In the interest of not appearing ageist this post should really be about why ANY age is a good time to travel. But as it’s based on my experiences, I’m reaching out to my fellow friends in the 30s+ club.
Here it goes…
Imagine the average backpacker and you’ll probably picture a tweenager (late teens, early twenties) who has never had any real commitments, drinks beer for Breakfast and thinks anyone past 30 is over the hill. Add to this the pressure to “settle down”, climb the career ladder and you may well be thinking that you’ve missed the chance.
But you couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve met inspirational travellers of all ages and there’s an increasing number of people now taking a break from the rat race to hit the open road.
Need more convincing? Here’s some key reasons why your 30s (or even your 40s, 50s, 60s and so on) are a great time to travel.
You deserve a break
If you followed the traditional path of school to university to work, then by the time you hit 30 the likelihood is that you’ve been a wage slave for years. Working to the grind, working to live and work, work, work. Even those lucky enough to take the elusive two week holiday, are unlikely to gain any true “headspace”. Plus it’s easy to get so fixated on climbing the career ladder or managing the day to day, that we don’t stop to reflect, evaluate and explore what we really want in life. Travel opens this opportunity right up.
Money makes the world go round (or you go round the world)
The bonus to working hard since gaining your ABCs is that you’ve hopefully been able to save a pretty penny or two. Certainly more than you would in your teens. And if you haven’t saved yet, don’t worry. Small changes to the day to day can allow you to quickly build a travelling fund; cycling or walking to work, car sharing, taking a packed lunch, trading expensive gym memberships for outdoor training, going vegetarian (a tin of beans costs like 30p) or selling your unwanted stuff.
And there’s always the option to volunteer or work remotely when you hit the road.
Sense and sensibilities (sometimes)
OK so not all tweens are raving booze hounds, but there is a lot of temptation to party. The good thing about being a 30+ traveler is balance; you can certainly get involved and dance until the sun comes up, but you’ll experience less FOMO (fear of missing out) if you don’t party EVERY night. Maybe it’s more a personal reflection on my character, but if I’d travelled when I was younger I’d probably have partied way too much and missed out on a great deal of other epic stuff. Knowing what I like and what I want to get out of my trips, I can better prioritise my days (and nights). And yes I do still party.
Endless energy anyone?
I don’t know what happened when I hit 30, but I seemed to tap into this infinite energy source that I didn’t have before. Maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s the sunshine, but whatever it is I love it. I’ve spoken to other women my age and they agree. This has given me way more get up and go then I’ve ever experienced. And this mystery elixir of youth, means you can give the real youngsters a run for their money. Literally. I recently found myself trail running the Lost City Trek in Colombia with 20ish year old Germans boys. And I beat them to the finish line. Woop.
You’re the king of confidence
A lot of my girlfriends at home ask me ‘Is it not hard being on your own?’ or ‘Don’t you get lonely?’. And the answer is not really and rarely. I meet a lot of younger female travellers who tend to move in packs or with partners and as a younger woman I did the same. Now though, I am perfectly happy being on my own. As I’ve said in my previous post (falling in love with everything), I truly think this is when the most magical times occur. Add to that the confidence you get as you get “older”; the confidence to talk to strangers, the confidence to be rejected and the confidence to just appreciate yourself and the world around you.
Broaden your horizons at work
So you’ve decided you want to pack up and go, but what about your career prospects when you get back? Frankly, I wouldn’t work for an employer who didn’t accept that I needed some time from MY life to pursue my passions. Luckily, a lot of employers now share this view and will even offer sabbaticals. After all, blue sky thinking requires the freedom to explore new ideas. But if you’ll be starting the job hunt again, remember that you have so much more to offer on top of your previous experience; new perspectives, new skills, confidence and independence, understanding different cultures and customs. And hopefully a new lease of life. All of this = more employable than ever.
No one cares about your age but you
I know it’s crazy, but I honestly worried that at 31 I might be that “old traveller”. Yes, I’ve met lots of 19, 20, 21 and 22 year olds, but firstly some of them became my best traveler friends, and secondly I was clearly more hung up on age than they were. You’ll mix with people of all ages, from all walks of life and the only relevance age has to any of it is that at some point in your lives, the universe brought you together. So open your heart and your social circles and get out there.
I hope that’s convinced you to hit the road. Maybe I’ll see you along the way.