Travel

Talk Catalogue

Travel

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Mirthy cannot guarantee the accuracy of information presented in the talks and we invite attendees to report any inappropriate content and behaviour by emailing alex@mirthy.co.uk

Travel

Travels With a Penguin

Talk Description and preview

This is not a talk about penguins. It's not exactly a talk about travels either - at least it's not the standard 'where I went on my holidays' type of talk. It's the story of how an ordinary woman in her fifties, walked away from her comfortable life, gave up her job, sold her home, and set off to travel all around the world to do some of the things on her 'wish list' - all with a small stuffed penguin for company.

Talk length - 30 minutes.

Pen Turner

Pen Turner spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

Travels With a Penguin to Japan

Talk Description and preview

Join Pen and her travel companion Scott-the-penguin as they journey around Japan, encountering bullet trains, bentos, volcanic disruptions and a palace with squeaky floors

Talk length - 33 minutes.

Pen Turner

Pen Turner spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

Travels With a penguin to Antarctica

Talk Description and preview

Pen describes a trip to the Southern continent that includes stunning scenery, wonderful wildlife, a trip to the post office and a penguin called Scott.

Talk length - 31 minutes.

Pen Turner

Pen Turner spent the first fifty years of her life living in London, where she had pursued careers as varied as a librarian and a remedial massage therapist, until she made the decision to walk away from her old life, travel around the world and achieve some of the things on her ‘wish list’. Now happily settled in Shropshire, she give talks to try and persuade other people that they should go out and fulfil their own dreams too.

USA on the road - The American West

Talk Description and preview

Chris talks on nearly half a century of American road trips. This is a journey through the Old Frontier to the mountains and deserts of the West, through its history and its national parks. He celebrates the idea of ‘the great American road trip’, its challenges, its rewards and its absurdities. He recalls encounters, friendly and otherwise, with native Americans, religious fundamentalists… and animals. Most of all it is a feast of nearly 300 photographs!

Talk length - 54 minutes.

Chris Forse

Chris Forse is a retired teacher and administrator who spent 33 years in Hong Kong where he was also a sometime columnist and radio panel guest. He has travelled widely and globally and enjoys travel photography and self-publishing. He is chairman of a large U3A in the Midlands.

Thirty Years of Travel in China

Talk Description and preview

Former Hong Kong resident Chris has travelled widely in China since 1978 when only one city was open to foreigners. His travels have taken him to the remote regions of Yunnan, Xinjiang and Tibet and across distant borders, accumulating a bank of memories and impressions and spectacular photographs. In the process he witnessed the astonishing transformation of China from an insular peasant society to global economic super-power in just one generation.

Talk length - 55 minutes.

Chris Forse

Chris Forse is a retired teacher and administrator who spent 33 years in Hong Kong where he was also a sometime columnist and radio panel guest. He has travelled widely and globally and enjoys travel photography and self-publishing. He is chairman of a large U3A in the Midlands.

Spain: South to North, the Roman way

Talk Description and preview

‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ scoffed John Cleese in the Monty Python sketch, ‘The Life of Brian’. Plenty, discovered Paul and his son Joseph, who cycled 800-miles the length of Spain early in 2019, following the Roman Via Augusta and the Via de la Plata from south to north.

Talk length - 53 minutes

Paul Gillingham

Paul taught history in UK, Canada, Tanzania and Hong Kong before becoming a TV and radio journalist and broadcaster. He began as a TV newsreader in Hong Kong in the 70’s (see Paul Gillingham, HK TV via Google) and later produced travel features from around the world for BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Classic FM. He has written many articles on travel and a book, ‘At the Peak: A History of Hong Kong Between the Wars’.

Trials and Tribulations of working in Africa

Talk Description and preview

Jenny Bowen runs a business that creates tailor-made holidays to southern Africa. She is amazed at how things work, or don’t, in the countries she operates in. Jenny will go through her highs and lows of operating in Africa with amusing and anecdotal stories including being chased by a hippo which she was trying to feed.

Talk length - 47 minutes.

Jenny Bowen

Jenny Bowen's first job after graduating as an ecologist was in Africa – little did she know the importance of this on her life. As the permanent ecologist for Raleigh International in Zimbabwe she set up numerous conservation projects, managed hundreds of volunteers, collated scientific data and wrote many reports. Since Zimbabwe Jenny has led expeditions to Africa as well as other far flung places, worked for a game capture unit in South Africa and set up conservation and community projects in Swaziland.

