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50 reasons why you can and should travel (alone) in your 50s


I spent the first fifty years of my life thinking travel was for other people. I’d been overseas a couple of times … Fiji in 2003, China, Malaysia and Taiwan in 2005, and the US in 2018. It was a scary proposition. I was a bit of a fearful flyer and not too keen on being half a world away from my babies (aka my sons in their twenties!). But when I turned 50, they organised a trip for us all to the US and we had a ball! Now I’m about to embark on my first ever solo overseas trip, back to the US. I figured I’d go somewhere I’d already been because it feels ‘safer’. Also, there was so much more I wanted to see and with two twenty-somethings in tow last time, I knew I’d have to go back alone to be satisfied.

50 reasons why you can and should travel (alone) in your 50s

  1. The world is a big, fun, scary, exciting, thrilling, fascinating, challenging, beautiful, confusing place. Be a part of it.
  2. Seeing negative things makes you appreciate home more and also, could open you up to being of assistance.
  3. You’re middle aged and have so much life experience and wisdom to impart to others on your travels.
  4. You will learn from other people you meet.
  5. You’ll meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise met.
  6. To learn new skills such as ice fishing, pottery, painting, cattle mustering, mud-brick making, flower arranging, origami, bonsai or salsa dancing.
  7. Seeing ‘in the flesh’ places you’ve seen on TV or in books is such a trip!
  8. Travel makes you a more interesting person because you have new material to talk about.
  9. Getting out of your comfort zone is a healthy challenge you need in your life. (Are you scared of flying?)
  10. You will discover new things to covet, crave and cherish.
  11. You’ll find out what doesn’t make you happy as much as what does.
  12. To meet relatives you’ve only heard about from others.
  13. Leave your empty nest syndrome behind. Instead of feeling lonely or sorry for yourself, get out and see the world!
  14. To revisit your childhood by going to Disneyland or other places you dreamt about growing up.
  15. Immersing yourself in an entirely different culture can reveal things you didn’t know about yourself.
  16. To learn another language by osmosis.
  17. Be a part of how other countries celebrate Christmas, New Year or other significant events.
  18. Join in on national celebrations like Cinqo de Mayo, the Carnival of Venice, Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras and Diwali.
  19. To be as free and open as you can possibly be, knowing that you don’t know anyone in that place.
  20. The more you travel, the less you worry about flying and associated fears like turbulence.
  21. The more good people that travel the world spreading goodwill, the greater the goodwill surplus in the global balance.
  22. To not be home binge-watching Netflix and mindlessly munching on chocolate.
  23. Travelling can inspire you to start a blog, improve your photography or even become a travel guide back home.
  24. You get to experience things through your own eyes instead of through other people’s Instagram accounts.
  25. You can meet locals and discover how different – and also how similar – their lives, values, hopes and needs are to yours.
  26. To see firsthand the good things happening in the world such as environmental and social triumphs.
  27. Indulge your love of animals and see them in the wild instead of in zoos.
  28. Take yourself away from life’s dramas at home.
  29. You’ll find yourself starting to really ‘get’ the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. This will be beneficial both when you’re home and when you’re travelling.
  30. Challenge yourself to see how many stamps you can collect in your passport year on year.
  31. To experience your first ever white Christmas (or summer Christmas).
  32. Embrace your own culture harder! How about ANZAC Day in Gallipoli?
  33. To capture incredible natural wonders with your own eyes. The cherry blossoms in Kyoto in March/April/May will take your breath away.
  34. Travelling alone teaches you how capable you are.
  35. You’ll gain a whole lot of confidence in yourself.
  36. When you travel, you get to give and receive kindness wherever you go.
  37. Being able to please yourself about your plans for the day is one of the most rewarding things you’ll discover about travelling alone.
  38. Your life and world get bigger when you expand your horizons.
  39. You’ll meet people in their 70s and 80s who are living the dream and you’ll want to follow their example.
  40. As you get closer to retirement age, you’ll realise that practising travel now will be of benefit to you when you’ve got all the time in the world.
  41. You get to be the person you’ve envied from afar.
  42. If you have children or grandchildren overseas, you can jump on a plane and be there with them!
  43. You may find that the anxieties you experience at home disappear when you’re away (this was true for me).
  44. As a solo traveller, you get to pick the destination, the accommodation standard, the dates and where and when you eat.
  45. For some 50+ women, menopause can be a bitch so you deserve to treat yourself to an exciting trip away.
  46. When you’re menopausal, the mood swings can be hard to take (for you and those around you) but when you’re travelling, you’re not in close quarters with the same people for long.
  47. You can do whatever you love, multiple times over if you want. Book of Mormon on Broadway three days in a row? Why not?
  48. You’re not subject to anyone’s judgement. Go ahead and strip off at the nudist beach, eat way too much ice cream, join the conga line and step up to the mic at a comedy club. Go for it!
  49. You get to rediscover yourself and find out what makes you, you. So you do like live bands, just not at home. Oh, so late nights don’t kill you! Hmm, exercise is actually fun when it’s to get to the top of a cliff to see a ridiculously good view.
  50. Travel will wake you up! You’ll realise just how much time you’ve spent doing the same-old-same-old and wishing things could be different. Well they can be, as long as you book that trip.

“At the airport, you have to go through multiple levels of security. That is, until you get to the baggage carousel. At that point, they pretty much just let you grab whichever bag you want.”

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