Travel Histories Often Shared in Obituaries

The end of school, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, June wedding honeymoons and family vacations all signal the beginning of our traditional summer travel season. There is fun in the planning and prep as well as the journey and the final destination.

Some of these trips take on particular, poignant or meaningful relevance and position in a person’s life and are often recalled in obituaries.

This is a relatively new phenomenon, highlighting travel and favorite visits along with hobbies, favorite foods, books, music, cars and even ice creams. Here are some trips that have caught my eye in recent obituaries I’ve spotted during my own travels, always looking at local papers wherever I am for interesting insights into how obituary writing is evolving:

Together with family and friends, she loved adventurous travel. With her husband, children and grandchildren, she climbed Ben Nevis (Great Britain’s highest peak) when in her 80s and visited Cuba when almost 90. Although she traveled many continents, her boldest venture was a six-week, cross-country road trip with her husband and five children in a station wagon and camping trailer in the summer of 1962. – Margaret, 94

After retiring from the insurance business he and Beverly spent six years exploring the Caribbean in their 41-foot sailboat enjoying his passion for the ocean, scuba and free diving and spear fishing. – Charles P., 80

He was an inveterate traveler, enjoying family trips and adventures with friends and favored “the scenic route” even if it took longer. – English R., 74

Once diagnosed with cancer, she spent summers in her beloved Maine, traveled to the beaches of St. Barths, visited Machu Picchu, walked the vineyards of Burgundy and danced at weddings in Mexico, New York and London. – Gayle V., 61


He celebrated his 75th birthday hiking from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. His favorite adventure was a 600-mile trip down the Amazon with visits to Cuzco and Machu Picchu. – Edgar, 87

Travel has been a favorite family pursuit with Skip at the helm, enjoying the planning as much as the adventure. He had already begun plotting itineraries for trips through 2012 and beyond. Among the places he explored were the Baltic, Bhutan, Turkey, Machu Picchu, Hong Kong, Thailand, Brazil and Europe. To celebrate the 40th birthdays of his son and son-in-law, Skip and his son-in-law’s dad took the young men on a golf trip to Pebble Beach and the Cyprus Point Club. – Skip B., 63

Will was known for driving to the coast during hurricane season to chase the biggest swell and he traveled to Costa Rica multiple times to ride the formidable waves. He was most at peace while floating on his surfboard in the tumultuous sea. – Will C., 31


His sales methods endeared him to his clients as he hosted them at major sports events. He will be remembered as the host at the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Rose Bowl, the Indy 500 and the Kentucky Derby. He traveled the world as part of his job and for the pleasure in his retirement. – Wesley S., 73

Her favorite excursions included a 72-day camping trip in 1956 around the Western United States with her three teenage children, an eight-week tour of South America in 1965 with her youngest son, and a three-month driving tour to and from Alaska in the company of her ailing husband. – Jean M., 91

Is there a lesson in all this? It could be to plan well, go hither and yon – and do include family. They might be in a position to write about your exploits and adventures if and when the time comes!


Susan Soper is the founder and author of ObitKit®, A Guide to Celebrating Your Life. A lifelong journalist, she was formerly the Features Editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she launched a series called "Living with Grief" shortly after her father died. Susan lives in Atlanta with her husband. More info on Facebook and at


Image of Machu Picchu via Wikimedia Commons, Chmouel

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