The King and his 14 Wives

Talk Description and preview

Jenny spent a lot of time in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) and she is the representative in the UK for The Kingdom. Eswatini is a little known country and people seem to pass through rather than stay. Let Jenny take you through the history and the highlights of Eswatini incorporating amusing anecdotal stories, bird and animal impersonations and why the King has so few wives (in comparison to his father).

Talk length - 34 minutes.

Jenny Bowen

Jenny Bowen's first job after graduating as an ecologist was in Africa – little did she know the importance of this on her life. As the permanent ecologist for Raleigh International in Zimbabwe she set up numerous conservation projects, managed hundreds of volunteers, collated scientific data and wrote many reports. Since Zimbabwe Jenny has led expeditions to Africa as well as other far flung places, worked for a game capture unit in South Africa and set up conservation and community projects in Swaziland.

A Journey through Namibia

Talk Description and preview

Join Jenny on a drive through the wilderness of Namibia visiting the highlights of this spectacular African country. Learn about the history and wildlife of this desert filled country as well as personal experiences.

Talk length - 45 minutes.

Jenny Bowen

Jenny Bowen's first job after graduating as an ecologist was in Africa – little did she know the importance of this on her life. As the permanent ecologist for Raleigh International in Zimbabwe she set up numerous conservation projects, managed hundreds of volunteers, collated scientific data and wrote many reports. Since Zimbabwe Jenny has led expeditions to Africa as well as other far flung places, worked for a game capture unit in South Africa and set up conservation and community projects in Swaziland.

California Dreaming

Talk Description and preview

This illustrated talk by Neil Sadler is about a road trip across western USA…..with some difficulties along the way! Including:

- Some fascinating facts about Golden Gate bridge, the earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco and more.
- “Get your kicks on Route 66”; the Mother Road which crosses almost 2,500 miles of the USA.
- The Grand Canyon; a true marvel of the world.
- The Pony Express recruitment criteria (you will never see a poster like it again !)

Talk length - 36 minutes.

Neil Sadler

Neil Sadler is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

A small slice of the Big Apple

Talk Description and preview

60m tourists flock to NYC annually. This talk looks at some true, some quirky and some downright unusual aspects of the “city that never sleeps”. You will hear about the woman who jumped off the 86th floor of the Empire State building (yes, it has a happy ending) and why a young Bob Hope arrived in NYC wearing three shirts at the age of four! It combines facts, humour...oh yes, and a picture of Mae West, who famously quipped, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted!" And many, many more fascinating and quirky facts from Neil Sadler.

Talk length - 30 minutes.

Neil Sadler

Neil Sadler is a retired senior police officer who can provide talks on a range of subjects. Equipment and photographs will illustrate his cases. Neil spent much of his 30 years service as an operational officer in various ranks across Sussex, working briefly in Hong Kong, Trinidad and Abu Dhabi….he even survived Bognor Regis, Haywards Heath and Crawley!

A Tibetan Journey

Talk Description and preview

After working with the Tibet Society for many years and now Vice President, the speaker gives a brief outline of Tibetan history, religion and culture. His trip to Tibet in 1994 is highlighted with his own photographs and tales of his experiences.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Alan Clements

Alan Clements - A speaker on Gardening subjects and travels in Tibet. Vice President of the Tibet Society and Relief Fund working on charity projects in India. Always a keen gardener having developed Cascades Gardens, the Meditation garden in Bonsall, Matlock,Derbyshire. Open to the public see www.cascadesgardens.com and blog www.gardenforwellbeing.com

Motion of the Ocean

Talk Description and preview

Hazel talks about her life as a speaker on cruise ships - how did she get into this and where have her travels taken her?

Talk length - 32 minutes.

Hazel Griffiths

Hazel Griffiths has worked as a cruise ship speaker for a decade - providing interesting talks that help guests have an enjoyable time ashore. Considered to be one of the best at sea, she has now expanded her portfolio to speak on land too.

A Passage Through India

Talk Description and preview

Hazel's normal mode of travel is on cruise ships where she works as a speaker. This adventure was different - a bespoke Land Tour of the Golden Triangle of India with a few extras. This is not just a collection of holiday snaps - Hazel includes historical and cultural insights to give a deeper understanding of  this fascinating country.

Talk length - 42 minutes.

Hazel Griffiths

Hazel Griffiths has worked as a cruise ship speaker for a decade - providing interesting talks that help guests have an enjoyable time ashore. Considered to be one of the best at sea, she has now expanded her portfolio to speak on land too.

Bruges - it's more than just chocolate!

