Seniors are free to pursue what they want, and travel is a great option, especially if a friendly, competent tour guide arranges all.
I first met Val Henry at the Donald Simpson Centre when she was hosting a trip to Norfolk Island. She impressed me with her knowledge and friendlessness and last month she shared her interesting life with me.
Having parents who enjoyed travel, I was privileged to visit not only our local areas but extensively around Australia.
I left school at grade 8 and worked in the office of McWhirter’s in the Valley. Next as copy girl with The Courier Mail, and at 16 joined the Public Service.
Married at 21, I was ‘retired’ but rejoined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1969 for another 25 years in the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Retiring again in 1994, I volunteered at Redlands Tourism, the Christian Bookshop and, as a volunteer tour guide, spent 28 years at Ormiston House.
Widowed in 1995, and wanting more to fill my days, I walked into The Donald Simpson Centre, a decision that I have never regretted.
I started in ‘the day trips booking office and out-of-town trips’ and in 2001, set up ‘Away with a Difference’ opening overnight trips for members of the Donald Simpson Centre.
The first year, 2002, five tours were completed, including one to New Zealand, with 162 members participating.
In the last 21 years there have been over 160 tours arranged for DSC members. In all my travels, I have visited over 60 countries.
Besides volunteering at the DSC, I belong to two Probus Clubs, a past president of one, and arrange tours for my fellow Probians.
Every day is a challenge I thoroughly enjoy. I’m thrilled when the tours are fully booked.
Interacting with my family including 10 grandchildren, being a Christian, and involved with church outreach, I am blessed to move in a wide circle of people.
I know how important family and friends are in our lives. Social isolation can be a real problem for many of us as we get older and are restricted in lots of ways.
Val says she has no intention of giving up her life-time love and the satisfaction she gets from meeting people and travel, and as long as she can continue to pull her suitcase along, board a plane, boat, or train, she shall continue to do so.