Maxa Schutzbank Berid, 81, has explored the vastness of our world with an unwavering passion. Her travels have taken her to exotic destinations such as Tibet, Bhutan, and much of Africa. From traversing European landscapes to hiking mountains in the Annapurna Circuit, she embraces adventure.
In 2024, the retired attorney will embark on a week-long journey to Yosemite National Park with a longtime friend marking the next chapter in her quest to visit every National Park in the country.
“I don’t like to sit around,” says the Lowell resident. “I travel a lot. I like to stay busy—walking, hiking, and birding.”
Volunteering is another important aspect of life for Schutzbank Berid, who previously served as general counsel for AgeSpan.
During a recent dinner with former colleagues, the conversation turned to the need for someone to volunteer for the agency’s Advisory Board. Schutzbank Berid, readily agreed.
“I said, ‘OK, I’ll step up. I’m happy to come back on.’ Volunteering has always been a part of my own basic core.”
Her commitment extends beyond AgeSpan to include volunteering for Cor Unum Meal Center in Lawrence and Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport.
She also helped establish Merrimack Valley Legal Services (now Northeast Legal Services) in Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill and served as its director for a number of years.
“I like making sure people who are in need get food and representation,” she shares.
The celebration of older Americans through the theme of Aging Unbound by the Administration for Community Living last May aligns with Schutzbank Berid’s decades of global exploration. As a widow, she has traveled with different friends and her long-time partner, expressing a particular fondness for third-world countries due to the unique perspectives they offer.
“I like to see the world through different eyes,” she says. “Those are areas I have really enjoyed.”
In 2024, she plans to visit Yosemite with a friend from Chicago, a companion she met 35 years ago during a trip to Scotland—yet another stride in her mission to visit all of America’s National Parks.
“I know there are a lot of them,” she acknowledges. “But I’ve already been to quite a few.”