My Viking Journey: A Grand Finale In My Favorite City of Rome

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50My Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land, was about to come to an end. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* Our last stop was Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. We would spend our final day touring my favorite Italian city. L had never been to Rome. I was so excited to share the famous landmarks, piazzas, and most of all the pizza.

“I can’t wait for you to see the spectacular sites in Rome,” I told L as we prepared for our 10 hour excursion. “I know you will be exhausted after walking around town but you can rest on our plane ride home tomorrow.”

Rome; Colosseum

I was glad to show Rome to my boyfriend L, a first-time visitor.

The Large Port of Civitavecchia
Ciao everyone,” said our guide Monica. “We are in Civitavecchia, a port built more than 1000 years ago. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Rome.” On our way, Monica provided a history lesson.

Civitecchia, Rome

Arriving at our last port in Italy.

Civitavecchia is a large city for Italy. It means the ‘old city.’ During World War II it was bombed to ruins, ” said Monica. We approached the 255 miles long Tiber River, which divides Rome into two halves and flows out into the Mediterranean Sea. We drove by the countryside lush with olive trees and vineyards. Tuscany is only an hour from the port. Continue reading

It’s Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: Time To Share My Story

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersMay is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. It’s time to share my personal story. Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer (and 11th most common for women) – a cancer I never knew existed until I was told six months ago that “you have bladder cancer.” Not something I wanted to hear on the eve of my 60th birthday.

You Have Bladder Cancer
I asked my urologist Dr. F three times if he really said the “C” word. Mind you, I had never seen  a urologist before.

“Did you say cancer?” I asked Dr. F after my surgery to remove a tumor from my bladder. “Yes, it looks like cancer,” said Dr. F.

Bladder Cancer; Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

Orange ribbons are the symbol of bladder cancer. Photo courtesy of BCAN.org.

Why me? Men are more likely to develop bladder cancer than women. I am not a smoker and during my full-time career I wasn’t in an environment where I was exposed to certain harmful substances — two of the risk factors. According to BladderCancer.net, people who are older are at a higher risk for developing bladder cancer—around 90% of people diagnosed with it are over the age of 55. I’m over 50, guess that’s me! “You live in New Jersey. It’s the chemical capital of the U.S,.” said my friend L. Ugh, that’s right!  

Bladder Cancer; Bladder Cancer Awareness Month

More men are diagnosed with bladder cancer than women. Stats from BCAN.org.

“You mean it’s cancer?” I asked Dr. F again. “Yes, we have to wait for the biopsy report to determine next steps.” Those were the longest two weeks ever, especially since one of the weeks I had a catheter attached to my bladder to facilitate healing. Ugh! I was scared. I was really scared. Not able to do yoga, I used all my mindfulness meditation tools and techniques to calm my thoughts. Continue reading

Capture the Memories: It’s Great To Be A Grandmother

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

While I’m not a grandmother yet, when the team at Bluestreak Books (an imprint of Weldon Owen) asked me to partner with them to talk about grandparenting and offer a special giveaway for their new Grandmother’s Journal and Grandfather’s Journal, (plus a webcam) I agreed. It’s a timely gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.*

 

Grandmother's Journal

Enter the giveaway for Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s Journals

Memories of My Grandmothers
I’m fond of talking about my grandmothers. I was lucky to know the two through my teens. Both my grandfathers died before I was born. In fact, my mother never really knew her father. He passed away when she was a toddler.

We called my maternal grandmother Nana. I think I was one of her favorites because I was the youngest grandchild. She lived nearby our apartment in The Bronx, NY and spent summers with us in Long Beach, NY. I so enjoyed visiting her after school. She would make brownies and store the brownies in an empty Maxwell House coffee can. They were as hard as rocks. We would have tea time and dunk our crusty brownies in the tea. Sometimes my Nana would read my tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. My fortune was always a good one.

Nana Mary

My maternal Nana lived nearby.

Growing up, many Sunday afternoons were spent at my paternal Grandma’s home, also in The Bronx. She only spoke Yiddish. All the aunts chatted while the uncles played cards. I had many cousins so it was quite lively. Grandma would make homemade honey cake, knishes, and kugel. She was a good cook until her hearing and eyesight declined.

