Normally, I hate the word “should” because it makes me feel pressured; however, in this case, I’m hoping that you take it as I intend it: All of us women over fifty have a right to travel. And if making the decision to travel solo requires arguing against our fears and limiting beliefs, then let the arguing begin…
Excuse #1: I don’t have enough time. If you delay all your exciting travel fantasies to “someday,” you’ll be very disappointed if someday never comes. As a survivor of a brain tumor, I think I have a right to pontificate for a moment on this. Truly, we never know what’s in store for us. So ask yourself, “If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, where would I regret not traveling?” Then figure out how to go there NOW.
Excuse #2: I’m uncomfortable traveling alone. Fair enough, but when you’re traveling, you’re only as alone as you choose to be. A woman on her own is a magnet for conversation. After all, you’re likely to be viewed as safe to approach and interesting just for being wherever it is you’ve chosen to go your own.
Personally, I find that it’s never easier to meet people than when I’m traveling. And traveling solo is a GREAT opportunity to try on different personas, to explore those shadow sides of you, to be the person you know you are but maybe no one else has met yet.
Excuse #3: I’m worried about my personal safety. I don’t want to be flippant about this one. Even seasoned women travelers have found themselves in frightening situations that were unpredictable. But our personal safety can’t be guaranteed anywhere, even locked up within our four walls. So do your homework, be aware, and get out there.
Excuse #4: I have to figure out too many things to travel alone. I happen to agree with this one. The overload of information on the Internet makes travel possibilities all that much more daunting. Should I go here or there, a four star or three star hotel, take trains, buses, or cars, join a group once I arrive? I want someone to figure it all out for me. So here are a few suggestions to chunk it down:
1. Buy Fly Solo: The 50 Best Places On Earth For a Girl to Travel Alone, by Teresa Rodriguez Williamson. Williamson uses 10 criteria—among them safety, transportation and friendliness—to determine a list of destinations for adventurous women, then provides the skinny on each. But before delving into her exceedingly thorough chick-trip dispatches, Williamson provides an incisive quiz to help readers determine the best trip for them.
Dozens of global hot spots are profiled here, with an especially extensive list of European locations. Rating each of her destinations on four important variables—cultural opportunities, activity level, weather and social interaction—Williamson gives readers a feel for each city; true to her insider’s vision, she even dishes out the home phone numbers of American ex-pats willing to offer a home-cooked meal (for a small fee).
2. Use a travel agent. It’s a good idea to work with a female professional who has actually traveled extensively or at least to your places of interest.
3. Have a dinner party with friends who have traveled and ask them to tell you about their favorite destinations. Ask them to bring photos.
Excuse #5: I don’t have enough money to travel. Money is often an excuse to not do something, especially when we’re afraid for some other reason. So be honest with yourself. Then if you still feel that money is an obstacle, travel someplace that doesn’t require getting on an airplane or travel in the off season when you can get incredible deals and be treated like a queen.
Use a credit card that gives you miles. Most of us spend at least $40,000/year on gas, groceries, auto repairs, restaurants, clothing, and medical expenses, which all adds up to a round-trip ticket.
I think that one of the real reasons that women don’t travel is an unconscious belief that we’re not worthy of treating ourselves to things. If we’ve diligently risen children, worked hard for every penny, and practiced deferred gratification, it’s difficult to change gears suddenly and say to ourselves, “I deserve to treat myself to new places and experiences and I won’t let anything stop me.” But maybe this is exactly the mantra we need to get us out there.
Don’t let your excuses run and ruin your life, creating regret. You deserve to discover more of the world and the world deserves to discover you.
Originally published on TangoDiva.com