Virtuoso Life January 2018 Virtuoso Traveler: 98-Year-Old Ruth Peters

Virtuoso Traveler: 98-Year-Old Ruth Peters

The Netherlands’ Keukenhof gardens in full bloom.
The Netherlands’ Keukenhof gardens in full bloom.
Photo by Ruth Peters
At 98, Ruth Peters still remembers the horse-drawn wagon she rode in through Kansas farmland to a one-room schoolhouse. Time certainly have changed. Accompanied by her daughter, Gayle Christie, Peters now travels first-class on European adventures twice a year and on at least as many cruises, from the Middle East to New Zealand. Peters says her secret to a long life of travel is "tons of vitamins, a strong faith, and a grateful attitude." That, and the in-the-know planning and experience of her Houston-based travel advisor, Sandra Ortiz. 

I’ve always loved seeing new places and meeting new people. 

My husband, Kenneth, opened the first flying school in central Kansas, and we’d do fly-ins with a group called International Flying Farmers. We made friends all over the country. In those days you could fly anywhere -- we once flew around the faces on Mount Rushmore. 

We flew to Cuba days after Castro took over. 

The streets were silent. All the hotels were empty. Even at the Tropicana club, it was just us and the band. Really eerie and scary, but so much fun. 

I love cruises. 

We usually sail on Seabourn, but in recent years, we’ve done the Rhine with Viking and toured the French Riviera and Greek isles on a Windstar ship. 

My daughter and I really appreciate flowers and gardening. 

Every year, we go to the Chelsea Flower Show in London to see the beautiful displays. It’s amazing. There’s always something new to learn in life.  

With our advisor, Sandra, it’s like she can read our minds. 

She knows our taste, what we like to do, what we don’t like, and how much energy we have. She knows I don’t like wheelchairs, but she’ll have one waiting to get me quickly through airports. I can’t stand TSA -- I just want to get wherever I’m going! 

I really like Germany and seeing all its little towns. 

Wartburg Castle, where Martin Luther translated the New Testament. Mainz, where Gutenberg invented the printing press. That’s what allowed us to have all our books, and the Bible, and all our news -- oh, and there’s a great creperie in that town. 

In Venice, we wanted to pick up a chandelier. 

Sandra connected us with a local guide who found a wonderful glassmaker on Murano. The artist decided we should meet her family. We had so much in common. They’ve had one factory for generations on Murano; our Kansas farm has been in our family for generations. We really hit it off. 

A friend of ours in Romania works for the royal family’s financial advisor. 

A couple years ago, he invited us to a royal garden party. We ended up at Peles Castle in the Carpathian Mountains at a party hosted by King Michael himself. Can I just say, wow

For my 98th birthday, we we cruised to Dubai on the Seabourn Encore

The trip started out in Rome, and Sandra had a cake and Champagne ready at the hotel, plus she got us upgraded. The cruise director greeted us on the ship, and our cabin was decorated with a sign and balloons. Everyone sang "Happy Birthday," and the captain came over. I was treated like a queen.  

Where next? 

Australia and New Zealand this spring. For my 100th, I think maybe Italy again. I always love Italy. We’ll see what God has in store for us.  
Ruth Peters and (left) her daughter, Gayle, in Switzerland.
Ruth Peters and (left) her daughter, Gayle, in Switzerland.
Photo by Ruth Peters