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Why I Travel Alone In Midlife

Julie Reinwald June 2021

Purposeful Living Kuel Category Expert: Julie Reinwald

Let me start by saying that traveling alone definitely does not appeal to everyone and, in fact, the thought may even create a strong distasteful response in many.

Social butterflies, women in close partnerships, and those who loathe discomfort are among the people who may not see any reward in the idea of solo travel, and that’s fine. But for women like me, traveling alone at this stage of life fills several needs and desires, including:

“Finding” Myself:

Yes, I am the woo-woo gal, always diving deeper and deeper into my innermost self. And I find that one of the best ways to peel back the layers of who I am at the core is to step away from all distractions, routines, and expectations that attempt to define me in day-to-day life.

Setting out on my own, with no need to accommodate the preferences of anyone else, allows me to explore. What lights me up? What fills me up? Where do I want my life to go from here? Who am I, really?

“Where do I want my life to go from here? Who am I, really?”

Developing Independence And Courage:

Not relying on my husband, daughter, or others to design travel itineraries or navigate routes forces me to stretch my comfort level, which is good because it boosts my self-confidence!

To be honest, though, solo travel doesn’t necessarily always mean I throw myself into the deep end. As of now, I don’t think I would travel internationally without joining a tour group or guide. But I will happily book tours on which I don’t know another soul, and I eagerly embrace maneuvering the Continental US all on my own. The more we do it, the better we get at it, right?

“The more we do it, the better we get at it, right?”

Connecting With Like-Minded People:

We all have individual styles of travel, with some people wanting to organize and take the lead, some wanting to schedule specific activities, and others wanting simply to go along for the ride.

There are people who love museums, or food, or active sports, etc. Traveling alone allows me to maximize my time doing exactly what I most love to do. Along the way, I invariably meet people with whom I have a great deal in common. And with whom I can even sometimes build lasting friendships.

Working On My Personal Bucket List:

Let’s face it, our years are finite. There are so many places I would love to visit before my time here is through, so I must prioritize accordingly. Traveling solo allows me the luxury of choosing which bucket list destinations I personally most want to visit.

So, does this sound selfish or self-serving? To some people, it probably does. The way I view it, though, is that after living to fulfill the needs and choices of others for nearly six decades, it’s perfectly fine for me to now put my own wishes first! Maybe I’ll inspire others to do the same. And, at the very least, I’ll be a happy person who exudes more light into the world.

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Julie Reinwald

About the Author:

Julie Reinwald is the author of Design a Magical Life, Leave a Meaningful Legacy. Her early career as an interior designer still influences her style and her brand. But a huge pivot took place on her trajectory when a close family member descended into a years-long abyss of mental health issues, alcohol abuse, and attempts to take their own life. For Julie, the subsequent years would be an all-consuming progression from paralyzing fear and guilt, to acceptance, to healing, to letting go, and finally, to joy. She uses her experiences as a way to inspire and empower others in designing lives of courage, vitality, and adventure, and creating meaningful legacies of hope and love. Join her on the journey on Instagram.