Meet Hank & Mary: Catching Up on Travel Dreams in Retirement

Catching Up on Travel Dreams in Retirement

When Hank and Mary Woods married in 1973, they knew they wanted to travel together. As time went on, however, and the pair balanced careers, parenthood, and finances, travel fell by the wayside.

“Money was the basic issue,” said Mary, “Saving for retirement and all of life’s other expenses took up any excess funds we had.” 

They found their travel dreams rekindled in 2010 after both were officially retired, but then health issues got in the way. Still, the travel bug persisted, and when Mary saw the MARSP Travel Program’s trip to Coastal Maine in 2022, she had just one thought: 

“Lobster,” said Mary, grinning. 

The timing was finally right, as was the activity level for Mary, who has mobility issues. 

“Health issues limit us, but they won’t stop us,” said Hank. 

Roaming Coastal Maine, MARSP’s first-ever trip in partnership with Collette Travel, was designated a “Level 2” out of four in terms of activity. According to Collette, Level 2 travelers “like a balanced approach to travel.” Hank and Mary were optimistic about the mix of planned activities and leisure time in Maine.

“We, thought, ‘Let’s try it out,’” said Hank.

“Let’s catch up on the dreams we had 50 years ago,” added Mary. 

On their trip, Hank and Mary enjoyed scenic views of forests, mountains, and sweeping shorelines. They visited vineyards, an oyster farm, and joined a local lobsterman to retrieve lobster cages from beneath the ocean’s surface. As they traveled the coast by train, Hank, a model railroad enthusiast, spent an hour talking to the train’s engineer.

“Everyone was oohing and aahing at the scenery, and I was in the back talking to the engineer about the railroad business and how things had changed over the years – just a 70-year-old guy acting like a 12-year-old kid.” 

While Mary enjoyed each bit of the journey, her favorite part was the company of fellow MARSP members. 

“One of the best things was the people. Everyone was right there to help me,” said Mary, who still keeps up with one of the MARSP members she befriended on the trip over email. 

Any nervousness the pair felt about physical limitations holding the group back was quickly eased. Fellow MARSP travelers were more than happy to assist and accommodate, as were the travel facilitators. Particularly, Mary noted, the bus driver for their tour. 

Hank and Mary hope their story inspires confidence in MARSP members who are interested in traveling, but have fears or hesitations. 

“I want other people to think, ‘Oh, well she did it. Maybe I can do it,’” said Mary. 

Her parting advice:
“Just keep an eye on the activity level.”

Hank and Mary will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on August 11, 2023. MARSP congratulates them on this milestone and wishes them many more adventures in the years to come!


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