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March 22, 2022


Hi there, 

Self-love was supposed to be the topic at my women’s discussion group this week, but everyone wound up talking about identity after retirement. One woman, who worked long hours as a fabric designer for 40 years, said she is enjoying doing nothing and has no struggles with identity. Another woman said she’s cultivating the Buddhist discipline of living in the present. But a few women who had been teachers were reluctant to give up their teaching certificates “just in case” they ever had to go back to work. One former teacher said she wanted to keep the credential so she felt she was still a professional even if she was doing volunteer work. The happiest retiree was a former teacher who couldn’t wait to take early retirement so she could pursue her art. A talented painter, she got to switch her identity to “artist” in retirement.

As for me, I’m still working as a writer and happy about it. I won’t retire until they pry my computer from my cold, dead hands.

I’m Erica Manfred, Geezer Geek, Snarky Senior, and author of I’m Old so Why Aren’t I Wise? I moved to Florida alone in my trusty Ford Focus seven years ago from upstate New York and haven’t regretted it. I’ve always written about my life, and now that I’m old, aging and ageism are what I care about most. I’m writing this newsletter as part of the event platform Life Experienced. Each week, I’ll be exploring what matters to us later in life, from finding community to nuts-and-bolts stuff like figuring out our phones. I’ll also be interviewing inspiring seniors. Know someone we should feature? Email us at or join us on Facebook.  

Traveling North America this summer


At a pizza dinner after the women’s group, the subject of summer travel came up. Two women who travel together reported that their trip to Eastern Europe had been postponed yet again after being rescheduled three times since 2019. No one could have predicted a pandemic and now a war. Others considered cruises, but the horrifying stories of being trapped on a boat in a foreign port because of COVID-19 put the kibosh on that choice. Same for plane trips to foreign shores—who knew when a lockdown might keep you from coming home? Only one brave person was going to Belize to join her family—but that’s at least on the same continent.

We wound up discussing travel within the U.S. I love car and train trips and voted for staying close to home because of all the uncertainty. If you are itching to get away this summer, here are some trips to consider.

Road trips:

  • Pacific Coast Highway. One of the more spectacular road trips in the United States, U.S. Route 101 travels the Pacific Coast through Washington, Oregon, and California for nearly 1,600 miles. You can see the ocean crash against the shore from towering cliffs, seals congregating on rocks, picturesque small towns, and numerous cultural attractions, including the famous Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Here’s a guide to the entire route to help you pick your trip.
  • Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. Take the grandkids (or yourself) for a fossil hunt. According to this site, which describes a variety of Colorado trips, “this loop trip begins and ends at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado, situated along its border with Utah. You’ll be able to channel your inner paleontologist while traversing a landscape that’s home to some of the most significant dinosaur fossils on Earth.” 
  • Blue Ridge Parkway. According to the Blue Ridge Traveler, “the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic roadway that stretches from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and down to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Western North Carolina. Along the way, it weaves among mountain peaks and forested coves, connecting visitors to hiking trails and waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife and countless breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Train trips: 

These were the most affordable ones I could find, all starting at under $2,000 per person.

  • Grand Canyon Railway. This six-day rail vacation includes round-trip travel on Amtrak's Southwest Chief from Chicago, a 64-mile journey on the historic Grand Canyon Railway, hotel accommodations, and sightseeing at the Grand Canyon. You’ll have time to explore on your own as well. 
  • Alpine Canadian Train to the Rockies. This six-day trip from Vancouver to Calgary or Calgary to Vancouver includes stays at the small towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper. The scenery is breathtaking, and you get your own sleeper cabin for overnight travel.  
  • Jazz Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. If you’re an Elvis fan, this nine-day rail journey may be for you. It starts in Chicago with a bus tour of the city plus visits to famous blues sites. Then you’ll head to Memphis to visit Graceland and other local attractions. The final stop is New Orleans with a sightseeing tour of the Latin Quarter, a ride on a paddleboat, and a jazz brunch.  
Before leaving home, make sure to research the latest CDC advice regarding COVID-19 restrictions where you’re going. Bring your vaccine card and a supply of masks. Read this New York Times article about what to expect. 

Life Experienced featured event


Low-impact workout
Thursday, March 24
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET

Get moving and grooving with exercise physiologist Velma Garnes. Velma will lead a 30-minute workout to get your heart rate up—without hurting your joints. With a warm-up, fun cardio session, and stretching, this workout is perfect for all fitness levels!
This event is brought to you by Life Experienced and hosted by one of our ambassadors.

Traveling by unicyle

Jesse doesn't live his life on autopilot. Instead, he's constantly finding new ways to be active—in every sense. With hobbies from unicycling to reading, see how his days are anything but boring in this video.

Partner spotlight

World Virtual Tours helps people have travel and cultural experiences whenever they want and wherever they are.

With our free virtual tours, you can learn about masterpieces of art and history and visit beauties of the ancient world with the aid of modern technologies, 360-degree reconstructions, and live narration from archeologists and licensed guides.

Best of all, you can interact and ask questions without leaving home!

For more information, visit us at


I’m always looking for a bargain. I surf the internet searching for senior discounts, but most are 10 percent off at places like McDonald’s, where I’d never eat anyway. Recently, I came across this helpful article from, which aggregates senior freebies and discounts in different areas such as bank accounts, restaurants, stores, tuition (some schools offer free tuition for seniors), tax breaks, and more. They came up with discounts I didn’t know existed. I’m bookmarking the link.

Become a partner

Does your organization reach a community of older adults? Get in touch with us for information on amplifying your events and activities on the platform and expanding the Life Experienced service to your network. There is no cost to partnering. Get in touch with us here:

That’s it! Thanks for reading. And if you want to chime in with your two cents on what this newsletter should include, email us at

Until next time, 

Events are more fun with friends

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