Janice first wrote about the idea of a solo travel makeover back in 2013. Now that we are grounded for a while and may have more time than usual for reflection and contemplation, I thought it might present an opportunity to consider these questions again. -Tracey
It may be time to take stock.
Whether you're twenty or seventy, life does not stand still.
It ebbs and flows.
Sometimes it's easier and sometimes more difficult. Sometimes you have room for your own interests and sometimes they are usurped by those of others. Sometimes you have money and sometimes you don't.
Such changes also prompt adjustments in the way you travel, how often you travel, and how you enter a country and its culture. If you're finding a lot new in life, it may be time for a travel makeover. To help you along, here are five questions to ask yourself.
1. Is life the same as it was five years ago? Will it be the same five years from now?
As careers develop, there are better and worse times to take a career break. As children enter the picture, there are better and worse times for travel. Retirement opens up additional considerations. There are certain aspects of life that are predictable. Consider where your life has been, where it's going, and how you want travel to fit into the picture. Then fit it in.
2. What health considerations affect your solo travel makeover?
Illness, pregnancy, aging – some health considerations are predictable. Be aware of these and plan your travels accordingly. Unfortunately, some catch you completely off-guard. Read “Should You Stay or Should You Go” to understand why my experience tells me that it is critical to travel when you can.
3. What does your financial picture look like going forward?
Oh, my thirties. I struggled through my thirties for all the financial responsibilities they meant to me. Consolidating our financial position was important in preparation for kids going to university. It may not be your thirties and it may be for completely different reasons, but most of us have times in life when money is more available and times when we have much less. Be aware of this and go when you can because there may be times when you absolutely can't.
4. How are life's responsibilities changing?
Children, aging parents, friends in need: we all have responsibilities to others that restrict our freedom. Can you see such responsibilities on the horizon? Perhaps it's best to travel now. Have you just come through such a period of responsibility? Why not treat yourself to some travel and rejuvenate?
5. What enriches your life now?
As life changes so do our interests. Perhaps you've transitioned beyond cooking kid-friendly meals and relish the idea of exploring a culture through its exotic food. Or, possibly, you now have the time to volunteer and wish to do so while traveling. Indulge yourself.
Just as I like to remind people that they are not who they were in their teens, they are not as shy or inhibited, making them much more capable of traveling solo than they may think, I also want to remind you to take a look forward into your life – and your travels. What does this look tell you?
A few years ago I did this. It told me to travel more and stop spending so much time in cities and go to small towns.
What will you learn?
Here are some articles to help you as you as you consider these questions and create your solo travel makeover: