Lodi man pens book encouraging seniors to travel

Frances, left, and Paul Provost show some elephant tusks and ivory vases they picked up in west Africa on one of their many vacations.

Senior citizens should not spend their golden years staying home or even take short trips to places like Disneyland.

Instead, Paul Provost wants seniors to do bigger and better things. As he puts it, everyone should become a "vagabond." With that in mind, the 90-year-old Lodi resident named his third book "The Vagabonds."

The book, which will be available for purchase within a week or two, tells about Paul and Frances Provost's travel during their 47 years together. They've been to every continent except Antarctica.

"Travel is so educational," wife Frances said. "You meet so many different people. I think I could live on a cruise ship."

"The Vagabonds" is Paul Provost's third book, all written since he turned 80. In 2003, he wrote an autobiography called "A Sailor's Story," about his good and bad times in the U.S. Navy, including racial prejudice.

Two years ago, Provost penned "Ebony Legends in Sports," a book about how black people's opportunities in sports continue to decline. "While organized games, with ballfields, are being provided in overseas countries, the black community in USA is being neglected in this area," he said.

However, "The Vagabonds" is a more cheerful book than his first two. Once he was discharged from the Navy, he moved to Oakland and made some good money in real estate. He used that money to travel, and travel, and travel some more.

The first step was to leave the crowded Bay Area. The couple spent 19 years in Chowchilla, where they had family, and the next decade in Lodi. He chose Lodi because it's a small town and is close enough to veterans' medical offices and golf courses.

"I heard (Lodi) had good wine," he said. "I started drinking wine."

The Provosts' first trip was to Paris, a place they love. But if there's anything Paul Provost enjoys as much as travel, it's golf.

In 1994, the couple traveled 13,000 miles and played on 46 golf courses in 33 states — plus the Canadian province of Quebec — during a three and a half month span.

His book tells stories and shows photographs of places the Provosts have visited all over the world. Even while he was in his 80s, Paul Provost and his wife have taken at least 12 vacations in the past 10 years.

Probably the most scenic location the couple enjoyed was a golf course in New Zealand that was considerably higher than the ocean.

Their last trip was in April and May, when they went to Singapore and took a ship from there to South Africa and Madagascar. The excursion also took them to Malaysia and India.

The Provosts aren't certain where their next trip will take them, but Frances predicts the Panama Canal, a place she's never seen. Paul hasn't been there since he was in the Navy.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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