Travel-lovers over 40 are getting a new website devoted to them
Travellers over 40 who want to know about exciting destinations and adventures now have a new website thanks to a collective of writers who are bored of travel sites that lump people together.
The site – www.travelbeginsat40.com – offers a range of experiences, adventures, opinions, special offers and travel-related news from all corners of the globe specifically aimed at the over-40 traveller.
“The idea for TravelBeginsat40 came when I was trekking in Nepal, surrounded by young travel bloggers,” says its founder Mark Bibby Jackson, also publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia magazine. “I realised that so much travel information is written by young travellers, for young travellers. It struck me that the more mature traveller was missing out.
“I then did a Google search and it soon became apparent that most websites out there were aiming for a “silver” generation – offering services that even my mum wouldn’t dream of going on.”
If you are tired of being surrounded by fellow tourists taking selfies of bucket list attractions, and the idea of taking a cruise ship fills you with dread, then www.travelbeginsat40.com is for you. The platform focuses on bespoke tours, adventures off-the-beaten-track, eco-tourism, homestays, city breaks and cultural trips, while enjoying good food and wine along the way as well as interacting with local communities rather than treating them like freaks in a circus.
“On the trip to Nepal, one of the bloggers squeezed the cheeks of an elderly Nepali woman saying how cute she was,” says Bibby Jackson. “This is exactly the type of traveller we wish to avoid.”
Instead the site’s collective of travel writers will share their experiences to inspire others to travel more thoughtfully while maintaining a spirit of adventure.
“The website offers the experiences of our collective of travel writers from all parts of the globe to inspire the 40-something generation to do something more adventurous with their travel than lying on a beach,” adds Bibby Jackson.
It was this ethos that persuaded Johan Smits, the site’s Central Asian correspondent, to sign up for the venture.
“I was quick to join Travel Begins At 40 because I immediately realised this isn’t just a team of experienced travel writers but people who live and work in the countries and regions they’re covering,” Smits says. “Whereby in regular travel writing the focus often rests on promoting a particular destination, Travel Begins at 40 allows me to go beyond this and share more nuanced insider experiences that are close to my heart.”
The Belgian, who stayed in the small Cambodian fishing village of Kep and the African megacity of Kinshasa before moving to Tajikistan, believes this approach is essential for a region, such as Central Asia, which has been neglected – and misunderstood – as a tourist destination.
“I have been living in Central Asia for over two years and only now begin to understand some of the issues and challenges that this region faces and the things that make its people tick. Central Asia isn’t a quick and easy chill-out destination but a complex region with an incredibly rich culture, a turbulent history and some of the most hospitable people in the world where travelling is instantly rewarding. The moment I joined Travel Begins at 40, I knew Central Asian destinations would appeal greatly to its audience of mature, independent-minded travellers.”
Another key member of the collective is Mike East – “our man in Caracas” as Bibby Jackson describes him.
“I signed up for the collective as I made the decision many years ago to live outside my country of birth. In so doing I have seen so many different people doing all types of interesting and inspiring things – things that are well worth sharing,” says the Crewe-born East, whose initial contribution to the site was advising people on how they can take up surfing in their 40s.
“This is exactly what I mean by inspiring travellers,” says Bibby Jackson. “For me the key word in our name is “begins”, not 40, which is after all just a number. Travel, like life, is an adventure that should begin at 40.”
Already www.travelbeginsat40.com has posts as diverse as trekking in Tajikistan, meeting the survivors of the Nepal Earthquake, goat-herding in Fuerteventura, staying in a ger in Mongolia, and Bibby Jackson’s own travels through Patagonia. There are also opinion pieces on the future direction of tourism, such as an article on responsible tourism in Myanmar (Burma).
Future articles will include getting stranded on Easter Island, walking the Pembrokeshire coastline and visiting a Soviet sanatorium.
Ultimately, Bibby Jackson sees TraveBeginsat40 as growing into a forum for 40-somethings to share travel advice and experiences, free from the interference of 20-somethings who have a very different agenda for what they want from their holidays.
“It’s Lonely Planet for grown-ups,” he says.
So if you are bored with the same old, same old holiday, then maybe Travel Begins at 40 is the site for you.