1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Active, Adventurous and Able

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 5, 2013 · 45 comments

What happens if you start to develop mobility problems, but still want to travel the world? Hopefully, you travel the world. These days, a disability or illness need not spell the death knell for indulging our wanderlust.

Obviously, for us Boomeresque types, before booking any adventure activity, it’s highly advisable to speak with one’s physician. Many programs require a physician’s certificate after a certain age and for those with medical issues. Allow your doc to professionally assess your proposed activities and advise you of your options. When my husband, Steve, and I did a guided four day hike in New Zealand, any participants over age 60 were required to have a physician’s certificate. The British chap who completed each segment first every day was 76, the oldest member of our group!

While adventure holidays should always be covered by the appropriate travel insurance, you’ll be surprised at the number of accessible adventure organizations that will cater to the particular needs of the individual. A quick Google search will reveal many possibilities. Give yourself enough time to call ahead and let the organization know about the specifics of your condition. In fact, any responsible adventure activity organizer will require that you do this.

Need some inspiration? Think about trying one of these:

Tandem Skydiving

Tandem Skydiving. The instructor is on top. (Photo credit: ctsnow, Wikimedia)

All In Sightseeing

Travel blogger Cory Lee is wheelchair bound, but he doesn’t let this keep him from indulging his wanderlust. His travel experiences range from being attacked by a hippo in South Africa to a back stage tour at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, and everything in between — except visiting Antarctica which remains on his bucket list (and mine).


Skydiving is one of the most thrilling holiday activities (or so I’m told). Tandem parachuting (where you are in a dual harness with an instructor) has meant that people with disabilities or mobility issues can still free fall through the sky. Many Americans remember that former president George H.W. Bush (GW’s father), celebrated his 85th birthday by doing a tandem skydive. The instructor is in charge of the all the technical aspects, including the initial jump.


Many climbing centers now offer holidays for those with disabilities, with specially adapted accommodation available too. They use harnesses to help people climb higher than you might expect, being spotted by an instructor at all times.

Due to the amount of safety equipment needed for climbing, some maintain that it is actually one of the safest adventure activities around. A number of centers have pulley systems that hoist wheelchairs up rock faces. I’m not in a wheelchair, but I’m pretty sure I would be opting for a pulley system for climbing up rock faces.


Although this one will take a little more research, many safari regions offer lodges that are fully accessible and adapted to the needs of the individual. If you look a little farther afield you’ll also find that some tented camps are suitable, offering specialized viewing vehicles for those who need them.

Do ensure you thoroughly discuss all your requirements with your travel company and insurance provider. Also, if you take medication, it is absolutely vital to bring more than enough with you.  Rural areas often have limited prescription medicines and you may be a long way away from the nearest hospital.

Scuba diving instruction

Scuba diving instruction (Wikimedia Commons)

Scuba Diving

Swimming is usually a recommended activity for those recovering from injury. Imagine just how much more interesting it would be if you were sharing the waters with dolphins and tropical fish.

If you have a disability, injury or mobility issues, expect to be partnered with a dive buddy and consider taking a trial session in a deep diving pool before committing to a diving holiday. Many people (including yours truly) find scuba diving quite claustrophobic and difficult – especially the breathing from a tank of oxygen part. However, many popular destinations will have fully trained members of staff to ease you into the water at your own pace.

Dog Sledding

The amazing thing about dog sledding is that it requires no particular physical strength or skill and yet is an incredibly beautiful way to spend an afternoon. On an Alaskan cruise, my husband Steve opted for a dog sledding excursion that included transportation by helicopter, complete with the soundtrack from the film, The Last of the Mohicans, followed by dog sledding on the Juneau Ice Field. Many Alaskan, alpine and Scandinavian locations offer dog sledding and it’s well suited to those with disabilities. All you need to do is shout “mush” and then sit back and enjoy the ride!

Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping near Queenstown, NZ

Bungee jumping near Queenstown, NZ. This is where I get off, People! (Pun absolutely intended) (Photo credit: che010, Wikimedia)

A good many able bodied people will not try this (she said raising her hand), but there are outfits that will even provide this experience to those with mobility difficulties.

[Boomeresque was compensated for this post and received research assistance from Em Buchanan.]

What’s the most adventurous holiday/vacation you’ve gone on?  Would you consider bungee jumping? (Personally, I required a good stiff drink after just watching other people bungee jump.)

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike August 5, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I would absolutely want a couple shots of Jim Beam and my favorite old rock music playing loudly in my ear before jumping out of an airplane or off of a bridge. All kidding aside these all look like a ton of fun! Two of the travel companies I’m a member of (no, I have not gone on a trip with either of them yet) rate their tours as Easy to Difficult. That is always very helpful. And one of the biggies for me is Dog Sledding but the particular one I was looking at in Scandinavia was rated Difficult (I think there was a lot hiking involved aside from the dogsledding). But, they have tours right outside of Reno (here where I live) that have Easy tours where you just hang on and go! A family favorite was a vacation to Yellowstone with my older parents and family for many years and snowmobiling. You can rent the snowmobiles up there even though we had our own. I would highly recommend it!


Suzanne Fluhr August 6, 2013 at 3:04 am

Mike, thanks for your comment. We used to enjoy intergenerational vacations that included my parents, my husband’s grandmother (who traveled into her early 90s), our sons and some aunts and uncles. Cruises were good because no one had to cook and each day, there would be activities and excursions at various activity levels and difficulty. In fact, it was on one of those trips that my husband had the chance to go dog sledding. I haven’t ever been on a cruise that offered bungee jumping though. I would think the liability waiver form would be massive.


Sofie @ Wonderful Wanderings August 6, 2013 at 7:01 am

I have to admit I would NOT consider bungee jumping.
I’m SO afraid of heights.
You won’t believe this, but watching King Kong climb the Empire State building in the movies made me dizzy!


Steven Albelda August 6, 2013 at 7:46 am

Done the dog sledding, and scuba diving, considered tandom hang-gliding (but couldn’t pull the trigger)- hope to do the Safari.


Suzanne Fluhr August 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

When did you go scuba diving and how come I don’t know about it? Are you counting Snuba;-)


Alison at Diamond-Cut Life August 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

Good post! My work for the state of Oregon supports rural transit, which is all about supporting people’s mobility and accessibility, and I love that you are supporting these things, too. And I just finished a mountain climb, and posted about it. Adventures are precious.

In the big picture of human history, I think we’re living in a rare blip in which we’re able to travel the world. I think disruptions from climate change will mean it’s not always possible. But it’s certainly a source of joy. I try not to take it for granted.


Suzanne Fluhr August 6, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Yikes, Alison–what disruptions from climate change do you think will keep us from traveling in the future—I mean, other than the disappearance of dry land and ferocious UV radiation?


Robin August 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Me, neither. I don’t like the feeling of free-falling. I did want to try parachuting in my younger years, but I’ll stick to my balancing act with earthly vs. heavenly activities


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Scree-scrambling backpacking in the Wallowa Mountains of N.E. Oregon; 64 parachute jumps (solo) at different drop zones around the world; do-it-yourself “safari” (mostly in tent resorts–the only way to go) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; scuba-diving in Hawaii and the South Pacific; spending three successive winters (one by myself) in the U.S.S.R.; skijoring (skiing behind a dog who is pulling you) in Alaska; spelunking in New Zealand…. I’ve never been on an adventure program; I’ve always arranged my own adventure vacations (and never had a vacation that was not an adventure). No, I cannot foresee bungee jumping again–parachute jumping (after completing the appropriate training, which rules out tandem jumping as it’s done today) is far more fun (and safer, for me at least) than bungee jumping.


