These Women Over 50 Are Solo Travel Rock Stars

by | Mar 28, 2017 | 2 comments

Senior tourist woman walking at the beach

Last updated on June 20th, 2022

Featured image: Paying homage to the women who inspire us all to travel solo / Photo by Rawpixel on Envato

Wise women 50+ who inspire us!

By Evelyn Hannon and Carolyn Ray, JourneyWoman

This article, which was originally written by Evelyn Hannon several years ago, pointed out women over 60 that inspired her when she started blogging in 1997. I thought it was time to update it – both with Evelyn’s original choices and a few of my own, including a few women in their 50s like me.  I’m grateful to all of these women for embracing me and for their support in carrying on Evelyn’s legacy. If you have other rock stars to add, please let us know!

Evelyn writes:  “In 1984 when I first started traveling solo I had no one to mentor me. If there were other women around my age doing what I was doing I had no way of finding them. After all, we hadn’t yet gotten to a point in cyber history where most people had computers in their homes. The terms ‘blog’ and ‘bloggers’ didn’t make their appearance until the late 1990s. By then, JourneyWoman.com was born (circa 1997) and I began reaching out to try and identify other women doing what I was doing.

Today, either via my Journeywoman Newsletter or Twitter and Facebook my list of female contemporaries who travel the world solo continues to grow. I refer to them as my ‘rock star wise women.’ It feels good to be surrounded by these interesting ‘sisters’ who are based around the world. Now, I’d like to introduce them to you.”

Jump to a Solo Travel Rockstar:

The originals:

Leyla Giray Alyanak – France 
Carole Terwilliger Meyers -USA 
Zoe Dawes – England 
Ursula Maxwell-Lewis – Canada
Gaelyn Olmsted – USA

Note: Some of the other ‘originals’ including Donna Meyer, Nancie McKinnon, and Barbara Weibel have since retired or settled down in one place. Keep an eye out for updates from them in other articles

Introducing six new solo travel rock stars over 50

Over the past three years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many amazing women over the age of 50 who inspire us to travel solo and do it in their own unique way.  I hope you enjoy meeting them and learn from their wisdom.  Make sure to show your support by signing up for their emails, and following them on social media.

Deborah Bine – France /USA
Rupi Mangat – Kenya 
Vicki Hill – Kansas, USA  
Mariellen Ward – India 
Sherry Ott –  Colorado, USA
Timathea Workman – California, USA

three women standing on stage

Timathea Workman, Sherry Ott and Carolyn Ray at Women’s Travel Fest in March 2021 (Photo by @Travelingjules)

The Original Women Over 60 Solo Travel Rockstars

At this moment I am thinking, A sidecar is safer than a motorbike, right?

1. Leyla Giray Alyanak

Age: 69… I should start going backwards soon

Home base: Bucolic rural Eastern France (local food specialties: cheese, snails, cheese, frogs’ leg, cheese)

Number of countries visited: 96 but I’m not finished

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: Nothing fundamentally different but some things are harder, like getting up after a night on the ground in a tent (a forklift would be handy)

The destination I would go back to in a minute: Eritrea. No skyscrapers, no pollution, and warm, hospitable people who have been through hell and know how to make great coffee. Too bad it’s closed for business right now…

My two bits of wisdom for other women: (1) Say YES once you’ve ascertained there’s no danger. I’ve missed many a (probably) wonderful experience by being lazy or overly cautious or simply contrarian. (2) Let common sense rule your travels, not fear.

My websites: women-on-the-road.com and offbeatfrance.com

Read More From Leyla

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: In South Africa, I met a woman who was a friend of a friend. I wrote ahead to let her know I would be in her town, and could she recommend a good place to stay. She picked me up at the bus stop, gave me a room and a bed – and I stayed two months. That’s hospitality! I should add that I found similar hospitality throughout Africa… 

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: Unusual? That would be the time I was chased by a lioness across a narrow plank over a gorge in Nigeria… or when villagers carved a tree trunk into a canoe for me so I could paddle out of a flood with a Catholic priest in the Philippines… or when I was lost in a minefield in Mozambique… or kept at bay by a poisonous snake at nightfall in Borneo… the more you travel, the more experiences you are bound to have!

2. Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Age: 60+

Home base: Berkeley, California

Number of countries visited: 45

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: I am more selective about where I choose to go because I have less time to waste. I also realize that now I need safety features like railings to hold on to when I use stairs.

The destination I would go back to in a minute: London. Because it is my all-time favorite place. Most especially I love tea time, black taxis, and plays, not to mention museums and unique shops.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: (1) Don’t take malaria pills unless you absolutely must (but if they are prescribed, then definitely take them). (2) Surrender to the journey.

My website: berkeleyandbeyond.com or find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter.

Kava time, kava YES. Josh teaches me the finer points of drinking kava in Fiji.

Read More From Carole

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: This is difficult. I need to whittle down a very long list. I will select a guide on a recent trip I took to China. This guy was a frustrated stand-up comedian and he definitely enhanced our trip to and understanding of what can sometimes come across as a very severe place.

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: The time in Germany when my travel pal got the German word for cathedral mixed up with the word for catheter and didn’t figure it out until the next day. Then we understood what those Germans in the bar found so funny. Yet they still helped us find lodging by the big catheter.

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic: I have followed all the rules to avoid contracting COVID.  However, when early in the pandemic my 99-year-old Mom took a fall and then a turn for the worse, I drove from San Francisco to San Diego to visit her.  As frightened as I was, I stayed several nights in a hotel–I brought my own pillows and kept the windows open–and I am so glad I did because she died about a month after.  I made another trip to bury her.  How terribly sad that many of us had to make such painful travel decisions.  I stopped in Los Angeles on both of those trips to visit my son and his family, but we kept the visits to only about an hour and we sat out in their backyard.  Recently, I finally got on a plane and visited my daughter and her family in San Antonio. I guess I’ve learned that family trumps all, and that if I am going to risk my life on a trip it will be to visit my loved ones and not to visit a travel destination, not even my favorite one–London. 

3. Zoe Dawes

Age: 67

Home base: North West England

Number of countries visited: 48

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: As I’ve gotten older I seek out more unusual and interesting places rather than sun, sea and sand destinations. The history, culture and food of places fascinates me and meeting local people has become more important. I’m still happy to travel alone but the experience is now sometimes more important than the destination.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: (1) Ask a guide or accommodation provider for recommendations for where locals eat – you’ll get a much more genuine culinary experience than at a tourist centre. (2) Don’t be afraid to get a bit lost (within reason!) as you never know what hidden gems you may come across.

My website: thequirkytraveller.com or find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Read More From Zoe

The destination I would go back to in a minute: India. I finally got to visit it a few years ago and it was everything everyone says – and more … Sensory overload at times and never boring. Agra was fascinating; the Red Fort bustling with locals enjoying a day out and I just loved the Taj Mahal. It is definitely the most beautiful building I have ever seen. Delhi was life in its most vibrant incarnation and Shimla was fascinating with its echoes of the British Raj and air of faded magnificence. I barely touched the surface and must return soon.

Nepal, a country I visited 35years ago, has always been a favourite destination. Not only for the mountain scenery and beautiful architecture but also for the very friendly people. Last year I visited the Galapagos Islands which are even more engaging than I expected – amazing wildlife and unique ecology. So these three are my tops – for now.

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: A Buddhist monk in Pokhara, Nepal. He was on a pilgrimage to the sites related to Buddha. As the sun set over the Annapurna Range, he talked about his faith and travels, why he loved being a monk and was such a gentle, wise, funny man. I’ve been interested in Buddhism ever since. (He said I should become a nun, but that was a step too far!)

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: Going into and exploring the infamous Walled City (now pulled down) in Hong Kong is one that I’ll never forget. It was a maze of damp, narrow, dark passages, home to the notorious Triads and there was a real air of menace. I was very glad to escape in one piece.

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic: some of the best sights and experiences are on your doorstep. I’m lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world – the Lake District is on my doorstep. But right outside my back door, I discovered walks through fields and along the Lancaster Canal that I had never seen before.

4. Ursula Maxwell-Lewis

Age: 73 (doesn’t feel like it!)

Home base: Cloverdale, British Columbia, Canada

Number of countries visited: 30 (Maybe more. Lost track. Loved ’em all!)

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: I don’t think I do! If opportunity knocks, I go! Of course, now my kids pay their own way, and go without me.