Thankfully, they both lived into their late 80s and early 90s, respectfully.

It’s Great To Be A Grandmother
Although I’m not a grandmother, I wanted to know more about grandparenting. So I asked some of my friends and blogging buddies. The answers were pretty consistent — it’s great to be a grandmother!

Grandmother's Journal

There are pages to share your wisdom.

S spoke about the differences between her four grandchildren: “The random mix of genes in their biology continues to amaze me. The youngest has my curly hair but his mom’s fair skin and freckles. His older brother has the serious demeanor and scientific curiosity of my late husband and has inherited his straight light brown hair.  Two of my grandchildren have my husband’s high forehead and one has a nubbin of hair growing at the nape of his neck, precisely where his father and his grandfather had theirs.  And yet they have gifts from others that did not come from me – my grandson’s musical ability, my granddaughter’s visual and artistic leanings. All mixed up and a new unique person emerges.” Continue reading

My Viking Journey: Peaceful & Pleasant Days At Sea

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50If you’ve read my previous posts about my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land, exploring ports in Greece, Cyprus and Israel, it’s now time to take a break for our days at sea. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* 

There’s much to do on the Viking Star during days at sea and I (with L by my side some of the time) was eager to discover all that the ship had to offer. From morning workouts at the gym to walks around the upper and middle decks, from visits to the spa to lazy lounging by the pool, from afternoon tea to a behind the scenes look at the galley below, I was on a mission to completely consume these peaceful and pleasant hours.

Aegean Sea

Are you ready for days at sea and the beautiful Aegean waters?

Wellness at the the LiV Nordic Spa
The team at Viking didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to book a massage and facial at the LiV Nordic Spa. LiV has a full service spa menu including massages, body scrubs, facials, skin analysis, and hair and nail salon. There’s also royal Nordic grooming available for men.

My first treatment was a Swedish mindful massage. Ewa, my therapist was from Poland. “You have a PRC,” said Ewa. She was referring to my “personal rock collection” in my back with tight muscles and trigger points. I had never heard such a phrase, but it made me laugh. She got out all my knots. Ewa suggested I use Epsom salts and baking soda with lavender oil in my baths at home.

LiV Nordic Spa; Viking Ocean Cruise

Ewa said I had a PRC, personal rock collection of tight muscles.

On my second day at sea, I selected a Nordic Classic facial. It was organic, anti-aging, and tailor-made. Shayle was my esthetician and brought me into full serenity, exfoliating with a papaya and vitamin C mixture and then applying a jasmine and honey mask. She  ended with cupping on my face to help with lymphatic drainage, plump the skin, and stimulate my circulation system. She said it is very detoxifying and soothes the skin. Continue reading

Living 100: How To Make The Most of Living A Longer Life

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers“Current 10 year olds may age to be 104,” said Jo Anne Jenkins, CEO of AARP, as she kicked off a conversation about longevity at the 2018 AARP Disrupt Aging: The Implications of Living 100 Forum, powered by Forbes and held at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. last week. The event featured presentations with leading experts in health, tech, work and personal finance, education and policy to discuss one simple question:

If you knew you were going to live to 100,
what would you do differently today?

#disruptaging; AARP; Live 100; living to 100

Disrupt Aging: Implications of Living 100 Forum was held at the Newseum in D.C.

(Note: Be sure to read to the end of the post and enter the giveaway for a copy Jo Anne’s bestseller, Disrupt Aging.)

Implications of Living 100
With this overriding question, each speaker challenged us to shift how we think about our own aging and rethink how we earn, learn, connect, and live in the present. The facts and figures were staggering. Here goes:

In 1960, 9 percent of the U.S. population was over age 65. In 2060, that number will grow to 24 percent. “You’re either going to be a caregiver or need caregiving,” said Jo Anne. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be in the ‘need caregiving’ if I live that long and will be over 100! How about you?

By 2030, the first Boomers will turn 85, the first Gen Xers will turn 65, and the first Millennials will turn 50. Ooh, ooh, ooh, I’ll be in my early 70s and my kids will be in their 40s. How old will you be? 

