Sunday, February 15, 2015

Travel at age 80 - still going strong

On Life and Love After 60

by Tom P. Blake

Travel at age 80 – Still Going Strong

In the September 26, 2014, newsletter, we featured Champ Chris and his girlfriend Tina. They have the unofficial longest long-distance relationship on record, both for duration and distance: 12 years and 5,419 miles.

Chris, 80, lives in San Clemente, California, and Tina, in England. Chris had open-heart and bypass surgery in late August. He was down for the count. But, he stated in that newsletter, “Sometime in the not too distant future I will be dancing and traveling again.”

He kept his word. Wednesday, I received this email from Chris: “I am sorry that Tina and I haven’t been in touch, but email is almost impossible from the ship. So far, we have had a wonderful cruise and have been to some great and interesting places: Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Danang, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Manila, Philippines, and yesterday we spent the day on a beautiful beach on the Philippine island of Boracay.

“We are now heading towards Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo. The weather has been almost perfect; we’ve had no rain. The sea has been calm except for one day when it got a little choppy.

“It has been interesting to see different countries and how people live, as expected there are the rich and the poor. We like the ship although it is rather old; the crew and food are excellent. We send our love and hugs to all of Tom’s Champs.”

Several points jump out from Chris’s email.  His message illustrates that love at 80 can happen, and can be as fulfilling as love at 50.

A second message: Although as we age, most of us will face health issues, we should not let those issues stop us from pursuing joy in our lives. Granted, not all of us have the means or energy to hop on a plane to London, and then on a plane to Singapore, and then board a cruise ship. However, even at home, we can make the best of our health issues with something that costs nothing: a positive attitude.

Another lesson from Chris’s story: long-distance relationships can work, even if there are 5,419 miles between partners.

I received a retirement card from Phyllis and Tammy, friends of Greta’s and mine. The message on the front of the card said:

“It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years!”

Chris’s email illustrates that as well. I love to share stories from our Champs. Send me yours.

                                       Chris and Tina, Greta and Tom

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