What’s old? Well, I am, for one. Yeah yeah, young at heart – but seriously, at 62, it would be silly to call me young. Europe, my current travel destination, is also old, so we should get along. And traveling is an old pastime of mine. I love traveling. I love Europe.
New? Being single/widowed. Being retired/underemployed. Traveling alone for two and a half months. This will be the longest trip I have taken since I was 18, much the longest I have ever travelled by myself.
(I guess this blog is also old, but the entries will be new…)
Before Jay died, we’d planned to retire at 65 and while away our golden years reading, sipping wine, and traveling. I’m doing fine re. the books and wine. And I still want to travel, and feel free to go where and when I want (rather than finding and negotiating with a traveling companion.) But what will it really be like?
I don’t have much money and I am a bit concerned about feeling isolated/lonely. So I’m trying to travel economically and spend substantial time in the company of others.
Tonight I fly to London, to stay for a few days with my good friend Scarlett. From there I go to Spain for a week to participate in a volunteer program speaking English to Spaniards, in exchange for free room and board at a 4-star resort.
Back to London, then to Amsterdam for a few days with Scarlett. From there, I take a train to Paris, where I’ve rented an apartment and am enrolled in an intensive French course for 2 weeks. (This bit will cost me something, but I’ll get to brush up my French – with other people! – and visit friends in Paris.)
Come April, I’m off to the south of France for 2 weeks to volunteer (through a program called workaway) with a family at a manor house, again in exchange for room and board. Not sure what I will be doing there, but it will be the south of France, after all.
And I wind up the trip with a week in Edinburgh, seeing the sites and taking the odd bus tour (with other people) to the Highlands, islands, lochs and castles.
Where I have to pay for accommodation, I am renting through airbnb, so it is reasonable… and often I stay for free – at Scarlett’s, or as a volunteer, where I will be part of a community, contributing and being immersed in the culture. Or at least that is the idea.
Organizing the trip has been quite an undertaking (reminds me a little of the last major European trip I planned, to Italy in 2013…. and we all know how well that turned out.) But the planning is over. I’m off – tonight!
I’m excited. I’m terrified. It will be an experiment. Stay tuned for results.