Talk Description and preview

Although famous for its chocolate, Melanie sets out to prove that the Gothic city represents more than just this popular delicacy. In this talk, she gives insight into another culture, encompassing the history and geography, together with all the modern aspects of the attractive city.

Talk length - 42 minutes.

Melanie Gibson-Barton

From being an enjoyable part-time ‘hobby’ the repeat bookings for Melanie Gibson-Barton's talks grew to such an extent that she gave up her 'day job' to become a full-time speaker. Many of her talks have been commissioned by previous audiences for commemorative occasions. You can be confident of a high quality presentation. Melanie's website features just some of the lovely testimonials that she has gratefully received - www.toonstelling.com

Backpacking on a Pension Book: New Zealand

Talk Description and preview

After adventuresome Australia, on to New Zealand, only to find on landing that Pamela's credit card was not working – no money what can she do? Eventually hiking through ice tunnels on the Frans Joseph Glacier, hang gliding, white water rafting down a 22 foot waterfall, bathing in hot volcanic mud and walking the 10 mile Tongariro crossing round ‘Mount Doom’.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Pamela McLellan

Pamela says she is so lucky, having 5 or 6 lives all rolled into one. In 1960, on leaving the Civil Service, she bought a Hardware shop in Crawley. From this, as a result of a joke and the BBC’s Nationwide programme in 1970, she started a business manufacturing kits for model railways and which is still going strong. The next part of her life included Back packing round the world on her own at 60, hang gliding, white water rafting, learning to dive on the Barrier Reef, climbing through a glacier and walking 17k over Mount Doom from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film. She then bought a smallholding, with no previous knowledge of farming, and raised cows, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens and sold the produce at Farmers markets and Country shows.

Backpacking on a pension book: Australia

Talk Description and preview

At 60 after a difficult divorce Pamela retired and decided to go back packing around Australia on her own. She bought a rucksack and a return Airline ticket and kept going until the money ran out. Listen to how Pamela got her dive certificate on the Barrier Reef, watched a Corroboree by Aborigines, watched Ayres Rock change magical colours at sunrise, camped across the outback in a swag under a bush, fossicked for sapphires and nursed an injured wallaby.

Talk length - 39 minutes.

Pamela McLellan

Pamela says she is so lucky, having 5 or 6 lives all rolled into one. In 1960, on leaving the Civil Service, she bought a Hardware shop in Crawley. From this, as a result of a joke and the BBC’s Nationwide programme in 1970, she started a business manufacturing kits for model railways and which is still going strong. The next part of her life included Back packing round the world on her own at 60, hang gliding, white water rafting, learning to dive on the Barrier Reef, climbing through a glacier and walking 17k over Mount Doom from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film. She then bought a smallholding, with no previous knowledge of farming, and raised cows, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens and sold the produce at Farmers markets and Country shows.

Special Places

Talk Description and preview

A presentation visiting several destinations around the World, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Acropolis, Sydney Opera House and the Hermitage Museum. Malcolm explores the significance of these special places in terms of their architectural, artistic and cultural importance, accompanied by a sprinkling of history and some stunning images to revive memories of our own personal visits.

Talk length - 48 minutes.

Malcolm Meadows

Following his retirement, Malcolm has been able to follow his interest in Music, Art and a miscellany of subjects to inform and entertain.

The Misadventures of a Cruise Ship speaker

Talk Description and preview

The story of Malcolm’s introduction into Cruise ship lecturing featuring the ‘misadventures’, dramas, and delights at sea. This is a fascinating and lively commentary on cruising and the various events which added a true sense of adventure and exploration into so many varied and exciting places around the World. Destinations such as French Polynesia in the South Pacific to the Baltic and Mediterranean suddenly became possible as he became a Cruise ship Lecturer.


Talk length - 42 minutes.

Malcolm Meadows

Following his retirement, Malcolm has been able to follow his interest in Music, Art and a miscellany of subjects to inform and entertain.

For Clubs - Click Here to Book a Talk!

Retirement Travel and Holidays

retirement-travel-holidayRetirement travel is booming.

And it’s easy to see why.

It’s never been easier to enjoy a life-changing experience at home or abroad, with a plethora of travel possibilities and holiday destinations on offer.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the options for creating a memorable adventure to share with your friends and family upon your return.

But first, is retirement travel different from any other holiday?

What is retirement travel?

Although the end destination may be the same, the type of holiday and accommodation you choose in retirement travel may vary, along with your trip companions.

This has much to do with comfort.

Whereas you may have regarded a flea-infested Bangkok hostel as an exciting cultural experience in your early 20’s, many retirees prefer a more upmarket experience in later life.

