“Big Lap Brain’ kicks in as nomads seek thrills

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The nightmare ‘snapped-bungee-cord ordeal’ of an Australian tourist in Zimbabwe is a cautionary tale for the army of ever-more adventurous grey nomads hitting the roads.

With the experts telling us that the over-50s are increasingly game to take on just about anything while they are travelling … the story of Erin Langworthy is a timely reminder that things can – and do – go wrong.

The 22-year-old plunged headfirst into the Zambesi River, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, when her bungee cord snapped. She was then forced to swim through the rapids with her feet still tied together. Incredibly, she survived with nothing worse than a fractured collar bone and severe bruising.

It is unlikely that the story would have had such a relatively happy ending if a significantly older person had been taking the plunge. And all the indications are that many grey nomads would have been prepared to do so!

A recent British survey found that the over-50s are growing old dangerously, with the study revealing that some 13% of mature-aged travellers take part in extreme sports while on a trip. The study said ‘holiday brain’ kicked in when older funseekers became less inhibited away from home.

Water-skiing and parasailing are the most popular activities, with scuba diving, windsurfing, rock climbing, bungee jumping and caving close behind. Gnu Insurance, which carried out the study, said over-50s were throwing caution to the wind to take part in activities they’d never normally dream of.

The Australia Skydive Group told www.thegreynomads.com.au that it is actively seeking to promote skydiving as a fantastic activity for grey nomads touring around Australia. Similarly, Tiger Moth Aerial Services says it sees a large proportion of baby boomers who are ready, willing and able to take to the sky in the historic aircraft.

But it’s not all up in the air. Whether it be diving, bushwalking, quadbiking, cycling, windsurfing or 4WDing, it seems experience-seeking grey nomads are ready to give it a try.

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