Blame it on my uncle Bart and Aunt Ann who introduced me to the adventure and love of travel.

When I was 10 years old, Bart and Ann called my parents with an amazing offer. Bart was traveling across country for the summer with his job and they invited me to come along!

My parents were in support of new experiences and adventures and they proposed the offer to me. My 10-year-old response immediately was “yes!”. And I was off on an experience that would shape who I am today. I met Ann and Bart in New York City, then off we drove — in Bart’s Mercedes — on a summer adventure.

I got to see such amazing sights such as Niagara Falls (and find out that Canada has claims on the falls we see most in postcards). Drove across five of Canada’s provinces, saw the Canadian Rockies, rode a ferry from Victoria Island to the state of Washington and drove through a redwood tree. I saw Chinatown in San Francisco, rode the famous San Francisco trolley, toured the famous Winchester House, and spent a wonderful time with my aunt Marion and uncle Joe.

These wonderful relatives gave me the gift of the love of travel. I traveled quite a bit since then. Now I’m developing travel through the Senior Center for older adults. I’m adding my efforts to those of Jean Harm who does a wonderful job organizing local day trips and will continue to do so.

So far, we’ve organized trips to Yellowstone, Cody and Heart Mountain, to Washington, D.C., and New York City and last year to the wonderful Medora Musical in North Dakota.

Although not the same group of folks goes every time, there is a core group of folks who love the adventure of travel and have gone on every trip. Others have joined in as the trips call to them.

I’ve discovered that many folks want to travel but are hesitant to do so for a variety of reasons. The benefit of group travel is that the planning is done by someone else (from the Senior Center, that’s me), you can meet new people, you don’t have to travel alone, and you can take advantage of lower prices offered to groups that you don’t get when you travel alone.  Plus, let’s not forget the excitement of new places, experiences and memories!

This year, I’ve been tasked to step up our game and so now we’re offering four trips for older travelers this year. I’ve mixed up the trips with shorter, regional overnight trips — such as to see the Bar J Wranglers in their natural habitat in Jackson and the wonderful Medora Musical in Medora, North Dakota — and two longer trips. The first trip to Washington, D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg is coming up soon but there’s a lot of interest in a 10-day train trip through New England to Quebec and Montreal this September.

Our hope is that folks who want to travel may consider traveling with a group organized by the Senior Center. For those who have never really traveled — but want to “dip their toes in the waters” — this may be a safe way to go for you!

Jean and I have planned day trips and travel offers for all of 2016. You can stop by the Senior Center to pick up one of the 2016 schedules or see our new webpage at www.sheridanseniorcenter.org.

I’m excited to put this travel program together. I’m finding there are people who want to travel with others, meet new friends or travel with old friends. So, please call the center and I can share with you the details on what we have cooked up for 2016 travel with the Senior Center. If I seem to have too much enthusiasm for this program, blame it on my uncle Bart and aunt Ann!

Lois Bell is the communications director at the Senior Center. Center Stage is written by friends of the Senior Center for the Sheridan Community.  It is a collection of insights and stories related to living well at every age.