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I’ve always been an independent traveler. I like doing things on my own, being self-sufficient. And up until recently, I’ve been able to do that and to go to out of the way places. I knew that eventually, I would have to change my travel patterns, but I figured I still had lots of years of independent travel. I have friends in their 80s who continue to travel independently. And now, as I am getting older, as we all do, I’ve lost some of that physical self sufficiency that I depended on so much. During a vacation in Kauai in 2015, I broke my shoulder and had to have shoulder replacement surgery. Thankfully, medical care at Wilcox Hospital was really excellent. I was lucky to get a great surgeon. While physical therapy has made a huge difference, the ability for me to lift something heavy up into an overhead bin just isn’t possible anymore. People are glad to help and often lend a hand before I even need to ask, even though I’m still having a tough time with that.

Travel mobility issues

Later, I began to have trouble walking, was having balance problems and being much slower than I had been. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. How was I going to travel now? For many of us, mobility becomes difficult first. And, one of the initial things I did to make travel easier for me was to use the wheelchair service in airports. While it was hard to admit that I needed a wheelchair service, I found this made a huge difference for me and Cheryl. We are both (normally) no longer exhausted by the time we get to the plane. I also only fly business class for international or multi-hour domestic trips. That’s thankfully a luxury we can afford thanks to years of travel and lots of miles.

Beginning ideas about how I’ll continue to travel

While these minor changes were relatively easy to make, the next level of changes feels much more difficult. Can I continue to travel to unusual places? How can I arrange to do the things I want to do? People have made a number of suggestions to me. One of the most frequent is to take tours now rather than traveling independently. That one is a hard one for me. I really dislike tours. I often said then when I couldn’t travel independently, I’d take luxury cruises. I’m not really into cruises, either, and the only cruise I have been on was a small boat (5 staterooms) in Northern Burma. While I would gladly do another, right now it feels like those cruises might be too difficult for me (no docks, disembarking to a sandy or muddy riverbank). I don’t want to do a mass-market cruise, so I thought about what sounded attractive to me in a cruise.

What About a Cruise?

Then I remembered many years ago, receiving brochures in the mail from Seabourn. I remember thinking, now this is a cruise I would enjoy! So I began researching Seabourn cruises. Seabourn a luxury line, with smaller ships, and pricing is all-inclusive. I’m not sure if I will do off-ship excursions or not, but I’m always leaving the possibility open if there’s something I especially want to do or see, I know I can arrange a private tour. Several people have recommended buying a travel scooter in advance of our trip. I haven’t made a decision on that yet. I’m hoping not to need it yet.

It seems to me this is a good place to start, especially since I was making plans for many months out, without knowing exactly what I would or wouldn’t be able to do by then. We are now booked on a two week cruise to Alaska. Neither of us have ever been to Alaska, despite living in the Pacific NW for a million years. This will be a cruise with a lot of breathtaking scenery, that alone will be a marvel to behold.