Books Magazine

Cruising the Mediterranean

By Travelingbook @travelingbook


By Sunny Lockwood and Al Lockwood

Guest Post

For those of us who love to travel, there’s rarely a question of why?

We know why: we want to see new places, learn about new cultures, try new foods, and simply have fun in a city or countryside where we’ve never been before.

The questions we ask are: Where do we want to go next? How can we get there? When can we leave?

My husband and I have had the travel bug since we were young. Now, well into retirement, our wanderlust is strong as ever. And the rewards are equally great.

Studies show that travel is good for the body, the brain and the spirit. And even though our older bodies lack the endurance they once had, we find that travel enlarges our concept of “home” and enriches our experience of wonder.

Imagine being awakened by the deep, resonant melody of church bells, bells that have rung each morning for centuries. That was our experience in Florence.

Or being enveloped in the fragrance of incense from a fortuneteller’s shop. We experienced that each afternoon in Barcelona. Our Airbnb apartment was right above her shop.

Imagine the flavor of dark chocolate gelato setting your taste buds dancing. That was our daily experience in Venice. That and the scene of shiny black gondolas sliding calmly through narrow canals.


Our stunning world is immense. But our individual lives are brief. So if there’s something you dream of doing, our advice is do it now. While you can.

Sweetheart Al and I choose ocean cruising as our preferred method of long-range travel. There are many reasons for this, including our modest travel budget and our declining mobility. We can no longer hike like there’s no tomorrow, jump into sleeping bags, or pedal bicycles for miles.

But on a cruise we can see the world at our own pace and in our own way while sleeping in the same comfortable bed each night.


And we’ve chosen to share our adventures through travel memoirs.

Our newest book, Cruising the Mediterranean, brings readers along on our 12-day cruise to Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Ephesus and three Greek islands.

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Even before we left California, we started our trip by adjusting our internal clock so that we’d be on European time when we arrived in Amsterdam. We added four days in Amsterdam just because Al wanted me to see that historic city, before boarding our cruise ship.

In Amsterdam, we used Airbnb. A first for us, and we loved the experience. We stayed in the heart of historic Amsterdam. Actually, our room was in the Red Light District, so our “window shopping” introduced us to the latest in sex toys, edible underwear and items we couldn’t even identify.

We cruised on Holland America. We’ve cruised on other lines, but this 12-day trip fit our pocketbook and visited places we really wanted to see.

At every stop, we experienced something wonderful, from standing on the Acropolis as the morning sun gilded its marble monuments, to watching a rug weaving demonstration in Istanbul.


We discovered delectable Turkish Delight during a dinner cruise along the Bosphorous Strait. And enjoyed the largest piece of Baklava we’d ever seen in a family-owned restaurant on the island of Santorini.

We’ve done our best to capture in words (and a few photographs) the wonder of our trip. Our goal in writing travel memoirs? To share our fun and fabulous experience.

When Barbra Streisand said, “Life gets easier as you get older,” she was 100% correct. Many people are postponing travel until they are older and carry less burdens. Here are our top 5 reasons why you should do the same!


1. No Children to Tie You Down
You can go whenever and wherever you want without having to worry about school schedules or always disappointing someone. Making everyone happy is what makes vacations stressful, and they don’t need to be! The great thing about being older is that you can skip all the hassle that makes parents dread vacation. This is a huge plus!
2. Retire When and How You Want
Stop worrying about going to work or having to take time off for your dream vacation. You can live your life without any responsibilities. Your calendar is now wide open! Take a vacation for a month, even a year if you want!
3. Celebrate Life
You may want to start traveling because you recently discovered that you, unfortunately, have health issues. Travel can take your mind off your problems and allow you to reflect on everything you’ve always otherwise wanted to do. It can also give you the best chance to spend undisturbed time with the ones you love the most.
4. Bucket Lists
You may have a list of places you want to visit or activities you want to experience. Instead of lamenting about missed opportunities in the past, this is the perfect time to start catching up on things you’ve always wanted to do for yourself. Starting at age 50 should give you plenty of time to cross everything off!
5. Acquired Savings
You have worked hard for several years and have poured savings into a retirement fund. This is the time to dip into that fund and do some traveling. You now have more money than you may have had when you were working, and you deserve a few vacations to some exotic places. So, take a risk!

And to encourage others to make their own travel dreams come true!

*Sunny Lockwood is a retired newspaper reporter, columnist and editor. Her freelance stories and articles have been published in MS magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and other national and regional publications. Al Lockwood is a retired Silicon Valley engineer. He’s a fine art photographer whose work has been published in magazines and newspapers.

*All the images courtesy of Sunny Lockwood and Al Lockwood

Cruising the Mediterranean

Licencia Creative Commons

Twitter @travelingbook

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