Single, over forty, and traveling alone

What’s the big deal?

I’ve started to share my dream of traveling aboard with others. The desire to travel has been held close to my heart of a long time. I went overseas when I was younger but returned home to New Zealand at twenty one and for years traveling abroad has been a plan that I could only hold in my dreams.

Being a single mother and other life commitments have meant travel has been in the too hard basket for years. I believed overseas travel was beyond my capacity and I refused to even play around with the idea. I refused to look at any travel books and, when I was online, I would click away anything about holiday destinations.

But in the last five years things have started to change. I’ve had to travel for work and now the travel bug has slowly taken hold again. With my son reaching the grand old age of eighteen (going on thirty), it’s now time to entertain the idea that I can plan overseas adventures.

Many anxious thoughts have gone through my mind however. Mostly around the thought of traveling alone. It seems frowned upon. Unnatural for a woman my age. But what other options are there? I want to go, do I really have to wait to find someone to go with? Surely this doesn’t have to be the way things have to be?!

On searching the idea of traveling abroad on my own, I discovered some wonderful women from around the world who are “Just doing it”. Some who plan their whole year around their trips, some who spend six months in a different country every year. They feel freedom and an empowerment in the fact that they are capable of everything.

Traveling alone can be approached in different ways. Some single women I researched do a group tour to a new country every year. I found an amazing, online group of women around the world who are traveling together called Girls Love Travel – I found it inspiring to read all the comments of the women who are traveling around the world and it gave me new places to explore in which I never knew existed.

When I was younger I lived in New York. In those days we had cellphones but no Google Maps. I would constantly get lost in Manhattan and was quite fearful if I was without my friends. Last year  I returned to New York and what a vastly different experience I had. Using Google Maps the city you are in makes getting around so very easy. I got around Manhattan like I had lived there for years. I discovered new places because I was attached to the Internet.

On reflection on the train back to Larchmont this little idea formed: I can comfortably go anywhere in the world with confidence as long as I have a connection to data.

I am aware that won’t be possible in many countries but I am starting small. My first travel trips have been in Australia. While it seems like it is just a hop skip and a jump over the sea, (which it is), those experiences have helped me gain confidence in traveling on my own.

Just because we are over forty years old doesn’t mean we have to wait until we retire to travel. You are only limited by not looking into the potential, the potential of what you can do today.

Once the idea opened up to me to travel alone suddenly excitement seeped in. Where could I go? 

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