Recently, I was on BBC Radio Manchester for an interview with the effervescent radio presenter, Mike Sweeney. He was chatting about energy and how important it is to try and stay active, physically and mentally. He is a staunch believer in staying youthful, seizing opportunities and like many of us over 50s and 60s believes that we are a generation who has energy, gusto and gumption.
We are not afraid to take on new challenges even now we are older. Newspapers are full of people who have decided to transform their lives, moved abroad, taken up adrenaline-fuelled hobbies and those who have retrained and now have new careers as stand-up comedians, chefs, models, furniture makers and more. (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/jun/04/change-your-life-at-60)
I too, believe we are emerging as a generation that is keen to enjoy every possible challenge and was intrigued to pursue this further. For the last four years I have been gathering information about activities, hobbies and challenges that will stimulate and occupy us as we get older.
Now, I like to think I have had a go at some challenges in my life and indeed I have been quad biking in the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa, dived deep wrecks in Barbados and flown helicopters around Telly Tubby Land, been zorbing, zip lining and am soon to do a shark dive but it seems that people of our generation are becoming even more adventurous than me.
There is definitely a correlation between staying youthful and taking up pursuits that ensure you stay active, both physically and mentally. Sometimes, you need to think ‘outside the box’ and with that in mind, I would like to offer up some suggestions that you might like to consider if you too feel in need of a new challenge.
So, here is the first of a few lists of Five Slightly Crazy Things to Help Fend off Ageing. This time, I’d like to concentrate on activities to do with cars. Whether you are a latent petrol head, want to relive your youth or fancy a go in a sports car, there is something for everyone.
There are, of course few opportunities to enjoy a drive on our roads. What with speed cameras, pot holes and far too much traffic, some days, it’s quicker and better to walk to your destination. However, you may, like me, still want to enjoy the fun of driving. You can always try a track day at any of the circuits in the UK. You’ll get the chance to learn how to drive on a circuit and have an adrenaline-filled chance to hurtle around a track in a super car with an instructor. Prices can be high but the experience leaves you exhilarated. Ladies, this is definitely one for you. My instructor informed me that women make much better track drivers because they listen to instructions. At least, that’s what I think he said as I hurtled about the track in a Mercedes CL 63 AMG yelling, “Power!” (http://www.trackdays.co.uk/)
You could of course take your own car abroad and enjoy better road conditions. If so, head for the Monaco Grand Prix circuit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_Monaco). Monaco is the only proper road circuit in grand prix racing. http://magazine-drive.com/MONACO_GP.pdf) Imagine manoeuvring your trusty Peugeot 206 or Citroen C1 (it is France, after all) through tunnels, listening to the throaty burble of your exhaust pipe, as you press the throttle excitedly, pretending you are Louis Hamilton.
To be honest, there will be areas that you won’t be able to speed around like F1 cars do, such as Casino Square, but it is worth following the rest of the circuit, taking in the boats and the jet-set lifestyle. Don’t forget to stop off at the Casino for a quick flutter in the hope you might win enough for an Aston Martin. Be mindful that you won’t be able to drive at 160mph, not unless you want a speeding ticket. Finally, this suggestion is best not attempted during the summer months when it is very busy. In fact, you might be better walking the circuit, stopping at the Hotel de Paris and enjoying watching the fabulous display of cars stuck in traffic jams.
Combine art, beauty and driving by travelling to Florence.Head for the Piazzola Michelangelo, the main square overlooking Florence where you will find Ferrari in Firenze. Here you can book 10, 20 minutes or an hour in a Ferrari driving the tree-lined streets of Florence. If you drive the Ferrari California, you’ll be able to take your other half and they can video you as you rev the engine and enjoy this beautiful city in Italy in one of the most beautiful Italian cars. You can book using their website. The organisers and instructor speak English and will reply promptly to an email. Alternatively, you can book via your travel agent or head up the hill to the square and take your chance on the day. Be warned, you will be treated like a celebrity as you head off. Cameras will be snapping and people will be listening out for that throaty roar as you shoot off, so don’t stall the car. The Ferrari is adored in Italy.
If you really fancy some speed, take on the infamous Nürburgringtrack. Situated 70 kilometres south of Cologne and 120 kilometres north-west of Frankfurt, anyone with a clean driving licence can purchase a ticket and drive this exhilarating racing circuit. There is no general speed limit, although speed limits exist in certain areas in order to reduce noise and risks. Just be polite, don’t overtake on the right, and watch out for me and my husband. We shall be bearing down on you, squealing at the thrill of it.
Should nostalgia be your thing, then hire a classic car, load up a picnic and head off to a rural part of the UK to enjoy some quiet time with your other half, after all, when you are in a super classic car, you won’t mind about the other traffic chugging slowly in front of you. Great Escape Cars offer a wide range of vehicles including a Jaguar E Type Convertible Steels, a Triumph Stag, an old Mini Cooper and a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow among others.
You don’t have to drive a car to enjoy it. Classic car rallies and clubs are to be found all over the UK. Even if you don’t own a classic car, you can go along to bask in the atmosphere and meet with enthusiasts. For a full list check out Classic Shows UK.
Hope that gives you some ideas of what can be done. If you still fancy driving a super car and you don’t have the money to fulfil your ambition, nip down to your nearest supercar showroom and book a test drive. Don’t take off without the salesman though, however tempting that may be.
So, throw away the remote control and stop spending your Saturdays watching the Grand Prix on television. Get involved in something exciting. Should you take on any of the above challenges, make sure you have a good life insurance policy and good luck!
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