Inspirational Travel Tales: What I learned from “Silver Surfers”!

This blog post is dedicated to age. So-called “silver surfers”: Online, connected and with often similar hopes, experiences and dreams. I just think it’s wonderful that each time I hit the road, I meet those very inspirational characters who, despite being twice my age or older, come across as true “youngsters“. In virtually no time, we share stories, laughter and experiences as if we had always known each other. Why is this so?

Well, in any case it is happening. From Australia to Argentina, the most important thing is to meet “the right people”, those you want to hang out with. Whether they are old or young, Asian or European, “big or small” is downright irrelevant: I get the most respect from people with a special attitude to life. No matter where they are from, what they look like or what their age is.

“Each day, I want to learn something new. At least I am trying”, I remember the sweet laughter of this 70-year-old Italian lady who has welcomed my group and me as part of a European CULTrips programme near the city of Valtopina at the Ricamo Textile Museum. That’s exactly what I feel like! And she is 40 years older than me – it’s ever since I’m thinking: I want to be just like her when I am her age – full of energy, life and with an open mind!

Unter Anleitung lernen wir hier unsere eigenen Taschen mit Herbstmotiven zu besticken. Nähere Infos zum Kulturprogramm gibt's auf dem Kreativ-Reisen-Blog:

Thanks to our dedicated Italian teacher (first on the lower right) full of energy, we join this unique embroidery lesson near the city of Valtopina. More about my creative travel experience there can be found looking at my Creative Travel Blog.


Ein halbes Jahr zuvor traf ich während meiner Weltreise im Jahr 2011 auf Luisa aus Argentinien (im Bild rechts), die meine dänische Reisegefährtin und mich mit ihrem sprühenden Wesen total in den Bann gezogen hat: Sie hat, ich schwöre, mehr und aufgeregter geplappert als wir beide zusammen, irgendwann gab es keinen Altersunterschied mehr!

Half a year ago, during my round the world trip in 2011, I met Luisa from Argentina (on the right), who has totally enthralled my Danish travel companion and me with her happiness, stories and laughter: She has, I swear, talked more than the two of us combined, leading to the sensation that we were all one, of the same age – like sisters on this trip!


Auch "bei uns zuhause", im guten alten Österreich, trifft man mitunter bei Kurzreisen auf Menschen die "aus der Rolle fallen": Erika Stipsits, ihres Zeichens Ostereier-Schnitzerin und eine der letzten ihrer Zunft, empfängt in der ländlichen Gemeinde Stinatz im Südburgenland mehr internationale Besucher als die gesamte Region zusammen. Ein Markenzeichen: Ihre unbekümmerte Offenheit.

“Back home” too, in good old Austria, short trips can lead to finding unusual characters and local stories: Erika Stipsits, who is Austria’s most famous Easter Egg carving artist and one of the last of her kind, welcomes more international visitors in her rural small town Stinatz in southern Burgenland than the entire area combined. Typical for her: A disarming openess, the literally “open door” and her unique skills practised for more than 40 years. Read more about her here.

Being an open-minded World Citizen is no question of age – and no privilege of our “young backpacking generation” either

At Lago Grey in famous Torres del Paine National Park, I remember having had such a good time running jokes without end with an elderly German couple as part of my great South America trip. It’s improbable how much these two have defied the typical cliché of “serious” German travellers. They were just really cool and fun to be with. I have met a lot of elderly people who go out of their way to do the things they do (after all, they have retired) but who simply cannot stop being young (in a good way 😉 ). Who cannot help being just as curious, open-minded and “travelous” as we are. As for me, this is the point where the boundaries between the generations blur. Here is me, attaining a certain level of “peace, tranquility and serenity” from all my travels facing a person who might be twice as old as me but with such a keen and eager sparkle, it is incredible: We touch down at the same level. It has happened to me countless times while travelling, and meeting all these inspirational people, I have finally decided to introduce you to them. I hope that you, too, meet them next time. It is pure magic!

Allen voran: "Meine zweite Familie" in Neuseeland (v.l.n.r.): Denise & Crispin Raymond, welche vor rund 10 Jahren (damals waren sie gerade über 50) nach Neuseeland ausgewandert sind und dort "Creative Tourism New Zealand" gegründet haben - eine Inspiration, die junge Reisende wie mich auf den Plan riefen, sie mit 24 Jahren zu besuchen und in ihrer Arbeit zu unterstützen. Ganz rechts: Billie (+) und Roy, meine "zweiten Großeltern" in Neuseeland.

My “second family” from New Zealand (from left to right) Denise & Crispin Raymond, who have emigrated with their adult daughters to Kiwi Land in order to establish the network of  “Creative Tourism New Zealand”: Quite an inspirational move which has had a lasting impression on young folks like myself who have come to support them in their work. On the far right: Billie (+) and Roy, my lovely “second grand-parents” down under.


Über den Pazifik geschaut, treffen wir hier in Buenos Aires auf den Vizepräsidenten des Internationalen Global Greeter Network Joaquín Brenman, 69 Jahre alt, der sich "nicht mehr anstrengen müsste" es aber aufgrund seiner zahlreichen Funktionen dennoch tut - inklusive vielen Jahren als Leiter der freiwilligen Stadtführer "Buenos Aires Cicerones".

