Have you heard that Elderhostel’s program division is now called Exploritas? Though this respected senior travel program’s website banner is currently flipping back and forth between these to E words, the site address is clearly www.exploritas.org. When you reach the site a rather ominous , but decidedly sexy, male voice announces, “Welcome to Exploritas.”
The name alteration and some organizational changes has set off a fast moving social media rumor that the organization will be marketing to and recruiting participants as young as 21 years old. However, further exploration of the website reveals an article by James Moses, organization president, on their age policy. He writes that the information is erroneous and that “Elderhostel has been, and Exploritas will continue to be, a program created for and attractive to older, primarily retired adults.”
That definition certainly does describe my understanding of Elderhostel’s mission. Exploritas: Explore your mind and discover the world through authentic and thought-provoking adventures in learning. The word is a combination of “explore” and “veritas,” the Latin word for truth.
Here’s the balm for Elderhostel fans and the kicker for those who are sick of those in both the social media and mainstream media who engage in fingerpointing, gossip mongering, rumor generating, witch hunting, just plain meanness and irresponsible reporting, the site states: Exploritas is new, but the engaging programs, the spirit, the fun and camaraderie are the same that millions of people have experienced over the last 34 years with Elderhostel. As a matter of fact, Elderhostel is still the name of our organization. We’re just launching a new name for our programs.
Is it true that twenty somethings could now participate in Exploritas’ programs? It is! The age limited is being relaxed, but as James Moses writes, “‘In summary, we all need to remember and remind others that there is a huge difference between “actively seeking” and “not turning away.” Our goal as we relax the 55 age limit is not to change the atmosphere of our programs, but to adopt an open, welcoming posture. We don’t want to turn away any adult who has a genuine thirst for learning, affiliation and meaning, and I believe that anyone who looks beyond the sound bite will agree that this is our proper position and the right decision.'”
To put my own spin on it, do you know a 21-year-old who would rather turn in their backpack and ten days in Dam Square eating fresh bread and cheese and consuming other local goods for a suitcase with wheels under the bus and tour described as “from Gothic cathedrals, Renaissance palaces and Baroque storehouses to artworks by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh….” Further how many 21 year olds can afford $5000 for this kind of experience. If you know one send them my way. I could use a young strong sherpa with plenty of tipping cash on my next adventure in learning.
Check out the site www.exploritas.org. Even if you are not planning a senior learning adventure in the near future, you should listen to the welcome on their site. There is definitely something senior and adventurous about it.