Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

Let’s continue our study of the many aspects of educational travel by taking a few minutes to look at its history.

Explorers, since the time of the Arabs in 800 A.D., Marco Polo in 1200 A.D., and more recently from the Middle Ages on, have written memoirs about their travels. Those writings opened the world up for the rest of us to experience. This was the first real incarnation of educational travel.

In the 16th century, northern Europeans traveled to great centers of learning and to the ruins of the classical civilizations of Italy and Greece. These travels were chronicled in letters and other writings sent back to their homeland and formed the basis for further exploration and learning. As is evidenced by these works, while they were covering the ground outwardly, they were also advancing inwardly.

In the mid-19th century, thanks to social change and the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution, intrepid men and women traveled throughout the world in organized pursuit of knowledge. And, it was during the 1830s that Baedeker wrote the first modern guidebooks.

It has been said that the writings of the men who traveled during this time tended to cover the “what” and “where,” while the women travelers (especially those who traveled during the Victorian Era, the golden age of women travelers) tended toward the “how” and “why.” Their writings, even today fuel the desire in many of us to learn more.

Judith Adler, writing about the history of sightseeing (1989) says that “Most travel was not for sightseeing, but to encounter important people and civilizations and to visit sacred places.”

In the 19th and early 20th century, independent travel by those who could afford it, was just about the only way to learn about other cultures. The Chautauqua Movement that we talked about previously, brought education to the common man. To learn, however, people did not have to travel much further than their own hometown.

Today, things have changed. People are living longer, have more free time and more money. Thanks to technology they can travel wherever and whenever they want. But the emphasis of most of this travel has not been on education. It’s been on having fun, relaxing, and de-stressing.

Colleges and universities have tried over the years to shift that emphasis toward educational travel by offering opportunities to their students and graduates through student-exchange, study abroad, and alumni travel programs. Many other people, however, were missing out on the opportunity of learning and traveling at the same time. And of those, most were older adults. There was nothing out there geared specifically to their needs and wants in the way of educational travel.

The lack of educational travel opportunities for older adults came to an end in 1975 when Elderhostel, Inc. came into existence. These modern-day explorers have opened the door to the world-wide opportunities of lifelong learning for older adults. They have brought educational travel into the 21st century.

Today, thanks to Elderhostel, the field of educational travel is booming, not just for older adults but for all ages. We will take a look at both the history of Elderhostel and the current state of educational travel in the next few weeks.

For now, however, think of travel as an educational, spiritual and even a creative atmosphere, an atmosphere that broadens our self-understanding. And self-understanding is what the journey of our “After-50” years should be all about.

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” The early educational travelers began the difficult task of trying to eliminate these prejudices. It’s up to us to continue the work they started.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit

You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (


Sage said...

Happy Thanksgivng!

balunov27 said...

Thnaks for sharing. Good post. I like your blog. I am follow you.