The destination I would go back to in a minute: Borneo (Sabah – Sarawak). Exotic river lodges. Dramatic history. Marvellous locals. Brilliant wildlife. Orangutans swinging from branch to branch. Hornbills. Probosci’s monkeys at sunrise. Mating fireflies creating a living Christmas tree in inky blackness on a milk chocolate river. What’s not to love?

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Talk to people – the news vendor, your fellow train traveller, your aircraft seat-mate. Normally the information, and the person, are priceless. These folks are the essence of my adventures. Truly unique, they give me faith in the future. Last year, ex- Prague, an Albanian passenger earnestly entreated me to immigrate to Albania. “You could be a queen!” he exclaimed. I’m still considering it…

My websites: travellingtimes.net and  CloverdaleReporter.

Ursula Maxwell-Lewis
Read More From Ursula

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: In Pfaffenhoffen, Alsace:-“Ursula, we will go on a journey,” announced my courtly octogenarian watchmaker host. Adjourning to his well-stocked library, we discussed politics, religion, history, and geography. He had never travelled, but was better informed than most people. Fluent in five languages, he was studying Italian – to enable him to converse with a newly arrived Italian watchmaker.

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: Regressing – and redressing – as a 16th-century ‘lady’ for the Quebec City New France Festival. Securely laced into a revealing silver-green and grey period gown, I board a horse-drawn carriage procession through Old Quebec City for the Lord’s and Ladies’ Ball hosted by King Louis XIV. A gala soirée, indeed! On the Saturday, again costumed, we stroll through the old city basking in the ambiance and attentions of admiring tourists who enjoy our courtly interactions with fellow nobles as much as we do. All I lack is a lady’s maid to help me escape from those darned stays!

Gaelyn Olmsted aka Geogypsy

5. Gaelyn Olmsted aka Geogypsy

Age: 68

Home base: 5th-wheel RV parked in Skull Valley, AZ.  Truckcamper goes wherever I want, or can afford.

Number of countries visited: 4 – All but three USA states, some of Canada and Mexico, and South Africa three times visiting 16 of their National Parks. During summers I work as a seasonal National Park Ranger, for the last eight at Grand Canyon.

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: Sadly, just traveling less due to the price of fuel.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: (1) Don’t let fear hold you back. In fact don’t be fearful just be aware and listen to your intuition. (2) Solo travelers tend to interact more with the locals and other travelers; these people are part of the journey and destination.

My website: geogypsytraveler.com or find me onYoutube.

Read More From Gaelyn

The destination I would go back to in a minute: Definitely South Africa. It’s an easy country to travel in, once you learn to drive on the left side of the road, the people are a cultural mix of friendly, it’s affordable and I’ve made special friends. Plus I’m hooked on safaris in their National Parks.

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: So many, everywhere.

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: 

While driving in Kruger National Park Joan and I were chased by a young bull elephant who might have smelled the over ripe bananas in the back of the truck. Back in camp we noticed a trunk print on the dusty tailgate.

Six New Solo Travel Rock stars

1. Deborah Bine

Age: 76

Home Base: France/USA

Number of countries visited: 28

How I am traveling differently at 50+ than I traveled at 45: When I was 50, my solo travel mainly was for business. My job in a worldwide marketing group for IBM taught me a lot about traveling alone. After retirement, I put this knowledge to the test by scheduling trips to “faraway places” and never inviting or allowing friends to join me. It may seem selfish; however, I want to go where I want to go when I want to be there. Now that I live in France, my chosen destinations primarily revolve around my adopted country. That said, the lure and proximity to the rest of Europe keep me scheduling visits to places I can easily reach by car, train, and airplane.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Don’t over plan. Some of my best travel adventures have been spontaneous. When creating your itinerary, try to include hours – even days – that you can get off the radar. These can be some of your most enjoyable and productive times.

Keep your important documents, like passports and credit cards, in more than one place while traveling. If you are pickpocketed, for example, you still have a means to identify yourself and make payments. 

My websites: bfblogger.com and barefootbloggerworld.com or find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Read More From Deborah

The destination I would go back to in a minute: 

I’ve fallen in love with the south of Spain. Recently I visited Seville, and I was “gobsmacked” by its elegance and open spaces. The city is stunning with its combination of riverfront, majestic gardens, and historical landmarks. And Seville is not alone in its appeal. Cordoba and Granada deserve much more than a couple of days to explore and appreciate. I shall return!

