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Sometimes a passing comment makes you reflect. Solo travel over 50? I embrace it wholeheartedly. Should we be limited because of age?
It was a fleeting comment.
Somebody I paid to analyze my website.
Told me to change this picture
to one of me.
“That’s your back? You have a young back,” was the comment tossed my way.
“That’s you too?” was the next query.
“YES! Of course, it’s me.” was my shocked response.
Wh-a-tttttt? Because I am a mature, often solo, female traveller…
I can’t show my joy by leaping skyward, like a young Instagram influencer?
I can’t possibly be courageous enough to cross a questionable jungle bridge?
I embrace the fact that in my joyous jump I am a mere millimetre off the ground (and didn’t roll my ankle on landing).
I grin when I think of that precarious bridge, the eye to eye encounter with monkeys and my iron-clad grip on the cables.
I laughed at those comments at first. Dismissed them.
On further reflection, I realized that the off the cuff remarks represented an attitude, a cliché. One that I am not willing to accept or live by.
I say, “Hell, NO!” to limiting beliefs, especially when they are about age and women.” I say, “Carve your own path, leap for joy and pursue your passions.”
Call it, “Badass.”
Call it, “Taking up My Space.”
I say, “Hell, YES to living life to the fullest, no matter your age or gender.”
I say, “Hell, YES to embracing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone.”
I say, “Hell, YES to being a solo, mature female traveller and connecting to the world at large.”
What do YOU say?
Don’t back down because of your age. It’s just a number on paper.
How old do you feel in your heart?
Here’s to solo travel over 50!
Here are ELEVEN reasons to think about saying, “Hell, YES to pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone into the wide world.
“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” James Stephens
Stay curious. Ask questions. Dream possibilities. Never stop dreaming. Put them on paper. Shout them out loud. Somebody I know actually does this!
Push self-doubt to the corner. Quieten that critical, negative voice you keep hearing. It’s been there all your life. It’s probably protected you at times but also held you back. Not this time. You’ve got a dream. And you’re going for it.
Book a flight or a train or a camper van. Once that first commitment is made, you’ve turned the corner. Think of it as an investment in YOU. Now it’s time to research and plan the details.
Attitude is everything. Believe that you can and guess what? You can. This is your trip. OWN it. You will face both successes and mishaps. Roll with it. It never turns out exactly as planned.
Your vibe attracts your tribe. Right?
Smile before you frown. I have smiled and chirped, “Bonjour” or “Hola” at many strangers. I melt when the grumpiest face looks up and breaks into a grinning response.
If you go out into the world afraid that you will be robbed, cheated and scammed then… guess what? It’s likely to happen.
Of course, you need to be aware. A fearful attitude is not the same as awareness.
Check your vibe. Walk your path with grace and kindness. You will be so grateful when the energy you have put out comes flooding back into your life.
Worried about being lonely on a solo trip? Loneliness is a funny thing. When I feel this way, I remind myself that one can feel lonely in a large group or even in a relationship.
When you feel the need for others, take an organized day trip or a walking tour. Look online for meet-ups. I recently joined a photo meet-up in Paris and loved the company of other photographers. Often you will end up with a new connection or, at least, a few hours spent with people who have similar interests.
Have you tried staying in a hostel for a few nights? It’s another way to meet people of all age groups. How are you at conversing with 20-year-olds? 70-year-olds? You might not want to go on the pub crawl with the youngsters but there will be someone else looking for another option too.
Solitude. There is a fine line between loneliness and solitude.
Embrace your solitude. Sit in a park or a café. Listen. Watch the world around you. Bring your journal. Sink into yourself. How does it feel? Enjoy your own company. You’ve been together a heck of a long time by now.
Solo travel over 50! Today it is you and your agenda. You and no agenda. You and a blank slate for the day. No one else to please. Just yourself. You never know who or what is going to cross your path. Be open to serendipity. Yoga in the park? Birdwatching? Stand up in your space, with all your wisdom and life experience, and tailor each moment for YOU.
Table for One
Worried about eating solo? Bring your journal or a book to read, use the kindle app on your phone. It has taken me years to feel comfortable eating solo in a restaurant, especially at dinner. Now, I am better able to revel in my table for one, enjoy my meal and people watch. Watching people’s restaurant behaviours rivals Netflix!
Alternately, grab some regional food from the market and have a picnic. In your room. In a park. Slow down. Savour the local flavours.
Sometimes, like riding the Paris metro, it serves you well to have that determined look like you know exactly where you are going. But most people love helping others. Stuck? Turned around? Unable to decipher road signs? Ask. Someone will help.
The Web of Humanity
One of the biggest gifts of stepping out into the wider world is making new connections. With humans. All ages. All stages. All nationalities. All colours. Fleeting connections. Longer friendships. Reciprocal ones. It is a completely humbling experience hearing the woes and joys of other humans in Sri Lanka, Guatemala or Spain.
You are here. Thinking about solo travel over 50. Reading this. Planning. Or possibly sitting solo on a train in a foreign land. Celebrate the fears you quelled and the steps you took to get where you are. Celebrate your choices and sacrifices.
You only get one shot at life so I say, “Hell YES!” to all of it.
And wherever you go with your curious, alive spirit make sure you have travel insurance!
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