Let’s face it: Travel is incredible at any age. The wonder, the discovery, the delight at the sights, smells and tastes of a new or well-loved destination can be universal for young and old. But in my humble opinion, your travel experiences can improve with your age as much as you do!
Armed with a better sense of yourself, your likes and dislikes as well as the general world wisdom that comes with age, you up your chances of always having the best time every time you travel. Here’re five ways travel feels super-rewarding in your 40s! (I’m sure these can also apply to savvy millennials on up, but these are just my takes from my perch in life!)
1. It’s a Great Way To Get Un-Set In Your Ways
As I’ve mentioned here before, one of the things that made me curious about moving abroad was seeing if living in a vastly new place could shake me out of everyday routines and mindsets — I wanted to blow my life off its rusty hinges, and I’d say I have!
Think about it: In our home countries, most 40-somethings are … well, entrenched. Knee-deep in family life or trying to climb the ladder at work. Hell, as a single freelancer, I wasn’t dealing with either of those, but with loads of debt and a general feeling of being “stuck” in life, I, too, felt like my life was in the USofA forever. And I had a certain way of living, and no one and nothin’ was going to change it. But soon … it felt old. As did I. Was it too late to change my habits and customs — pull the rug out from under my own life? Suddenly I became curious as to whether I could become accustomed to living in a different way. Would I sink or swim? I was keen to find out; and here I am now, swimmin’ with the rest of ya’s! Living in Korea has forced me, for better or worse, to adjust my mindset and worldview, not to mention relax my standards on how things “should” be. Moving here has been a crash course in going from Type A mistress to princess of patience. What a wonderful gift!
2. Learning New Things Is Great For Your Brain
… aka how my trying to learn Korean will fend off senior memory loss forever! Science has indicated that learning new things aids in staving off degenerative illnesses like dementia and Alzheimer’s. When you live abroad, your learning kicks into high gear, amirite? Which bus will take me to this city? What’s this currency’s exchange rate?
How can I learn to say “bathroom” in 11 languages?? You get the gist. And since 40-somethings can develop early wisps of dementia, now’s a terrific time to keep educating oneself passionately. Whether you’re visiting a new land or setting down roots abroad for a while, the learning is never-ending, which your brain will thank you for later!
3. Your Wisdom-With-Age Comes In Handy
Sure, there’re plenty of old-soul 20-somethings that have an innate wisdom about them, but it doesn’t quite compare to the knowledge we’ve gained with a coupla more decades of LIFE. Marriages, divorces, teenage and grown-up kids, hell, a quarter-century more of dating life have bestowed us with a keen sense of others. While this certainly isn’t universal (there’re plenty of 40+ dingbats out there), I’d say overall, we can read people and situations well and know how to dodge the dodgy. Personally, I feel like looking older (though not quite like an elderly person) keeps scamsters from trying to prey on me … that or my resting bitchface, it could be a toss-up.
4. You Know Your Non-Negotiables
I truly believe every trip you take is an education — it provides insight not only into your destination but into yourself. And with each trip you plan and take, each high and low helps you learn what you must have and what you can do without on future trips. Obvi, if you travel enough in your young adulthood, you can easily be a pro in your 20s about what you do and don’t want when you travel, but I’d venture to say that your wishes and needs evolve as you do. For example, in my 20s, I was more game to staying in hostels than I am now. Now, I will drop some dimes for a sense of luxury; I earned it! In Thailand, specifically, friends who’d visited before said I needn’t spend more than $15 for a good massage. But guess who didn’t mind shelling out $50/$60 for an upscale experience? This Diva here! It was still a bargain compared to Korea and the States, so I felt like I was still coming out ahead. All I sought was pure luxury, and I sure got it.
5. It’s Prime Time to Scout Out Retirement Locations!
I’m actually surprised that I’ve started doing this, buuuut, I am approaching my mid-40s … while I’m out and about in the world, I figure I may as well keep an eye out for destinations that would be perfect for my later years! May not be the most energizing thought, but, hey — I feel like I was just in my 20s yesterday . Who’s to say my 60s won’t arrive faster than I realize, too? Might as well scout out where I might want to set up a home base and really, truly enjoy life.
Agree? Disagree? Have other insights about traveling as an older gal or guy? Leave your thoughts in the comments!