Going solo - the road can be daunting on your own, but that shouldn't stop you from exploring.

Going solo – the road can be daunting on your own, but that shouldn’t stop you from exploring.

Going solo; it can be daunting. Especially if you are a woman; maybe more so if you are a woman of a certain age. So do you give up on travel because you’re female and over 40? Not hardly, go forth and conquer!

I understand the hesitation; I understand the anxiety about going solo when you reach mid-life and beyond. At twenty you’re invincible – immortal even; at thirty you can claim the confidence and self-assurance that life has thrown at you. Going solo at forty gets a bit harder; fifty harder still, at least for some of us; and so it goes as we get older – at sixty it becomes worrisome and seventy it seems impossible.

We become the prisoners of our own anxieties at some point. Fear of what to do if something happens can overwhelm us. What if I get sick or injured? What if I am the victim of a crime? What if something *bad* happens? We ‘what if’ ourselves right out of that trip.

These are all legitimate concerns, of course. I won’t argue that point. At the same time, what if those things happen in your own town? I imagine you would know what to do.

If you got sick or injured you would call a doctor or go to an emergency room. If you were the victim of a crime, you would go to the police. If something bad happened, you would get help. Yes? You would do the same wherever you were. You would go to a hospital, you would go to a police station, you would ask for help.

Still, it seems easier, or safer or just better if you can do all of that in your own language. It seems more comforting to do that where you know folks, or have your own bed to go home to. I get that, I really do; but the fact is that you know what to do and even if it was a bit more to navigate you would still do it.

Add to that the connectivity of the world we live in; that pretty much no matter where you are, you are a flight or two away from home and loved ones and it feels even more doable, doesn’t it? You would get to your loved ones, and/or they would get to you.

Now sure, if you are thinking of going trekking in the wilds of Equatorial Guinea it might be more difficult. Likewise, a bike trip across the Gobi or sailing solo around the world; but that isn’t where most of us are going for our first or second or third trip abroad.

There is, in my opinion, an advantage to traveling post 40’s. The majority of us have learned a thing or two along the way. We have a confidence that has been honed over a couple of decades of being female in this world. We know how to take care of ourselves because we have been taking care of ourselves – and others – for a while now.

You apply all the same precautions you do at home – you pay attention to your surroundings, get good directions, think about taking cabs (or Uber or Lyft, because we all  have smart phones now) after a certain point in the evening, you learn the polite words in whatever language is spoken where you’re going, you have the information you need on hand if you do get sick or injured (medications, names of doctors, insurance information). You take care of yourself.

Age doesn’t have to be a barrier any more than gender does. Sense of adventure, curiosity about the world, desire to learn and grow – these don’t have a sell-by date; so get off the shelf and go, even if it means going solo.

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