As such, there’s no shortage of companies offering exclusive, handpicked getaways to cater for the more discerning older adult.

Types of travel

Air travel

The most ubiquitous option and often the quickest, easiest choice.

With flight prices cheaper than ever, you can book a ticket in an instant and be on a different continent for your dinner.

If you want more extravagance, you can, of course, opt for business lounges and first-class for an extra helping of luxury.

Airport drop-offs and pick-ups are easily arranged and can be combined with hotel stays catering for every taste and budget.

Your appetite for flying might vary, however, especially if you’re not a comfortable air passenger. So let’s look at the alternatives.

Road trip

Not good on planes? No problem.

Perhaps an overland adventure is more suitable. Throwing a bag in your car and going on a road trip is an enticing option for many, especially for the flexibility it provides.

With your own transport, it’s easy to get off the beaten track and see sights that are otherwise inaccessible.

All the while you can enjoy the scenery along the way.

UK holidaymakers frequently opt for trips at home, either to the Cornish beaches or Scottish Highlands.

But it’s just as easy to drive onto a ferry and embark on an adventure to the Medditarean coastline, Alpine passes or Tuscan vineyards, with quaint stays organised along the way.

Campervans and motorhomes

Especially popular retirement travel options are campervans and motorhomes, providing even more flexibility for the frequent road tripper.

Not only do you get all the aforementioned benefits, but with these options, you’re no longer bound by your accommodation at all.

Wherever you choose to stop is your hotel for the night. That could be waking up to a sunrise and early morning surf or a hike on the wild moors.

And on top of the extra flexibility comes significant cost savings. Cooking and sleeping in your campervan offers an adventure for a fraction of the cost of traditional holidays.

While you may have to sacrifice some comfort compared to a hotel, modern motorhomes are designed with all the mod cons, including soft beds and hot showers.

Bus holidays

Foreign holidays or travelling to new places can be intimidating for some retirees, especially for those who haven’t ventured far from home or are going it alone.

In this case, booking onto an organised trip may remove much of the stress.

Bus holidays allow you to make friends with like-minded travellers while all the trip admin is pre-arranged, so you can enjoy the experience with none of the hassle.

Cruises

One of the most luxurious types of travel, cruises provide an oasis of onboard leisure and experience to satisfy the most demanding holidaymaker.

Modern ships have everything you would expect in a land-based 5-star resort, from swimming pools to casinos and even ice rinks.

And if you fall in love with the experience, there’s even a company offering the opportunity to purchase your own on-board retirement home to cruise to exotic locales year-round!

Boat

If you’re really adventurous, you can even take to the high seas yourself.

Perhaps you fancy picking your own schedule, setting sail at sunrise and docking in time for evening dinner and cocktails in San Tropez!

Nothing beats the romantic image of dropping anchor in a deserted cove and watching the sunset from your deck.

Obviously, possessing sufficient nautical experience is a must, although there are plenty of shorter boat stays that can be arranged with a captain and crew to manage logistics.

Destinations

What’s your idea of the perfect getaway? Let’s explore!

Mountains

Perhaps you’re more of a mountain goat, preferring the crisp, still air of high altitude. Hiking above the tree line can give you much-needed solitude from polite society or alternatively you can get more active on the slopes, skiing and snowboarding.

Beaches

Some of us simply lounge back on the beach with a good book. Perhaps you want to intersperse the sun-worshipping with dips in the sea or trying new activities like kitesurfing and bodyboarding. After a hard day at the beach, you can recharge in the evening with freshly caught local seafood, before doing it all again tomorrow.

City breaks

Perhaps you’re drawn to the bright lights and want to experience the collision of a new culture up close in jumbled backstreets, outdoor eateries and local cafes. City breaks provide an incredible snapshot of a new country with all buzz, bustle and colour of locals going about their daily lives.

Countryside retreats

If you currently live in a city, sometimes you hear the call of the wild instead. Renting a villa in the Spanish countryside, interspersed with day trips to surrounding towns and villages to stock up on local vino might be preferable. Decompressing in nature with its meditative pace, slow walks and lazy afternoons might be the perfect antidote to your usual hectic schedule.

Developing countries

If you’re UK-based, there’s an array of interesting destinations just across the channel, allowing you to remain relatively close to home. But perhaps you’re after something more exotic? Travelling to developing countries is perfect for those seeking to embrace new languages, cultures and customs, sampling delicious local delicacies along the way. Also, you’ll often get a lot more bang for your buck in these regions.

