(CNN) — For Kristy Burns, her partner Annette Demel and her best friend Lynn Edminston entered the 50’s and 60’s, marking the beginning, not the end.

About six years ago, the trio reached retirement age and sold their home. First I went out on the road with an RV and then started hiking odysseys across the United States.

The group then embarked on the 2,190-mile (3,524 km) Appalachian Trail, the US-Mexico border, the Continental Divide Trail that connects the US-Canada border, and more recently the Pacific Coast Trail in the mountains. Thanksgiving ended around 2021.

“We still wanted to retire while we could do something physically,” Burns said. CNN Travel. “So the first thing we did as a retirement gift was that all three of us did the Colorado Trail-we backpacked that 500-mile trail.”

Burns and Demel have long loved hiking, but in between busy jobs they didn’t have time to go on a long trek. Meanwhile, Edminston started backpacking when he was in his 50s. The Colorado Trail was a new experience for all of them, but it was an incredible experience. They were hooked and wanted to get back there as soon as possible.

“We decided to do these three long iconic trails in the United States,” says Burns.

“We really decided to do the Appalachian Trail,” Demel cut in with a laugh. “I personally didn’t expect to do all three.”

“You can hardly think of it because it’s overwhelming,” Burns admits. “In my mind, I always wanted to do that, but you don’t even know if your body can tolerate it.”

Hiking three trekks, known in the United States as the “Triple Crown of Hiking,” had some tough challenges, from saving water while walking in the desert to keeping an eye on grizzly bears. Trio did his best to complete his dream. .. They say they had the best time along the way.

“Our goal is to motivate older people to get out and out,” says Burns. “Society tells us that you are retired and at the end of your life. You are moving in the opposite direction. You are like us. Expand your belief. Go out and do great things. “

Find fulfillment

Matt and Barbara Derebery have been backpacking around the world for the past six years.

Courtesy Barbara and Matt Derebery

Many may plan their trip when they retire, but stereotypes suggest that older travelers prefer to save for luxury hotels and luxury cruises over backpacks.

However, American couples in their 50s, Barbara and Matt Delebury, also favor hostels and tents and avoid five-star suites.

Retired Barbara and remote Matt have been back and forth for most of the six years. Their first destination was the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Trail in Spain. Since then, they have been exploring destinations such as Portugal, Switzerland and Croatia.

“You go from all these things in normal life to the stress of work and this and it” I’m on a plane to go for a walk with my backpack “,” their experience. Barbara says.

Many of the travelers they meet along the way are in their twenties, but Barbara says she’s happy to backpack the planet in her fifties.

“That’s the choice we make-it’s not inevitable,” she tells CNN Travel. “I think that’s what makes it better for me and more fulfilling when I get older.”

But Matt says he wants to travel more when he was young and now feels he is making up for the lost time.

He points out that this lifestyle is fraught with difficulties. For example, you can sleep wherever you can make your head a little trickier, such as inevitable pain or pain.

The couple say it’s easier to travel financially safer than when they were young, but they claim that living on the road is cheaper than people imagine.

Their main advice is to avoid delaying travel dreams if possible.

“With all of us, there will be a day when you can’t, and no one knows when that day will come,” says Matt.

“So I’ll go out and do it-do it as soon as possible. Don’t find an excuse not to do so.”

Working remotely

Brent Hartinger and Michael Jensen enjoy the freedom to explore the Earth by working remotely.

Brent Hartinger and Michael Jensen enjoy the freedom to explore the Earth by working remotely.

Michael Jensen

In an era of telecommuting and the proliferation of digital connections, older travelers are increasingly able to delay their retirement while enjoying exploring the planet.

Writers Brent Hartinger and Michael Jensen, who left the United States in 2016, are working on their respective writing projects while traveling.

One of the many positives is to see how their trip evolved and matured them in unexpected ways.

Jensen, who always thought he was an introvert, said he thought, “I’m in my fifties and it won’t change anytime soon.”

However, Jensen says that by exploring the world and living with a backpack, he realized that he was able to take advantage of new experiences and love to interact with new people and different cultures.

And for both Hartinger and Jensen, traveling in their fifties is inextricably linked to greater appreciation for living at that moment.

“You start to feel the preciousness of life a little more, and life is not infinite. At some point, you realize,” Oh, much of my life is behind me. ” Jensen.

“I think people over the age of 50 who make this choice often do it very consciously, because they know it is now or never.”


Kristy Burns, Annette Demel and Lynn Edminston share their trip on YouTube.

Kristy Burns, Annette Demel and Lynn Edminston share their trip on YouTube.

Christie Burns

Hartinger and Jensen take their adventures NewsletterKristy Burns, Annette Demel, Lynn Edminston while sharing a hike YouTube channelThey dubbed “Wonder Woman”.

For all travelers, it’s a way to encourage others to follow in their footsteps, but Burns only established a channel for her to keep her mother in a loop about her trip, and others He says he was surprised when he noticed that he was watching.

She says it is now another way for travelers to make connections. Burns, Demel and Edminston offer night beds and transportation to and from trail passes to those who follow them on YouTube.

We also know that people around the world are inspiring and rooting from afar.

“We have someone who wrote,’Hey, I’m hiking. I haven’t been hiking for years, but I’m hiking,'” says Burns. ..

Trio says making unexpected connections on the road is one of the joys of their adventure. It changed their perspective and improved their lives.

“We always feel like people are shrinking their lives when they retire. You have no business relationship. Our message expands it, does more and more. Doing things and meeting new people. ” Burn.

From time to time, Demel says it can be unpleasant-both physically and mentally. She remembers the night she spent in her shelter while on the Appalachian Trail. She lay side by side with a stranger on her shoulders.

But it’s important to stay out of their comfort zone, the group says.

“It’s part of all the fun,” says Edminston.

“It gave us hope by connecting with people and experiencing them, which was a positive, wonderful and bright experience for us in a less positive world,” Burns said. increase.

Burns, Edminston, and Demel also suggest that traveling as a slightly older person, like Jensen, can lead to unexpected personal discoveries.

Burns says it’s an opportunity to “reinvent” himself.

“Wow, I never thought I would do this in my 60s,” Edminston agrees.

In the future, Wonder Woman wants to go abroad and embark on famous hikes around the world. Covid has so far canceled these plans, while Burns, Edminston, and Demel are grateful to have been able to get out in the wilderness of the United States.

Their immediate plan is to head south for the winter on the RV. Then they plan their next trip.

“We will reorganize, plan, map and consider different things,” says Demel.

“There will be great things. We will do great things. We just don’t know what will happen in the first place,” says Burns.

Top photo courtesy of Kristy Burns