Positively Midlife Podcast

Solo Travel at Midlife - Ep 43

March 29, 2023 Tish & Ellen Season 2 Episode 43
Solo Travel at Midlife - Ep 43
Positively Midlife Podcast
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Positively Midlife Podcast
Solo Travel at Midlife - Ep 43
Mar 29, 2023 Season 2 Episode 43
Tish & Ellen

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Co-hosts Ellen and Tish love adventures and travel.  But at midlife, there are definitely times our partners or friends don't have the vacation time, the funds, or the desire to go to places we have always dreamed of going!    And after spending so much time in the past three years together with family many of us are looking to spread our wings and cross things off our bucket lists solo.  This week's podcast is all about traveling solo and exploring why solo travel is a great way for midlife women to build confidence, independence, and self-reliance. 

Tish and Ellen welcome experienced solo traveler Karen to the podcast.  Karen has taken over 25 solo trips in the US and outside of the US and she discusses the 'whys' and the 'hows' to embracing solo travel including the top concerns of safety, dining alone, and sightseeing solo.  She shares how she's managed travel challenges including losing a phone in an Uber in Buenos Aires, booking tickets for the wrong month, and how to combat loneliness when traveling alone!

Things we talked about in this episode:  Airbnb experiences, State Department travel advisories, small hotels, cross-body bags, hybrid trips, opera singer Courtney Mills, Cadence magnetic and refillable containers, Where  Rose Goes,  Buenos Aires, dancing, travel tips.

Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Airbnb Experiences.  Tish loves to book Airbnb experiences when she visits a new city.  She loves the great tours and events you can access even if you aren't staying at an Airbnb.
Ellen: Cadence magnetic and refillable travel containers.  Ellen has the 'build your six' eucalyptus bundle and loves them! 

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

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Co-hosts Ellen and Tish love adventures and travel.  But at midlife, there are definitely times our partners or friends don't have the vacation time, the funds, or the desire to go to places we have always dreamed of going!    And after spending so much time in the past three years together with family many of us are looking to spread our wings and cross things off our bucket lists solo.  This week's podcast is all about traveling solo and exploring why solo travel is a great way for midlife women to build confidence, independence, and self-reliance. 

Tish and Ellen welcome experienced solo traveler Karen to the podcast.  Karen has taken over 25 solo trips in the US and outside of the US and she discusses the 'whys' and the 'hows' to embracing solo travel including the top concerns of safety, dining alone, and sightseeing solo.  She shares how she's managed travel challenges including losing a phone in an Uber in Buenos Aires, booking tickets for the wrong month, and how to combat loneliness when traveling alone!

Things we talked about in this episode:  Airbnb experiences, State Department travel advisories, small hotels, cross-body bags, hybrid trips, opera singer Courtney Mills, Cadence magnetic and refillable containers, Where  Rose Goes,  Buenos Aires, dancing, travel tips.

Please support us with a monthly subscription and get a quarterly live  Q&A with Ellen and Tish.

Obsessions
Tish: Airbnb Experiences.  Tish loves to book Airbnb experiences when she visits a new city.  She loves the great tours and events you can access even if you aren't staying at an Airbnb.
Ellen: Cadence magnetic and refillable travel containers.  Ellen has the 'build your six' eucalyptus bundle and loves them! 

Give us a review...
Click here

Want to start podcasting?  Click here to let Buzzsprout know we sent you, this gets you a $20 Amazon gift card if you sign up for a paid plan, and help support our show



What It's Like To Be...
What's it like to be a Cattle Rancher? FBI Special Agent? Professional Santa? Find out!

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Website: www.thepositivelymidlifepodcast.com
Email: postivelymidlifepod@gmail.com

Ellen Gustafson:

Today, we are going to talk about traveling solo at midlife, we'll explore why solo travel is a great way for midlife women to build confidence, independence and self reliance. I've done it for business, but not yet for a vacation. How about you Tish?

Tish Woods:

Well, you know, I've done like little day trips by myself, but I haven't really gone off on a solo adventure. And to be honest, it does sound exciting. But you know, I had four kids around, so I was never really solo. But Ellen did you know that cn traveler reported in a survey completed back in 2016, where they found that 68% of female travelers had taken a trip by themselves, they had done this solo traveling, and 85% of all solo travelers are women. So that is why we thought this would be such a great topic to explore that at this time in our lives, women are ready to go and do and if they, even if it's on their own. It's no reason to hold them back. And so that's why we want to talk about it today with our special guest.

