…A mission to explore every wild corner on this planet in order to introduce the 50-plus generation to active travel and life-changing experiences in the great outdoors.
And, also very important for us as a group, to give a gift of safety to local families around the world who make our adventures so unique and wonderful.
For me, adventure travel tells the story of what life is all about. Over 25 years ago, in 1987, I founded Walking The World and took my first group of older adults on a 7-day hiking adventure through the slickrock canyons of southeast Utah. The goal then was the same as it is now: to introduce the 50-plus generation to life-changing outdoor travel. And since 1987, thousands of adventurers have joined Walking The World on journeys to more than 23 countries.
While hiking is our primary mode of travel, we enjoy many forms of transport: camels, canoes, sailboats, rafts – and who knows what future trips will include. Our adventures are active, life-changing experiences. Hiking is a full contact sport – total immersion in the wild world. When we lace up our boots and head out with only a pack on our back and our friends around us, we take a step-by-step journey into the world as it really is. When it rains, we put on rain gear; but if it’s not too heavy a downpour, we keep walking. When we meet locals in different countries, we stop to talk. We might invite them to join us or, as is often the case, they invite us into their homes.
Adventure travel is not just about moving from place to place
We also take time on every trip to enjoy the sublime delicacies of life – sipping a full bodied, delicate red wine in Tuscany, enjoying a sunset dinner cruise off the coast of Costa Rica, having lunch near a 400-foot waterfall in Hawaii, or cavorting with seals in the Galapagos Islands off of Ecuador.
In the years ahead, we’ll be expanding our journeys to include new areas of the world still waiting to be explored: the Dolomites in Italy, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Madagascar in Africa, and Romania and Bulgaria in Eastern Europe.
There is more to Walking the World than hiking.
Around the world, more than 4 million people in Third World Countries die each year from the smoke they inhale while cooking on a 3-stone cooking fire. More than 85% of those affected are women and children. Replacing one traditional, 3-stone cooking fire – a pile of firewood added to three rocks set on a dirt floor – can save lives and significantly reduce the production of carbon dioxide, toxic smoke, and black carbon. Our program requires that every hiker contributes a stove to one family as part of their trip expense.
My vision is to mobilize the 50-plus population – more than 100 million strong in the U.S. – to provide life- changing experiences, amazing adventures, and providing a cooking stove to as many families as possible along our way. While we’ll be immersing ourselves in the astonishing beauty of the world, we’ll also be saving lives and giving women more time and energy to spend with their families – helping their children to grow up and seek out adventures of their own.
For more posts by Ward Luthi, click here. Ward is a blogger for JenningsWire.