April 25, 2020
Resident Highlight of the Month
“Life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring it, the better”
Traveling provides benefits far beyond just exploring the world. It teaches you about other cultures and how they relate to your own, it teaches you about yourself, makes you more tolerant, creative, and mentally and physically strong. Collington residents Glen and Sipra Johnson are a shining example of that.
Born in India, Sipra Johnson began her travels at an early age, moving to the United States when she was only 11. Her family settled down in North Carolina where she attended high school and eventually college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. It was there that Sipra met Glen Johnson. Glen hailed from eastern Kentucky and was attending the University of North Carolina to obtain his graduate degree in political science when he crossed paths with his future wife. Though very focused on their individual studies, the two hit it off and eventually fell in love.
After getting married, Glen and Sipra relocated to Poughkeepsie, New York where Glen worked as a professor at Vassar College, and Sipra at SUNY New Paltz. Glen had always been interested in traveling to India because of Sipra’s background, but it wasn’t until Vassar offered him a study tour to India that he became passionate about the culture. The program was designed for professors who didn’t specifically have a focus on Indian material, but who could teach it. However, after he and Sipra got back from the study tour, Glen decided he wanted to incorporate Indian culture and teaching into his own studies.
Over the next few years academic travel became a big part of Glen and Sipra’s lives. The couple, along with their 2 children, had the opportunity to travel all around the world whether it be for research, to teach, or to study. Over many series of trips, the family spent a total of a year in London, 4 years in India, 2 years in Cairo, Egypt, as well as some time in Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Although scholastic travel was Glen and Sipra’s main focus, they didn’t forget to spend time traveling for enjoyment. In addition to the many places they had visited for educational reasons, they also spent time vacationing in Europe, Brazil, Peru, Thailand, Jordan, and various cities around the U.S.
Though it wasn’t often, when Glen and Sipra were at home they spent a lot of time visiting with their old colleagues who just so happened to live at Collington. Glen and Sipra always enjoyed making the visit and spending time in the community and as the couple visited more and more, they began making friends with other residents as well.
When the time came for Sipra, and a very hesitant Glen, to begin looking into Continuing Care Retirement Communities, it’s wasn’t surprising that Collington was at the top of their list. Not only had they made close friends there, but it was important to them to find a place where they would be well taken care of. And although their daughter lived close by in Washington D.C., they wanted the security of knowing they would not have to put stress on their family should they begin to need medical attention.
In 2016 after making the obvious decision that Collington was the right fit for them, Glen and Sipra moved into their very own cottage. Though they settled down, they certainly didn’t slow down. The couple continues to travel with no plans of stopping any time soon.
Though many people fear losing their freedom as they get older, but Glen and Sipra feel Collington has given them even more. “When we want to travel, all we have to do is lock the door and go!” Glen exclaimed. “We don’t have to make any arrangements, the mail and grass is taken care of, we don’t have to worry about any of what we used to.” Not having to focus on taking care of a home has allowed the couple to spend more time doing the things they love.
When they aren’t traveling, Glen and Sipra spend their time participating in the foreign affairs discussion group and the speakers committee. Sipra also is involved in the Booker and Beyond Book Club on campus, and is a big fan of the fitness programs that Collington offers stating, “there is a wide spectrum of activities so that people of all abilities are able to participate, and I value that greatly.”
However, what the couple loves most about Collington is the diversity the community represents. Coming from the academic world, Glen and Sipra were always used to diversity being heralded, so it was important to them to find a place where they could be among a wide variety of people. “When we were looking around, Collington is really among the most diverse, not just ethnically, but people have come from all over, diversity of backgrounds, education, careers, at Collington they have a little bit of everything,” Glen stated.
To the Johnson’s, Collington is the whole package, an intellectual atmosphere, plenty of activities, clubs, programs, and diversity that they feel enriches the community.