Ellen Gustafson:

I'm excited about this topic. And you know, here at midlife, like you said, we've been shaped so much by our experiences in life, we made it through our 20s and 40s, focusing on kids or careers, maybe limited time for vacations because of jobs or school school vacations. So now we have them the opportunity to really open up our lives through travel at midlife. And like you said, it doesn't have to be a huge trip over to Europe, you can start by taking a short trip close by to. And today we have a guest Karen, who's a very experienced solo traveler, Karen is going to teach us the best and safest ways to travel solo as a midlife woman.

Tish Woods:

Now, Karen is another one of our Trinity tribe, while she was one of the Trinity tribe before transferring to this really like obscure little known University. What was the name of that? George Town?

Ellen Gustafson:

That's right.

Tish Woods:

But we say once a Trinity sister, always a Trinity sister. So she's a very experienced traveler and has gone like near and far. And she's going to share her experiences to hopefully inspire you that you too can be a solo traveler.

Ellen Gustafson:

So exciting cannot wait to talk more about this. But you know, Tish you know, I love this part of the show. It's our weekly obsessions. What do you got for me this week? Well, I want to talk

Tish Woods:

about like, everyone knows about Airbnb, in terms of places to stay. Well, I had actually use Airbnb to use their experiences where you can go like, if you're traveling somewhere, especially if you're really going so low, this would be a great resource to go and do an organized thing once you get there. So when I was over in Spain, my my son and I were going to Barcelona. And I signed us up for one of these experiences to go to all these different on top of places. And we went on this tour with about a dozen other people. And it was delightful, because everybody there is either by themselves or in a couple. And it's a great way when you're traveling, whether it's for business or pleasure, and you're on your own, but you want to spend some time with some other people. And everybody was just open and friendly. And sure enough, don't we run into one of the girls that was on this adventure to the tapas restaurants, we see her at another event and she just hung with us. And the other event too, it was like the next day. So you know, it's a great way to kind of meet people and make friends but also to see some unique things about the area. So if you've been on the Airbnb site before, make sure you look at their experiences. And you don't have to be far away. You can do it in for your own city as well.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know what? That is so true. And everyone knows I'm an Airbnb host but it's amazing how those experiences can really add to what your your experience in a city and you're right. You don't have to go to Europe. There's so many right here in the US.

Tish Woods:

What about you Alan? What is your obsession for the week?

Ellen Gustafson:

Well, I am keeping in touch travel theme because this is a solo travel. And last year before I went on my big trip, I bought these little magnetic containers by a company called cadence, and you get six of them. And you can put all of your beauty supplies and it's enough for a week or 10 days, and they snap together magnetically. And so instead of bringing even mini travel bottles can take up so much room, these are brilliant. And you can put this shampoo in the shower when you get there if that's what you decide to bring. And I have to say I went on this trip with my good friend Laura. And I obsessed about buying these. And finally she was just like buying them, okay. And I have to say I love them. And they come in these beautiful colors. And you can mix and match. And so I'll put a link to them. I think they're brilliant for domestic or international travel.

Tish Woods:

What a great friend gift to buy for someone's like birthday or something like that. Something small, something unique. I love that. And let's face it at this point, we don't want to use the little trial sample bottles that you buy at the, you know, the grocery store to trap. We want our good shampoo, we want our good conditioner. So what a great way to do that. And I like how they they snap all together. That's pretty cool as well.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yes. And so I'll put a link. I love them. I think they're brilliant. But let's meet Karen. So Karen, we are super excited to have you here with us today. We'd love it if you could share a little bit about who you are where you grew up. And if you can tell us about that earliest memory that inspired you to start traveling.

