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Senior Travel Newsletter: nature, cruise, barging, volunteer vacations.
Senior travel newsletter: nature travel, educational, cultural, volunteer, cruise and barging vacations worldwide.
New stories, October 1, 2015 
TravelWatch: Senior Travel Newsletter.

What's on the Travel News Menu for YOU Today
Senior travel nature vacations, cruise and barging vacations, volunteer vacations worldwide & much more! Would you like to be notified of each bi-monthly issue as it is launched? Click here to add your email to our TravelWatch newsletter notification list. [See our Privacy Policy]

1. One of the Galapagos Islands most responsible, sustainable small-ship operators is unveiling its newest vessel in January 2016. You’ll want to be aboard!
2. A new book about wandering the world with no other purpose than getting to know people going about their daily lives will fan your retirement wanderlust.
3. Strictly for our traveling male readersa sleek lightweight electric razor that charges on your laptop or in your car using the razor's built-in USB port.
4. If Antarctica is on your travel bucket list, you should know that cruising is getting crowded down south and environmental change is a reality in this fragile part of the world. Our expert guide helps flag cruising priorities and offers small-ship choices, making the decision to go there in the near future one step closer.
5. Participating in indigenous/aboriginal tourism is educationally stimulating and adventurous. Whether visiting Canada, Australia, New Zealand or newcomer Chile, there are many authentic sustainable experiences waiting to be delivered on your next holiday!

Before planning your next adventure, you may compare accommodation alternatives with sites such as www.trivago.com or use their data base for further information about your destination and read traveler hotel reviews.

New Luxury Small-Ship Adventure in the Galapagos Islands
Ecoventura, www.ecoventura.com, a leader in sustainable cruising through Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, has announced inaugural departures for its newest premium class vessel, MV Origin, whose maiden voyage departs from San Cristobal Island in mid-January 2016.
The only vessel of its kind, MV Origin is positioned to redefine the cruising experience by combining modern sophistication with environmental responsibility, alternating between two different seven-night itineraries to reduce the impact of visits to the islands’ most popular sites. One is a northwestern route and the other is a southern central route. Both itineraries include daily excursions with optional snorkel and kayak tours led by two onboard, certified naturalists.
Ecuador-based Ecoventura launches its newest sustainable cruising ship, MV Origin, in January 2016.
Ecoventura’s new ship, MV Origin, launches
its Galapagos cruises in January 2016.
The new 20-passenger megayacht will feature 10 deluxe staterooms with panoramic-view windows, and a variety of onboard amenities. These will include locally-inspired gourmet cuisine, an open bar, a Jacuzzi and fitness center. MV Origin will also feature expansive indoor and outdoor social and observation areas allowing for easy and comfortable viewing of the islands’ unique scenery and topography.
Stateroom of Ecuador-based Ecoventura's newest sustainable cruising ship, MV Origin.
Ten deluxe staterooms offer maximum flexibility with each cabin having two twin beds that may convert into one king-size bed, two cabins have interconnecting doors and two cabins that accommodate triples.
Rates for 2016 start at $6,500 per person based on double occupancy, and include all meals and snacks, Captain’s welcome and farewell cocktail, all alcoholic beverages, guided shore excursions, snorkel equipment and sea kayaks, as well as transfers in the islands between the airport and dock. See a full list of 2016 departures and corresponding itineraries.
Shore excursion in the Galapagos Islands, traveling with Ecoventura small ship cruise.
Cruise activities may include sharing your notebook with a curious Galapagos bird, or you may venture into more active adventures like kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and snorkeling along cliffs to see colorful tropical fish, sea turtles or the world’s most northerly penguins.
Local products and Ecuadorian dishes are a big part of traveling on one of Ecoventura's ships in the Galapagos Islands.
In operation as a family business since 1990, Ecoventura is a well established, award-winning leader in sustainable travel, offering an adventure cruising experience in many areas of the Galapagos Islands. Learn more about this admirable company in our article featuring a poll of 3,000 Ecoventura visitors selecting their choice of five most favorite birds and animals found in Gapapagos National Park. You will also see some of the company’s well-deserved recognitions reflecting its leadership role in social and environmental responsibility.
Images courtesy of Ecoventura.
Ecoventura prides itself on the cuisine offered on each cruise. MV Origin promises to set the bar even higher.
Vagabonding through Retirement
How many of us can say that we aspire to travel to a locale of our dreams? Many hands will go up, for sure. How many of us can actually say we took that trip abroad, and furthermore, lived in the place of our dreams?

