After a couple of years of deep contemplation, I decided that I was tired of living a life of quiet desperation. So after 18 years of teaching English at a public high school, I took my retirement( probably not the best idea financially) and set myself free—free to do what??
I don’t like to use the word “retired” because I am far from being retired, but rather reinventing myself once again. As Of October 1, I rented my home for a year and have taken the advice of a well-traveled friend from Down Under and decided to do some solo traveling to New Zealand, Australia, and possibly Bali. Real traveling, where you go slowly, get to meet people, and explore the culture.
According to my friend, traveling solo is the way to go at our age. It seems like a gutsy move, yet on the other hand, you aren’t hindered by others’ schedules, quirks, and annoying habits; you’re only hindered by your own—and there’s the rub. Can you live with yourself and your behaviors when faced with a stressful situation and no one else to rely on? That is part of the challenge and the thrill of adventure that is calling me–a real exercise in mindfullness. I want to shake things up, I want to become more conscious of the beauty around me, I want to test the mettle.
I guess I was ready to undertake this. It was only one week into September when I decided to notify a few realtors about renting my home( my original mixed media painting above). The next thing I knew, the first people who looked at it wanted it, and I had to be out in two and a half weeks. One yard sale later and my belongings stored hither and thither, I find myself sharing the home of a generous girlfriend and making concrete plans. My new tenants even have a friend and connection living in Bali. The universe is complying.
My Aussie friend has been a huge help sending lots of interesting web sites and putting me in touch with contacts in New Zealand and Australia. There are also an abundance of travel resources for solo women travelers. A particularly good one is Women on the Road, www.women-on-the-road.com. This site has everything from the 10 essentials you need to have ( Pacsafe Citysafe bag) to what and how to pack. Another site of interest is Workaway.info where hosts from around the world offer food and lodging in exchange for 4 to 5 hours of work each day. It is probably geared more for the 18 to 30 crowd, but what the heck! I joined the site and created a profile. I have an interesting anecdote to tell but will save that for next time.
In the meantime, my friends are a bit blown away by my sudden plans, and a few are even inspired. When my 25 year-old son learned of my plans, he responded with “Go for it, Mom!” I’m going for it.