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The thought of solo travel in your 50s can fill people with a sense of trepidation, but there really isn’t any need, and I can speak from experience. Of course there is a lot to consider, much like there is with any holiday, but it is something to approach with no fear, in order to get the most out of it.
I soon found that the biggest factor to consider when travelling solo in your fifties, was the ‘solo’ bit rather than the age factor. So in essence, it doesn’t matter what age you are when you are travelling solo, and I have found that doing it at my stage of life has been the most wonderful and liberating thing I have ever done, and in truth, maybe I wouldn’t have felt that if I had attempted it at a younger stage of my life?
One of the fears people have about solo travel is that it isn’t safe, but this is not something I have ever worried about, and if you prepare properly and take common sense precautions it is never a factor, and instead of worrying about your safety, your self-confidence allows you to be enriched and enlightened. Very soon, solo travel becomes an important part of your life, and let’s face it, there is nothing stopping you and you are perfectly capable of doing it, so just do it.
It is common to reach your fifties in a state of anxiety, as your role in life is changing. You might have empty nest syndrome, you might be at a career crossroads, or you might have concerns over your health. Things that you may have brushed off ten years ago become more of a reality and a stubborn concern that’s hard to shift.
There is no doubt that reaching your fifties is a time of change; at home, at work and maybe in your role as a parent. It is possible you have only recently become single also, or maybe you have been for a while, but now the kids have left home it has suddenly hit you?
Travelling allows you to rediscover your personality. Like it or not, we do become dependent on people, usually without even knowing about it. That might be a partner, the kids or a friend, and that is particularly true when travelling. It is easy to let other people make the decisions, lead the way and make the plans. When left to your own devices, it is amazing how invigorating it can be to approach every day as a blank canvass and to have complete control over what you do, where you go and what you eat.
I have found that the most therapeutic way to get down to basics and rediscover yourself is through travelling. You learn about instinct, character, your ability to learn and your sense of adventure. Being able to let go and allow yourself to fly – not just literally! – can be incredibly energising, and travelling solo has allowed me to see parts of the world I never thought I would be interested in, and I have come back with my self-esteem and self-confidence absolutely sky high.
Now I can’t get enough of it, and furthermore, it has inspired me to start my own travel business based on my solo travel experiences, and it is the best thing I ever did. Learning about unusual customs, languages, food and cultures has awoken a whole new side of me I didn’t know existed, while I have been touched by the kindness of strangers and met so many new people that I now have a much broader and rounded view of the world.
Even if you are not single, maybe your partner isn’t interested in travel, or you are both finding yourselves being more independent. This can be healthy for a relationship and it is merely both of you moving on to the next stage, so your solo travels give you something to talk about both before and after the event. And with Skype and social media, it has never been easier to keep in touch.
My travels have led to people’s attitude to me changing for the better, and this can help you at home, at work and maybe in your circle of friends. But my main advice would be to try and face any fears head on. Don’t worry about the stress or cost of travelling solo, there are ways to avoid this by planning carefully and doing lots of research.
You just need to do it. In your fifties you might think you have had plenty of life experience, but believe me, it’s only just beginning.
I wish to thank Andrea Robinson of Single Parents on Holiday Ltd for this fantastic sponsored guest article.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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DeborahJuly 9, 2018
I’ve always been single so much of my travel (when I lived in Africa, Cambodia and later East Timor) was done solo. It can be a bit daunting / lonely sometimes – the constant solo dining and so forth, but probably easier for those of us who live alone anyway.
I’m off to Italy soon and will be be touristing about there and it’ll be interesting as I’ve not travelled (properly) in years. I’m now 50 but I would have been in my early 30s last time I jaunted about solo o/s!
KathyJuly 10, 2018
I have only travelled solo once on a media trip to Japan and I was fine as I was on an organised tour. I have a good friend in her 60s who travels all the time solo. She loves it and always seems to meet interesting people during her travels. I’m very jealous of your trip to Italy – it will be fabulous!
Kaz ShakespeareAugust 9, 2018
I have been travelling solo for most of the past 9 yrs. lm 64 & prefer to travel alone. I stay in dorm rooms in hostels & l meet so many great young people.
I can move on when l like, get up when l like, eat when lm hungry. I love it!
I volunteer & return to my fave projects. I have made great friends all over the world.
I don’t need anyone to hold my hand. I love the freedom that retirement has given me.
KathyAugust 9, 2018
Kaz you are an inspiration! I think if I were single I would be more than capable of travelling around the world solo. I’m content in my own company and love meeting new people so I think I’d be ok. I love it when I hear women are comfortable to travel solo in their 60s and beyond. There’s such a wonderful world out their to discover.