When You’re Over 50, You Deserve To Travel

My second set of Freddy Frog luggage tags, no longer just for children.

It was initially very difficult giving myself the permission to enjoy traveling.

Aside from the expected guilt of leaving behind people at home and going off on your own to do something for yourself, which I initially experienced while attending conferences in my 40s, I used to associate the expense of travel with being selfish. This made it very hard to have a good time.

You find all these things out when you finally allow yourself to leave the self-imposed prison of your house and embrace the ‘selfishness’ of having a good time on your own.  My semi-Victorian attitude is not unusual, according to “Why Women Over 50 Should Travel Solo More,” from Tangodiva.com:

I think one of the real reasons women don’t travel is an unconscious belief that we’re not worthy of treating ourselves to things. If we’ve diligently raised children, worked hard for every penny, and practiced deferred gratification, it’s difficult to change gears suddenly and say to ourselves, “I deserve to treat myself to new places and experiences and I won’t let anything stop me.” But maybe this is exactly the mantra we need to get us out there.

Don’t let your excuses run and ruin your life, creating regret. You deserve to discover more of the world and the world deserves to discover you.

The bundle method, brought to you by Eagle Creek's Pack-It folder

I like this article. The entire world is giving me permission to go out and see things, since it wants and needs me! Part of this equation is spending money, and that’s a major issue too. Giving myself the permission to spend any money on myself has been a hurdle.

One of the things I have spent money on is luggage. I have been like Goldilocks and the Three Bears about luggage. I originally bought a bag that turned out to be too large, as I discovered when I filled it up and then had to haul it up flights of stairs to an apartment in Edinburgh. That was my first naïve trip, when I didn’t know how little I can carry.

Rolling bags are great, but a 22″ bag holds as much as you can reasonably throw into the back of a cab without simultaneously throwing a disc in your back. My first bag for international travel was a 25″ Eagle Creek Tarmac, which I was seduced into buying because it came with a built-in shoe box (it doesn’t anymore) and it was advertised as being ‘perfect’ for a trip to Europe.

My most recent Eagle Creek purchase, the Traverse Pro 22". I'm not entirely happy with this bag. I'm pretty picky about the right bag, but its zippers and pulls feel strange, and don't seem sturdy. This will be its first real trip, so we'll see how it performs.

Once I’d filled it with all the clothes one could possibly need for a year (and my trip was only four days long) it weighed in at 20 kilos/44 lbs., which is embarrassing to me now.

Nowadays, almost all my core wardrobe fits in the above Eagle Creek Pack-It folder. I just simply take less, and that means I should be able to lift my bags without embarrassment this time around.

The best purchase I made, after observing everyone else roll their carryon around airports, was an impulse buy of a small rolling Samsonite backpack. It’s a great little bag, with good, strong zippers and plenty of room, including two mesh bags on the outside to hold a bottle of water, or an umbrella.

I buy luggage, only to use it once, find it inadequate, and donate it. Not so with this rolling backpack from Samsonite. It is, oddly, the perfect size and shape for my needs (laptop, jacket, etc.).

In total, I bring two bags; one for onboard, and one to check. I require too many things I can no longer take through security to be able to go carryon, I’m afraid (like the special knife/spoon/fork set I found many years ago from Ashland, Oregon’s Travel Essentials store, which I have never seen duplicated and am loathe to lose).

Both of my bags are emblazoned with matching frog luggage tags. Everyone else has black bags, just like mine, but no one is brave enough to have froggy luggage tags. No adult, that is.

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