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: 

My first solo travel adventure was to visit London for the wedding of Prince William and Kate. (Along with a million other tourists.) On the flight from the United States, I was seated between an older woman and a teenage girl who, I learned, were related. When I asked if they wanted to sit together, the grandmother made it clear that she preferred the aisle. During the flight, I understood why. If she wasn’t heading for the toilet, she was standing on her seat to reach into the overhead luggage compartment. While the 83-year-old grandmother was in motion, the granddaughter was non-plussed. They’d traveled together often. When we exited the airplane the following day, we exchanged our ” best wishes.” It was then that I noticed granny’s backpack. It’s this unforgettable stranger who I’ve chosen to model myself after – the grandmother who’s fun enough to be a travel buddy, fit enough to stand on the airplane seat; and cool enough to wear a granny backpack.

 My funniest or most unusual travel experience: 

My most unusual travel experience was catching a glimpse of the Kumari of Nepal as she peeked through her palace window. The “Living Goddess” is worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists as the reincarnation of the supreme goddess Durga. Hidden away throughout her youth in her own palace, the Kumari Ghar, she rarely sees even her parents. The day I visited the Kumari Ghar, close to Durbar Square, the Kumari appeared in her window — a rare occasion and a sign of good fortune for anyone who sees her.

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic:  

At the pandemic’s beginning, I was in the United States with my family. Like everyone, I was paralyzed by the unknown. Because I am a French resident, I returned to France before many people were able to travel. I remained pretty much isolated in my apartment in Uzès until I had received two vaccinations. The experience taught me to appreciate Freedom, whether it’s the freedom to travel or to leave my home.

Santa Maria della Salute church in Venice at sunset

Meet Lola Akinmade Åkerström

Sharing her philosophy on Lagom, Lola is a keynote speaker at our Women’s Travel Wisdom retreat this October.

Rupi Mangat in Maasai Mara

2. Rupi Mangat

Age:  60

Home base: Nairobi, Kenya 

Number of countries visited: 11

How I am traveling differently at 50+ than I travelled at 45:More open to life, enjoying it, accepting the day – the sun has been rising for the last 4,600 million years – that’s the wonder of the planet we live on. I am just a speck on it.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Be open, relax, and look out of the window.

My website: rupitheafricantrotter.com or find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Read More From Rupi

The destination I would go back to in a minute: Misali island off Pemba Island, Zanzibar 

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: SOOOO MANY – Alan Donovan who brought me into the arts of Africa; Jane Spilsbury of Watamu Marine Association

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: The lioness with her cubs in moonlight by my tent. The mother and l stared at each other, a few feet apart, while the cubs played on the porch, with only a net screen between us. Then she gave a stern deep growl “Let’s go kids” – and they vanished into the night. 

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic: Life continues. You keep going, keep traveling – I was on a local matatu (van) to get to places I wanted to – and you wear your mask.

3. Vicki Hill

Age:  64

Home base:  Lawrence, Kansas

Number of countries visited:  2

How I am traveling differently at 50+ than I travelled at 45: First off I’m a hiker…it’s the thing I love to do most & the main reason I travel…I love big scenery, wide-open spaces & hours on a trail!  And, since most amazing trails are in the backcountry, I’m also a camper.  I used to camp in a tent, but for the past 10 years or so, I have become a car camper, sleeping about 100 nights or so in a 20+ year old Toyota 4Runner.  But, probably the biggest difference is that I’m a more confident traveler.  I have learned so much over the 18 or so years I’ve been going solo.

My two bits of wisdom for other women:  Go, see & do!  Don’t let the ‘what if’s’ stop you.  There are so many solo women travelers out there….talk to them about your concerns, fears, ideas, etc.  They do this kind of travel, love it, will share information & give you confidence.

My website: tripscribbles.com/new/ or find me on Instagram and Facebook.

