Some of you may already be familiar with Elderhostel, the hostelling and alternative travel group geared primarily towards retirees or older travelers. Elderhostel has become Exploritas, explained as a combination of explore + veritas — meaning truth in travel. This is a message I can get behind.
The overly slick website aside, I appreciate what Elderhostel is trying to do here: they’re rebranding as a touring company for well-read people who are interested in the behind-the-scenes at the Uffizi, rather than being designed for groups who might need walkers to get around (say what you will, but the word “elder” carries some distinct connotations).
The most intriguing part of the whole program, though, are the women’s only programs Exploritas is offering. From a rock and roll camp for women (maybe they study Joan Jett?) in Oregon, USA to a 2-week jaunt through the Kalahari Desert in Africa, they are clearly trying to project themselves as the hip new option for older women. I’d be interested to find out if there is a strong “older married lesbian” component to these trips, actually; so many group tours are judgemental of married same-sex couples, especially older ones, and it would be refreshing to find a company that offers comfortable options for longterm partners.
The general idea of Exploritas is a good one: group travel learning activities for older folks that don’t want to just sit around sipping margaritas all day (not that there’s anything wrong with that), that you can tailor to your needs. I’d like to see them run a bit longer, since the “hostel” part of Elderhostel implies more of an alternative lifestyle (more of a Vagabonding lifestyle, if you will) than they seem to be pursuing. Too bad; older folks can be offbeat, and off the beaten path, too.