Excerpt from New York Times article By KERRY HANNON APRIL 11, 2014

EVER since Sandra Colony was a child, when she was spellbound by the glossy photographs of exotic places in the pages of National Geographic, she has been driven by the desire to explore the world.

And she has. To date, she has visited 90 countries. “I knew I loved to travel as a little girl, but I certainly never knew at 68 I would be starting a career out of it,” said Ms. Colony.

Yet the New York City resident has done precisely that with her new venture, Personalized Odysseys.

For more than 25 years, she balanced her wanderlust with working in the cable industry, managing corporate communications. Duties often made it difficult to take off for two or more consecutive weeks, but she cajoled her bosses into giving her the time to travel.

Not surprisingly, her friends who were eyeing a getaway and were well aware of her travel acumen frequently turned to Ms. Colony for insight and itinerary planning.

So when her job as a senior adviser for employee communications at Time Warner Cable ended in April 2012, she decided it was time to follow her passion and make travel planning her full-time vocation.

Most of the trips she designs are for groups of 10 or fewer women, 50 or older, whose spouse, partner or friends don’t want to travel with them, but who don’t want to go solo. Destinations include Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Easter Island and Turkey.

The desire to stay engaged mentally and socially is pushing many retirees to start new business ventures. And for some, it’s not the income potential that’s driving the trend, but the quest for an adventure that is fed by a passion, often one rooted in childhood, like Ms. Colony’s.

“Many of us believe we need to seek or discover what our passions are, but in reality what we’re passionate about has been a part of us our entire lives,” said Maggie Mistal, a career consultant.

One hitch, however, with people pursuing what they’ve always been avid about is whether it can be turned into a paycheck over time — let alone a successful new career.

“I’m not planning to make money the first few years,” said Ms. Colony, who self-funded her start-up with around $30,000. “If my income from the business can pay for two international trips a year for myself, that’s fine for now.”

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