Angela’s life of adventure at 84

THE longest train ride in the world is the next adventure on Angela Guymer’s travel to-do list.

Next month, the 84-year-old will leave on a holiday, covering 111 days, which includes several cruises and a train journey from Moscow to the Russian port city of Vladivostoc.

The train journey alone covers 11 time zones.

She tried to get to Vladivostoc once before but a plague of locusts thwarted the Russian cargo ship she was aboard. 

Angela’s interest in travel was sparked during a three-month stay in Belgium, as an 18-year-old, to learn the language.

The Garden Village resident researches her travel destinations and knows exactly what she wants when she walks through the travel agent’s doors.

She shared her love of travel with husband Stewart and continued her adventures after his death.

A map of the world in Angela’s living room contains scores of pins marking the places she has visited, spanning more than 100 countries.

Angela’s journeys have taken her from a camping trip in Western Australia to the Inca site of Machu Picchu to Borobudur, the Buddhist stupa and temple complex in Indonesia, and the frozen wonders of the Antarctic.

Angela has travelled New Zealand’s north island on public bus, completed six African safaris, ridden an elephant in India, been whisked around on a rickshaw and got a bird’s eye view from a balloon and helicopter.

She has travelled on many cruises.

There were more than 100 solo passengers on her last cruise which featured special events for lone travellers.

And Angela has a tip for keen travellers – travel light with coordinated clothing and smile when you meet people.

Angela travels with one case, which weighs 15kg, and contains enough for three months.

“I’m very careful when I pack,” she says. “I sometimes pack twice or three times.”

In the south-east Asian country of Myanmar, Angela recalls serving food to monks. They placed a bell in her open hands as a token of thanks.

“Little things like that when you are travelling, you find it is the more gentle way of living,” she says.

The bell hangs outside her Garden Village unit.

Angela also reminisces about a “code purple drill” when on a cruise ship after leaving the Andaman Islands.

The drill was an anti-pirate exercise and she later learnt the lower deck was covered in barbed wire to thwart pirates storming the ship.

Angela has thrown herself into life at Garden Village where she is a member of the auxiliary, runs the library and helps new residents settle in under the buddy system.

“The beauty of living here is I walk out the front door and everything is forgotten,” Angela says. “Everything is safe and it’s a great feeling.”

Angela swapped Norfolk Island, her home of 21 years, for Garden Village in 2001.

When she saw Port Macquarie’s pine trees, she knew it was the place for her.

Angela says next month’s holiday will mark her last overseas journey but a couple of Australian trips remain on the holiday itinerary – a visit to Perth and Monkey Mia and another to the Cairns area.

“It’s getting too hard lugging cases around,” she says. “I’ve done all the things I wanted to do.”

Angela never wanted to go to Pakistan, for example, as she says there are some places which just aren’t safe.

The former commercial teacher says she can quite happily live with her memories now.

Those memories include a magic moment during an elephant safari involving a hat she had accidentally dropped.

“The elephant behind me picked it [the hat] up and handed it to me,” Angela says. “Things like that you never forget.”

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