Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elderhostel Is for Those Who Have a Passion for Traveling

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Elderhostel Is for Those Who Have a Passion for Traveling

Article excerpt

Byline: HEATHER LOVEJOY

Marilyn Tomlinson is quite the seasoned traveler.

The Arlington resident is such an enthusiastic Elderhostel journeyer that the nonprofit has made her a volunteer ambassador to spread the word about its educational travel programs for people 55 and older.

Talking about Elderhostel, which she's eager to do, adds an excited edge to her voice and a youthful glimmer to her eyes.

As for how old she is, she was born in 1931.

"You do the math," she joked.

Perhaps her passion for packing a suitcase was fueled at an early age by often seeing her grandmother rooted in a rocking chair on the porch of her Riverside home. Watching the world go by was the highlight of her grandmother's day, she said.

"She'd just sit there rockin' and rockin' and rockin', back and forth, back and forth."

As a child, she recalls thinking, "There must be more to life than that."

It's obvious Tomlinson didn't inherit her grandmother's homebody gene. She's been on 18 Elderhostel trips, including to Niagara Falls, Las Vegas and the time she "ate" her way through New Orleans.

Mount Rushmore is next on her destination wish list, and if she can first visit all the U.S. places she fancies, she might explore internationally.

Through Elderhostel, it's possible to venture to all 50 states and numerous countries, from Canada to Botswana, according to the Web site www.elderhostel.org.

For domestic programs, participants handle their own round-trip travel plans and costs, but Elderhostel arranges accommodations, meals, daily itineraries and provides guides, an Elderhostel spokeswoman said. International travelers can opt to have Elderhostel book their flights.

Those conveniences are welcomed by Peg Redding Hallam, also of Arlington.

"At the age we are, it's very nice to have things taken care of for you. That's a relief," she said.

Hallam said she's been pleased with the four Elderhostel trips she's taken.

She's seen the Cirque du Soleil, toured Yosemite National Park and refined her knowledge of jazz - a testament to how widely topics can vary. …

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