On Life and Love after 50 e-Newsletter – November 9, 2018
by Columnist Tom Blake
My partner Greta and I are on an 82-day Grand Asia & Pacific Cruise. We have just completed 40 days and tomorrow, November 10, we will visit Singapore for two days.
This week, I received this email from a woman Champ, one of my e-Newsletter readers. I did not edit it, this is the way it came in:
She wrote: “Sounds like a trip of a life time, but Tom did you ever think that maybe these wonderful trips that you take and share with us maybe is a depressed feeling for those who cannot take these trips! for many reasons, one for lack of money or health problems, lacking a partner to go with, I know it makes me a little down at times, just a thought for you.”
My response: I appreciate you taking your time to express your thoughts. I am very aware there may be other Champs who feel as you do.
In the first newsletter about this trip, even before we left Los Angeles on September 30, I wrote: “Greta and I are truly blessed in our retirement, to be able to physically and financially afford to travel to distant lands. We do not take that for granted. We realize there will come a day when we can’t. And we also realize that not all seniors can take a trip like this.”
When I blog or write about travels, many Champs and newspaper readers tell me they enjoy traveling with us vicariously. Nearly all say they want to hear about the trips.
The last thing in the world I want to do is make people feel depressed by my writing.
Greta and I worked very hard to be able to travel. She was a special education teacher for 31 years who raised four children as a single mom. I worked until I was 75. So, we feel we earned the right to travel as we do.
And, I just happen to be a journalist. I write for nine newspapers and every week I publish an e-Newsletter at no cost to my Champs. For years, the newsletter was titled “Finding Love After 50” and I charged for it.
Several years ago, I made the decision that I wanted to write about more than just finding love later in life. I wanted to write about whatever I felt I could do a good job on. So, I changed the name to “On Life and Love after 50.”
And when I travel, I can do a good job writing about it because I am personally experiencing it. I think Greta and I represent people in their mid-to-late 70s well, by setting an example of discovering these countries on our own, seldom taking organized tours. We walk, sweat, are aware of our surroundings and try to avoid uneven sidewalks and steps, and understand the different currencies in all of these countries. It isn’t always easy, or pretty how we do it, but we’re out there.
I stopped charging for the newsletter so that people wouldn’t feel they were being shortchanged by not receiving what they signed up and paid for. And if they didn’t like what they read, they could simply unsubscribe, or just not read that week’s edition.
I have received so many positive comments about these few travel newsletters that I’m totally surprised—and inspired to keep writing about this 82-day trip. One week I had close to 40 positive responses.
We have reached the half way point on this trip.
Champ Andree emailed this week: “I love hearing all about your travels. Thank you for sharing and please keep sharing. Have a fabulous time wherever your headed in this terrific adventure. Peace and safe travels.”
Journalists can’t always write about what makes people happy. That’s not a realistic view on life. I hope I haven’t depressed too many people with these tales of our experiences. If anything, I’m trying to inspire seniors to get out and experience life as best they can.
One thing I will say. Not taking a trip because you don’t have a partner with whom to travel is no reason why not to go. There are many single women on this ship traveling by themselves. One is 97-years-old. And there are many women who are traveling with women friends. There are single women in walkers, electric scooters, and using canes. That didn’t stop them; one can only admire their dedication to living life to the fullest, despite their physical challenges.
So, to this woman reader I say this: If I write about a senior dating success story, where two seniors have found happiness together–and you haven’t–should I stop writing about dating successes? Of course not. The same goes for our travels. If you find reading these positive stories makes you depressed, you have a choice: don’t read that week’s issue, or (and I hope you don’t do this), simply stop reading what I write.
I put my heart and soul into my writing, and that’s the way it’s going to be.