Enter Bill Mahoney and Ina Garrison Mahoney. Rambunctious spirits since they were young, both dreamed of “learning” the world through the eyes of people of other cultures. In their new book, Vagabonding Through Retirement: Unusual Travels Far from Our Paris Houseboat, the Mahoney’s chronicle their life on the road as a globe-trotting couple who enjoy getting off the beaten track, meeting people, and exploring how “regular folks” live around the world … from Laos to Bolivia, Ukraine and France. Impassioned to fully embrace foreign cultures, Bill would engage in a ‘language exchange’ to learn all he could about the people with whom he was visiting, while Ina focused on local culture.
Book cover of Vagabonding Through Retirement by Bill Mahoney and Ina Garrison Mahoney.
Those who wander are not always aimless!
"One of the most rewarding aspects of learning the languages of other countries is to watch the eyes sparkle and the face light up when local people hear a few sentences in their language,” says Bill. “It is a password to gaining acceptance and their interest in learning more about you. This interest grows when it is a more obscure or difficult language like Swahili, Arabic or Hungarian. In any case their reception is invariably warm."

With humor and inspiration, Vagabonding Through Retirement explores:
• Bill’s time spent with others in order to tell a story in their language
• Why one should always ‘adventure’ – no matter your age
• The priceless lessons learned when spending time in other cultures
• Travelling on the cheap: how to save money and still travel the world

This book may be purchased from online book stores (Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and through all major booksellers. Vagabonding Through Retirement: Unusual Travels Far from Our Paris Houseboat, paperback, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015, 244 pages. ISBN-10: 1500985856; ISBN-13: 978-1500985851.
A Great Grooming Present for a Traveling Guy
ShaveTech electric razor comes in black or white cases.
Travel with a Challenge has tested a brand-new stylish, easy-to-charge electric razor. It is definitely affordable at US$29.00, lightweight, slim and packable for the man who loves to travel to the ends of the earth while still looking his best.

Differentiating this shaver from other razor products, here’s the magic – ShaveTech, http://shavetech.com/index.php, can be charged anywhere via its built-in USB plug. This allows it to plug into any laptop or USB car charger, meaning it will charge anywhere in the world!
ShaveTech is powered by a USB plug inside the shaver, plugged into a laptop or car USB port.
When not in use, the USB plug flips back inside the shaver for streamlined portability. ShaveTech has the added benefit of not needing an electrical converter, simply charge it up on a laptop while passing layover time. A single full charge holds for 30 minutes of shaving. What is the battery’s lifetime expectancy? It is about 300 times of normal charge and recharge cycles.
ShaveTech shaver head is sleek, light and effective.
With a design no larger than a smart phone, the ShaveTech razor is available in black or white, both of which are trimmed in brushed silver. With its sleek, lightweight design and compact body, it is an ideal travel partner. The razor comes with a soft pouch for protection and a cleaning brush. There is a one year warranty from the date of purchase. For the moment, people may buy this shaver direct from the ShaveTech website. Retail outlets are presently under consideration.
Images courtesy of ShaveTech.
AdventureSmith Explorations Expands Antarctica Cruise Program
Why you should travel to this fragile region – Now!
Antarctic pack ice viewed from aboard an AdventureSmith expedition cruise ship.
Navigating Antarctic sea ice is safe and exciting with ice-strengthened expeditionary vessels.
Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations www.adventuresmithexplorations.com, suggests moving that Antarctic trip-of-a-lifetime higher up on the bucket list, before fuel and airline consolidations become rate deterrents, and effects of climate change alter the natural experience. In addition, smaller ships plying this region’s waters are slowly being replaced by ever-larger expedition vessels and even large mainstream cruise ships. As ship sizes increase, it becomes harder to provide as intimate an experience with meaningful time ashore for all guests, says Todd Smith, founder and director of AdventureSmith Explorations, international expert in cruising Antarctic waters by small ship.
“Antarctica has been ‘discovered’ by mainstream travelers and is on many ‘must-do’ vacation lists," says Smith. "The short season matched with limited departures aboard small ships (80 to 200 guests) mean most cruises sail at full capacity. We suggest that travelers book nine to 12 months in advance for the best selection of cruises, cabins and activities. This also helps ensure the best price.”

