Travelling alone in your 50’s

Travelling alone in your 50’s

A picture popped up on my Facebook feed this morning that reminded me of travelling alone 9 years ago. A spritely 44 year old at the time, it got me thinking about the differences between travelling solo in my younger years and my experiences as a 50 something.

Travelling solo in your 50’s
The long haul flight takes its toll

The long haul flight takes its toll.

I’ve been travelling alone internationally for over a decade now and before that regular interstate travel was part of the jobs I had. I remember once during my time as a business traveller, I took 19 flights in 22 days. Sure at the time I was a bit tired by the weekend, but overall the flights didn’t really bother me.

Wherever you travel internationally from my home country Australia pretty much means a long haul flight. Even some flights within Australia would be considered such. When I first started my international solo trips, the long haul was no real big deal. I’d board the plane, get myself comfy, eat my meal, close my eyes and wake up in a different time zone. No big deal. Off the plane I’d hop and on with my adventure for the day.

They say that 50 is the new 30. Ghee wiz whoever came up with that saying obviously doesn’t fly long haul often. On my recent trip to Malaysia, I was reminded once more that I’m no longer a spring chicken.

Long haul flights take their toll on my 50 plus year old body. No longer can I get comfy in my seat, although I can still drop off to sleep, it’s just not the same. My feet swell, my body aches and the slightest noise wakes me. When I disembark the plane I have to force myself to get into adventure mode on the first day.

Travelling alone
Your bags feel like they have bricks in them

Your baggage seems heavier

I’ve always travelled light in comparison to others and the scales at the airport don’t lie when I check my bags in at around 15 kilos. But for the life of me I can’t figure out how all of a sudden my bags feel like they weigh a tonne. In my forties I could throw my bags around without much fuss. Now I feel like I’d just rather leave them to lost and found.

Though it’s not all bad news on the bag front. As I’ve aged, strangers are happy to help me with my bag on trains and buses. It seems like a mark of respect, they just want to help and I’m happy to have them do so. I no longer have to protest that I’m capable of struggling for myself.

Solo female travel in your 50’s
Solo travel

The best things about travelling alone in your 50’s.

With the obvious changes in your body, comes a different way of travelling. Sure I still love doing the things I’ve always liked to do, like get lost, experiencing different cultures, learning new languages, seeing different architecture and talking to locals, but things have changed.

The best things about travelling alone in your 50’s are that you don’t give two hoots about whether or not you see all the things on the tourist maps. You don’t care to rush.

I still walk everywhere for hours on end but at a slower pace. I’m much happier to sit in local parks and watch the world go by. I no longer care what people think of me.

People from all walks of life are more likely to strike up a conversation with me. I learn so much more from others. I still get asked why I am travelling alone and this is a wonderful way to meet people.

It’s okay to be in bed by 9.30pm and not just an excuse to keep me safe by not staying out late. I love the early mornings in places much more than nights anyway.

Solo travel
Savour the experience

I find extremes of weather take their toll more than ever, but hey it’s a great excuse go for a swim, sit in a nice restaurant and have a cold beer or rug up with a hot toddy.

All in all the best things about travelling alone in your 50’s is that you can take your time, you no longer care what people think of you and you don’t have to climb those 300 stairs to see something if you please.

Travelling solo in your 50’s is as awesome as travelling alone in your younger years, it’s just that now you get to really experience a place, it’s people and take the time to enjoy new cultures.

Happy travels!

@Julie

Travelling alone in your 50’s
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Comments

  1. Tamsin Grainger

    You sound tired! I avoid planes if possible and go by ship or train or, even better, I walk. But as you say you are in Australia and I am in Europe so it’s a different kettle of fish (as we say here!). Thanks for sharing. Now that I am slowing down and through the menopause (I am a grand 55 years) I find that I am more resilient again and enjoy travel a lot, but one thing which happens is that I cannot read small print – any chance you could make your font bigger? I can’t seem to zoom in on this blog (and I admit I almost gave up 🙁 but only for that reason – and I am glad I didn’t). Good travels!

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  2. Ellis

    Great post and even though I am not in my fifties yet some of them are already recognizable. Especially about not caring much what others think and not having to see everything you can possibly do. For sure I hope I will still travel in my fifties

  3. Karen

    Oh you speak my language. I too care less what people think about the way I dress. I love to sit and watch the world go by and body aches are as much part of my day as eating breakfast. Whilst I don’t travel solo, I do hear you. kx

  4. Sue

    Love this post & relate so well to it! Couldn’t agree more that it’s so much more pleasant to just savour being there & the experiences you have than to chase down everything you “must” do. Also love the conversations I get into with others – so much more interesting now I’m older.

  5. Phoebe | Lou Messugo

    I am just into my 50s and can relate to much of this especially swollen feet on flights! But I still want to go everywhere and see everything, much to my kids’ annoyance. (They still travel with me because they are still young).

  6. Alison

    Like you, I just love the freedom that comes with over 50 solo travel! I couldn’t agree more about sitting in a park, observing local life and engaging in conversations. I am still learning to let go of trying to see everything! Happy travels!

  7. sue davies

    Those bags and the long haul flights. Just got back from Singapore to NYC and still feeling jet lagged. And the bags are definitely getting heavier. Loved this post. And the joy of taking time to just “be” somewhere.

  8. Carol the Vacationerd

    My favorite thing to do when traveling solo is to find a superb restaurant and enjoy a few courses while, as you say, watching the world go by. If it has outdoor seating then even better. I have a ways to go until my 50’s but I can already feel the effects of aging in my day to day life. Happy to know I’m not the only one and that travel will be just as worthwhile in the future as it is now. Happy trails!

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