We have been traveling for the past nine weeks, visiting six countries, two in southeast Asia, and four in Europe. Throughout this journey, whenever they were available, we’ve asked for senior discounts–on trains, planes, museums and tours. In most places we are given the discount with no questions asked, no proof of age. That has been a bit disappointing. I guess I really do look like a senior. When exactly did that happen? When was it that I stopped being asked to prove my age? When was the last time I asked for a senior discount and the person looked at me with skepticism? That just doesn’t happen anymore.
Today we were buying tickets to tour the amazing castle in Carcassonne, France, the last stop before beginning our Camino walk, and I forgot to ask for the senior discount. The woman, probably in her 30’s, looked at me and sheepishly said. “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?” I laughed, and said I was certainly old enough for the senior discount, telling her I was 67. I was hoping she would say, “Wow, you don’t look a day over 62!”, the age for a senior discount. She just smiled and told me I was getting a 2 Euro discount on the ticket price.
On Tuesday, we begin walking 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago. We start on the French side of the Pyrenees. From what I have read, the first day is the hardest day of the 34 days we will be walking. People speak of starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port, where we will start, with great pride. There’s no senior discount for the Camino and no short cuts.
In 1999 I ran the Boston Marathon and I said to someone I knew who had also run that year, a world class runner, “Wow, I ran the Boston Marathon, but not like you.” Her response has never left me, “You ran the same 26.2 miles that I ran, on the same day, with the same conditions. Never diminish your accomplishment.”
We won’t walk as fast as many people, but we will walk the same 500 miles, over the same terrain. We might be asked our age, but we won’t receive a senior discount.
Look for our updates on my blog and on Facebook.
With love and gratitude,