While hiking around a gorge in Mainland Ecuador, we encountered a very large group of older people, obviously on a scheduled expedition. The guide was pointing out local flora and fauna and explaining how the gorge developed over time. My ideal way of traveling is pretty much the opposite of this. I would rather not have a plan and just see where the day takes us, and often tour guides irk me to no end. I end up feeling like a teenager listening to my dad explain how to load the dishwasher. I think exploring a place for yourself can lead to some really great moments you may not have seen on a scripted excursion.
I get such a weird feeling combo when I see large tourist groups made up of old people. On one hand I feel embarrassed (the high sock-fannypack-whitehat combo always makes me cringe) for them. On the other hand, I want to be them (in 50 years). How amazing is it that they are still trekking, however slowly, through Ecuador? Even though they may be dinner and going to bed earlier, they’re still chowing down on ceviche and other local delights. While the destinations they visit may be tourist-heavy, it’s still miles and miles away from their comfortable homes. So I applaud you, old man in jeans and sneakers, I have a feeling that fanny pack is just to cover a big ole swinging pair of balls you have.