As you may have noticed, writing blog posts has been on my back burner. It’s not that I don’t think about it; I do. It’s not that I’ve stopped traveling; I haven’t. Perhaps I’m the victim of Covid fatigue. Nevertheless, here I am again!
Let’s start with the passion that started it all — solo travel.
Solo traveling at 60+
When I was 50, my solo travel was mainly for business. My job in a worldwide marketing group for IBM taught me much about traveling alone. After retirement, I put the knowledge of being a solo traveler to the test by scheduling trips to “faraway places”… and not inviting friends to join me. It seems lonely… and selfish, but I know myself. I want to go where I want to go when I want to be there, and I don’t want to care for anyone but myself.
It still works for me.
Now that I live in France, my chosen destinations primarily revolve around my adopted country. And yet, the lure and proximity to the rest of Europe keep me scheduling visits to places I can easily reach by car, train, and airplane.
I’m in love with Spain.
Recently I visited Seville, and I was “gobsmacked” by its elegance and open spaces. The city is stunning with its riverfront, majestic gardens, and historical landmarks. Seville is not alone in its appeal. Cordoba and Granada deserve more than a few days to explore and appreciate. I shall return!
Unforgettable solo travel
My first solo travel adventure was to visit London for the wedding of Prince William and Kate. Before you think I was an invited guest… not! I was one of the thousands clamoring at the gate of Buckingham Palace to view “the kiss.”
I met this unforgettable person while traveling solo.
On the flight from the United States to London for “The Wedding,” I was seated between an older woman and a teenage girl. I learned quickly they were related. However, when I asked the grandmother if they wanted to be seated together, she insisted that she preferred the seat on the aisle. During the flight, it was clear why she wanted to be on the outside. If she wasn’t heading for the toilet, she was standing on her seat to reach into the overhead luggage compartment.
While the grandmother was in motion during the flight, the granddaughter was non-plussed. I learned they’d traveled together often.
When we arrived in London and exited the airplane the following day, we exchanged our “best wishes .” It was then that I noticed the grandmother’s backpack. A “granny pack.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud.
This unforgettable granny is the person I’ve chosen to model myself after – the grandmother who’s fun enough to be a travel buddy, fit enough to stand on airplane seats, and cool enough to wear a granny pack.
My most extraordinary travel experience
Catching a glimpse of the Kumari of Nepal as she peeked through her palace window is a moment I shall never forget.
The “Living Goddess” is worshipped by the Hindus and Buddhists as the reincarnation of the supreme goddess Durga. Hidden away throughout her youth in her own palace, the Kumari Ghar, she rarely sees even her parents. The day I visited the Kumari Ghar, close to Durbar Square, the Kumari appeared in her window — a rare occasion and a sign of good fortune for anyone who sees her. (Read more here: Barefoot Blogger World)
Solo travel advice
Two bits of wisdom
Don’t over-plan. Some of my best travel adventures have been spontaneous. When creating your itinerary, include hours – even days – that you can get off the radar. These can be some of your most enjoyable and productive times.
What the Pandemic taught me about life and travel:
At the Pandemic’s beginning, I was in the United States with my family. Like everyone, I was paralyzed by the unknown. Because I am now a French resident, I returned to France before many people traveled. I remained pretty much isolated until I received two vaccinations. The experience taught me to appreciate freedom, whether it’s the freedom to travel or to leave my home. Don’t take it for granted.
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