#FBF: Followback Friday is a weekly interview series where we get real with some of our favorite travel influencers. We want to learn what makes them tick, their best tips and tricks, and share stories of (mis)adventures from the road.
Few travelers can see the silver lining in the midst of flight delays or poor weather, but Donna Hull is different from other travelers. The founder of My Itchy Travel Feet says she didn’t become a serious explorer until 2000. Since then, she’s been making up for lost time and encouraging other Baby Boomers to hit the road, grab a passport, and see the world as well. In fact, you could call Donna a connoisseur of Baby Boomer travel. She says boomers are into all sorts of travel types (including hiking and even mountain climbing), they just do things at their own pace. We caught up with her to learn more about why she’s an advocate for Baby Boomer travel and why she’s not stopping her adventures anytime soon.
When did you catch the travel bug?
I’ve always enjoyed traveling but the travel bug really bit me when I married Alan in 2000. We discovered a mutual love, not only for each other, but also for travel. Exploring the world together while experiencing new activities has enriched our lives. Travel is an integral part of our marriage.
What inspired you to start My Itchy Travel Feet? Why do you focus on Baby Boomer travel?I started My Itchy Travel Feet in May 2008, partly to have an online presence for my writing business, but mostly because baby boomers were being underserved on the Internet. At that time, there was nothing for those boomers who traveled in an active style, like all of my boomer friends were doing. We had nowhere to go to learn about the types of trips that we wanted to take, so I created My Itchy Travel Feet. And that’s also the reason that I focus on boomer travel — it’s what I know and do.
What makes Baby Boomer travel so special?
There’s a special freedom that comes with baby boomer travel. Most likely, children have left the nest, careers are coming to an end, or we’ve already retired. This frees up our time and money. Taking chances on a new activity or satisfying our curiosity about a place is empowering.
What’s the biggest misconception about Baby Boomer travelers?The biggest misconception about boomer travelers is that age makes us sedentary. That’s not the case at all. While we might be a tad slower, we’d much rather be hiking the trails of Glacier National Park or walking Europe’s cobblestone streets than seeing the world go by through a tour bus window.
Why do you travel?
I travel to have fun. While there are plenty of other important reasons to travel — understanding other cultures, appreciating the environment, helping others, trying new things — having fun is an important part of the process. When travel includes too many “shoulds,” we’ve turned it into work. So I encourage your readers to take the time to enjoy themselves on a trip.
How would you describe your travel style?
My travel style is eclectic, although I most appreciate off-the- beaten-path, uncrowded destinations. Give me beautiful scenery, new activities to try, interesting people to meet, delicious food to taste and a comfy place to rest my head and I’m a happy traveler.
What are your top three travel experiences to date? Why?
I’m a lover of nature so my top three travel experiences to date revolve around stunning scenery packed with wildlife encounters. Last year, Alan and I spent the Christmas holidays in Antarctica and South Georgia. I’m still pinching myself at what we saw, especially the prolific wildlife in South Georgia. This past summer, we cruised in the Arctic. Although wildlife sightings weren’t that plentiful, standing on the Arctic Ice and also motoring among the icebergs of eastern Greenland more than made up for it. And the South African safari that we took several years ago, taught me to appreciate wild animals in a way that I had never imagined. I’m not sure that I can ever visit a zoo again.