Karen:

Hi, Tish Hi, Ellen, thank you for having me. Yes, I grew up on that island, New York one. Not too far from Ellen I thin. And my earliest memory of travel was inspired by my grandmother. She lived in Washington, DC and she would come up. And whenever she would come up to Staten Island, we'd always get on the ferry and go into. And we if it was Christmas time, we would see Rockefeller Center. Or if it's a summertime, we go see a museum. That one time we just drove out to Montauk point without a plan just because it was the most Eastern point of New York, just because it was there. And my grandmother was single for most of her life, at sea traveled all over the world. She went to China, she went to Russia, Egypt, Africa, Central America. She always brought things back. And she always had lovely stories about them. And when I was younger, in grade school, she took my cousin and I to St. Croix in Puerto Rico. And it was pretty much my first time on a plane and landing in St. Croix and looking at the water blew my mind. And I know Ellen, you know, the beaches that we went to where the Jersey Shore and Jones Beach, not that there's anything bad. But when you see the water in the Caribbean, it was just like, wow, there's more to the world than the tri state area. City that just really just opened my eyes in my mind that there's more out there and I just have to go see it. So I love

Tish Woods:

that you had your grandmother who was what a renaissance woman because my grandmother, she didn't go to the market alone, let alone Russia and China. So you really grew up with such an amazing role model, just traveling the world and bringing those trinkets back that just planted that seed in your own mind of I need to go I need to go to those places. I love that she was your inspiration and that she started taking you to all these different places.

Ellen Gustafson:

I'd love that too Tish, you know, it really speaks to me to have a woman of that generation Karen, who was so independent and I would have to say bold and gutsy doing all of that. I don't think many of us had grandmothers that that were you know, traveling the world and Bringing their grandchildren along. I know I went to the Jersey Shore and along the east coast you to write Tisch.

Tish Woods:

You know what, I never went to the Jersey Shore we did. We traveled up and down the East Coast, but it was more, we'd hit up, you know, from Buffalo, you got to go all the way to Florida. If you're gonna go warm, you gotta go all the way. So I spent a long time in Florida. But yes.

Ellen Gustafson:

So Karen, we know that you took a really big trip in high school that you say sealed the deal around your travel. Can you share a little bit about that with us?

Karen:

Oh, sure. It was the Italy trip of 1982. And it was from my high school. And there. We had, we had a permission slip to drink wine, because it was just too difficult for us not to.

Tish Woods:

That was a big deal.

Karen:

chaperones to mind us. Like, yeah, you get to have wine.

Tish Woods:

Did you all even like the wine? Did you all even like drinking the wine,

Karen:

but it was just so there was some humor with that trip on Alitalia airlines, which I was already in another country, at least in my personal my small perspective at that time, and saw Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, was just amazing. And I was a little bit older, I think I was 15 or 16 years old. And I was like, Man, I have to see the world. This is I got a taste of it. And that's it. I'm gone.

Tish Woods:

Now, I do have a question. So when we're talking about solo traveling? Are you talking about going with other people on an organized excursion? Or are you referring to completely like planning, traveling, getting that being by yourself? How do how do you define solo traveling?

Karen:

Well, I, I actually do both. I define it in all different ways. Sometimes I do go on an organized trip, sometimes I will just do it on my own. And sometimes I want to go on an organized trip. But I want to see something myself. So I kind of do a hybrid

Tish Woods:

from that sort. How do you make that decision? What's your deciding factor if it's going to be an excursion or solo?

Karen:

Well, it definitely depends on what I want to do. And what I want to see. So an example of a solo trip that's organized, I went to Patagonia. And the reason why is that I needed to see a very large area of South America. And I thought, the most prudent. And the way I could see most for BANG of my buck. So I did it that way. And it was great. There were several single people on the tour as well as couples traveling together. And we all have the same goal of wanting to see the same thing. So there's always something in common with people traveling on those types of tour.

Ellen Gustafson:

Here, give us an example of a trip that you felt really comfortable taking solo, like just all doing on your own.

Karen:

Oh, sure. So not too long ago, in early 2022, I went to Rome. And I did that because I have been to Rome before. It's been many years. But what I wanted to do was just see things that one I haven't seen before. There's some new I haven't seen the capital line museum before. I wanted to see some other things that I saw, but I was it was 30 years ago, when I was there, the Sistine Chapel was being renovated, the ceiling was being renovated, so I only saw half of it. And I wanted to go see it this time, so I kind of knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go and Rome is pretty, it's not that big. It's pretty walkable and the Metro is pretty efficient. So that was something I felt I could do on my own and get around because most cities are are kind of organized the same way or have the same sort of infrastructure so you can kind of figure them out. And a big city like Rome, a lot of people speaking Misha, especially around the tourist attractions, so it makes it a lot easier to do it solo.