Read More From Vicki

The destination I would go back to in a minute:  Utah! (Colorado, New Mexico & California…hard to pick just one)

I met this unforgettable person while traveling:  Sherry Ott.  I started following Sherry & her amazing travels online.  We travel so differently—she goes all over the world visiting & staying in exotic places & I tend to stay in the States & camp.   She is also much younger than I am.  But then our paths randomly crossed in Colorado one summer a few years ago & we became fast friends, hiking trails together a few times & last year, I joined her on a trip to Mexico.  She’s a blast to hang out with & I really feel thankful for our friendship.

My most unusual travel experience:  Hiking solo on one of my favorite trails in Colorado one day, I started to pass another hiker when he started up a conversation.  He was much older than I was, looked a bit frail while standing, but turns out was a strong hiker.  He introduced himself as Doug LaFollette from Wisconsin.  He pointed out a trail I’d never been on before that would eventually circle back to my original trailhead & so we began our hike together. He was a non-stop talker, but it was a fascinating & random conversation.  He was there visiting the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory; he comes every year to teach classes & participate in seminars.  But, he was also one of the original founders of Earth Day….that was so cool to hear how that came to be.  He was also a State Senator & then became Secretary of State; & I was getting to hike alongside him on a beautiful trail, surrounded by mountains, hiking through crystal clear streams & listening to an amazing story of this man’s life.  I was smiling at my good fortune the whole time.  I’ll never forget it.

There have been many wonderful people I’ve met while traveling…it’s one of the best things about travel & always a highlight (I call it trip magic!). I love meeting new people & I think solo travel makes it even easier.  I get such enjoyment from discussing all things travel with someone new.  And on the flip side, when travel dominates the conversation, you don’t discuss politics, jobs, religion, etc.  It’s a subject that people can easily find common ground.

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic:  Those of us who travel a lot know the first thing you pack is flexibility & the pandemic just instilled that even more.  Since my kind of travel is more wilderness oriented & solo, I was able to keep doing what I love as soon as states opened up.

4. Mariellen Ward

Age:  62

Home base: Currently Rishikesh, India

Number of countries visited: not sure, about 30

How I am traveling differently at 50+ than I travelled at 45: I started travelling at the age of 45 when I went on a six-month, solo trip to India. It was a personal quest, and I was very open to the experience. I was like Alice falling through the rabbit hole! Everything was new, exciting, different. I felt fully alive, like never before. 

I think that maybe that’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am much more practical about travel now. If I travel, I have a reason, something I want to learn, or experience, or write about. I was previously more interested in culture, and these days, I’m all about nature and wildlife. Slowing down, savouring the moment in a beautiful setting.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Differentiate between fear and caution. Caution is a good, healthy attitude. Fear is negative energy. Caution will provoke you to research your destination and use common sense. Fear will only attract negative experiences. Take a cautious approach to solo travel, by all means. If you feel fearful, back off, and wait until it’s the right time or place. 

My website: breathedreamgo.com/ or find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Read More From Mariellen

The destination I would go back to in a minute:  I want to go back to Japan. I lived there for a year when I was about 32, and I would love to re-experience it now, as a travel journalist – and very different person.

I met this unforgettable person while traveling:  There are so many! I’ve been travelling a lot over the past 17 years (minus the pandemic). Rather than single out one person, I would say that what I’ve learned is that most people are kind, friendly, and helpful. The world seems kinder when you travel. I’m not sure why that is, but part of it probably has to do with our attitude of openness and adventure. 

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: Getting lost among 10 million people in 44 C. heat at the Kumbh Mela in north India – the world’s largest spiritual gathering. It was one of the most intense days of my life! And most life-changing, too, as I guess all the best rituals must be. You can read the full, harrowing story here.

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic: Good question, and I’m not sure yet as I still feel deeply in the pandemic situation. I’ve spent the entire pandemic in Rishikesh, India, where I was living to start my custom tour business India for Beginners. Finding it hard to plan, I live day by day, and just try to enjoy each moment and be grateful. I am practicing more gratitude than ever before.

5. Sherry Ott

Age: 52

Home base: Denver, Colorado

Number of countries visited: I lost count – but let’s say 72

How I am traveling differently at 60+ than I travelled at 45: I started traveling late in my life, I didn’t have a passport until I was 30 years old.  My travels in my 40’s was all about ticking off the countries and bucket-list worthy experiences – after all, I had never been to Paris before!  In short – I did what everyone else did, I followed the travel pack.

