March is National Women’s History Month, when we recognize and celebrate the contributions of women around the world. It’s an ideal time for women to reflect on their lives, set goals, learn something new and explore new opportunities.
In honor of this yearly celebration of women, we recently spoke with several women who shared their stories of discovery, learning and friendships formed with other women while traveling solo. While all are unique, these women all have one thing in common – they didn’t let traveling alone stop them from exploring the world.
Life is an Adventure
Patricia C.’s philosophy is “I see life as an adventure – if I don’t travel by myself, I don’t travel and that’s not an option for me.”
Currently living in Columbus, Ohio, Patricia has been single since the early 1980s and retired from a career in marketing in the ‘90s. A true adventurer, she sold her home and struck out on a 13,000 mile solo journey, circumnavigating the United States, visiting national parks, staying with friends, and even sleeping in her car on occasion.
Her only goal was to make it to her son’s wedding on time and in one piece. (She did!)
Patricia discovered Road Scholar when she ran into a group in Vancouver Island at Strathcona Provincial Park. Road Scholar is the world’s leading not-for-profit educational travel organization. They looked like they were having a great time and she vowed to learn more.
She enrolled in her first Road Scholar learning adventure last spring, learning about Navajo and Hopi culture in Arizona firsthand, and in September she headed to the Northeast on a learning adventure along the coast of Maine.
“For both programs, I opted for roommate matching to offset the cost of the single supplement,” Patricia said. “In Maine, I was matched with Elaine and we bonded right away. We giggled like 10-year-olds and laughed until we cried on many nights.”
Patricia enjoyed both learning adventures and can’t wait to take her grandchildren on Intergenerational programs with Road Scholar when they turn 12.
Life is Better When People Care
Susan B., 73, of Little Rock, Arkansas, is a seasoned solo world traveler, having lived and worked in Brazil and Italy as a speech pathologist. A divorced mother of two adult children, she has traveled with other groups but prefers Road Scholar because she gets to learn and explore with like-minded people her age who are interested in learning and culture.
“I met several women on a recent Road Scholar program and I really bonded with one of them,” Susan said. “We now travel together, albeit in separate rooms. The opportunity to meet people who can truly become close friends later in life is rare. Road Scholar is perfect for anyone who wants to meet new people and travel but is worried about traveling solo.”
Life is What You Make it
Cathy B., 65, lives in a suburb of Texas and enjoyed a career in education as an Advance Placement teacher that took her all over the country. She traveled to Europe after graduating high school in the late 1960s and was immediately bitten by the travel bug.
Once she retired in 2002, she wanted to begin traveling again but didn’t have anyone with whom to travel. She was also concerned about the higher cost she thought she would have to pay as a solo traveler. She remembered her mother traveled with an organization called Elderhostel, and learned the non-profit organization had changed its name to Road Scholar but still offered educational learning adventures for older adults.
“I’ve attended several Road Scholar programs as a solo traveler and on every single program, the other participants were very welcoming and friendly,” said Cathy. “I met another woman traveling solo on a Prague program and we became fast friends. We’ve attended several programs together over the years, usually on New Year’s Eve. Road Scholar does a great job of balancing scheduled activities and free time. It is also reasonably priced, even as a solo traveler.”
“Today’s female baby boomers are adventurous and active, and are traveling solo at an unprecedented rate,” said JoAnn Bell, Senior Vice President of Programming for Road Scholar.
“Road Scholar’s experience and reputation assures solo female travelers that they are safe, whether attending a domestic learning adventure in a big city or an international program in a remote locale thousands of miles from home.”
For solo travelers who wish to defray the cost of the single supplement, Road Scholar offers a roommate-matching program. Solo travelers who wish to be paired with a roommate pay the double room price, regardless of whether a roommate is found. To learn more about Road Scholar, please visit our website at roadscholar.org/sixtyandme.
Have you taken a Road Scholar trip? Where did you go and what did you like most about the experience? If you could visit any one place in the world, where would you go? Please join the conversation.