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Keith Wright- An inspirational Nonagenarian

10th May 2012

When Keith Wright boards a plane later this year he will be embarking on his eighth trip to Europe – a fact that is made all the more extraordinary because of his age.  Keith was born at a time when the famous Wright brothers (no relation to Keith) had only just finished conducting their flying experiments and the Zeppelin and Sopwith aircraft dominated the skies over the Western Front.

This year Keith Wright will celebrate his 95th birthday and therefore is possibly Australia’s oldest traveller – who prefers to travel independently.

keith-wright

Keith Wright - Australia's Oldest Backpacker

“My belief is that if you are fit and able to travel independently, it is the best way to see as much as of the world as you want,” said the spritely nonagenarian.

Keith took his first solo trip when he was 85, after his wife Barbara passed away. This sojourn was a four-day bus trip through Turkey, which inspired Keith to continue exploring other countries. He prefers to travel in economy class and regularly stays at hostels, where he enjoys the comfort of a single room but occasionally has no qualms sharing a dorm room with Gen Y backpackers.

“Most people I meet are surprised when I tell them my age and amazed that I have come all the way from Australia,” he said.

“Wherever I go, I wear my Australia cap, which gets me a lot of attention from the locals.”

On one holiday, Keith was sitting on a park bench and a stranger saw that he was wearing his iconic Australia cap. The curious local said "Ahh, Australia is so far away. I have never been because I don't like flying for that long.”

Keith responded, "Oh, it’s not that bad if you break it up by doing stopover in Singapore or Dubai."

One of Keith’s favourite destinations is San Sebastian in northern Spain because he loves dining in the Pintxo Bars and looks forward to returning there on this holiday.

“I have hitched a ride on the back of a scooter in San Sebastian and seen things that most tourists haven’t seen, because I have walked the back streets and taken the train or bus to a nearby town for the day,” Keith said.

Since 2002, Keith has booked his travel at the Flight Centre and Escape Travel in Burleigh Heads. The team have decided to make his next holiday even more memorable, by paying his upgrade to business class on his Emirates flight. It’s important that he can stretch out in style as he travels to Europe.

Flight Centre’s travel consultant, Christina Kerr, has booked many of Keith’s holidays.

“I like to tell his story to other travellers, particularly those who may have thought themselves too old to travel overseas or feared that it was too expensive," said Christina.

“Keith has become more like a friend over the years and when he travels he even asks the staff of the hostel to send me an email, just to let me know that he has arrived safely.”