“So, like, you've had botox, right?
That's what Kendra asked me a few weeks ago on our jeep safari in Rajaji National Park near Rishikesh, India.
Kendra, 25ish, Leeanne, 30ish, Penny, about to turn 40 and me, solidly in my 50s, took a short break from our Ashram to go to the park in hopes of seeing elephants. The story of the elephants (you'll get the video of me screaming like a little girl soon enough) are for another day. Today, it's just about four young travelers (I'm including myself) connecting.
Solo Travelers Connecting Across Generations
There is a reason that I have related this minor detail about the botox and the fact that the four of us spanning four decades enjoyed each other's company for a day. I am responding to Kathy who is 65 and a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. She tends to travel for months at a time by managing her money carefully and staying in backpacker accommodation. She recently wrote me asking about how to make substantial connections when so many travelers are so much younger than she.
I have to admit that, though I am 11 years younger than Kathy, I am often the eldest when I stay in backpacker accommodation. However, I usually find that there are other travelers who live as people rather than as an ‘age'. Travelers who share my curiosity for the world. Sure, those who are primarily looking to party have no interest in me. And, truth be told, I must catch them at just the right moment to find them interesting myself. But I usually find a few people who share my interests and we make a connection.
So far, Kathy, I don't think I'm being very helpful. You asked me for tips. At the end of this post, I've included links to previous articles on how to meet people but I don't think this is what you need. You are quite capable of this. Truly, I think the answer to this issue is more philosophical than practical.
Let's look at Kendra's botox question. I don't believe that she asked it because I look so young. (My hair is completely white.) I believe it was because I act young. I live young. My attitude defied my age and had Kendra puzzled.
I believe – I hope – that if we live young we will always find companions of different ages to share our travels. I just returned from India where I traveled for a couple of weeks with a woman fifteen years my junior. Last year in Chile, I traveled with Noemie who was twenty-three years younger than me. Sure, the conversations are different but they can be very rich as we learn from each other. And isn't that what we really want?
Can one make connections as a senior traveler? I think the answer is yes. They may not be as long lasting as they were when you were connecting with people of your own age a few decades ago, but they can be substantial connections none the less.
Oh, and as for the botox? No.
I would like to share a few thoughts written by a 62 year old friend of mine.
… It is life alive in all its rigour and I would not
part from that. And by the way, the young need me, they need
the way I decorate a scene, the way I give variety to the tableau
before them, the way my 62 is somehow, even for them, certainly for myself,
25 or less, and perhaps much more profoundly as curious as ever, which as far
as I can tell, is exactly what they are.
And now for the links: