Grey nomads always ready to go the extra smile

Published: November 2, 2023

While some older people – often grey nomads – are routinely labelled as being ‘grumpy’ … the truth, it seems, couldn’t further from truth.

Numerous studies have concluded that, despite age-related declines in physical and cognitive abilities, older people are significantly happier than youngsters.

And, among older people, those who travel, interact with nature, and are socially engaged are the happiest of all. In other words, ‘living the dream’ really is as good as it sounds.

And, of course, Australia is one of the happiest countries in the world to begin with. In the most recent Ipsos’s Global Happiness survey, 80% of Australian respondents described themselves as happy.

And a previous study, NAB’s Regional and Agribusiness Horizons Report, found that people in the regions were the most content of the lot.

“Some of the primary drivers of happiness are being close to nature and having a strong sense of community,” said NAB’s Executive for Regional and Agribusiness, Julie Rynski. “Regional and rural locations are perfect for meeting these needs.”

And frequent travel lifted the happiness bar yet again.

A recent study published by researchers at the US’s Washington State University found a strong relationship between travel frequency and overall life satisfaction.

Survey participants who travelled more frequently reported a 7% increase in overall life satisfaction compared to those who travelled less frequently. And that happiness lift was realised regardless of the participant’s age, gender, or wealth.

Leading clinical and health psychologist, Dr Bob Montgomery, previously told the Grey Nomads that it made sense for retirees to find new meaningful activities – like travel – to replace work.

“Grey nomads are definitely doing a good thing,” he said. “Getting out and doing new things and going to new places is better that sitting at home watching endless TV, or not knowing how to fill in the time.”

However, Dr Montgomery warns that just being ‘out there’ isn’t always enough, and travellers should – within reason – be prepared to try new things.

“By simply being on the road grey nomads are doing the right thing but they should still be ready to push the envelope a bit to further lift enjoyment levels,” he said. “Trying new things and not liking them isn’t a failure … it’s all part of the process.”

  • Has hitting the open road made you happier? Why? Have you met many ‘grumpy grey nomads’ on your travels? Comment below.

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