Suzanne Fluhr August 6, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Leslie, all I can say is “Wow” “Awesome” “Cool”— and —-YOU. DID. WHAT?????


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Suzanne, I’ve never thought of myself as physically adventurous (and certainly not physically adept)…I just have had the opportunities to do the things I listed above. (And it probably helped that I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, part of a family that was always outdoors [working and playing] and cultivated a “can do” outlook; that I learned to “go for it” in college in California during the late 60’s; and that nothing felt particularly daunting to me after living in Manhattan during the first two years of the 1970’s.)


Suzanne Fluhr August 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Leslie, I guess it’s the 60 some parachute jumps that moves you into another category of adventuresome, IMHO. That and living in Manhattan. 😉


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Before my first jump, I was trained to within an inch of my life (for 5 grueling weekends) by a jumpmaster who was an ex-Marine-drill sergeant (and not very interested in having a female jump under his watch). By the time he declared me ready, the measures essential to safe jumping as a beginner were almost instinctive, and I felt confident that I could and would respond appropriately to any emergency. In that context, I liked the idea that it was up to me! Living in Manhattan in the early 70’s was far more daunting, but also quite wonderful!


Roz Warren August 6, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Bungee jumping isn’t a sport. It’s a death wish.


Catarina August 7, 2013 at 11:17 am

Suzanne, I can’t help wondering if you skydive, scuba dive, climb or do bungee jumping? If you do, I’m pretty certain that you started at a younder age. Safari you can do no matter how old you are. But the rest of the options you mention you really have to be careful with.

Was about to start diving when I lived in Riyadh. You fly to the Red Sea and on the Saudi coast you have really unspoilt diving. Catch is you have to wait quite some time before you can fly so it simply wasn’t feasible to do it as a weekend activity, unfortunately.


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 7, 2013 at 12:39 pm

The key is that you have to be aware of your own health and ability limitations and plan accordingly. For some activities, this may or should require a consultation with your physician and responsible operators of these activities will require a physician’s certificate for participants over a certain age. I admit that I’m rather risk averse, but the point of this article is that for adrenalin junkies, there are responsible operators willing and able to accommodate individuals with specific mobility problems. The most adventuresome I was willing to be was to participate in a 4 day wilderness hike in NZ. An injury would have required helicopter extraction, but the hike was guided by professionals who had experience dealing with emergencies.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) August 8, 2013 at 8:24 am

We Scuba dive and adore it. We have had fully paralyzed from the waist down people join our dives so it really is easy on the body. The skill and the time needed to learn are often a deterrent. Do not just learn in a pool in the Dominican. I wish places like that were shut down. It is an extreme sport and you need the time, the book and pool study time and then supervised open water to really understand. But oh oh oh soooooo worth it. There are places that have more to offer below the waters surface than above. You don’t dive you miss out (Caribbean comes to mind). We also have bungee jumped and Stefan skydived. Once was great … But I would not do it again. But diving …. Oh to live where I could daily.


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 8, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote, Sonja. I am more comfortable in water than on land…and most comfortable under the water with my Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus! Thorough study and supervised open-water training is an essential component of that comfort, and experience has made diving ever better for me. (That and finding great diving spots!)


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Good advice from Sonja and Leslie for scuba diving. Make sure you are enrolled in a reputable diving certification program and it’s probably better to learn on your home turf where you can spread it out a little and have time to absorb what you’re learning. Ironically, I think I might do better scuba diving than snorkeling since diving with a snorkel is all about holding your breath and while scuba diving, you get to (better) breath.


Cassi August 8, 2013 at 9:42 am

I’m not the adventurous sort. I get motion sickness on the teacup ride at the fair. I would like to try a Safari or scuba diving.


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Cassi, the problem with scuba if you suffer from severe motion sickness is that you generally have to ride in a small boat to and from the dive site. Can any of you certified scuba divers weigh in on this issue?


