Here’s the kind of story we like to hear. It’s a baby boomer who has fallen in love with adventure. Tam Warner Minton of Dallas has begun traveling the world, even though her friends worry for her safety when she does it by herself. But she asks, why not? Why not travel solo?
I decided at 50 that there were places I wanted to go and experiences I wanted to have, and there was an element of “I can do this.” My young adult children were worried about me going very far by myself (I have a tendency to fall, trip, lose things … ) but I decided I was going to live my boomer empty-nest years the way I wanted, and what I wanted, and still want, is to travel.
I never really thought it was a big deal until I traveled to Africa in 2012 by myself, and did volunteer work in Tofo, Mozambique, for almost a month. My husband joined me after I completed some volunteer work doing fish surveys in Mozambique, and we did a fabulous safari through Tanzania. I felt wonderfully empowered by the fact that I managed well by myself, and met the challenge I had set for myself. Well, with mishaps. But I have mishaps at home, so why not have them in exciting locales?
Yet I have so many women friends who tell me how “brave” I am to travel alone. I really do not understand that. I have traveled alone many, many times now, and my husband and I have traveled extensively both by ourselves and with our children.
Unexpectedly my husband, of all people, became seriously ill during 2013. Our Empty Nest was kind of thrown for a loop when he began to get ill, and we spent 2013 canceling almost all of our trips. This has been a very challenging time for my family … but as you know, we all have to adapt to circumstances. We both recognize that if I want to continue adventuring, I will need to be on my own for a while.
In January I took a trip to the Exumas in the Bahamas, and I just returned from an incredible three-week adventure in Thailand and Myanmar. I was on a scuba diving live-aboard boat for the first week (yes, alone), then I spent some time in Phuket, and my daughter joined me for a week of seeing Bangkok, floating markets, and swimming with elephants! Hey, Boomer women grew up during the time of “women’s lib.” We are strong and capable; we can go anywhere and do anything.
So why am I considered “brave” by other women for taking trips on my own? Really, we are all capable of going and doing and accomplishing whatever we want to. Remember Helen Reddy’s “I am woman, hear me roar?” What is it about traveling alone that seems to alarm so many women? Why not travel solo? If you really want to do something or go somewhere and there is no one to accompany you, would you let that stop you? Talk to me! I really want to know, and I think it is a great discussion to have! Why do you travel solo? Or, why won’t you?
Follow Tam Warner Minton online.