Saturday, August 27th, 2016

Solo Female Travelers Over 40

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Solo Travelers Over 40

When I first started blogging in early 2010, solo female travel was a barely trodden topic. The concept of long-term solo travel hadn’t even crossed my mind until I was 22. Solo female travel was especially unusual in my home country, the United States, and women traveling solo were more likely to be seen as reckless than inspiring.

Today? Google “solo female travel” in its various iterations and you’ll find countless women and resources. In fact, google “list of solo female travelers” and you’ll find plenty of round-ups detailing solo female travel bloggers.

There’s just one thing.

In most of these round-ups, women over 40 are consistently overlooked. In many instances, women over 40 are missing altogether.

Why is that? It’s certainly not for lack of value or experience! Some of my dear friends over 40 have travel experiences that will humble you in an instant, knowing that there’s so much more out there in the world.

It seems like so much of the media focuses on the superficial — “conventional” girls with carefully curated Instagrams and bikini shots. Most of the solo female traveler lists focus on young, white, straight women. And, quite frankly, as a 31-year-old straight white woman, I’ve benefited from this privilege enormously.

It shouldn’t be this way — and that’s why I’m introducing you to 16 fabulous women.

Unlike most of the round-ups out there, the women included here range in age from 40 to 75. They come from several countries and a wide variety of backgrounds. They inspire me on a daily basis with their adventurous spirits, gorgeous photography, and meaningful writing. They make me laugh. They provide me with deeply appreciated advice. They encourage me to see the world differently.

In short, they change my lives in little ways every day, and I hope they can do the same for you.

Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut

Barbara Weibel, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

Age: 63

Hometown/Current Location: Barbara grew up in Chicago but currently has no home. She just wanders the world full-time with backpack and suitcase in tow, writing about her experiences. The closest thing she has to a home is in Pokhara, Nepal, where she lives with a local family that “adopted” her five years ago this month.

About Hole in the Donut: For 36 years, Barbara worked in corporate jobs that paid the bills but brought no joy. At the age of 54, having suffered and recovered from a serious illness, she decided to walk away from a career to pursue her true passions of travel, writing, and photography. Since then, she’s been traveling the world, delving deeply into cultures and sharing the stories of her adventures on her blog, Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel.

Specialities: Cultural travel and local home stays, independent travel, solo female travel, travel photography

Read: Officially Adopted By My Yoga Guru and His Nepali Family

Carol Cain

Carol Cain, Girl Gone Travel

Age: 44

Hometown/Current Location: Carol was born in Brooklyn, where she lived till she was 9, then moved to the Dominican Republic all through high school. She now lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.

About GirlGoneTravel.com: Carol is a former public relations professional who turned to travel writing as a way to share her perspective of the world from as a Latina, a New Yorker, and a lover of cultures, languages, and people. Though culturally she was told women were supposed to be home making babies and cooking for their husband, her world-traveling mother taught her otherwise, inspiring Carol to continue the example that her mom (a solo female traveler long before it was okay to be one), set before her. Her blog is a collection of those stories and more.

Specialities: Photography, culture, food, wine, local perspective

Read: From the People of Fiji, With Love

LashWorldTour

Lash, LashWorldTour Travel Blog

Age: 44

Hometown/Current Location: Lash grew up in the USA, in small towns in several states, finally ending up in Pennsylvania. Since 1998, she’s been traveling the world nomadically. She doesn’t live anywhere nor has a particular base.

About LashWorldTour Travel Blog: With 13 years of world travel under her belt, Lash created LashWorldTour Travel Blog to help inspire and educate other hopeful travelers about independent global travel. She writes regular travel tips, destination pieces, cultural insights, travel perspectives and personal travel stories as she continues exploring the world. With a growing love of photography, Lash continues improving her skills and producing a steady stream of photo galleries, photo essays and stand-alone images of landscapes, cityscapes and nature.

