Arts and Entertainment

March 25, 2016

As the famous quote says, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." If that is true, then seniors at Parkway Places have read enough books to fit in a library. Some traveled for pleasure, business or personal missions, but there is one common thread these adventures share: the experience changed them for the better.  As international travel becomes more accessible than ever in our society, these seniors encourage people of all ages including fellow seniors to follow their desire to explore things they've never seen before, learn about different cultures and experience worlds they may have only read about in books or online.


Parkway Place resident Joan Varner has lost count of the number of countries she and her husband have visited, which she guesses is 65 or 70. She's been to six continents throughout her lifetime, most due to her husband's job in the missionary field. She first traveled out of the country in graduate school after she and her husband were married less than two years. The couple spent the summer in Europe with a teacher and several students. From that point on, Varner was hooked, and that particular trip made a huge impact on her life.


"Traveling was a life changing experience for me and my family," said Varner. "It gave me a different perspective. After observing other cultures, I began to approach life differently. There are many places I'd love to visit again because they hold special memories for my family. We spent five years in Brazil, and now that my children are adults with children of their own, they consider it such a positive experience. It broadened their world view and showed them how vast the universe truly is."


Likewise, Wanda Cameron, a Parkway Place resident, found valuable experiences across the pond. She has traveled to Europe, Russia, Italy, Israel, Scandinavia and Ireland, just to name a few, mostly with three other couples who lived near their home. She still has vivid memories of these travels today, and some of those couples live at Parkway Place where they often reminisce about their time together abroad.


"We consider our travels to be money well spent," said Cameron. "You can't put a price on the experiences we had and the people we met. It opened my world to so much and gave me a deep appreciation for the history of our world. I would encourage people of all ages, especially those who haven't traveled internationally, to look into it. We were surprised, even as a young married couple over 50 years ago, that we could afford to travel overseas. It's important to take advantage of those opportunities while you have the time and ability to go."


For those who still have the itch to travel or recall their favorite destinations, Parkway Place shows a video series call "Armchair Travels" which provides virtual tours of well-known locations. Cameron enjoys watching the videos of countries she has never visited before so she can learn more about their culture and customs. The residents discuss the travel topics and bond during their time together. Many residents proudly display their travel treasures in their apartments, which make for wonderful conversation starters, and Parkway Place frequently places these pieces in common areas for residents to browse.


"There are so many residents at Parkway Place who still have a love of travel and enjoy discussing their favorite trips," said Sunny Chatagnier, Parkway Place executive director. "We have residents from every walk of life here some traveled internationally as CEOs and executives, others in the trenches as missionaries and they all bond over their experiences around the world. We wanted to create a space for residents to share these memories because we know how important these experiences are to them personally."