Tish Woods:

So when you when you're doing these type of planning, is it always either an excursion or completely solo? Is it all one or the other? Or can you ever kind of do a combination of the to?

Karen:

Um, yeah, I guess you could I, I do a lot of different things, especially if there's one thing I really want to see. At one time, I went to Buenos Aires, I took some dance lessons fit. So I know you're into dancing. And it was just a week long course. But what is there is is isn't a hop, skip and a jump away. Or at least in DC, you have to take a two hour flight to Atlanta, and then 10 hours down to Buenos Aires. And it just takes a long time to get there. And so I wanted to say two weeks. And one thing I didn't see when I was down there. Touring Patagonia was equal to Sioux Falls, which borders Argentina and Brazil. And it's just these beautiful cascading waterfalls. So I arranged my own tour, to get myself to Brazil, to go see these falls a week for my dance class started, so I did that on my own. And it turned out to be a really great time. And it was a lot of fun. And it was just breathtaking and beautiful. So yeah, so I kind of did a little combo there.

Tish Woods:

I love how you took a trip and excursion trip that you were going with others, and then extended it to pursue a passion to learn how to take all these dance classes. What an interesting way, you know, I think food and dancing is so much part of a culture. So to go and do that which really to immerse yourself even deeper into that culture. I'm sure what an enriching experience that must have been

Ellen Gustafson:

agreed. And Karen, I'm finding out all of these things about you. I didn't even know I had no idea that you did dancing and went even on this trip. I know I kept up with a number of your trips, but your travel is deeper than even I expected. So impressed. Yes,

Tish Woods:

so one of the questions I think a lot of people who have never solo traveled, are worried about, you know, it's this fear that when you're traveling alone, especially as a woman in midlife, do you ever feel unsafe?

Karen:

Um, well, you know, yeah, I always have my guard up. And, you know, safety is always the priority. And if I'm looking to go somewhere that I'm not, I'm interested in and not familiar with, especially if it's international, you know, a good thing just start out as just look at the State Department website, and just see if there's any alerts there. And also, if you hurt, you know, heard from somebody that that's a great place to go ask them how long ago they went there. You know, I heard that there's an alert here about a, b, and c. And they might tell you a different story. And you just kind of have to just just research it, look at newspapers and see you know, in the world section to see if anything's going on that you really you really shouldn't be there. But also just and when you get there, you decide to go where you want to go just kind of use your street smarts or common sense. You know, there's a dark alley and there aren't many people don't go down it. There's a lot of you know, there's a lot of late night living like in Madrid Madrid's, like, you know, it's like, you know, one o'clock in the afternoon at 12 midnight, you know, there's tons of people out the whole cities lit up so that that would be I would feel comfortable walking at night in the middle of the city there but other places that don't look so populated. You know, we've we've made it to midlife. I think we all have some common sense. So just take that with you, when you were

Tish Woods:

well and I like I like your suggestion to contact the State Department, because those those alerts are not like rash. So those are that means there's confirmed concerns for US citizens in those areas. So when you see those type of alerts, you need to take them seriously Correct?

Karen:

Yes, i Do I look at them and I Look at this city. And then I do I ask around. Luckily, I'm in the DC area. So I asked people who might I'm like, It's not safe to travel to A, B, or C. And they'll be like, yeah, that's okay. Okay, and you know, or maybe I'll just skip that. And wait, maybe another year to see if things aren't,

Tish Woods:

haven't lined up a little bit. And you know what, one of the other things I remember you, you suggesting to me was, don't go around looking like the tourist, you know, about blending in in terms of how you dress and how you carry yourself how important is that when you're especially when you're solo traveling?

