I can tell you when man first landed on the moon, and who it was. I can remember when the Daleks were big, first time around, and I can remember when Gene Pitney was all the rage.
What has this to do with travelling? Hang on, I’m getting there.
I can remember when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were in their teens and when we had to walk to the public phone box to make a phone call and I can remember when milk came in bottles and was delivered to the door. And there are lots of us who can remember all that way back into antiquity.
We’re an ever increasing demographic, us Baby Boomers.
Travelling Baby Boomers
And … we’re of an age when consensus has it that we’re travelling in hordes.
We’re the supposedly grey nomads (although few of us have any tell tale signs of grey), and the media has it that we buy caravans and take off around Australia or Europe, that we book river cruises or we train for treks in remote parts of the world.
True. There are certainly many of us in our fifties, sixties and even seventies who love nothing more than to take off and explore the world, find those parts that we haven’t yet seen and experience so much that we know is out there.
Those that don’t – travel, that is.
But there are still a lot of over sixties out there who make any excuse in the book not to travel. They say they want to but there’s always something stopping them. I’ve come across quite a few recently. These people have spent a lifetime working for a living, raising a family, considering the needs of others before their own and at times struggling with what life has thrown at them. They’ve come through all that and now they’ve stopped.
They’ve put the brakes on, sat down and decided that this is as good as it gets.
I’ve got news for you guys.
Life, if you let it, has only just begun
When I talk to people my age or older, their reasons for not travelling seem to fall neatly into four categories so I thought I’d give you my counter arguments.
1. I can’t afford it.
Okay, this is a big one, but not one that can’t be overcome. First of all you need to be realistic. Don’t plan a world cruise on the Queen Mary if you can only afford a four day cruise up the coast.
Look at your budget. Look at your incomings and your outgoings and put a plan in place.
- How much can you save each week?
- Can you cut down on anything to be able to save a bit more? You can go without that coffee and cake when you go shopping, can’t you? Put those few dollars in a jar, that’s one more glass of wine for when you do go on holiday.
- Maybe get a part time job a few hours a week or have a garage sale.
Even if you only save a few dollars a week, it’ll soon add up. Figure out how much you’ll have in 6 months, 12 months or even two years and then start planning where you can go with that money.
2. The family needs me.
Read. My. Lips.
The family WILL get by without you.
You help out with babysitting, you do the ironing while your daughter works to help support her family, you cook meals for your son who works twelve hours a day or you help out in the family business.
But you still need some ME time.
If you’re not there for a few days or a few weeks their world won’t stop – yes, they’ll need to make other arrangements, but generally it’s doable. They may moan about it but stick to your guns, they can actually survive without you.
Get up, make plans and go!
3. I’ve got no one to go with.
This is where I do a bit of sighing and despairing. How old are you?
Okay, so life didn’t work out in that perfect way that you had planned in your idealistic youth. For whatever reason, you’ve found yourself going solo in life, you’ve got no one to head off into the wild blue yonder with.
GO. BY. YOURSELF!
You’re old enough to look after yourself, to find somewhere to sleep, to make sure that you eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty and to know the dodgy from the reliable. You’ve probably brought up children for heaven’s sake, sorting yourself out should be a doddle.
Travelling solo is also one of the best ways of meeting people and you may find you’re not as solo as you thought you were.
Go with a group
If you really can’t set out by yourself there are lots of groups who cater for solo travellers – do a bit of research.
- Take an organised tour.
- Join a meet up group of like minded people.
- Advertise for someone to join you.
- Let it be known to family & friends that you’re looking for someone to travel with – social media can work wonders here.
Ladies – if you’ve decided a group is the way to go, I’ve got the perfect one for you. Why not come travel with me and the group of ladies who’ve decided that sitting still is no longer the way to go.
4. I’m too old, I can’t possibly do it.
There are those annoying comfort zones starting to close in around you again. I’ve spoken about comfort zones before and I’m a great believer in kicking them to the sidelines. We need to shove them out of the way, barge through them or leap over them, whatever it takes to loosen them up a bit and make our escape.
We’re all so constrained by society’s expectations and our need to conform that we often don’t believe that we can extend ourselves and do whatever it is that we feel we’d like to.
One of the most common responses I get when I talk about my Everest Trek is
‘oh, I really admire you for doing it but I couldn’t possibly,
I’m too old now.’
You’ve got two feet and a heartbeat, you can do whatever you set your mind to.
You’re retired and want to travel overseas for the first time? Go do it.
You want to see the orang-utans in Borneo? Do it.
You want to go and live in Bali for 6 months? Hell, go do it.
You want to hike the Inca Trail? Yes, you can!
Don’t listen to those around you who tell you shouldn’t because you never have before or because you’re too old to start now or because it would be too difficult to organise it or they think you can’t afford it.
Surround yourself with the voices of those who believe in you and tell you to get out there and go for it.
Stop saying ‘no, I can’t’ and start shouting ‘hell, yes, I can!”