Specialities: Independent travel, female travel, travel photography, outdoor adventures, budget travel

Read: How I Afford Long-Term Travel

WanderingCarol

Carol Perehudoff, Wandering Carol

Age: In dog years, not even a teenager.

Hometown/Current Location: Carol Perehudoff grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (can you say that in one breath?) and has lived in the UK, Spain, and South Korea. Her current home is Toronto.

About WanderingCarol.com: The line that describes Carol the best is “she is often gripped with a desire to be elsewhere.” A former travel columnist for a major newspaper, Carol brings this same level of expertise to her travel blog, WanderingCarol.com, a luxury travel blog for those who love to laugh. It’s the unpretentious guide to luxury travel — because everyone needs a splurge or two in their life.

Specialities: Luxury travel, spas, outdoor adventure, history (preferably scandalous), and above all, fun

Read: Losing my cool in the footsteps of Coco Chanel in Paris

Claudia Tavani

Claudia Tavani, My Adventures Across the World

Age: 40

Hometown/Current Location: Claudia grew up in Cagliari, Sardinia, and is currently based there.

About My Adventures Across the World: A former human rights lawyer and academic, Claudia abandoned her career to follow her true calling, which has taken her on many adventures and misadventures across the world, and has involved rafting down some mighty rivers, hiking to some hidden archeological sites, zip lining across canyons, mountain biking down dangerous roads, camping on desert islands, and trekking to the craters of active volcanoes. Through her blog, Claudia shares her inspiring stories, provides tips for other travelers and occasionally goes on a rant. Her mission? Hiking her way up all volcanoes in the world.

Specialities: Latin America (including Cuba), Sardinia, adventure travel, responsible tourism, volcanoes

Read: Why did I not meet the lovely, friendly Cubans everyone talks about?

Beth Whitman

Beth Whitman, Wanderlust and Lipstick

Age: 50

Hometown/Current Location: Born in Atlanta, grew up in New Jersey, but has lived in Seattle for the past 25 years.

About Wanderlust and Lipstick: Beth Whitman has been traveling the globe for more than 25 years as a solo traveler, businesswoman and philanthropist. She’s the editor of Wanderlust and Lipstick, one of the web’s most popular women’s travel sites, she runs tours through her company, WanderTours, and recently launch a non-profit organization, the WanderWorld Foundation.

Specialities: Solo travel, adventure travel, women’s travel, fitness

Read: Why Turning 50 Doesn’t Have to Suck

Heather Cowper

Heather Cowper, Heather on her Travels

Age: 53

Hometown/Current Location: Heather grew up in London but now lives in Bristol, England.

About Heather on her Travels: Heather’s blog is written for adventurous women aged 40+ who enjoy authentic travel with a little luxury thrown in. She travels widely in Europe and the UK as well as a few worldwide destinations such as India each year. Heatheronhertravels.com covers local cultures, delicious food, hiking and soft adventure and small ship cruising, bringing them to life with travel tales, colorful photography, video, and live social media posts.

Specialities: European travel, culture, food, hiking, cruising

Read: 13 stories from my charity visit to India – going off the tourist trail

Helen Suk

Helen Suk, Not Without My Passport

Age: 42

Hometown/Current Location: Toronto, for both.

About Not Without My Passport: At 41, Helen gave up her home and career for a life of travel, freelancing and blogging as everyone around her settled into marriages, families and mortgages. She shares her experiences on her blog, Not Without My Passport, with the goal of inspiring others to seek new experiences and see the world in a different way.

Specialities: Travel photography, meaningful travel, travel inspiration, offbeat destinations, food

Read: Why I Choose a Life of Travel

Jeannie Mark

Jeannie Mark, Nomadic Chic

Age: 44

Hometown/Current Location: Jeannie grew up in Canada and now lives in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

About Nomadic Chic: Jeannie is a middle-aged woman that hopes to inspire other women to see that age has no boundaries. By sharing her stories through Nomadic Chick, her mission is to show that a life lived passionately exists for all women.

