At 78, Annie Shurtleff still enjoys solo travel both domestic and abroad.

At 78, Annie Shurtleff still has a penchant for learning and experiencing new things.
In fact, over the last 23 years she’s turned into quite the road scholar.
“I’ve always been a very curious person,” the Tulsa native said, unfolding a story that began at age 55 and has chapters from all over the world.
After taking an early retirement from a 25-year career in customer service for Shell Oil, Shurtleff experienced wanderlust.
She liked to travel and always satisfied that itch by working at national parks beginning in 1996.
“I kind of put (travel) on the back burner for about 10 years, working at Yellowstone and other parks,” she said. “When I decided to slow down I started looking at the Road Scholar program more.”
Not-for-profit Road Scholar is the world’s largest and most innovative creator of experiential learning opportunities. The company has guided generations of lifelong learners on transformative learning adventures from San Francisco to Siberia, and nearly everywhere in between.
It’s comprised of a diverse community of knowledge seekers and explorers, united in the belief that lifelong learning is a vital part of overall well-being.
The belief is in living life to the fullest at every age – by experiencing the world, and not just looking at it. That goal is accomplished by meeting new people, touching history where it happened and, delving deep into the cultures and landscapes explored.
Alongside renowned experts, participants experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities by land and by sea on travel adventures designed for boomers and beyond.
Road Scholar offers thousands of learning adventures in more than 100 countries and throughout the United States. At any given time, nearly 2,000 Road Scholars – like Shurtleff – are experiencing the world on our learning adventures.
“I like to travel and I like the outdoors,” Shurtleff said.
She has gone on more than 50 excursions with Road Scholar and admits she’s been just about everywhere offered in the continental United States.
She’s even gone overseas with other companies and says oftentimes it’s the journey and not necessarily the destination that gives her the most memories.
“Usually, when people think of travel they think international,” she said. “I’m really an advocate for domestic trips.”
Shurtleff said she’s always stuck to the same formula when it comes to deciding on where to go. She starts with her available dates to travel. From there she looks over her interests, which for her are the outdoors and historical things.
Then she chooses a location offered.
“So sometimes it’s kind of a surprise to me that I end up someplace I really like,” she says.
Places like Chattanooga, Tennessee and Mobile Bay, Alabama are some of the communities she’s fallen in love with.
She admits she’s a small-town girl who loves the outdoors when she travels.
Natchez, Mississippi, and Channel Islands National Park in California have special places in her heart.
“Once you’re there, the one thing I really like is they take care of everything from the time you get to the hotel,” she said. “There’s transportation whether trolley or public transit or private vans so you don’t have to worry about a thing and they’re so comprehensive in their catalog”.
“They tell you literally down to how many steps you’ll have to take.”
Shurtleff said when she travels with Road Scholar she normally signs up willing to accept a roommate to save a little bit of money.
“I’ve made some good friends and I’ve always had good experiences, she said. “I’ve made some new friends that way and we still communicate.”
When she’s not traveling with Road Scholar you may still see Shurtleff in Colorado where she volunteers for YMCA of the Rockies. She volunteers at Snow Mountain Ranch by Winter Park for her room and board.
She teaches pickleball or serves as the lobby hostess.
“I love to meet and great people,” she said. “It’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done because you’re dealing with a cross-section of humanity and you’re helping people with special needs and helping families reunite.”
And when she’s not doing that she’s boarding a plane, a train or a bus looking for her next adventure.
“I’m a real minimalist now,” she laughed. “It’s pretty much have bag will travel for me.”