Looking across the Pacific, we meet the Vice President of the Global Greeter Network in Buenos Aires: Joaquín Brenman (69). Nobody asks him to do the things he does, he just continues doing what he loves: Meeting new people and “greeting” them in a personal, free city tour as part of the “Buenos Aires Cicerones” greeter network. Check out the full story here.


Diese g'spaßigen Deutschen werde ich so schnell nicht vergessen: Zu jedem Klischee gibt es einfach auch das genaue Gegenteil - von wegen seriöse, bedachte oder gar wortkarge Deutsche ;) !

I will never forget meeting this incredibly funny German couple: Every national or cultural cliché deserves someone who exactly defies it.


Diese Dame in der thailändischen Metropole Bangkok hat mich mit ihrem intensiven Blick beeindruckt: Was sie uns wohl mitteilen wollte?

This elderly lady in the heart of the city of Bangkok has captivated me with her hard, intense look: What is it that she might have wanted to say?


Noch eine liebenswerte Madame: Marthe Brohan lädt Besucher in ihre exquisite Pariser Stadtwohnung ein und veranstaltet dort in Kooperation mit dem französischen Kreativtourismus-Netzwerk "" Kochkurse: Hier suchen wir gerade Zutaten für unsere köstliche Quiche mit Salat aus, welche wir bei ihr zubereiten.

Another lovely “Madame”: Marthe Brohan is part of the Parisian creative tourism network “” welcoming visitors to her beautiful and lavish Paris apartment for unique, personal cooking workshops: On this picture, we are about to choose our ingredients from the local Montparnasse market preparing delightful quiche and summer salads.


"Wie Schwestern": Maman & Anne-Laure, meine liebsten Mädls aus Frankreich zu Besuch in Wien!

“Like two giggling girls”: Maman & Anne-Laure, my favourite Frenchies & lifetime friends visiting us in Vienna! So nice when everybody can join in and laugh at the same jokes, it makes age disappear altogether.


Während der letzten Internationalen Creative Tourism Network Conference in Paris treffen Laurie & Caroline (v.r.n.l.) auf Victor, den Leiter der FUSIC Fundació de Societát i Cultura in Barcelona - die Begeisterung für Kreativ-Reisen, Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten und Potenzial teilen wir alle mitsammen.

During the last Internationalen Creative Tourism Network Conference in Paris, friends of the same age Laurie & Caroline (from right to left) meet Victor, head of the FUSIC Fundació de Societát i Cultura in Barcelona: The passion we all share for developing creative travel is equal among all of us.


Schließlich: "Meine" Ocumazo-Familie im nördlichen Argentinien nahe der Grenze zu Bolivien und Chile, die mich mit viel Herz und Weltoffenheit empfangen haben.

Finally, a picture of “my” Ocumazo family in the northern parts of Argentina close to the Bolivian and Chilean borders, who have each welcomed me with a lot of heart and open-mindedness.


... dieses Porträt ist vom 86-jährigen Großvater der Familie, welcher gemeinsam mit uns bei Tisch sitzt, lauscht, diskutiert - und anschafft: So viel Energie muss schließlich sein ;)

… this portrait shows the 86-year-old grandpa who joins our discussion about life, the universe and everything – and finally ends up giving orders to the rest of the family: Full of energy alright 😉

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Udo Weisner, Jo Igele Reiseblog 30 March 2013 - 16:54

Silver Surfer, Baby Boomer, Best Ager, how ever you want to call them, I´m one of them and I enjoy travelling and the contact with other people in the same way as 20 years ago. The only difference is I need no more extremes.

Kind regards from the Lake of Constance / Germany

Elena 30 March 2013 - 19:22


Thank you so much for your reply. That’s exactly what I mean: Age just does not matter, it’s the people who do 🙂

What kind of “extremes” did you enjoy earlier on? And what do you prefer now?

Best wishes back to you from Krems, Lower Austria!

Ingrid 1 April 2013 - 01:28

Hallo Elena dein Reiesblog ist so spannend und interessant!!! Ich kann gar nicht aufhören zu lesen. Da wird das Reisefieber in mir auch schon wieder geweckt.
Mach weiter so!
Liebe Grüße Ingrid

Elena 1 April 2013 - 08:09

Liebe Ingrid,

Mein Herz hüpft vor Freude und ich kann gar nicht mehr aufhören zu lächeln ;-))

Vielen lieben Dank für Deine Unterstützung. Ich werde auf jeden Fall weitermachen, hab so eine Freude mit meinen Reisen, Inspirationen, einfach allem 🙂 DANKE Dir!

Aldana 2 April 2013 - 05:41

Tus palabras representan lo que nosotros también sentimos! No importa la edad, ni la nacionalidad para ser feliz, para ir por los sueños y para descubrir la magia que tiene cada encuentro!
Mucha suerte en tu vida y que sigas encontrando muchas personas como estas en el camino! besos y abrazos desde Buenos Aires! Aldana y Dino

Elena 2 April 2013 - 08:13

Gracias Aldana,
Por eso quería escribir sobre lo que no importa, sino lo que realmente importa en la vida y a la hora de viajar 🙂

Y Ustedes, por cierto, son las personas con quienes se debe cruzar en la vida !! 🙂 Les extraño mucho, un fuerte abrazo a Buenos Aires y seguimos en contacto xoxo


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