have written a post about it “2012 People and Animal”. Best wishes with your work and travels!

  75. Thanks for dropping on my blog entry of how to travel independently just for 10 Euros a day. I can see we – and actually most of the people out there – have relatives who are not at ease with walking a lot due to physical constraints coming with age. I hope and try to stay physically fit, so I can still do my travelling style later in my life. I also do some Tai Chi for 9 years already, that actually keeps me really fit – my heart rate is still at 60 bpm, so you should try to pick it up again!

    • Wow, you have learned Tai Chi for 9 years and that you have an atheltic heart beat, that’s admirable. I have learned the simple version of Tai Chi once but kept forgetting it once I stopped practising. Maybe I should try it again. Thanks for the comment!

  76. I am envious of your trip! Fantastic photos too!

    I retired last year but did most of my traveling when I was young to make sure I was in good health. There are so many beautiful places in the world.

    I would recommend the national parks of southern Utah – Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches and the four corners area. We spent three weeks traveling a circle from Las Vegas into southern Utah, four corners, Colorado (for Mesa Verde ruins) and then back to Las Vegas thropugh northen Arizona, including Sedona. That part of the U.S. is an area I can return to time and time again. So many different landscapes.

    I have travel photos on this website:

    • The southern Utah seems to be memorable place to travel, I will bear this in mind when I travel near Las Vegas. many thanks for the link too; great pictures!

    • Thank you for replying. I have enjoyed the picture stories posted online without having to travel to some places geographically. Due to the need to travel light these days I even left my Nikon COOLPIX behind and now rely on the usual mobile phones Sony or Samsung…sigh.

    • They give good photos too!
      My FIL was involved in a fall last year when he travelled with us to the Nine Dragons group of waterfall in China, wetting his camera! This is also covered in my post.

  77. At first glance, the pix of the prison reminds me of the horn of a rhinoceros. That said, the location is gorgeous. Indeed, the two birds – in the captivity of your camera, we thank the lord they aren’t jailbirds! 😉 Splendid. By the way, I’ll run out on superlatives. If I don’t comment it does not mean I don’t appreciate your photos. 🙂

    • Out of my several shots of the castle, this is the only one with birds flying – almost touching the water and that the castle almost stands out.
      Thanks for your kind words!

  78. Thanks for dropping by – Michael – your blog is inspiring! Actually might have to add Dubrovnik and the lakes onto our must dos! And I note keeping fit is going to have to be a priority to keep travelling!

  79. Michael, thank you for liking my post on Travel to Southern France. It was a wonderful trip. What a beautiful blog you have. Spectacular pictures and great commentary! By the way, next year I was wanting to travel to Geneva, and other parts of Switzerland. And or possibly Croatia. I hear Split and Hvar are especially beautiful. What did you think of Geneva? From your pictures Annecy looks delightful, and also really love views of Plitivice National Park . I look forward to reading more. Thanks again.

    • There are places in Geneva which may be of interest – lake Geneva and the fountain, Morges and the flower show (at the right time), hiking the nearby hills. Thanks for your interest in the blog!

  80. You are an amazing photographer Michael. I feel transported through a dream! I equally love your blog writing. This piece especially. I just appreciate you sharing so much and feel so inspired by your adventures and point of view:) Thank you for being you!

    • Many thanks for the kind words. I am happy if my blog can inspire others. I used to upload two or three posts per week with a longer length on the writing. But more recently, I am bogged down by family and other matters – I have become more lazy in writing but posting at least one photo everyday. Hope one day, I will resume my mood for writing more!

    • I think the writing muse comes and goes for all of us but I’m always grateful when it visits at all:) Keep up the great work when the mood strikes you and I’ll always be reading!:)

  81. Reblogged this on Belinda's Blog and commented:
    Michael Lai’s compassion for his father-in-law on this trip is touching as he writes beautifully of his travels. The photos are stunning and inspiring. Travel requires courage and curiosity.

  82. Michael, English may not be your first language, but you have mastered it. Your “Challenge of Travelling” is the first writing I have reblogged–posted on my blog. I felt your love for your FIL, as well as your love of writing, and you presented your ideas and photos beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Belinda, many thanks for the kind words. I am very happy that my post becomes the first one to be reblogged on your blog. I found myself becoming more compassionate after retirement, I hope this is a good sign. Regards, Michael

  83. My father would have loved this trip at age 84. he was game for anything..and even wanted to go white-water rafting on the Colorado River when he was 90..but they wouldn’t let him!(safety risk not only for him but for all other rafters)! He was very disappointed! He never completely retired from work and used to walk to work everyday until his death at age 94…

  84. Gorgeous photos and great material. We’ve been to many of these places and I can’t wait to share my experiences as well. Plitvice was exceptional. We did the approximately 5 mi. hike that was not a loop. Whoops. Was GORGEOUS!

  85. Wow, this is gorgeous. I remember all the difficulties of traveling with my grandparents and later my mother. My great-grandparents, on the other hand, planned and executed their own journeys. I remember that my parents and grandparents laughed that tthe great-grandparents drove such short distances every day, but they did it their way, and had a wonderful time.

  86. How wonderful for all of you, that you were able to meet the challenge and reap the joys of traveling together. Much to ponder here, including the timeless value of filial piety, and the wisdom of planning for our own aging, which happens much sooner than we expect! Thanks for a post that is lovely in every way.

    • Hi Julia, nice to hear from you again!
      This was the post I drafted immediately after the East European trip and was liked by many readers. I am glad that you like it as well.
      Hope all’s well with you. Do you live near the Cotswolds? Seem to remember you have a post on strolling in the area.

  87. If only I did live near the Cotswolds! I visited for the first time recently and fell in love with the area. I’m still in Virginia, near Washington DC. Please let me know if you ever plan to visit here. There are many places just waiting for you to take photos. 🙂

    • Spent two days in Cotswolds in 1997.
      Love it, especially the honey colored buildings and the rivers. Would like to re-visit one day.
      Visited Washing DC in 1984, very interesting, I like it too.
      For both places, I took photos . Just don’t know where they are . . . . . . .

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