Arleen August 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

It is funny how my husband and myself never look at our age. My husband is 70 and doesn’t look it or act like it. He works out at the gym regularly. I am 66 years and I do agility trials with my dog. Agility trial is where you run around a course of 20 obstacles with your dog. This has to be done within 30-50 seconds.

We do travel alot although I have never done anything as adventurous as you mention in your post. I know we have limitations. Our minds says it is fine, and our body say are you out of your mind. Thankful things are still working and we will continue to travel, but it is good to know that there is help out there when the time comes. I had no idea.


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Arleen, we have a friend who loves agility training with his Portuguese water dogs and he returned to it after having a brain tumor and a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side of his body. I think his desire to be able to return to it motivated him through his difficult rehab.

As with many things, I think Baby Boomers are causing changes in many assumptions as they (we) age. Many of us want to remain active as long as possible. Not surprisingly, there are activity/tour operators anxious to help us continue to participate even as we acquire age related mobility issues.


Mary Slagel August 8, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Bringing enough prescription medication is a wonderful travel tip. Even if you are not older or have a disability or injury, you should always bring more than enough prescription medication and any medication you think you could possible need at any point when you are traveling, especially if you are traveling over seas. In some countries, certain prescription medication is either not available or extremely pricey.


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Mary, you bring up a good point. In addition to prescription medications, it’s a good idea to bring a first aid kit when you travel with OTC meds that you know work for you as fever reducers, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories and for the range of GI symptoms travelers experience. Also, depending on where you’re traveling, it might be well worth the expense of having a travel medicine consultation with a travel medicine specialist. Unfortunately, in the US, this is not always covered by our medical insurance.


Debra Yearwood August 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

No matter how fit I was feeling, you were unlikely to get me to jump out of an plane for fun. 🙂

Travel at any age is about attitude. I’ve dragged my daughter up a mountain because she was “tired” and I’ve been left exhausted while going door to door with a politician twice my age. I think it would be a terrible shame and a bit like a jail sentence if people thought they had to restrict their travels because of age. The options you have provided make it clear there’s little you can’t do if you want to.


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm

I remember planning a mountain climb (not a huge mountain, but a mountain nonetheless) with our sons when the youngest was five. I was worried that it would be too much for him, but he scampered right up and was justly proud when we reached the top.


Susan Cooper August 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Wow I do not imagine me doing some of these adventures. I can see myself on a safari but bungee jumping is not something I imagine. I use to be an avid skier but have not been on the slopes in ages. 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

I’ve never been a skier despite attending college in the Berkshire mountains of northwestern Massachusetts — where lots of people go to ski. I’d like to try cross country skiing, but admit that during the winter, my husband and I have an urge to go somewhere warmer rather than colder.


Jeannette Paladino August 8, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Suzanne — I don’t intend to try sky diving (an experience instructor just died in a fall) or bunge jumping. I like me feet firmly planned on the ground!


Suzanne Fluhr August 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Jeannette — your preference for feeling the ground under your feet is a perfectly understandable and popular option. I’ve never looked it up, but I wonder what the rate of deaths for sky divers is compared to just plain old driving. Still, I think there’s nothing wrong with doing a risk/benefit analysis when picking activities. I admit to some anxiety when just plain old flying, but since I’m not willing to give up going to far away places, I just suck it up and get myself on the plane. (Now that our children are launched, I find myself with more of a que sera, sera attitude. (Imagine accents over the “a”s in sera.)