For the most comprehensive selection of Antarctica small ship cruises available, see Antarctica Cruises. The company has recently added several Antarctic small-ship cruises for the late 2015/2016 season to reflect its responsible travel commitment. Let's check them out:
Ushuaia is one of many expedition ships booked by AdventureSmith to explore Antarctic waters.Originally built for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, the 88-guest Ushuaia is among the smallest ships operating in Antarctica. Because of its 278-foot size, it can bring guests closer to land. The ice-strengthened, well-appointed polar vessel offers ample deck space and an open bridge policy that invites guests to observe the navigational operations of the ship. A full complement of inflatable landing craft ensures landings twice daily to access by foot wildlife viewing opportunities.

Each trip aboard Ushuaia plans to visit at least one of the scientific stations for an inside look into the research taking place in Antarctica. Classic Antarctica is an 11-day expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands. The per-person double rate is from $5,500. Departures are from mid-November 2015 through early April 2016.
Sea Explorer is one of many expedition ships booked by AdventureSmith to explore Antarctic waters.The 112-passenger, 297-foot Sea Explorer is a small luxury expedition ship offering sea kayaking and trekking expeditions on Antarctic Peninsula Aboard Sea Explorer, a 12-day Antarctic Peninsula expedition. The per-person double rate is from $6,795. Departures are November into February. Before embarkation, the Expedition Team meets guests in Ushuaia, home of Argentinean leather markets and succulent lamb dishes that make Patagonia famous. Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica Aboard Sea Explorer is a 20-day expedition from $11,595 per person double. There are two departures: Oct. 29, 2015 and Jan. 30, 2016.
Sea Spirit is one of many expedition ships booked by AdventureSmith to explore Antarctic waters.This 197-foot luxury ship offers all suites for 116 guests. The Sea Spirit features the amenities of a fine hotel while traveling through and experiencing Antarctica in grand style. Last Discovered Continent is a classic Antarctica itinerary that boasts one of the best staff-to-passenger ratios in the business. This is a 12-day expedition with rates from $5,995 per person double. There are four departures between mid-December and mid-January. Audience with "Kings", also on Sea Spirit, is 21 days from $10,995 per person double. In case you missed the connection, King penguins are one of the highlights of this itinerary.
Ocean Diamond is one of many expedition ships booked by AdventureSmith to explore Antarctic waters.Passengers on the 189-guest Ocean Diamond have the distinction of sailing aboard the first carbon-neutral cruise vessel in polar travel history as the ship’s operator offsets the ship’s emissions. In addition to being eco-friendly, the vessel is also one of the newest, fastest ships in Antarctica, with a cruising speed of 15.5 knots that saves up to 12 hours on its Drake Passage crossing. Ocean Diamond carries a fleet of kayaks for up-close adventure options, and certain itineraries even offer field camping on the ice. The per person rate for this ship’s 12-day Antarctic Explorer cruise starts at $5,495. It is delivered at a comfortable pace, perfect for first-time polar travelers or travelers with limited time to experience Antarctica.
AdventureSmith’s in-depth Antarctica Cruise Guide helps travelers decide what kind of polar experience and style of ship to book. Also on the AdventureSmith blog, Founder Todd Smith has detailed how to best choose an Antarctic cruise operator, covering things to consider like ship ice class, Antarctic Treaty compliance, experience of guides, operator conservation efforts and trip inclusions, which can vary greatly in this destination.

“People hear reports of declining penguin populations and icebergs the size of Rhode Island breaking off,” says Todd, “and they feel a sense of urgency to see Antarctica before it becomes spoiled. It is our hope that industry and humanity will come together to address these issues and Antarctic conservation will take hold to prevent further degradation of the polar environment. By responsibly sending travelers to experience Antarctica in person, we would like to create an army of advocates for its protection and the larger environmental issues that affect Antarctica and the entire planet.”

