I grew up in a culture that did not encourage women to travel, especially not without a man by her side. Though I constantly staggered under the weight of these archaic, conservative norms, there was a part of me that longed to fly. Lulled by the tropical sun in my small hometown, I dared to dream the most wonderful glimpses into the future travails of my soul.
I dreamt of tree-houses in far away woods, of oceans blue, green and turquoise; of people, cultures; of places that beckoned from thousands of miles away.
Mentally, I had already started packing.
Eventually, I did travel – from point A to point B, all the while madly juggling marriage, kids, career, and home. But I didn’t really ‘see’ the places I went to. Not with my soul. I visited places like a tourist: seeing all the landmarks, ticking off the places tourists normally see – skimming over the surface without really understanding the circumstances that make a place what it is. I guess I was too busy making sure the kids were safe or helping my husband plan the holiday budget or stressing to keep to the travel schedule. I always wanted to stay longer in a place and enjoy its essence but had to rush back so we could cover another landmark.
When the kids flew the coop, I looked out of my kitchen window and wondered – was I too old for soul travel? Had the best years of my life passed me by?
I wasn’t a ‘superager’ yet, but it wouldn’t be long before I reached there. It was now or never. So a few years back, I ruffled my feathers a bit, flew out of my comfortable perch and headed for new horizons.
Travel, of course, was never meant to be the prerogative of any one particular category of traveler, age factor included. The mountains, oceans, valleys and vast open spaces of this wonderful earth, call to everyone, everywhere. But now that I’m older, I can stay longer in a new city or town. I can absorb the culture, meeting the people and understanding their history. I do this to feel a connection to that place. It is no longer sightseeing but soul traveling.
I walk, drive, sail and fly wherever my heart takes me. I get facelifts from the sun and have no time to trace wrinkles or count gray hairs. Gravitational force may not be friends with some of my body parts, but it’s pretty faithful to my heart, and that’s all that matters.
The wind beneath my old wings has been propelled by some good old stuff like this –
During these journeys and destinations, I cannot recall the number of times I have raised my glass (or paper cup) and said ‘Cheers’ to a beautiful sunset in some corner of the world. Thanks to my travels, I’m healthier and happier, both physically and mentally. My soul and I are finally, travel buddies.
As for growing old . . . the oldest redwood tree in California dates back 3000 years.
Yep, I’m still young. That’s my mid-life mantra.
Editor’s Note: Read more about women after fifty following their hearts into wonderful travel adventures here.
Introducing Rachel Brown, Luxury Travel Advisor of MilesAhead, a proud associate of Valerie Wilson Travel. Rachel is featured on the Fiftiness video, Let’s Talk. Last year, when the video was made, Rachel spoke about getting back into the work force after taking a hiatus to raise her girls, without any regrets! We are so proud of Rachel for having made the decision and taking action. Take at look at her bio and her site. She’s a great advocate for finding and following your soul while traveling!