As Sally Ryen and her husband, Doug, neared retirement age, they talked of the extensive traveling they would do. “My parents have traveled all over the world, and that’s what Doug and I always thought we would do,” says Sally, of Davis, California.
But, two years ago, Doug passed away at 59, shortly after their retirement became a reality. Sally was devastated to lose her life partner and felt her travel dreams had also been dashed.
As Sally began to recover from her loss, though, she spent more and more time thinking about her parents’ trips, specifically those that were coordinated by Sports Travel and Tours. In a leap of faith, she signed up for the Windy City Plus trip, which is scheduled from August 7-12 and will feature four baseball games at four different ballparks.
A baseball fan—as was Doug—Sally is excited to travel with like-minded people, and she’s looking forward to making friends and carving out a new adventure for herself.
“I think Doug would totally be on board with the idea that baseball is a universal language if you like it,” she says. “So it makes sense for me to go on this trip for my first solo outing, rather than to Rome or China or something. This makes sense. You can talk baseball with any baseball fan and do just fine.”
Sally’s parents, Jack and Nelda Bennett of Santa Rosa, California, no longer travel because of their age. But their travel with Sports Travel and Tours was extensive, and sometimes the trips were a family affair, an opportunity to spend time with Sally’s children, granddaughters Emma and Maddy.
Sally and Doug heard all of her parents’ travel stories going back to their first Sports Travel and Tours trip in 1994. Sally says her parents met lifelong friends during their travels, including the Rev. Rich Rath, a Catholic priest from St. Louis, Missouri—and a Cardinals fan.
Sally and Doug did some traveling of their own back in 1981, when they took a six-month road trip across the United States and Canada. They saw their favorite team, the San Francisco Giants, play against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Sally’s desire to return to Chicago made her decide to choose the Windy City trip.
“I wanted to go to Chicago and see the White Sox and the Cubs,” she says. “I was trying to figure out how to do it on my own, and I thought of Sports Travel and Tours. So I picked the Windy City trip.”
Sally says she’s feeling both nervous and excited for her trip, which will be the first time she has traveled on her own. She also intends to stay two extra days—one in St. Louis and one in Chicago—to do her own exploring.
Sally is especially excited to see the Giants play against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, Aug. 8. She really enjoys Chicago, but is also looking forward to visiting Milwaukee and traveling the Midwest.
Her parents, she says, are thrilled for her. “They said, ‘Oh, you’ll love it! They will take good care of you,’” Sally says, noting that she’s looking forward to forming relationships with the other travelers.
“It always sounded like the trips offer great camaraderie,” she adds. “When you go to a baseball game, everybody’s there for the same reason, so conversation comes easily. I’m certain that in this group of strangers, some of them will become my friends. That’s what I learned from my parents’ experience.”
Learn more about or register for the Windy City Plus trip.