I met a lovely British gentlemen in the gym last fall. Same ship, transatlantic but headed from Majorca to Panama. Every morning I would see him in the gym when I arrived before 0600. Along with one other person, we were there before the official opening time working out. I watched him complete his routine with steady determination first on the treadmill then on various weight machines.
Speaking with him one morning toward the end of the cruise, he said he was a widower and that his family had encouraged him to resume traveling. He and his wife had traveled extensively and he had been thinking about resuming exploring the world, albeit on his own.
The first sea day (which was last Thursday) who do I see in the gym when I get there early in the morning but Bob marching along on his treadmill looking if anything more fit and healthy than last fall. In his T-shirt and shorts he is barrel chested and strong looking, sturdy without that fat look that comes from indulgent living.
We chatted for a bit while I was cranking up my treadmill and before he headed to the weight machines. We then sat next to each other at the high stools in the Windjammer over looking the sea with blue skies, calm seas and another cruise ship off in the distance. It seems that most of the staff knows him; the young woman who runs the stretching and fitness classes at 0730 and 0900 stopped by to see how he was doing and to invite him to join her class. Said he was a great example for all the young and non-healthy.
Retired now for 26 years, he used to work for the aerospace industry with the Concord. Due to his job he spent time in Australia and the US as well as the UK developing a taste for seeing areas of the world a bit more distant that the local back 40. His family much prefers him to be on cruise ships: a few years ago he spent several months traveling on his own through Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and San Francisco. Finally talked in to trying a cruise ship, he is now hooked. Not having to worry about bed and breakfast is good, but having your family know that if something happens to you someone will know about it is even better.
Life can be short, or maybe not, but there is a lot to be said for living it to the fullest that you can imagine. New experiences, people and places are not just for the young. I want to be just like Bob in 25 years – fit, traveling and enjoying life. If possible, I would rather not have to do it as a widow.