Do you have travel on your mind? Are you looking for a modest trip? Or maybe you’re dreaming of an expansive travel adventure. Perhaps you see yourself tasting wines at Lake Chelan or exploring the Pacific Science Center. Whatever your tastes, the travel services at Senior Services for South Sound are filling the calendar with amazing choices. They take care of the driving, ticket purchasing, hotel booking, parking and restaurant reservations. You just need to pick your tour, pack your day or overnight bag and be ready to go.
If you have any notion that senior means boring or slow, think again. The trips would interest adults of any age. A recent cannabis education tour to a Seattle grower and retailer was wildly popular. Each quarter, a booklet of possibilities is printed. Senior Services offers three kinds of trips. The first two are arranged in-house – single-day trips or trips with one or two overnights.
Senior Services owns a comfortable, air-conditioned bus that seats 24 passengers. Guides accompany you, so all you have to do is notice the scenery and participate in your activity. Music festivals, art shows, theater, sporting events and nature walks are just a few of the themes. For those who are looking for longer trips, Senior Services works with three outside agencies that book tours. A lucky group of ten travelers recently returned from a discovery Cuba trip, all facilitated locally by Senior Services.
Maybe you have concerns about your physical ability to get around. Tours are defined as easy, moderate or more difficult. Easy means minimal walking and primarily flat surfaces. You’ll usually get dropped off at the front door. Moderate means you may be walking short distances, climbing stairs and/or standing. More difficult is a designation for walking tours, more standing, uneven surfaces and probably flights of stairs.
Sky Myers, Director of Travel and Retail at Senior Services, has been serving clients for three years. Tours were previously managed by volunteers. That worked well at times, but it lacked consistency and continuity. Myers started working fifteen hours per week, which soon enough became thirty-five. Her joy comes from getting to really know the people who use the program and giving personalized service, a clear priority. When travelers give feedback, all of it is intently reviewed, considered and adjustments are made. She’s happy to add, “We provide trips for seniors who would not otherwise get out.”
Myers has been active in the Thurston County community for many years. She’s a writer and director. Her initiative and interest in the arts led to opening Midnight Sun, where she stayed involved from 1994-1999. She worked with Left Foot Organics and helped with new educational programs at Timberline Regional Library. Her travel work stimulates her interest in helping others, and sometimes she gets to accompany groups on the tours.
In addition to her travel duties, Sky manages the two retail outlets of Senior Services, which include Budd Bay Bargains (inside the Olympia Center, upstairs) and the Estate Store at 510 Columbia. Both stores have become increasing selective about what they keep in the store and what they give away and the turn over is speedy. Both places have screaming bargains as well. Funds from the tours and retail stores go to support programs for local seniors.
If you would like to be present for the unveiling of the new fall/winter catalogue, you are invited to attend the free Travelers’ Tea at the Lacey Senior Center on July 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. You can meet potential travel partners, future friends and when you sign up on that day, there is an early bird discount. You do not need to make a reservation for the event. For more information on travel, call 360-586-6181 ext. 126. Or visit the Senior Services travel website. You are not required to be a senior to go on any of the trips, however, if space is limited there will be priority given to seniors.
Sky shares how almost every tour has someone new to the service. I didn’t realize the extent of the tours available until I talked with her. It was clear that this office is happy to provide extra services and find the right tour for anyone. Every effort is made to provide trips that are economical and offer great seats for the shows and interesting places to eat. They also work with a company that offers very forgiving trip insurance.
It’s time to set sail. Find out about the Virginia V cruise. Talk a walk through the Butchart Gardens. Go have fun. Grab your bag and a friend. Let get going!