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 9, 2013 at 12:26 am

Skydiving is relatively safe when you compare it to driving in a car. There is a 0.0007% chance of dying while skydiving compared to a 0.0167% chance while driving a car. “Skydiving does have its risks, but they are very minimal.” (

“Most skydiving accidents result from human error. With proper preparation and good judgment, skydivers can minimize those risks.” What is “proper preparation?” The United States Parachute Association (USPA) imposes strict safety standards, training policies and programs (including licensing) for sport parachuting in the U.S. “Skydiving centers, clubs and schools that..are USPA Group Member drop zones are required to provide USPA-developed first-jump courses, use current USPA-rated instructors and provide USPA-required skydiving equipment.” ( For example, “[d]rop zones that become USPA members are required to provide students with approved safety gear, which includes an automatic activation device (AAD) for parachutes, a skydiving helmet, goggles, an altimeter, a reserve parachute and, of course, a main parachute.” Source: So first of all, train and jump only at one of the more than 200 USPA-affiliated drop zones in the U.S. (Go to to find the nearest one.)

Okay, I’ll stop now. :<)


Suzanne Fluhr August 9, 2013 at 12:34 am

Leslie, thanks for sharing this information. I’ll keep it in mind next time I have to choose between getting in a car or sky diving 😉


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

Suzanne, you always leave me chuckling, and I love it!

ash faulkes August 9, 2013 at 2:40 am

I am glad you encourage people to go and do the things they dream of. That is so important, and when people retire they finally have the time, but often no the ability anymore. Like the 76 year old hiker though, some people are just sooo fit.


Valerie Remy Milora August 9, 2013 at 3:33 am

All of these activities sounds amazing…except bungee jumping! One of the things that drew my husband and I to each other was our mutual love for the outdoors and an active life style. We are both Dive Masters and ski patrolers and love to rock climb… something all three of our girls have taken too. Our 6 year old has no fear! Still have not tried jumping out of an airplane and when I do it will be a tandem dive because the landing scares the heck out of me! Dog sledding sounds like something my whole family would love! Thanks for all these wonderful ideas Suzanne… time to start planning a few adventures! 🙂


Johanna August 12, 2013 at 2:30 am

A great post Suzanne, and it’s reminded me of all the adventurous things we could do to get out of our comfort zones – something I’m not always very good at. I’d love to try dog-sledding, but definitely not bungee jumping. I’ve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and jumped huge fences on horses, and recently we went to the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling and I reckon next time I’ll try scuba diving 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr August 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Johanna, there you are one country (and, ok, about 4,000 miles) from New Zealand), so I’m surprised you haven’t tried bungee jumping. The Kiwis seem quite keen about it—although that might be for the benefit of the tourists whom they seem to be able to convince to jump off bridges in surprising numbers 😉


krystle cook August 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

I could never see my grandfather or grandma sky diving. I’d be afraid they’d have a heart attack. I could never do it myself so that’s probably why I think that. I’m a big chicken.


Suzanne Fluhr August 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Krystle, discretion is the better part of valor. Describe yourself as prudent rather than as a chicken. That’s what I do 😉


Neva Fels August 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Suzanne,
I’ve been looking for other bloggers that are boomers and enjoyed reading your posts. I’m 70 years old and loving the retirement life. My husband and I have enjoyed many of the extreme sports that you just mentioned. I have blogged about our adventures as skydivers, in glider planes, etc.
So I look forward to your reading about my escapades as a grandma blogger and look forward to following you too.


Suzanne Fluhr August 26, 2013 at 12:15 am

Neva, thanks for checking out Boomeresque and for your comment. I will definitely be checking out your blog so I can read about your adventures.
Write on!


Becc August 26, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I take my hat off to anyone who is adventurous enough to do these. Whether you are 15 or 75 I think the people that do these are amazing and if you have a disability to boot, well that is incredible.


Jeannette December 26, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Hey fellow Boomer! I like this post. My best friend and I are 21 days apart. So we decided when we turned 50 we were going to go skydiving! When we turned 50, our exuberance for thrill seeking had waned and we never did. I have, however, gone scuba diving. I was certified for a while and would do it again if I had a willing partner 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr December 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Jeanette. In my opinion, sometimes, “Discretion is the better part of valor”. For me, skydiving would be one of those times—that, and bungee jumping. If I ever get the hang of snorkeling, I would consider giving SCUBA a try.


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