Sailing the Indian Ocean at Age 92

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We recently came across an interesting traveler comment on our website. Diana Conovitz from the United States had written: "We had the most wonderful tour with Augustine. He was so knowledgeable and made Cochin come to life for us. He was so caring of our comfort and the well-being of our 92 year old mother. We could not have imagined a more positive experience in Cochin."

Of course, we were happy – as we always are – that our guides and travelers had a wonderful time together. But what stood out from this review was the fact that a 92 year old had made the voyage to India. I was impressed and intrigued, so I contacted Diana to ask if she would mind telling me a bit more about her mother’s travels. Below is Gertrude’s story, in her daughter’s words.

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My mother at 92 was getting restless and wanting to travel and at the same time spend time with her family – my sister and brother and our respective spouses. A cruise was the perfect way for us to all be together and have an adventure. My mom is hardy and healthy and had always traveled with my dad, but they had never sailed the Indian Ocean. Our cruise was one segment of a world cruise. The ports were exotic. We started off in Singapore and our ship took us as far away as Mauritius.

On our drive from the airport to our hotel, my mom was overwhelmed by the changes. We reminded her that she had been there over 60 years ago! We cruised islands in Indonesia and Malaysia. My mom and dad were intrepid travelers and their travels were all overland. Sri Lanka was Ceylon when she last visited.

The trip was in the planning for many months. My sister-in-law and I divided up the ports, did our research, and it was she that had uncovered ToursByLocals from a previous trip.

Cochin in south India was my pre-cruise assignment. I was impressed with the ToursByLocals website and the tour offerings. I contacted Augustine and he was absolutely charming. In our first email correspondence I explained that we were traveling with my 92-year-old mother. He responded so warmly and with such care when he said he would "welcome a most valuable visitor." Augustine did everything he could to make our travels informative and comfortable and to present the many aspects of Cochin to us. He was responsive to our every need and did all he could to see that my mother was comfortable. He even bought a stool to help her board the van. Even a two wait for the ferry was done with grace and patience; while we were challenged by the passing time and the heat, he brought us delicious tangerines to eat. At one of our stops to visit a beautiful Dutch church, when Augustine told the fellow inside that his 92-year-old client was in the van outside, he quickly put his shoes on and rushed out to see such a senior woman!

At the end of the day I would have to say that my mom was a really good sport. She was often frustrated by not being able to get around as easily as she would have liked to but as a seasoned traveler she dealt with the challenges that traveling presents and looks forward to her next adventures.

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Thanks so much, Diana, for sharing your family’s travel story with us. Gertrude’s wanderlust is an inspiration! We hope she enjoys continued good health and that we’re able to introduce your family to more guides in the future.
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