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in California. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions.
Images courtesy of AdventureSmith Explorations.
Traveler Interest in Indigenous Tourism Grows Rapidly
In mid-September I had the privilege of attending the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference (PAITC 2015) in Vancouver, British Columbia, hosted by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC (AtBC) and the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA). Even though I have researched and written about aboriginal/indigenous tourism for a decade, I was deeply encouraged by the reported successes and dedication of the people involved in developing authentic, sustainable opportunities to share their traditional ways with a rapidly increasing number of travelers interested in such experiences.
B.C. coast First Nation totem poles visited on a Sea Wolf Adventures indigenous cruise tour. From years of Travel with a Challenge readership feedback, I am aware that indigenous tourism is a welcome theme, dovetailing as it does with both cultural and nature-based interests of this audience. So I am inspired to share a little of what I learned at the conference and to point travelers to some reliable indigenous tourism resources in countries where such tourism opportunities are moving forward in a responsible, sustainable manner.

According to the United Nations, there are approximately 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide. About 70% of them live in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, retaining social, cultural, economic and political characteristics distinct from the dominant societies in which they live.
First Nations owned Sea Wolf Adventures, offers stimulating indigenous cultural and nature-focused day tours exploring waters off northern Vancouver Island. Sea Wolf Adventures
Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC), www.waitoc.com, is the leading organization supporting and representing authentic indigenous tourism in the vast state of Western Australia. WAITOC includes over 50 Aboriginal tourism operators ranging from accommodation providers, art and traditional dance and dreamtime stories to contemporary history, safari and bush tours. The goal is to allow Aboriginal people to participate at a real and meaningful level while still maintaining and valuing their cultural heritage.
An early organization that has fostered some of the most authentic and professionally-run indigenous tourism in the world, Aboriginal Tourism Association of British Columbia (AtBC), www.aboriginalbc.com, represents 72 aboriginal operators throughout the province. It has served as an inspiring model for other provinces in Canada where the indigenous tour operators, accommodation providers and restaurants serving traditional foods want to build their own profiles. See the Aboriginal Canada website, www.aboriginalcanada.ca, which presents a rich menu of tourism options in the country’s provinces and territories encompassing First Nations (previously known as Indian), Inuit (previously known as Eskimo) and Métis descent (a merger of First Nations and colonial-era European ancestry creating its own recognized culture).
Cream colored Spirit or Kermode bear plus black coated cub in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest.
Very rare white or cream Spirit Bears are highly revered by First Nations people in British Columbia’s protected Great Bear Rainforest. Here a light-coated mother bear supervises her black-coated cub's salmon fishing lesson. The First Nation-owned Spirit Bear Lodge is an ideal place to do some bear watching which is always exciting no matter what the animal's color. Spirit Bear Adventures
Chile is the latest country to take seriously the potential for indigenous tourism, and well it should be encouraged to do so with nine different indigenous “nations” making up 11% of its population. Many developing opportunities provide the perfect excuse to visit the more central and northerly Atacama Desert region which has been home to indigenous people for 12,000 years! It is a 1,000 kilometer strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean consisting of the driest desert in the world. There is a lot of enthusiasm now but not the obvious sources of visitor information as I would like to see. I recommend viewing the Chile travel projects of Travolution.org, www.travolution.org/programs/?lang=en, and contacting its Executive Director, Juan Marambio, juan.marambio@travolution.org, who is a real authority as exciting opportunities unfold.
Chile's indigenous tourism is new but growing rapidly, especially in Atacama Desert territory.
Chile’s indigenous tourism is quite new, but moving effectively to offer some excellent village experiences and educational opportunities for visitors.
Ecored Lickan Antay
New Zealand's Māori culture is second only to its dramatic landscapes as the main reason visitors travel there. If tourism experiences are able to incorporate both of these aspects in an authentic way, it makes for a winning combination. Although the traditional aspects such as kapa haka remain important parts of Māori life - and tourism - today, there is a much wider range of tourism products that incorporate a Māori element. Experiences such as hiking, white water rafting, art and cultural tours, and the opportunity to hear the unique stories behind New Zealand's places, people and activities first-hand are popular among international visitors. Indigenous New Zealand, www.inz.maori.nz, is the gateway to Māori culture providing a comprehensive database of Māori tourism experiences in the country.
New Zealand Maori elder shares the breath of life with an international visitor.
On a New Zealand holiday, a visitor shares the hongi or breath of life greeting with a Māori elder. Chris Sisarich
To get an authentic taste of indigenous tourism in two regions of Canada and in New Zealand, we recommend three articles from our Travel Article Library: a spotlight on First Nations tours and attractions in diverse areas of British Columbia, a visit to Ontario’s Manitoulin Island where First Nations there welcome visitors to experience their culture, and a visit to Rotorua, a hub of Māori culture on the North Island of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

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