However, my 50’s means following my own path (in travel and life).  I tend to travel off the beaten path to remote places. My guiding motto is – I see where everyone is going and then I turn around and go the other way. I love to discover new places – or appreciate known places in the less desirable or unpopular times – like Vietnam in rainy season.

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Make your own way – follow your path, and let it sees where it takes you.  Throw away all of the ‘should’s’ and do what YOU want. 

My other tip is a bit more practical – wear compression socks on long flights, car rides, and train trips.  I luckily escaped death when I contracted blood clots on a long flight to India. Unbeknownst to me, I contracted the clots, they broke off and planted themselves in muy lungs and by the time my pains were diagnosed, I had 3 pulmonary emboli in my lungs. I should’ve died.  Women (especially older women) are at risk for contracting blood clots when sitting idle for more than 3 hours at a time. Compression socks (don’t worry they aren’t all ugly!), reduce that risk by providing compression in their design. It’s knit in a way that gradually squeezes the leg from the bottom up. Squeezing the leg tissues and walls of the veins helps blood in the veins return to the heart and reduce the risk of contracting blood clots when sitting for long periods. Trust me…just get them.

My website: ottsworld.com or find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Also check out my e-book, “Where to Go and When

Read More From Sherry

I also find that I am drawn to big journeys now as I get older.  Journeys are more than a vacation seeing sights – they are about getting from point A to B pushing yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, and learning about a culture, destination, and ypurself along the way. Journeys go deep, penetrating your personal limits and they are often about slow, immersive travel and learning from the outdoors.

I’m actually starting one such journey this summer as I start a long-term quest to bike from Capital to Capital in the United States hopefully completing what my father started by foot in 1984. 

The destination I would go back to in a minute: The Faroe Islands. I went a few years ago in April for only 3 days, and it just wet my appetite for more!  The culture is fascinating and quirky, plus it’s a photographer’s dream.  I was there at the end of winter and it was a bit brown and wintery yet, but I want to see it and photograph it in the summer in its green splendor!

I met this unforgettable person while traveling: The first time I went to Alaska I went to the offbeat, lesser-visited places like Nome.  In Nome I met Richard Beneville  – I will never forget him as he really was my ambassador to one of my favorite places in the world – Alaska. Richard Beneville the founder of Nome Discovery Tours was my guide for Nome and the roads that lead to nowhere. Richard, a 70-year-old former Broadway actor, was the most entertaining character in this remote, quirky town. “Thank God for Alaska – it saved my life,” he would say with a hearty smile. He weaves his fascinating and theatrical story about his life; life on Broadway, alcoholism, living above the Arctic Circle, and how he ended up in Nome as you spend the day with him.

Richard become Mayor of Nome at age 70 – he really was the town ‘mascot’ in a way.  I loved the way he was always giving back to the community – and thanks to him I came to love Alaska.   And sadly he passed away in May 2020. But he’ll always be remembered by me and the many people he introduced to Nome and Alaska – he was the best ambassador to Alaska I could ever imagine. 

My funniest or most unusual travel experience: I’ll never forget the moment in Istanbul when I realized that my cute little Airbnb I was staying at for a week was actually a dentist office!  After the initial shock, I learned that it’s normal to have doctor and dentist offices in apartments there (yet I don’t think it was too normal to then rent them out on Airbnb!).  I totally embraced the weirdness of it all, I used the dental chair as a place to sit and do work, I accepted deliveries for the doctor of false teeth, I helped the people in the waiting room practice their English, and I even got my teeth cleaned while I was staying there!

What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic:Regarding life, slowing down and staying put has its benefits.  And on the travel front, I was reminded of what an incredible country America is.  We are lucky to have so much variety of landscapes in our country.  I honestly felt very fulfilled traveling around the US to deserts, lush forests, frozen tundra and beaches. I have a whole new appreciation for my home country.

Three older women embracing and smiling, sharing their travel wisdom for the ages.

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Timathea Workman in her van

6. Timathea Workman

Age:  61

Home base: Los Angeles

Number of countries visited: 42 + Antarctica

How I am traveling differently at 50+ than I travelled at 45: When I was 45 I had a toddler, so traveled to places my son would enjoy: outdoor places, places with water features, or sites with hands on activities. I wanted to share the world with him. He was easy to travel with and we had a great time taking trips together every summer as he grew up. Each trip was themed around his age and interests: Junior Ranger programs while camping in National Parks, Harry Potter locations in England, early American historical sites on the East Coast, old castles in Scotland, scuba diving in Hawaii, art history in Europe. 

