After a 30-year career in publishing, Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel shed their last publication, their house, and most of their possessions. In 2010, they set out to see the world, combining their love for culture with their enthusiasm for the outdoors. Their award-winning travel blog, Travel Past 50, reflects their appreciation of international cultures and active travel and features destinations including historic sites, arts and cultural centers, and natural parks with wildlife. The blog is for those who want to learn, for those who want to participate, and for those who enjoy a good meal and friendly conversation at the end of the day. Travel Past 50 is a valuable travel resource "for those who’ve been around."
Kristin and Tom: We sold our house in 2010 and started out spending a year in South America, renting apartments in Quito and Santiago. But we got hooked back in the late '70s when we quit our jobs, traveled via London, and ended up living in Madrid for more than a year. We still return to Spain regularly.
Kristin and Tom: Well, we travel for ourselves and people like us (over a certain age!) who aren't easily described. Our interests cover history and culture, nature, food and wine, and increasingly active/adventure travel. We love hiking and biking and photography.
Kristin and Tom: Walking the Camino de Santiago was momentous. It was a great experience, we were proud of the physical accomplishment, the scenery was wonderful, and we made lifelong friends. Including three rest days, that was a 40-day hike. But maybe we should ask how you define vacation. One trip runs into another, and best seems to be wherever we are at the moment.
Kristin and Tom: Budapest. Visit Parliament, the Ludwig Museum, the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, various food markets, and many great neighborhoods, including Buda, the Palace District, Hero's Square, and any of the parks or baths.
Kristin and Tom: Alaska is on our list right now. So is Iran.
Kristin and Tom: We think Spain's food is generally underappreciated. It's fresh and full of the Mediterranean influences and products that keep us healthy. Plus, the wine is great and affordable.
Kristin and Tom: A tent in the Himalayas, a Bedouin camp in Jordan, or a parador hotel in Granada, Spain.
Kristin and Tom: Spare socks. Cameras, a Kindle, and a notebook with pen. Plus a phone (Google Maps!) and chargers.
Kristin and Tom: Other than avoiding pickpockets working in pairs (beware of posters shoved under your nose), we recommend using official transportation upon arrival in a new country. This is easy to research, and there's a helpful app for this, too, called Rome2Rio.
Kristin and Tom: As independent travelers, we favor river cruises and stay away from large ships. Our best advice is to earmark time on your own, both during the cruise's shore excursions and especially before/after the sailing dates. River cruises may offer a great introduction to a place you might not otherwise check out on your own.
Kristin and Tom: We learn so much from our fellow travel bloggers! We like to stay in touch with Gary Arndt of Everything Everywhere, David and Lina Stock of Divergent Travelers, Susan Portnoy of The Insatiable Traveler, Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil of The Planet D, Bret Love and Mary Gabbett of Green Global Travel, Mike and Anne Howard of HoneyTrek, and Sherry Ott of Ottsworld. We especially like the media and destination folks we've met through the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
Kristin and Tom: Travelers worry too much about political situations and the supposed impact on public safety. We are people traveling and interacting with other people. That's all.
Kristin and Tom: Be patient and listen; stay in the present place and time. (Why waste a good opportunity to observe and listen to others by insisting on telling everyone how you live back home?) When you pay attention, opportunities present themselves and -- poof! -- you are off on a new adventure.
Kristin and Tom: Give it a try, whatever it is.