Karen:

Right. I, I do that, especially when, like, when I went to Rome, in a city, I, I've actually watched some videos, just basically, you can google how not to look like a tourist and just, it's basically just wearing normal clothes. You know, usually people wear neutrals. You know, if you go in wearing, you know, a Washington Nationals t shirt and baseball hat and sneakers, it might look a little out of place. But if you just wear neutrals, and walk around, and you know, just people, usually, you're not the first target. If you're in somewhere where there's a lot of pickpocketing, because in Rome, like from what I understand, in the summertime, when it's really crowded is probably there. I understand there's a lot of people who are pickpocketing and you know, if you're wearing, you know, clearly clothes that scream on the tourists in these very dense areas. You might, you might be targeted, you might not. But just traveling alone, just kind of thing under the radar. Definitely, I think helps. At least that's what I do.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know, Karen, I have to say that the crossbody bag is such a great trend here from us, you know, back in the 80s with big fanny packs and Walkmans and white sneakers, really looking like a tourist. But I also did watch some videos before I went places and just to understand what what you should be wearing or not wearing like sneakers, right, or camouflage pants, those type of things. So I think it's always great, you know, Google it, right? If you're unsure, Google it on fashion. But you know, I was just reading a blog to kind of prepare for today's episode. And it was from a blogger where rose goes, and she was talking about kind of the downside of solo travel. And I think this is what's scary for me is loneliness. Right? If you go someplace, and you don't even talk to anybody for a week, right? Like, if you're if you're not really extroverted, so have you prepare Karen for a solo trip, you know, for not just the logistics, but the emotional part of it.

Karen:

So like I mentioned earlier, if you're solo on a group tour, think he'll be very friendly. Everyone's chatting. And if you have, you know, you've had together so I don't think that is particularly a huge issue. But traveling solo solo solo. Yeah, you have to prepare for that. I usually packed my agenda. In example, going to Rome, I made sure I over scheduled what I was going to do. So my whole day was filled, and I would be exhausted. Usually, loneliness comes at dinner time, if you know going out to dinner. Sometimes I will actually just go to the coop, which I think are the grocery store, which is interesting just to see what people have in the sector, and I get stuck for a salad and I get, you know, stuff from my room. And other times I'll find a larger hotel that might have a bar that serves a little bit and I'll sit there and I I bring a journal and oh, it's and when you sit down and you write in your journal time you don't focus but I'm all by myself. You're just writing down what your experiences were, which is great. That's kind of cathartic as well. And sometimes people just come up and talk to you. And so I'm not saying go out to the bar and pick people up because you're writing the journal. But it's just, it's, it's something to do other than sitting at a bar and looking at your cell phone, clearly, you know, you're engaged in doing something. So I just keep myself constantly engaged.

Ellen Gustafson:

I like that. And you know, Tish and I are big Journalers. It's something we've taken up since starting the podcast. So that really sounds great to me to sit at a bar or a cafe, and really take time to think about your day and what you're experiencing. And just curious, I know you're not an extrovert, you put yourself out there, like you said, you saw the person at two different things. And you were like, Hey, join us for dinner, right?

Karen:

Wait, I know I, I don't find myself to be an extrovert. But when you're traveling by yourself, you somehow people, figure out the other travelers figure out that you're by yourself. And then you just spark up a conversation. And just when I was in Rome, I was in a museum. And I just happened upon speaking to somebody who was traveling from Tennessee, and we were just chatting the whole time. And afterwards, we just went got a coffee. So it wasn't that I was out, I was just standing there. And somebody approached me so write it, you realize that there are so many more solo travelers out there than you ever expected?

Tish Woods:

Do you find that there's more solo travelers over in Europe than there are here?

Unknown:

Well, when I started, I started solo traveling. I would say it was 2000. And it was when I really started to just go over to Europe, solo travelers in Europe than in the United States. But over the years, I've noticed that more people and more women do travel solo to places in the United States than than they did in the past. At least that's my that's my assessment.

Tish Woods:

Now, do you find that traveling? Do you prefer to do these type of trips in season or out of season, and kind of curious, which would be a better time?

Karen:

I am a homebody during the summer, I do not travel. It's like it, especially when you're by yourself. It's just I and everyone has families. And that's the time to go. And that's a beautiful experience for families. But when you're traveling solo, it's just it's less crowded, it's less expensive. And you find that more single or solo or adult travelers are traveling on those shoulder seasons and even the offseason. So that's when I tend to travel unless it's it's something that you can only go to at certain times of the year like if you wanted to go to the Arctic in the Stan is like June to August usually and then it's over so that that kind of keeps you in the high season. But other than that, there's so many opportunities to go anywhere you want to go offseason.