Specialities: Solo travel, women’s issues, writing, managing a creative business

Read: On Aging, Sex and Travel

Leyla Giray Alyanak

Leyla Giray Alyanak, Women on the Road

Age: 62

Hometown/Current Location: Leyla was born in Paris, but she grew up in Spain, Italy, and Canada. She now lives in rural eastern France.

About Women on the Road: Leyla Giray Alyanak is an international journalist who uses her travel website to inspire women about lesser-known places, people and ideas. At 43 she bought a one-way ticket to Cape Town and traveled solo for the next three years. She documents it all on her website, a toolkit for solo women travelers.

Specialities: Culture, food, social issues, world affairs, art

Read: My Accidental Dinner Date with Royalty

Mariellen Ward

Mariellen Ward, Breathedreamgo

Age: 55

Hometown/Current Location: Grew up in Toronto, Canada and lives there now, though she spends almost half the year in India and South Asia.

About Breathedreamgo: Mariellen Ward is a professional travel writer who divides her time between Toronto and Delhi. Breathedreamgo.com, her award-winning travel blog about meaningful adventure travel, is inspired by her extensive travels in India. She writes for many print and online sites, co-founded the Toronto Travel Massive, Delhi Travel Massive and founded the WeGoSolo online community for female solo travellers. She has been featured in India Today, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveller India and on many lists of top bloggers, and she writes for online and offline publications including BBC Travel and Vogue India.

Specialities: Solo female travel, India, Canada, meaningful adventure travel, spiritual/wellness travel

Read: How I Quit My Job to Travel

Mo's Travels

Monique White, Mo Travels

Age: 45

Hometown/Current Location: Monique grew up in Los Angeles, went to undergrad at Notre Dame in Indiana, and law school at Howard University School of Law in Washington DC. She now lives in Holland.

About Mo’s Travels: Monique is a globetrotting mom of two is determined to enjoy every second of the journey, while writing about life as an expat living in Holland, her travels, and her quest to “run the world,” one destination race at a time.

Specialities: Running, family travel, the Netherlands, expat life

Read: Medinas, Minarets, and the Marrakech Half Marathon

Leah Walker

Leah Walker, Leah’s Travels

Age: 41

Hometown/Current Location: Grew up in Texas; now living in Paris.

About LeahsTravels.com: Leah Walker is a France-based luxury travel and culinary writer who has contributor and editor roles with The Daily Meal, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Magazine and is also a travel ambassador for Atout France. When she’s not eating her weight in Tex-Mex and BBQ in Texas or traveling around Europe, Leah can be found writing at a cafe in Paris’ 8th arrondissement or wandering the city’s streets with camera in hand.

Specialities: Luxury, Paris, France, Texas, hotels

Read: Life’s a Trip, then you have a Double Mastectomy

Paige Conner Totero

Paige Conner Totaro, All Over the Map

Age: 48

Hometown/Current Location: Grew up in Richmond, Virginia; now lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

About All Over the Map: From the time she was teenager, Paige Conner Totaro hasn’t just dreamed of exciting, fulfilling travel, she has made plans and put them into action: in high school, she lived and worked with a family of Italian innkeepers; after college, she earned a graduate degree from a Dutch university; as a young mother, she developed a blog and co-authored an e-book aimed at encouraging families to travel; and when her twin daughters were twelve, she and her husband led them on a year-long sabbatical trip through 28 countries. Since then, she has traveled solo to Thailand, Spain, Mexico and Newfoundland. In her latest venture, Paige applies her talent, curiosity and wealth of experience to help others realize their travel dreams through her custom travel planning service, All Over the Map Travel.

Specialities: Family adventure travel, custom family vacations, family gap year travel, first-time travel tips, Europe

Read: A Walk Above the Water

Sherry Ott

Sherry Ott, Ott’s World

Age: 45

Hometown/Current Location: Sherry grew up in Peoria, Illinois, but for the last nine years hasn’t had a home base and has been completely nomadic.

