Meet Tom Bartel and Kristin Henning, former publishers who become nomadic travelers.
After a 30-year career in publishing, Tom and Kris shed their last publication, their house, and most of their possessions.
In 2010, they gave their dog to their daughter and set out on a journey to see the world.
Kris and Tom combine a love of culture with a passion for the outdoors. Their travels vary between long stays in such cultural cities as London, Barcelona, Rome, and Beijing, detours to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and spurts of hiking or biking in Europe, Australia, Asia, or the United States National Parks.
You can follow their travels at Travel Past 50.
Tell us a bit about your current work life.
We are retired from our former careers as publishers of newspapers and magazines in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Now we are nomadic travelers, and our work is producing a travel blog (TravelPast50.com) plus freelance writing and photography. While traveling!
What were the situations or circumstances that led you to this place in life?
In 2010, both our children had graduated college, we were ready to leave our business, and we were suddenly free of dependents. Sort of like being in our 20s again!
What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do?
Be patient, be comfortable with sudden changes of plans, and make yourself at home wherever you go. And plan on working at odd hours.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and what did you learn from it?
Other than starting a business during a recession, we should have studied a lot more about how to do it before starting blogging.
If you could go back and give your 20-year old self some advice, what would it be?
Invent the internet. Failing that, travel whenever you can.
If your FUTURE self in 20 years could look back at where you are today, what advice might the Future You offer Current You?
Relax. And get more exercise.
Which resources do you rely on?
We read constantly. News sources include The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, and Business Week. We keep up with travel blogs and online magazines. We read fiction and nonfiction with a little poetry thrown in. And, as we travel and write, we research. Thank you Wikipedia, tourism boards, museums, and all the other sources that provide background.
When are you happiest?
When we’re outside, biking or hiking, and enjoying the view. And when we return home to family.
Anything else you’d like to share with people who want to do something like what you’re doing?
You can do it, but you have to give up your relationship with “stuff,” and instead, love the experience.
Do you have a favorite expression or quote you rely on?
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. — Yogi Berra
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do/be/try?
A fighter pilot.
What are the 2-3 most important work-related purchases you’ve made in the last year?
Membership in the Adventure Travel Trade Association; publication of a catalog book to accompany Tom’s “Time Zones” photography exhibit in Minneapolis; a multi-USB charging port.
If you have questions for Tom or Kris, or about cultural travel in general, please leave them below in the Comments.
And, if you know of any other digital natives or Boomer Nomads whom others might like to meet, please let us know.