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AROUND THE WORLD ON WHEELS: Following their retirement, Tim Channell and Terry Bond set off on a bicycle tour around the world.

They sailed from Philadelphia to Europe on board the New Orleans, a massive cargo freighter. After 14 days on the high seas, they disembarked and pedaled 10 miles to their hotel in Antwerp, Belgium.

For the past two years, they have travelled Europe and biked about 25 miles a day.

Wherever their travels take them, they rent an apartment and live in the region for three to six months. During their stay, they cycle around the area and take quick day trips by bus or train.

In the current edition of AARP International the Journal, Channell describes encounters with locals.

While cycling through a rural village in southeast France, for example, a woman rescued them from the pouring rain. She served them lunch and the region’s wine, Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape. They communicated using the Google language translator on their smart phone: French to English, English to French.

In Donegal, Ireland, the couple accompanied the owner of their B&B to a bog, where the peat is still dug out of the ground in brick-shaped chunks and left to dry to be used as fuel. After an hour, they had stuffed 20 sacks with sods of turf and brought them back to the B&B. That afternoon, they built a peat fire and feasted on warm scones and Earl Grey tea.

And their advice to other travellers? Take your time.

As Channell writes, "Travelling long distance on a bicycle requires one to rethink what it means to go on vacation. For those who travel this way, it is a slow travel philosophy for experiencing the world."



CLASSROOM INCLUDES KIDS AND SENIORS: Former teacher Sharon MacKenzie wanted to move beyond occasional visits to senior residences with her students. So when her neighbour became the owner of an assisted-living facility, she nabbed the chance to involve her 9 to 12 year-old students in an unique learning adventure. The project eventually saw her class of 30 students move into a makeshift classroom at the seniors’ residence for two full months of the year.

The Meadows School Project ran for eight years, from 2000 to 2008, in Vernon, B.C. It included students from Kidston elementary school and residents and staff at Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community.

The model is based on the successful concept of immersion used for the understanding of French. Students and older adults share:

  • curriculum studies
  • community service, and
  • one-on-one relationships.

Today, offshoots of the innovative project have taken root in Williams Lake and Kamloops, B.C. Three projects are also going strong in Alberta.

Currently MacKenzie is executive director of the
i2i Intergenerational Society of Canada. Created in 2008, the society promotes intergenerational learning opportunities across Canada.

In 2009, this group spearheaded the launch of June 1 as Intergenerational Day Canada. Since then, more than 100 cities representing every province and territory have recognized the day.



OLDER VIEWERS FLOCK TO THE CINEMA: Films dealing with age are on the rise as older people return to the silver screen in large numbers.

Movies popular with older cinemagoers in recent years include:

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Salmon Fishing in The Yemen
  • Still Alice
  • Quartet
  • Hope Springs
  • My Afternoons with Margueritte
  • Anna Kerenina, and
  • The King’s Speech.

Older adults are reconnecting with the cinema. The number of over-50s in the United States who regularly visited the cinema increased by 68 per cent between 1995 and 2010. In Britain, the proportion of over-45s among regular filmgoers rose from 14 per cent to 30 per cent between 1997 and 2008. In France, cinema attendance for the over-60s rose from 28 per cent to 57 per cent between 1993 and 2011.

Cinema operators see the over-60s as a lucrative market. Some chains have converted cinemas into luxury venues. And others have started to offer special mid-week "silver screenings"

So what do the new movies say about aging or society’s perceptions of it?

Writing online in the Gerontologist (Jan.10, 2015), Jim Vanden Bosch, a filmmaker and founder of Terra Nova films, says most films view old age through the lens of early adulthood. "Older adulthood is seen as simply a continuation of earlier adulthood within the context of deteriorating body parts."

Few feature films explore the late years as an opportunity for inner growth and the discovery of a deeper sense of self.



BOOK RETRACES WOMAN’S HISTORIC 2,050-MILE TREK: In 1955, Emma Gatewood made history when she became the first woman to hike the 2,050-mile Appalachian trail. Gatewood was 67. She had raised 11 children and survived a violent marriage.

Gatewood says she was inspired to hike the trail after reading an article in National Geographic magazine in her doctor’s office.

She began to prepare for her trek in January by walking around the block near her home and extending it a little each time. She measured her progress by the burn she felt in her legs. By April, she was hiking 10 miles a day.

In early May, Gatewood left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than $200.

She told her family she was going on a walk.

Gatewood wore dungarees and tennis shoes. Over her shoulder, she carried a drawstring denim sack that she filled with items:

grandma gatewood's walk

  • raisins
  • peanuts
  • bouillon cubes
  • powered milk
  • water
  • candy mints
  • band-aids
  • iodine
  • bobby pins
  • Vicks salve
  • Swiss Army knife
  • flashlight
  • pen and memo book
  • warm coat, and
  • shower curtain to keep the rain off.

Along the trail, she sucked on bouillon cubes and found water where she could. She slept in the nearest shack or, more often, on a bare spot on a mound of leaves. Sometimes, she found shelter from people living in the mountains. Occasionally, she checked into a motel, where she washed her hair and some clothes, took a shower and enjoyed a good meal.

By the time she reached the top of Maine’s Mount Katahdin, on September 25, 1955, she had survived two hurricanes, a rattlesnake strike and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem.

So why did she do it? Greenwood told one reporter that she did it "Because I wanted to."

Greenwood reclaimed her life through courage and determination, becoming a hiking legend.

Sixty years later, she continues to inspire hikers to take the same plunge.

Author Ben Montgomery writes passionately about this remarkable woman. Once you pick up his spellbinding book, you will have to read it.