Ellen Gustafson:

You know Karen, one of the things I'm looking forward to about being an empty nester here in the fall is the ability to travel in September and October or may in June like Tish, we've had been so tied for all these years with kids to these specific travel times. And so I agree with you, I think those are great opportunities. Do you have any advice on maybe a big resort or a cruise ship anything around those topics?

Karen:

Well, for me personally, I think for solo traveler, I would I personally would steer clear from a cruise ship or resort because those are designed for groups of people. And my personal goal to travel is to see something to be exposed to something learn about something. I rarely will go on being patient anything against it. It's just my point, I want to see the world first, those relaxing kind of all inclusive places. I think if you went there by yourself, I would just feel I would have a very hard time with that. But that that doesn't mean for other for other people that they wouldn't they enjoy that setting. But if you, for me, that was I would feel extremely lonely in a place where everybody has a family and you're by yourself. So my recommendation, I wouldn't do it. But everybody's different. So.

Tish Woods:

So I was reading an article in timeout that listed Iceland as one of the best places for solo travel. And I know you've been there. And I want to hear a little bit about that experience. But I also want to know, as a solo traveler, what would be two other great suggestions of a great location to go to?

Karen:

Well, I did go to I did go to Iceland, in 1999. And it was for a I saw an ad in The Washington Post said for two people $299.03 round trip tickets stay in a hotel for Valentine's Days. So then I me and my then fiance This is great. Well, we get you know, Iceland and and of course, you know, it's 299 because it's February and I've never experienced such gold in my life. But it was on believable. The topography it was just beautiful. And we were able to just go night snowmobiling, look at the Northern Lights. Go in these just spas in the middle of nowhere and just jump in the warm water when it was like minus 20. Outside. It was just wonderful. And I did go there in 2016. So several years later, and it really has built up and it's just a wonderful place to visit. And it's it's just lovely. And it's very easy to get you from where I live in Washington. It's a five hour direct flight from Dulles Airport to Reykjavik easy. It can't be easier. And everybody there speaks English, which makes it even more.

Tish Woods:

You know, I didn't even realize it was that close of a flight, so that's not too bad.

Ellen Gustafson:

And definitely on my bucket list on your bucket list. Tish

Tish Woods:

Oh, yes, those northern lights before they're gone. I need to see them.

Ellen Gustafson:

Yeah, I know. Karen, you also went on to Ana Lucia at one point as well. Do you want to share us a little bit about that trip?

Karen:

Oh, yeah, that was one of my my favorite solo trip. I mean, it was beautiful. But it was just, it was just a mishap. A wonderful mishap. I signed up for a class in anda Lucia to spend time in a little town called Torah Max, in a Pueblo should you oil painting. So I thought, Oh, I will do oil painting, sip some wine. And I'll be saying, you know, when it was it was through a company that catered to solo women travelers. So I would be with other solo women, which was great. I booked my flights. And of course, I was supposed to book it for September 15. And I got it in my head that it was October 15. I booked the wrong flight. And I couldn't get out of my tickets. And what was wonderful about this agency is that the person in Andalusi, who was coordinating it was reached out to me and said, hey, just come on your flights are we will coordinate everything for you. There's going to be a tour of advanced hikers that time and you can kind of be absorbed in that tour. And I went, Okay, I'm not at that point in time. I was not the biggest hiker in the world. And I heard advanced hikers and I was like, Oh my lord. Okay, so I have this wonderful little house Pueblo to myself, stocked with you know, bread and some coffee, and I go down to meet the advanced group. Well, it was it wasn't a it was seniors who were senior standard white hair at the table, and they're like, are your new Yankee friend. It was a bunch of people from the UK AE on a senior tour. And they just absorbed me in their group. And I did everything they were looking out for me to reverse, Karen, where's Karen? So I felt like I was completely adopted by these people. It was just wonderful. And the times where that group was transitioning out to the new group, the onsite coordinator, had let me come to her house for dinner a couple of nights just so I had a place to have dinner. And there were other people there and they were Wolfers. And I know what do you know what what

Ellen Gustafson:

do I know about it? Because a lot of kids here are they, they take a gap year, a lot of kids from my neighborhood, my town, and they go, and they do a couple Wolf's over in Europe or even in Hawaii. So it's like working on an organic farm, where you're kind of your room and board in exchange for working there. Right, Karen?