#disruptaging; AARP; Live 100; living to 100; aging

How old will you be in 2030?

The 50 and over category is worth $15 trillion and $7.6 trillion of annual activity is done by post 50 people in the U.S. Wow-o-wow, we’re worth a lot and we’re sure active individuals!

75 percent of Boomers in the U.S. plan to work past 65, and many will have two, three and four different careers in their lifetime. Hmm, I started out as a magazine editor, then I went into public relations, then corporate communications. Now I’m a blogger and yoga instructor. Where are you on your career spectrum? Continue reading

My Viking Journey: The Secrets of the Ancient City of Acre

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

It was Friday, our final day in Israel. After visiting Jerusalem and Haifa earlier in the week, our excursion would take us to the ancient city of Acre. For sure, my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land was exceeding expectations. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.* 

 

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star

My boyfriend L and I traveled to Israel with Viking Ocean Cruises.

“Tomorrow will be Shabbat, so we say ‘Shabbat Shalom’ because it is the Sabbath,” said our tour guide Simon. “Acre’s markets will be crowded as people shop for food before sundown.”

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star; Market Street in Acre

Fishmongers sell fresh fish on Market Street.

A City Above and A City Below
“Acre is a 2000 year old city,” Simon said. “Acre was the main port in the north of the country during the 19th century. Then the port of Haifa was built and became the main port.”

Viking Ocean Cruises; Israel; Ancient City of Acre; luxury cruises; Viking Star; Acre port

The port of Acre is home to sailboats and fishermen.

The Old City of Akko (Akko means Acre) is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an historic walled port-city with continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. As we walked, we learned more about its secrets. According to the Israel Ministry of Tourism, “Only in the Old City of Akko will you discover a perfectly preserved Crusader city being unearthed and brought back to life, located directly under the city built above it. Continue reading

My Viking Journey: A Day To Remember In Old Jerusalem

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It was the seventh day of my Viking journey on the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. We docked early morning in the port of Ashdod, Israel. My boyfriend L and I were traveling courtesy of Viking Cruises.I had been happily anticipating this part of the trip and my first-ever visit to Israel. It would be a day to remember in Old Jerusalem.

“Welcome to Israel,” said our guide Isaac. “How many of you have been to Israel before?” he asked. Only one out of 35 guests in our group raised a hand. “We’ve been waiting for you for 70 years. Better late than never,” he added.

Israel; Ashdod; Jerusalem; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel

We arrived in Israel at the Ashdod port.

A Tiny But Mighty Country
I was amazed at how tiny Israel is. Isaac said the country is about the size of New Jersey, 350 miles north to south and 50 miles east to west. Wow-o-wow! “We are the only non-Muslim country in the region. We are surrounded by Muslim countries. That’s why we have such issues,” he said. Despite the ongoing friction around the edges, I felt safe during our excursion.

Isaac was quite an accomplished Israeli guide. “In the east we have a long border with Jordan and we have a peace treaty. In the southwest is the border with Egypt and we have a peace treaty with Egypt. The northeast border is Syria and we don’t have a peace treaty with them,” he explained.

Israel; Ashod; Jerusalem; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel

On our way to Jerusalem.

Isaac told us about the population of Israel. “We have 8.5 million inhabitants. Eighty percent are Jewish. A majority of the remaining 20 percent are Arabic.”

We learned about Israel’s vibrant agriculture with olive trees, fresh fruits and vegetables. He especially encouraged us to try Israeli peppers and eggplants.

We learned about the country’s terrain: to the west is the coast of the country, in the middle the mountains of Judea and the Negev, the Jordan Valley to the east, the Sea of Galilee in the north and Dead Sea in the south. (I didn’t get a chance to swim in the Dead Sea, which is 34 percent salt! Definitely have to plan another visit to Israel.)

Israel; Ashod; Jerusalem; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel

A panorama view leading into the Holy City.