About Ottsworld.com: Sherry has been inspiring wanderlust by blogging about her solo travel and adventures since 2006 when she escaped from corporate America. As a childless 40-something, she regularly takes her nieces along on her journeys as part of the Niece Project. She’s set foot on every continent, and even drove across a number of them in search of living a life less ordinary.

Specialities: Adventure travel, niece/nephew travel, location-independent lifestyle, hiking, solo travel

Read: How to Overcome Travel Fears

Evelyn Hannon

Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman

Age: 75

Hometown/Current Location: Born in Montreal, presently living in Toronto.

About Journeywoman.com: Journeywoman.com (aka Evelyn Hannon) began blogging from a travelling woman’s point of view back in 1997. Today she is known as “The Grandmother of Women’s Travel.” Her original mandate remains the same: to inspire all women to travel safely and well.

Specialities: Solo travel, travel tips, worldwide tour listings, what to wear, budget travel

Read: How to Cross a Road in Vietnam

Do you know another solo female traveler over 40? Share away!

Comments

104 Responses to “Solo Female Travelers Over 40”
  1. Claudia says:

    It is such a honor for me to be included in this group 🙂

  2. Brenna says:

    This is so incredibly inspiring, and I love how you’ve highlighted the fact that female travellers are of all ages. I’m in my early 30s and I love looking to other women who are out travelling the world and doing amazing things; I always look up to my mum, who’s 65 and is currently in Cambodia on her own. Thank you so much for posting this!

  3. Thanks for including me, Kate – and lovely to discover several other solo women travelers I didn’t know!

  4. This is a great post and the women featured in the blog are fantastic! I’m inspired by women of all ages travelling the world! I can only wish that I’ll be able to continue my lifestyle for as long as life allows me.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I travelled alone around 2001-2004 and you’re right – there definitely weren’t blogs with much information about solo female travel (of course, there weren’t many blogs at all!)

    I was actually inspired to travel solo by Rita Golden Gelman (Tales of a Female Nomad) and I think she was in her late 50’s/early 60’s at the time. The stories she told were really different from the blogs I see these days – true off the beaten track adventures and stories about other cultures.

    I really look forward to reading these blogs and seeing what these ladies have to offer. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Erika says:

    This was really interesting to read! You’re right — I hadn’t heard of any of these women (with the exception of one) and it’s great to get a different perspective in the travel sphere! 🙂

  7. Great list! I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Newman Glock who used to oversee travel programs for the Smithsonian Institution during a lunch in D.C. I could’ve talked to her for days about her travel experiences — she is fascinating. What I value most from that conversation are her insights about balancing family life and travel… and how ultimately she might not have been as good at one as she is at the other. I found it refreshingly honest.

  8. Helen says:

    Well, I’m in great company! Now I know who my peers are. 🙂 Thank you for the inclusion, Kate, and for highlighting an underrepresented (but strong!) demographic in the travel blogosphere.

  9. Cindy says:

    Great post! I’m 54 and have been inspired by you and many of these women and have just launched my own travel blog, Travel Bliss Now. And thank you for introducing me to some blogs I hadn’t seen before.

  10. Mary B says:

    At 33, I just took my first solo trip – and I hope to follow in the footsteps of these ladies with many more solo travels in the years and decades to come. Thanks for some new inspiration!

  11. Noelle says:

    Wow – what an awesome post. Glad to see adventurous travel can be had at any age!

  12. Hey, I knew there was a reason for getting old. It’s so I can be included in posts like this along with so many bloggers I know and adore (and a few I don’t know but am planning to adore in the future). Thanks so much, Kate. I’ve added you to my adore list, too.

  13. Brianna says:

    As a member of the north of 30 club its great to see some of my favorite travelers featured here. Keep being awesome ladies!

  14. I have met so many amazing “older” women on the travel trail and my conversations with them have been some of my most memorable.

