Traveling Solo

I got the travel bug after watching own grown children take several trips to other countries I always dreamed of being able to explore someday.

I knew how they could afford to travel, but how could I?

My husband and I have taken a couple of RV trips across the United States, which we’ve both enjoyed together. But I still yearned to travel to far away lands to experience different cultures too.

It took me a very long time to wrap my head around the fact that it is actually possible for me, a married woman, to travel solo.

Perhaps it took me so long because I knew that my husband does not enjoy flying and I’m not the type of person to persuade anyone to do anything they don’t wholeheartedly want to do.

He’s happy with reveling in having a self-proclaimed PhD in T.V.  The older he gets, the more settled in he becomes. He prefers taking our dog for walks, playing golf, and having a place to call home.

I, on the other hand, wouldn’t think twice about selling all our belongings and taking off to travel the world long term.  

It makes no sense to me to continue to spend our retirement money continuing to pay for the comfort of walking in one door every night when we could instead open several more exciting doors every night around the world.  Respectfully, it has become the great divide, which we don’t spend much time talking about anymore.

I think it just became a matter of believing that we each have the right to do what makes us happy.  For me it’s more full time traveling. For him it seems to be maybe be part-time traveling, although he isn’t committing to what part-time exactly means yet.  Although we saved for and made plans to take a trip to Italy this year, it seems he has lost his enthusiasm to visit all the other places we used to talk about and really dream of visiting together, like Egypt to see the pyramids – you know, someday.  Well, all those someday promises haven’t materialized.

I finally came to the realization, “If not now, when?”

To be honest with you, once I really got the travel bug to go for it, it seemed pretty dismal.  I had no idea how I was going to pull it all off.  All I knew was that if I was ever going to do the kind of traveling I wanted to do, it was going to have to be (mostly) solo, and on my own dime.  No way did I think it was fair for him to have to fit the bill. 

Even though, while raising our children, I was an enterprising stay at home mom, the fact remained that I never really had a long term paying job, established business or a career.  All the money that I ever brought into our household went to pay for the extra curricular activities we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford for our kids.

Now, of retirement age, I receive a very small social security check each month from part time jobs I held at one time or another. But, you know the old saying, “Where there is a will there’s a way!”  And I found a way.

I started by opening up my own savings account. Every penny I could get my hands on to save for a trip went into that account. A big chunk of which came by way of saving whatever I could from my social security checks. I also earned money by setting up a piano studio in the spare room of our home where I taught both children and adults how to play the piano. But, most creatively, I learned how get in touch with host families who were willing to accommodate me in their home in exchange for me helping their children learn to speak better english simply by me being there. Consequently, after traveling to several different countries, the money in my savings account was still mostly all still there. Reason being, since I didn’t have to pay for most of my accommodations and the host families I stayed with invited me to eat meals with them several times, I was able pay for my airfare, and ground transportation expenses, plus all the activities I indulged in while I was traveling and everything else I wanted or needed by way of using the $850 social security check I still had coming in each month.

So what did I do when I decided to come home for awhile? I bought the RV that I was originally saving all that money to buy in the first place. I love traveling the world, but I also love seeing all there is to see right here in the good ol’ U.S.A.