As a boomer, especially as a woman, why not travel solo?

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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.

Tam_Warner_penguins

Tam Warner Minton and friends.

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.

Tam_Warner_elephant

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.

Tam Warner Minton diving to visit a large turtle.

Tam Warner Minton diving to visit a large turtle.

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.

14 Comments

  1. I traveled solo from the early 1980′s until I finally met my husband Mike in 2005. Loved every second of it. Alone or with someone it shouldn’t matter; life is short, so travel.

  2. Tam, I hope many women read this article, and give solo travel a try. I think what you are doing is wonderful, and you are an inspiration to us all !! Keep it up. Baby Boomer (B.B.) women are strong, brave, and adventurous….live it!
    Barb

    1. I think so many women are missing out on wonderful experiences because they are afraid to travel on their own. But it is fun, really! No arguing or disagreeing about anything…because it is just you! Kind of nice!

  3. Your experience is wonderful. However I know your children have, in the back of their minds, the once or twice a year horror story (female journalist and photog shot, hikers on Iran border arrested and held for months). It’s the same with driving vs. flying; flying is much safer, but lose an airliner and no one ever forgets. Yet 34,000 people died in auto accidents in 2012 and it’s old hat.

    1. Absolutely true. Not to mention the fact that I have two left feet and seem to fall a lot….that’s not new, but they worry about it. The last time it happened, here at home, I needed 15 stitches. Ouch.

  4. Its great to travel alone.I travelled to Hong Kong alone (from Uk) and stayed there and last year I went alone to San Francisco fora month.I stayed ina hostel and met a lot of really interesting people who I am still in contact with and I intend going back there in September.Btw, I’m a boomer too :)

  5. Tam……..l finally had time to carefully read you article about traveling alone…..& I
    was inspired by the places you have been able to travel to……I thought I had done an
    awesome thing when I packed up my town & country van & headed it west with no
    particular place to go & a time frame of Aug 10th to be ready to start another school
    year as art teacher……I put all my money into the gas tank, sleeping in the back of the
    van most notes mixed with visits to old friends & an air conditioned little motel in the middle
    of the Mojave desert…….I went 7000 miles & my life was changed by the wonderful sights I
    saw including the Grand Canyon….& by the wonderful people I met along the way…..old friends, strangers & a son I had not seen for 27 years……I came back with all the cobb webs cleared out
    of my spirit……I was renewed, restored, reinvigorated with a feeling of freedom in my deep inner
    places & I did it alone……The next journey I shared with a girlfriend from Chicago…(I am a country
    gal from central Illinois)…..We went 3000 miles & it was very good, but, you are so right…..traveling
    by yourself is the best………I am now retired…..live alone….on a teachers retirement income…..with
    my heart wanting to pack up my van again & explore Utah…..I can do that…..but wonder how can
    I go to far away places…..ones like you describe you have been able to do……I would love to get
    advise from you on how a single lady can go to the Bahamas…..to Italy……would you share?
    thanks for sharing your story………diann graham

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