Machu Picchu

Experiences

Holidays are the perfect time to kick back and relax, but retirement travel can also provide the opportunity to enjoy once in a lifetime, bucket list experiences that you’d never normally try at home.

  • Safari – the quintessential African experience
  • Shark diving – a South African staple
  • Hot air balloon rides – over the Myanmar temples
  • Sand dune driving – a Chilean experience
  • Camel riding – a Middle Eastern must
  • Bungee jumping – any beautiful gorge will do
  • Skydiving – a Kiwi hair-raiser
  • Diving and snorkelling – in crystal clear Philippine waters
  • Skiing and snowboarding – on the Alpine slopes
  • Camping – in the wilds of Scandinavia

Accommodation

As a retiree, your appetite for different types of accommodation may vary.

5-star hotels

Some in retirement prefer a stint in the lap of luxury, enjoying the finest that a country has to offer. From Michelin star dining to lavish presidential suites, the options are endless if you have the resources to indulge.

All-inclusive stays

For those that don’t want to worry about logistics and simply enjoy the holiday, this is a great option. From golf to all-you-can-eat buffets and swimming pools galore, some resorts have it all, right outside your door. They’re perfect places when with the Grandkids, as they’re often child-friendly.

Airbnb

This type of accommodation has exploded in recent years and its unsurprising. From yurts in the Mongolian wilds to handcrafted US cabins, you can discover unique and authentic stays wherever you go. Another benefit over traditional options is that you’ll often get access to a kitchen and washing machine to cut down on travel costs and improve self-sufficiency.

Local hotels, guest houses and BnB’s

A good inexpensive choice for more of a local feel. Often run by friendly owners, you can get support when you need it or the best sightseeing and dining advice in the area.

On the ground

Travelling in retirement and flying to foreign lands can be intimidating for some retirees, especially if it’s their first time abroad and they’re unsure what to expect.

If that’s the case, preparing an itinerary ahead of time makes sense. This could include the logistics of taxis or hotels and exactly what you’re planning to do and when, along with the details of local companies you’re using and a list of emergency contacts.

Guided tours

To get to know a new place well, it can be especially handy to get a guided tour from a knowledgable local. This is especially relevant for history buffs, who might want some classical context to accompany their sightseeing.

A host of tour companies will be available wherever you go, offering boat cruises, city walks and food tours amongst an array of other options catering for any interest.

Flying solo

Other travellers prefer the freedom of flying solo, to choose their own route and schedule or simply stop and people-watch from a cafe. Although by going it alone you may miss some of the more traditional stops on a tour, you compensate in added flexibility.

You can always book on tours upon arrival if you see something that looks interesting or browse websites like Meetup for interest groups to get local knowledge and meet fellow travellers.

Safety

It’s vital to be travel aware at all times, as opportunists often regard tourists as easy targets.

Obviously, the dangers vary hugely depending on where you are, so it’s sensible to consult the foreign office website to see if there are any travel warnings in place before you leave.

Basic common sense applies for most destinations. Try to not carry too many valuables on you and ensure that cameras are worn with straps. For important documents and cash, you can buy slash-proof pouches that can be worn around the waist or body.

Try to be aware of risky areas before you leave. Also, be careful of common street scams, whereby thieves seek to distract you and steal belongings.

Health

A common concern for many retirees before going on holiday or extended travels centres around their health.

Before departing, it’s best to address any current medical issues.

That could involve a simple catch up with your GP to discuss that strange pain in your shoulder or practical considerations like asking for an extra prescription to cover your medication needs while away.

It’s worth noting that travelling anywhere can be stressful. During the trip, it’s important to listen to your body and not overexert yourself. Use sun protection, stay well hydrated and rest when required.

retirement holiday

Over 50’s travel insurance

It’s imperative to ensure you set out with comprehensive travel insurance. This is especially important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Getting taken ill abroad can be devastating, both emotionally and financially.

As such, it’s sensible to shop around and research companies that provide coverage specifically for retirees.

Visas

When holidaying abroad, it’s vital to check your visa situation before you depart, to avoid awkward airport encounters and a potentially ruined trip.

For many destinations, you can apply for visas quickly and easily online. It’s worth noting that many countries charge fees for this, so investigate ahead of time.

For more information, visit the government website well before your planned travel date.

Summary

Retirement travel and holidays at home or abroad are a dream that can often be realised in later life.

When you’ve left work behind and possess the available time and resources, there’s nothing to stop you sticking a pin in the map and heading off to explore.

While there may be logistical considerations before you depart, embarking on an expedition to see new corners of the world is an intense thrill.

Are you ready for your adventure?

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