Take Me Away, OLLI!


We were in our seats and waiting for “takeoff,” but this was different: So many of the “passengers” seemed to know one another! In fact, I had seen a friend at the doorway. We had chosen seats next to each other and were catching up.

A studious looking man came around the seats and stepped up to the podium. No, this was not a limited-space airliner, but an auditorium in the McKimmon Center of NC State University. For just ten dollars, I was about to “travel” overseas, and hear fascinating stories and unparalleled information about the archeology of Petra, the anthropological UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place most likely created in the fourth century BC. With the aid of photographic technology, I would see pieces of human existence from the settlement that took place at Petra, and hear a lead instructor of the dig tells us the Petra story!

This fall, OLLI members can choose to be “taken” across the Atlantic twice, once to Turkey to experience a bit of the life of a Phrygian during the time of King Midas, and another to the Johannesburg area of South Africa where scientists have discovered many very, very old human fossils with a link to the discovery of a previously unfound species of human ancestry. Imagine!

This armchair travel is a privilege of membership in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at North Carolina State University. Great friendships and added social life are the desirable and free extra.

The overseas travel study trips offered by OLLI are not only by proxy, however! In past years, study trips have included going to Costa Rica, Cuba, and last year, Spain. In spring 2017, OLLI will offer travel to Croatia and the Adriatic Coast, with an itinerary to rival any world travelers’ plans.

Study trips and lectures also transport us to sites within the US, North Carolina, and here in Raleigh. Some trips come about in coordination with a course which has taken place that year, through the instructor of a course, or in response to a local event or media article. Stimulation abounds throughout any trip, and all of them come with friends and unbeatable long-lasting memories.

Take me away, OLLI!

Phoebe Johnston – OLLI Member