FROM WEST YORKSHIRE TO SOUTH AFRICA AND BEYOND, BINGLEY COUPLE REMINISCE ON A LOVE THAT’S TRAVELLED ALL CONTINENTS.
“Age is just a number, but the only number we care about, is how many countries we can tick off our list now we’ve retired!”, say one adventurous couple from Bingley.
David and Lynn Pickles, 72 and 69, both decided to punch out of the 9:5 back in 2004 and take early retirement. Lynn worked in a bank and David was a brick layer. The couple had worked hard all their lives, but were ready for a change so decided to throw caution to the wind and choose a lifetime of adventures instead.
From trekking through Brazil, to tropical Safaris in India, to motorbiking across Europe, the couple have not looked back since. And after a brief pause due to the travel restrictions around the pandemic, are now making up for lost time by once again hitting the open road.
“We’ve been married 47 years”, says Lynn. “David and I met in a pub where we realised how much we both shared a passion for riding motorbikes. From there our relationship blossomed into many amazing rides together around West Yorkshire, further afield in the UK, and even into Europe.”
David adds: “It wasn’t just our thrill for bikes that bonded us, we soon realised that our love for nature, wildlife, and the great outdoors were a shared passion also. The adventures we have been able to go on because of our shared desires, are truly enviable.”
To keep each adventure fresh, Lynn and David alternate their jaunts to ensure they never got bored.
“With so many places to see and things to do, it really has kept the spark alive in our relationship, with our shared urge to get out and about in the world” says Lynn.
David adds: “There’s nothing better than escaping everyday life to go explore new remote areas, where there are no TVs or internet. It’s just you, your partner, and nature. The sites we have seen with our own eyes in the flesh, rather than what another has captured on their camera phone, is a buzz like no other – there is always a possibility you are seeing something for the very first time that nobody else or very few have been able to witness before.”
David says: “We’ve both lived in Bingley all of our lives, but have always had itchy feet. We are always looking to plan our next trip away and weekends away in England can be just as good as going abroad.”
Reminiscing over their favourite trips, David and Lynn remembers travelling to India seeing tigers in their natural habitat, and getting up close and personal with Elephants in Africa. The pair’s recent adventure saw the couple take the Shongololo Express train from South Africa to Namibia.
Looking towards the future, Lynn says: “We’re both dying to travel to Zimbabwe. It’s a place that has been on our bucket list for several years, but we’ve not managed it yet as it is quite a difficult place to get to. We are still working on an itinerary with the hope of finally going next year. We’ve heard such amazing things about it there.”
Reflecting on recent years and how they are maintaining their energy for travelling, Lynn and David said their recent move to McCarthy Stone’s Retirement Living development in Bingley, Whitelock Grange, has been a real lifeline.
David says: “We had a 3-bedroom house with a large garden, and it was all becoming a bit too much to maintain. Lynn and I would find ourselves spending more time on the upkeep of our home than planning holidays. Moving to Whitelock Grange was a no brainer. Being able to downsize has meant less maintenance. And most importantly, we can just lock up our apartment and be off on our next adventure in no time at all. It has been a real lease of life for us both.”
Lynn adds: “We were the first homeowners to move into Whitelock Grange in October last year, and since then the community has continued to flourish. We have made so many likeminded friends who we often go out for meals with and enjoy an afternoon coffee together when free.
“When we moved to Whitelock Grange, we decided it was time to finally give up the motorbikes, but David and I have also had a deep affection for steam trains. Our apartment overlooks the railway line and on a nice day we like to sit out on the balcony and watch the trains roll through. It’s so calm and relaxing. When we’re not catching flights to exotic lands, we can be found on a steam train tour in the UK.”