Learning The History of The Holy City
After our scenic drive across Israel’s lowlands and into the Judea mountains, we entered the Holy City. It was an amazing feeling to walk around in the Old City of Jerusalem, one of the oldest cities in the world and a pilgrimage site for major world religions. Continue reading

Where Do You Want To Travel In 2018?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50As we chatted during our girlfriends’ dinner a few weeks ago, our talk was all about travel. My friend J was getting ready to take a winter vacation to Sarasota, Florida and planning a springtime trip to London. My friend N was debating where to take her husband for his milestone birthday. No talk of kids or health ailments, it was all about getting away and exploring the world during life after 60 (we are all now post 60).

Travel Is A Popular Pastime 
A month earlier, I had been to media day at The New York Times Travel Show. The Travel Show takes place annually at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. It’s a fun event to attend. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the show, setting new records with more than 600 companies representing over 176 countries and 32,398 participants—the highest in the Show’s history.  The New York Times Travel Show is the largest travel industry show in North America.

The New York Times Travel Show

The New York Times Travel Show is held annually in NYC.

“Each year, more and more travel professionals and enthusiasts attend The New York Times Travel Show and for good reason,” says Maggie Kiselick, vice president of advertising and managing director, The New York Times Magazine. “People rely on the Show to provide both exceptional travel offerings and helpful information to help them plan their trips to see the world.

Australia; New York Times Travel Show 2018; travel; boomer travel

Have you traveled to Australia yet? It’s a hot destination for 2018.

Where Do You Want To Travel In 2018?
I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2018, I’ve been to New Orleans, Cincinnati, Glasgow (Scotland), Baltimore, Germany’s Western States, Seattle and Denver. That’s only 17 spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do. Continue reading

Seeing Clearly Is The Key To A Happy Retirement

Tracking Pixel
life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersWhen I was asked to write this sponsored post for the brand VSP Individual Vision Plans,* I wasn’t sure what I was going to say. Then it hit me, seeing clearly is the key to a happy retirement. Yes, yes, yes, in every area of my life, I want to have sparkling vision for what and how I want my post 50, or as of last month, post 60 years to play out.

First, I’ll tell you what sparkling vision has meant, and continues to mean, to my retirement. Maybe some of these tips and suggestions will be helpful as you plan for your future. Then I’ll explain why you should check out the vision plans that VSP offers for retirees or those who no longer have coverage through an employer plan. Whether you need vision correction or not, everyone needs quality vision care.

VSP Individual Plans; vision insurance plans; retirement

Do you have a clear path for health and happiness in retirement?

Calculating A Fabulous Fiscal Life 
How you manage your finances can make or break your retirement. Everyone says to save, save, save for retirement. So that’s exactly what I did, did, did.

A few years before I took the plunge to leave my full-time job, I started making a list of my monthly totals so I could clearly see my spending habits, how to set my monthly budget for retirement, and if I could afford to retire early. It’s a good fiscal exercise whether you intend to retire or not. I added up my necessities, like my mortgage, car insurance, food, taxes, medical and dental expenses, gas & electric & cable bills. I also examined my non-essential spending for things like clothing, dining out, and other entertainment and travel. Continue reading

My Viking Journey: A Visit To The Beautiful Island of Mykonos

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It’s so cold outside that I’m going to click my slippers three times and see if they will take me back to the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. Join me as I reminisce about the luxurious Viking Star ocean liner and my Viking journey to the Cities of Antiquity & The Holy Land. My boyfriend L and I traveled courtesy of Viking Cruises.*

A Tour and Taste of Mykonos
Are you ready? We just docked in sun-drenched Mykonos, the smallest of the Greek islands. Can you feel the warmth on your face? The island boasts white-washed houses, centuries-old windmills, and stunning landscapes over the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.

Mykonos; Viking Ocean Cruise; Greece; luxury travel

Mykonos is one of the most famous islands in the world.

We’re going on a tour called The Tastes of Mykonos, which includes a walking tour through a labyrinth of narrow streets, a stop at the old bakery of Gioras, and a tasting at a private organic farm and vineyard.

Vioma Organic Farm; Mykonos; Greece; Viking Ocean Cruise; luxury travel

The owner of Vioma Organic Farm plays classical music in the vineyards and has a pet sheep.

A Famous Island For Famous People
Our tour guide Amaryllis likes to share the history of the island: Continue reading