Monday, March 17, 2008

Thirty years ago I ventured to Europe to study for three months and ended up staying a year, traveling around Europe, Israel and Greece, mostly solo. Afterwards, wanderlust and independence gave way to career, marriage, 2 kids, and a mortgage. Now I find myself in a small suburban stay-at-home soccer mom existence- safe, familiar, stultifying. With one child ensconced in college, another waiting in the wings and a husband who travels 5 days a week, it seems that the tornado has left the premises, leaving me to stand on the porch and say "Well, now what?" Years of disuse have rusted my career beyond salvage, friends have started developing debilitating and dangerous illnesses and sooner or later we all catch that dreaded disease - infirmity. This seemed the perfect time to escape my existence while my body still functions somewhat and take a walkabout to reclaim my soul. But 30 years have passed, the world is not as safe, and my naïve sense of adventure has matured to a more conservative, cautious stance. Most women I have talked to have said that they would never undertake such a trip. They would be afraid to travel alone or would miss having someone to share the experience with. So the question then becomes:

Can a 50 something female fly half way around the world to New Zealand and travel solo for a month without reasonable fear? And could she have as fulfilling and adventurous a trip (albeit without overnight train rides and a backpack) that a 20 something fresh out of college would have? And what is the best way for her to meet like-minded individuals and locals while out and about without compromising safety? Is there a misperception on the part of women as to what is expected of them in their interactions with total strangers?

I am hoping to bring back meaningful experiences of a different culture made more special by the people I encounter. And I’m hoping to dispel the myth that traveling solo is scary and lonely.
I’m open to ideas others have tried while traveling alone that don’t involve anything illegal, lewd, unsafe or inappropriate. (Remember, I’m married with 2 children and wouldn’t want to do anything I couldn’t suggest to them to do.) If it’s something I can try and fits in with my travels I’ll post my results.

To give you an idea of the things I enjoy doing with others and would like to do over the month:
Eat - I love to try new foods, especially those found locally.
Drink - Yes, I do. And I hear there are great wineries in NZ.
Hike - I have signed up for a 5 day Milford Sound tramp on the South Island late in
the month.
Bike - I have signed up for a 6 day bike tour of the Southern Alps 3 days after the
Sailing - I love to sail and would enjoy getting out on a boat sometime, so long as
the captain is competent. I don’t like swimming with sharks if you catch my

Well I hope to have some good ideas flowing through this blog. The adventure starts March 19th and until then there are still plenty of plans and preparation still to come.


Anonymous said...

hi mommy. i love you. i don't really think that your traveling alone is in any way lonely or dangerous, and if it is, it can only be equivalent to sending your seven year old daughter alone to a summer camp she's never been to for a week. and look how i turned out! some of the people i met at camp are my best friends, and i now feel so safe there that it's like a second home, where i wouldn't mind spending a month. you'll be fine, and if you need help. i am the ultimate camping trip packer by now! .. and for those like kate who may think i'm in any way comparing new zealand with camp fitch, i'm not, so just chill out..

Qaptain said...

Thanks Ananymous! I love you too. Yes, I can see how going to camp at 7 would be a little scary. But only for about an hour and then it's just fun. And yes we know you are the queen of camping packing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Beth,

OMG I knew u seemed the adventurous type, but NZ? I envy ur spirit and courage! I just talked 2 ur husband and I'm still reeling from the news of why u didn't call me back! U have 2 be my polar opposite! I am still @ HRB till the 15th and I w/b moving on the 26th-that is the height of MY excitement! I w/b anxiously awaiting to read about ur travels every chance I get. I w/live vicariously thru u! Have a great time and enjoy the ride!


Anonymous said...

Mrs. Q
So this is what people do to escape ohio. Just got this blog thing from your email and you seem to be having fun and making friends. Great fun! It appears that NZ will now be the Dark Continent for me. More later but it's been Great Fun reading your adventures, sounds like we are right there with you. Now be careful with those hitch hikers and we'll see you upon your return.