Karen:

Wow. So I met some really lovely people and a woman and her daughter from Sweden. And then another night, you know, down the road, I met another group of people, and it was just so interesting. So I just had a lovely time. And so that was an Andalusi is gorgeous. I mean, it was wonderful, I would recommend seeing at least once in your lifetime.

Ellen Gustafson:

Definitely. So beautiful. Spain is such a beautiful place. I mean, other than that mishap, maybe you can share with us some challenges or difficulties, and really what your strategies were for getting through them.

Karen:

I'm sure. So usually, for me, if I'm going someplace new, my I get challenged by getting oriented. If I'm not familiar with the airport, or the public transportation, I tend to take public transportation, because I want to see where I'm going and how the city or place works, it's a little more challenging than taking a taxi. And most people really normal people will take a taxi, but I try to get myself oriented that way. But you know, it's just you encounter a lot of just, I just prepare myself for encountering a lot of issues problems with just being not oriented on how systems work for about the first day and a half. And then things kind of settle down. So I just mentally prepare myself for that. Other issues is getting sick. And you know, if you have health issues at all, make sure that you just take the medications with you. I personally have issues with motion sickness and vertigo. So I make sure I bring my meds with me. And also I I'm not a big foodie, I'm sorry, I love food. But I stay away from experimenting with food because I don't want GI upset. But if you do, just bring you know over the counter meds with you for gi headache, anything that might, you know, you may need. Just definitely bring it with you. There are pharmacies places, but it's just easier if you have it on hand. You know, Karen, I think this is a great thing to talk about. Because last year when I traveled I did get COVID when I was on a trip and I had wished I had brought some of my type of medicines, you know what the things that I like to have when when I'm sick. And even with my kids, I usually try and bring like a Z pack or some, you know, antibiotics something with me when when I travel. So now that COVID is over, you know, as far as travel restrictions and things. I do think it's always good to remember this because you can be someplace and you don't really know the brands of the medicine even in a pharmacy, and you're trying to figure that out. So I know that you've also had some unexpected things happen and what you do there. Okay, so, one thing that happened that was challenging and unexpected happened to me when I was in when a car is taking a tango class. The last night, a group of women we all went out to a milonga, which starts at 12, midnight, one o'clock, to see one of our teachers saying, and so it was very late at night when we all call the Uber. And at that point in time, and Uber was not legal inside the city limits of Buenos Aires. So somebody always had to sit in the front, if you called an Uber, you sat in the front. So I sat in the front that time and that Uber dropped off my two friends and I wasn't going to see them again. So I went, I hugged them in the back and they got out of the car, and I didn't notice that my cell phone was on my lap. I had slid off my lap into the well of the seat of the Uber. Uber driver dropped me off. And I had my phone on silent. Because I was seeing a concert. So I turned it down. And he went away. And the night I went upstairs and I couldn't find my phone. I said you know what? It's almost three o'clock in the morning, go to bed. You'll find it in the morning. And I woke up and it wasn't there. And I thought, oh my gosh, I can't I'm about to leave on my plane. I can't check can I can't email people, I have no way to how many at the airport? How am I going to check in blah, blah, blah. And then I just, you know, I realized I'm not gonna go into those stores. But that phone was gone. There was no way I was getting it back. It was gone. But then I thought, you know, there have been many years when I traveled without a cell phone. And I had I kept my passport. I had my tickets, and I checked in just fine. So, you know, I went out to the hotel people. And I said, How am I going to get to the airport, it was, well, we can call you a cab. I was like, Oh, I'm so used to calling you to take a cab. And then I checked in. So you kind of have to go back to 1980s and 90s of how you travel. So what I from that experience, what I do now is I always carry cash, especially internationally. I mean, I know in the United States, everyone takes credit cards, but that's not so especially, you know, in other in other countries, people mostly use cash. And I make a copy of my passport and I print out my itinerary and documents and just put them in my you know, carry on. It doesn't take that much room to have all that information there. Just in case you lose your cell phone and you lose contact. But I got to the airport. I checked in fine. There was no problem at all, but it still it was A little challenging just realizing like, oh my gosh, I lost my cell phone. I'm in Buenos Aires, how am I going to get home? You can you can get home without yourself.