  15. Ersie Courea says:

    COUNT ME IN IN TWO YEARS AGED 6O!

  16. Well written Kate – I read many of these blogs as an older traveler and excited that you have highlighted many more! Glad to find my tribe. Count me in as a 40+ traveler – BlueSkyTraveler.com !

  17. Monique says:

    What a wonderful group of ladies! I am honored to be included.

  18. Melani says:

    Great reading about these solo travelers. I’m a fight attendant (started a year ago) who plans to travel as much as I can. Now I won’t be fearful to travel alone after reading these great womens adventures. Their inspiration will help me thru my own adventures. Thanks again.

  19. Karen says:

    Shamefully in my teens and twenties I thought anyone over 30 had the most mundane life. … now I’m 40+ and have been travelling alone on and off for 17 years, my life is way more interesting than it was back then. Age brings wisdom and as for female solo travel it’s a big deal for men not women in my experience. Great article Kate !

  20. What an absolute pleasure to included in this group. Thank you, Kate. Back in 1982 when I took my first solo journey, I had no mentors to help me. Now look at us. We’ve come a long way and each and every one of you on this list is fabulous.

  21. Right on Kate, thanks so much for creating this fab list of amazing women, for including me (and for paying attention to my complaining!). Cheers 🙂

  22. What an inspiring list of fabulous women and their travels! I’m 51 and travel solo a couple of times a year but usually drag my husband along. I think travel keeps you young 🙂

  23. Geek Goddess says:

    Jo Karnaghan from frugalfirstclasstravel.com I’ve been reading Jo’s blog for a few years, and had a chance to meet her in Sydney earlier this year.

    I’m turning 59 tomorrow. In the past ten years, I’ve been to about 25 countries, mostly traveling with groups of friends. This year, I’m going to South Africa. I don’t plan on being a full-time traveler but I sure like to get out and see the world!

  24. dylcia says:

    what a great post!!! i loved it.

  25. I’m an over 40 traveller, i cut my teeth on a 6 month safari across Africa age 22 and never looked back. Those were the true days of adventure travel- pre internet and facebook. Nobody knew where the hell you were!

  26. Victoria says:

    Ahh I think this article is great. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that you’re making more of an effort to include a more balanced perspective of solo female travel and it’s much appreciated! A handful of these I knew but a bunch I didn’t, thanks for putting this together Kate. 🙂

  27. What a great post Kate! I’m an avid reader of a wide variety of blogs and I’ve only ever heard of 5 of the above ladies which thinking about it, is quite disgraceful!

    Very nice to seee older women holding their own and living the life that they want to lead. My travel inspiration. My mum!

  28. Hey Kate, wow, what a truly great concept for a post. I really really adore this. I’m a thirty-something solo traveler and I recognize that people in their twenties and thirties get the spotlight, but we so can do with the perspective of some older ladies who are rockin it on the road too. I’m gonna go through and check all these chicks out for sure. I only know of two of them. Thanks again.

  29. Thanks so much for including me in this group of enterprising, adventurous and beautiful women

  30. Hi Kate

    I follow several of these blogs but many are new to me. Thank you for putting this list together.

    I have been travelling solo and blogging for more than 2.5 years now and at this point in time I never want to stop.

    And these bloggers prove that I don’t have to consider it yet

    Jane (aka Scarlet Jones)

  31. Thank you for putting this post together. So many wonderful solo female travelers that are such a huge inspiration for me and so many other women around the world!

  32. Proud to say that I know several of these people, and as another ‘grownup’ woman it’s nice to see some of my peers represented here! You Go Girls!

  33. Carol says:

    Ooooh! I love and admire so many of these women so much. Barbara helped me to find my voice when I first started blogging almost 9 years ago and Evelyn was a comforting voice during a moment in travel when I needed one the most. So many of these women inspire me daily and I am so honored to be among them. Thanks Kate!

