Backpacking, usually associated with those in their early twenties, offers adventure, one-off life experiences and some fantastic memories.
With visions of roughing it and packed dorm rooms, though, it isn’t usually the first port of call for the urbane fifty-plus woman, who never had the chance the first time round and now isn’t sure it’s really her thing.
If Jane’s recent revelations whilst travelling have taught us anything though, it’s that life is very definitely for the living and a little less luxury can lead to a whole lot more life-experience, even if you’ve never considered it before.
Take Sharon Kelly, who backpacked around Cambodia and Vietnam. She told the Telegraph:
“There were moments on my month-long backpacking trip around Cambodia and Vietnam, on a budget of £25 a day, that I questioned the sense of my plan.”
Despite her nervousness, she stepped out of her comfort zone and went for it – refusing to let age define a need to still feel alive and enjoy the world.
Another couple, Jeff and his wife, shared their decision to sell everything to tour the world with blogger Nomadic Matt.
“For my 50th birthday in 2009, my wife planned a surprise trip for us to Easter Island and Torres del Paine in far southern Patagonia, Chile. That trip was in October 2009, and it triggered our RTW trip. Once back home in our normal lives in November, I came home from a run one evening and said, “lets do it.”
You don’t have to be quite so dramatic in your approach though. The experts over at Baltic Travel Company shared some great tips on why and how to do it without stress or worry!
- Enjoying the freedom
Your children have all grown up and flown the nest, so there’s no better time than the present to go out there and explore. Being older also gives you the time and freedom to opt for a longer trip and experience many different countries in one go.
Start by planning and and working out where you want to go, and what budget you have to work with.
- Financially stable
With the kids gone, you may find that you have a little more money to enjoy than when you were younger, struggling with mortgages, bills and school fees.
It’s time to enjoy what you’ve earnt and go ahead and try new things that you may never get the opportunity to try again. If you’ve always wanted to go on that once in a life time inter-rail trip, then now you can, plus you can live more comfortably rather than slumming it.
- Older and wiser
You may have many more life experiences than those younger than you, which means you can offer far better stories and exciting tales to other travelers.
You can also use your life experiences to help you get along in foreign places as you may have more patience when dealing with the language barrier or foreign money.
It could also mean that you have more time to learn the new language first – lots of people view a trip like this as a chance to put new skills into action!
- More comfortable being alone
Many youngsters have issues with the solo travel thing, purely because they may find it odd when people enjoy a meal or a drink alone.
This is something that those older and wiser have become accustomed to, and it is usually an enjoyable experience enjoying a glass of red whilst taking in the ambience of the country you are visiting.
There are places that specialise in single travel tips – not for dating, but for companionship and indepence.
- Trying new things
You are usually travelling around so much when you are backpacking that you never find that you’re in one place for too long, or get bored at any point.
You will feel a lot more like your younger self and feel as though you have a new lease of life through the experiences of travelling out of a backpack. The sense of freedom may also make you want to try new things that you wouldn’t dream of if you were at home.
Just remember – fifty is the new twenty-one. You can travel in comfort or on a budget, but of all the reasons to stop you, don’t let it be your age.