My two bits of wisdom for other women: Travel light. Unplug. Experience the world the way it is as it surrounds you. Take time to notice the little details. Don’t see it through a phone lens. Use all your senses. Pay attention to the details around you: the temperature and feeling of the air on your skin. The scents. The conversations. The texture of the floor. The tastes. Be in the moment – don’t be distracted by thinking of what you’re going to post about it; you can do that later. 

 My website: mejo.world or find me on Instagram and Youtube.

Read More From Timathea

Now, 15 years later, my son is in college and I’ve just retired, so I have the luxury of time to choose when and where I want to travel, but I’m doing it without my travel buddy. Right now I’m splitting my time between traveling with small groups of women as a Trip Leader for Damesly – I just returned from leading a trip to Jordan – and traveling solo in my converted camper van through North America. I’m also sharing my travels with an audience via social media, and getting into travel writing.  

The destination I would go back to in a minute: Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia, and Antarctica

I met this unforgettable person while traveling:  There are many kind and wonderful people on this planet, and one of the gifts of travel is that it crosses our paths with theirs. Travel also brings us closer to ourselves; it expands our comfort zones and shows us more of our own humanity. I like to think that I meet more of myself when I’m traveling.

My funniest or most unusual travel experience:  Seeing the sunset in Antarctica paint massive icebergs with soft deep pinks and fiery oranges while Humpback and Fin whales stretched their flukes like graceful dancers of the deep performing a fluid ballet around our small zodiac boat, penguins popped out from the dark blue surface of the sea, and a pure white albatross soared on the wind just behind us, was a moment of pure joy and peace unlike any I’ve ever experienced. None of us who witnessed this hour on our Earth in its most natural state could speak above a whisper, and many of us had tears streaming down our face. It was an honor to be able to witness this important place, and I was changed by it. More than ever before, I believe it’s vital for us to protect our planet and do whatever is necessary to stop climate change.

 What I’ve learned about life and travel during the pandemic: Researching and preparing for a trip is almost as much fun as going on it. It lets you enjoy the journey before you actually take it. Then, when you’re finally in the places you’ve been seeing photos of and reading about, it will feel a bit like magic: you’ll be walking into a world that up to this point has only resided only in your imagination, and suddenly it will be surrounding you with all its sights, sounds, colors, and realness. You’ll be transported and your trip will have even more meaning and depth. It’s such a fun moment.

Women’s words on being 60 Plus …

Positive aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
(Writer, Betty Friedan)

I didn’t want to let women down. One of the stereotypes I see breaking is the idea of aging and older women not being beautiful.
(Photographer, Annie Leibovitz)

Getting older has a wonderful beauty and we need to have respect for that.
(Singer, Eartha Kitt)

Knowing how to age and not being afraid of getting older is very healthy.
(CEO, Evelyn Lauder)

There’s no such thing as aging. I see it as maturing and gaining knowledge. I call that beauty.
(Singer, Celine Dion)

Women older than ourselves will always be our mentors. We gain from their wisdom and experiences. They are our super heroines.
(Travel writer, Evelyn Hannon)

(With some help from brainyquote.com)

Solo Travel Stories to Feed Your Appetite for Travel

A passionate traveller, Carolyn believes anything is possible when we follow our heart and trust our intuition. Raised in Florida, Carolyn loves all things Latin, margaritas, the ocean and music. She's a board member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).

2 Comments

  1. Zoë Dawes

    Ah Evelyn – what an inspiration and joy she was. I vividly remember meeting her at a hotel in Lancaster in NW England. She was on holiday with her family and kindly met up for a chat. I’d been following her blog and advice for some years and she was a real beacon of light for us older female travel bloggers. Her words of encouragement stay with me, “Be true to yourself, share what you live and travel boldly.”

    It’s a privilege to be here again and in such feisty company. Thanks for article – and rock on Women of Travel!

    Reply
  2. Kit Parks

    A bevy of inspiration! I will definitely share this!

    Reply

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