  34. jennifer says:

    44 years old over here and not surprising, I already follow most of these amazing women and their blogs! 🙂

  35. Maura says:

    Great post! As a solo female traveler over 60 and just starting to create a travel blog, I love that you are writing about this age group.With baby boomers just starting to retire, we are going to see more women travelers in their sixties, seventies and beyond traveling the world and having great adventures.

    I look forward to your post in the next few years on the many solo female travelers post 50, post 60, post 70 and beyond!

  36. linda says:

    great list, but I’m not listed. 🙂

  37. Love, love, LOVE this list!
    It’s so great to see such a diverse bunch of women be featured in one place.
    Can’t wait to get stuck into all the new reading material xo

  38. Emily says:

    Thank you for posting this!

  39. Britt says:

    Such an amazing group of ladies! This post appeals to both the female solo traveller and the feminist in me; sometimes I feel really disenchanted with the whole blogging sphere (particularly instagram) because of the emphasis on super skinny, super perfect, very young women.

    It’s great to see you highlighting some of those rocking it over 40; I really really love Leah’s Travels! And I know what you mean about Journeywoman being the grandmummy of solo female travel!

  40. Lash says:

    Hey Kate,

    Thanks so much for including me in your inspirational list.

    Even more importantly, thanks for giving us older travelers a much needed shout-out and personal recommendation. You’re awesome!

    cheers, Lash

  41. You know for a long time, I didn’t know there were other solo female travelers over 40. When I would tell people that I was a full-time traveler they would look at me funny. Thank you for this list – I recognize quite a few women that I admire and a few new ones I need to read.

  42. Zascha says:

    I absolutely love this.
    You’re completely right, Kate. They’re often very overlooked and I don’t understand why, because they’re incredibly inspiring.

  43. Lisa says:

    Great list with lots of great women. Many don’t realize that I am over 40 (not a bad thing!) and have been traveling solo for nearly 10 years (1st 4 were full time)! I also read and loved Tales of a Female Nomad back then.

  44. Nat says:

    Really inspirational to see so many solo travellers. Feel like I can do it now!

  45. Leslie says:

    Hi. Not only am I over 40 (almost 50), I am also living overseas on my own. For my birthday a couple of months ago I went to Thailand and next week I am off to London and for Xmas, cruising to the Canary Island. Since moving to the Middle East, I have visited Kenya, China, Germany, Nepal and a host of other places, mostly solo! Love it and in some ways I prefer it!

  46. Hey! Wow all these wonderful women out there on the road!! You forgot me but thats ok, I stopped blogging a while ago because I tend to be in remote areas. Anyway I am 57 now and have lived on the road for 30 years! No home address for 25 of those years, roaming delighting and slow travel across the world. My heart is my guide book and my journeys are measured in freindships.

  47. Karla says:

    What an amazing list of adventurous spirits, trail blazers and fabulous in their own right!

    Not only they are inspiring, they remind you to kick fear and the face and go out there and explore. Life is a one-time show.

    Make the best of what you’ve got 🙂

    K

  48. Beth Whitman says:

    Thanks for introducing me to some gals I didn’t know about and for including me in this list!

    Like Jennifer, I was also quite inspired by Rita Golden Gelman and her book, Tales of a Female Nomad. And at 78 she’s still rockin’ it!

  49. Catherine says:

    Great article. I often feel isolated for haboring thoughts of running away to travel full time. I’ve traveled allot in my 51 yrs including countries in Africa, Costa Rica, Europe as a 21 yr old and so on. Most recently, a year ago I took on India and Nepal, alone right after my 50th. Crazy hormones had something to do with it I think and that deep, constant need to be elsewhere and see how others live.

    Climbing up to Poon Hill in Nepal was the pinnacle of my trip and words cannot describe the pride and confidence I felt on that morning. No highered help. Just me alone on that beautiful walk for 4 days.

    I know of a couple of these gal bloggers and Thank you for introducing the others. They inspire me to never let go of that idea to leave it behind…for a long trip or to travel every now and again.

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