Marilyn Foster is at home anywhere in the world, by Ronni Hannaman

Marilyn poses with the statue of Little Jimmy Dickens outside the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Marilyn poses with the statue of Little Jimmy Dickens outside the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Upon retirement, some like to putter around the house, maybe travel a bit to see relatives and grandchildren, begin a hobby, do a bit of volunteering or just while the time away enjoying not having to get up early every day to go to work.

Not so Marilyn Foster. In this article, it is our intention to introduce you to the person who writes the travel column for the Nevada Appeal, for many have told Marilyn how much they appreciate her columns and how they have been encouraged to travel even though they felt they could not because of age or simply because they were single.

Marilyn, as many know, will be 91 in January and spent her 90th birthday celebrating in Hanoi. How many of that age do you know that can withstand the rigors of traveling and are still agile enough to walk the uneven sur faces around the world without a cane? Many 20 years younger find travel arduous, but not this sturdy traveler! She is a widow that hasn’t let singlehood hamper her desire to experience the world and meet new people.

Travel has made her understand the necessity to preserve our heritage for as she states,”In our country, we tend to tear down our historic buildings whereas almost anywhere else in the world historic structures are preserved for generations to come.” She feels it is a shame so much history has been lost and cites when in Europe she loves ambling through the town squares, exploring the ancient churches — which she marvels at how these could be built without today’s modern tools — and wandering through the many shops and eating places found in the town squares.

“I feel the malls and big box stores have taken away the character once found in our downtowns,” she said.

Marilyn loves being the Carson City Chamber’s “travel ambassador” and sharing her experiences and encouraging others to join her on wonderful tours. She just returned from her Collette Vacations trip to visit Germany, Switzerland and Austria and took a copy of her most recent Nevada Appeal travel article with her touting the benefits of group travel. Because of her enthusiasm for travel, Collette Vacations tour guide Toni Ray-Ingram sent a note to us stating, “You have a great ambassador in Marilyn.”

We agree. That’s why the Chamber presented her with a special acknowledgement honoring her contribution to the Travel Club. Marilyn has been on so many tours since joining us on her first tour in 2008 that it’s difficult to remember them all. She’s seen the Great Wall in China; enjoyed a Jeep Safari in the desert dunes of Dubai; toured the Taj Mahal in India; journeyed by mailboat through Scandinavia; smoked cigars in Cuba; and relaxed on the wonderful river cruises enjoying the scenery found along the historic rivers. When asked to name her favorite country, she hesitated stating she loved them all, but did admit to really enjoying Paris and France. On the trip to eastern Canada, she was able to see Prince Edward Island, once the home of her grandfather. Her least favorite was India, although there were some sights she did enjoy.

While sightseeing is important to her, the cultural aspects of a destination are as interesting. She loves meeting the locals, enjoying their foods, tapping toes to their music and listening to their stories.

Her first venture into European travel was with her now deceased sister, and those trips begat other trips until there have been so many, she has to sit and sort them out. She also traveled with her late husband Paul, but mostly domestically — she loves Nashville. She admits airline travel has become somewhat of a challenge since 9/11 because of all the security issues but understands this is just a part of the new world order and is happy to be able to travel safely.

Marilyn is one of 14 children, growing up in Schulyer, Neb. She retired from PacTel in 1981 after working 34 years in San Francisco. She became a widow in 2007. Travel has become something to which she can look forward and generally has two trips planned at any time. Age has not slowed her down and her mind is as sharp as a tack. She keeps in shape by walking two miles daily and exercising her loyal canine companion, Misty Sue. Because of this exercise routine, she can keep up with the best of them on any trip to countries where they have no idea what “ADA” means. When not traveling, she plays cards with a small group of friends and is active in her senior center. She’s also an avid reader and loves to watch sports, especially football. Her late husband Paul was a high school coach.

Marilyn feels fortunate to have the means and health to travel and encourages all to explore the world while they can. Being single is not an excuse to sit home. Single supplements on land-based tours are not excessive, and she prefers traveling as a single.

As she has written, she loves group travel, especially through the Carson City Chamber Travel Club since she can park her car at the Chamber office and be off to the airport ready for her next adventure. Having the wonderful tour guides take care of all the details suits her just fine.

Where is she going next? Why, Russia, of course! She laughs as she wryly jokes, “I’ll have to get President Trump to get me a letter of introduction to Putin!” That’s our travel ambassador!

Information on the Chamber Travel Club can be found at or by calling 775-882-1565.


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