Backpacking when you’re 50+ is not crazy. It’s the perfect time to indulge any travelling fantasies you’ve harboured and explore the world when you’ve got the cash, life experience and sense to do it properly…
- A recent survey from Thomas Cook revealed four out of ten over-50s are visiting destinations they never dreamt of when they were younger.
- Another survey by cheap.co.uk insurance company found 15% go somewhere based on their children’s recommendations.
- And in our HostelBookers travel survey we found more than 8% of our customers are 50+.
Everyone else seems to be at it, so why not you?
With the help of some prolific and downright brilliant travel bloggers aged 50+ – Janice Waugh, Wayne Dunlap, Barbara Weibel, Doris Gallan, Donna Hull and Evelyn Hannon – here’s the second part of the Baby Boomer’s Guide to Backpacking…
#1 To live your life
Barbara Weibel @holeinthedonut
“I spent about 35 years working in careers that paid the bills, but made me miserable. Eventually, the high stress and 70-hour work weeks caught up with me and my health began to decline. It was five more years before doctors were able to correctly diagnose my chronic Lyme disease and by then I was quite ill. As I lay in my sick bed, struggling to recover, I examined my life and realised that all the money in the world would do me no good if I died before I could do the things I had always wanted to do.
At that moment I decided that if I got better I would leave my job, backpack around the world, and find a way to recreate myself as a travel writer and photographer, the only things about which I had ever been passionate.”
#2 To see the world
Wayne Dunlap @wdunlap
“Pat and I have been married for 25 years. Our love for each other and travel has brought us to the ends of the world scuba diving in Egypt’s Red Sea, visiting the great pyramids of Giza, riding an elephant in Thailand, hiking a glacier in New Zealand, and skiing on the Alps in Zermatt, Switzerland. We also love relaxing having gone on 26 cruises on ships ranging from 10 to 3,000 passengers.”
#3 For the challenge
Doris Gallan @boomertravelling
“Zip-lining in Costa Rica with my two nieces who are in their twenties and then taking my sister-in-law who’s in her sixties was incredible. You zip over a canopy of trees sometimes as fast as 45 miles per hour and the longest run was a mile long. It was scary but exhilarating.”
#4 To be yourself
Janice Waugh @solotraveller
“What I really love about travel is meeting people. By travelling solo, I meet more people than I do when traveling with others. Locals and other travellers tend to stay away from couples. They don’t want to interrupt. When I’m alone, they feel free to step in and chat. I love it. While there are many reasons to travel alone, this is my favourite.”
#5 You’re freer than ever
Donna Hull @myitchytravelfeet
“Now that the children are grown, I have the freedom and the time to explore the world. My husband is just as crazy about travel as I am. We make a good partnership. I think it’s a fear of the unknown that holds people back.”
#6 To fulfil your ambitions
Barbara Weibel @holeinthedonut
“It took 54 years for me to get to the point where I could do what I wanted to do with my life rather than worry about what everyone else would think if I walked away from a successful career. But as they say, better late than never. I’ve been on the road for five and a half years now and have absolutely no regrets.
When I first boarded that plane I was a bit nervous, for sure, but also incredibly excited, and truly happy for the first time in my life.”
#7 To escape the norm
Evelyn Hannon @journeywoman
“In 1982 my husband of 23 years and I went our separate ways. In the eighties women weren’t really traveling on their own. Yet, I knew that if I had to stay home and bake chocolate cakes I would die of boredom and if I went out into the world alone I would die of fright. I chose going out alone and I cried most of that first trip. However, even with the tears and feeling that my heart was breaking I also loved the challenge and the excitement of the open road. That was the beginning 30 years ago and it continues.”
Believe me when I say that collating these inspirational answers has caused a lump in my throat. I just absolutely love hearing about people who go after what they want in life and don’t let age, opinions and money get in their way.
If you’re not feeling inspired yet, check out these blogs…
- Doris Gallan | babyboomerstraveling.com | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Book
- Wayne Dunlap | unhooknow.com | planyourescapenow.com | Twitter | Facebook | Book
- Barbara Weibel | holeinthedonut.com | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
- Evelyn Hannon | journeywoman.com | Twitter | Facebook
- Donna Hull | myitchytravelfeet.com | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest
- Janice Waugh | solotravellerblog.com | Twitter | Facebook | Google+
Thanks to learza and all the bloggers for the excellent images.
- Telling the Kids You’re Leaving Home
- Affording Travel Before and After