Tish Woods:

So I know you've spoken a couple times about your experience going to Rome recently. Now, I had actually arranged for you to meet a friend of mine there. And so you had somebody to connect with? And does that happen for you often where somebody hears that you're going to be somewhere, and they kind of set you up to to meet somebody they know. And an area?

Unknown:

Yeah, yeah. No. And that was lovely. That was so nice of you to do that. I Yeah. Tish set me up with her friend, Courtney. Courtney Mills,

Tish Woods:

who is an opera singer in in Rome. Yeah.

Karen:

Oh, yeah. She amazing, amazing. And we just sat at lunch, and we just got along wonderfully. And we spent six hours just walking around Rome. Wonderful story. I mean, it was the highlight of my trip, hands down the highlight of my trip, just having somebody lived there. And it was just wonderful. Yes, it was great. And I do. I do have people who say, Oh, I know somebody there, why don't you connect with them? And my thought is, why not?

Ellen Gustafson:

Exactly, exactly. So Karen, maybe you can share with us what the biggest impact has been to you personally, about solo traveling.

Karen:

I think the biggest in like I said, I started to do it. travel by myself, at midlife in 2010. And it's just I can do it, you can go anywhere. And I look at it as a hobby. I mean, it's almost a hobby of mine. And I have other hobbies. But this one, it's just, it just keeps filling me up. It's just wonderful. And I don't know, I know tissue has been in my house, there's a little sign next to my desk, and it says, read it. Travel, the only thing you buy that makes you richer. And that's kind of my inspiration.

Ellen Gustafson:

That's so true. It's experiences I think we always hear experts talk about what really brings true happiness. And it's not things but it's experiences and travel being one of those biggest experiences.

Tish Woods:

I don't know, do you I know you have a big trip coming up. This is not a solo travel. But do you have any more solo trips planned? And maybe you can tell us about this other big trip you have?

Karen:

Oh, sure, well, I am going actually in a couple, three weeks. I'm taking a river cruise down the Danu from Amsterdam to Buddha pass. And I have never done a river cruise before. And I'm going with my friend who really, really, really wanted to do this. So I am very interested. I've always heard good things about river cruises. So I will definitely keep you posted on on what it's like. It looks the itinerary looks amazing. And so it should be fun. And also just I'm going to meet a friend in Vienna, from New Jersey. And then I'm going to meet my, uh, my cousin's friend in Budapest. So just kind of circling back to those questions. Always see people there. Oh, and then I'm going by myself, too. I'm taking a trip to see the eastern coast of Canada. It starts in Greenland, and goes down the Labrador Sea and ends in St. John. And this trip. I've been scheduling for six years. Oh, wow. I won't go into it. But I know COVID had a lot to do with it. Why? Three of those six years. But so anyway, I'm definitely going on that in the fall.

Tish Woods:

Well, Karen, I gotta say, thank you so much for coming on here. I hope your experiences really inspire other women to say, You know what, I can do this on my own as well. So if it's ever been holding you back at all to think, Oh, I got fears. Well, who do I talk to? How do I do this? And I just have to say, I think your grandmother would be so incredibly proud to know that you have embraced travel. And she was your inspiration.

Ellen Gustafson:

I agree, Karen, what a great, what a great role model for you. And thanks for sharing. We don't have to be afraid. It's not lonely, it's safe, it's empowering. We can all be self reliant. We didn't get to mid life without figuring things out on our own. And that travel is full of ups and downs. And that's what makes it interesting. And you can start by taking something fairly local. So I think that's what I'm going to do. Take something here local in California and test it out right. So again, thanks for sharing with us. We will put a list of all of your kind of tips and different strategies in our show notes, along with the two travel obsessions that Tisha and I shared with you this week. So thanks mid lifers Till next time,

Karen:

till next week.

(Cont.) Solo Travel at Midlife - Ep 43