Something Old, Something New

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.


last day in Canada


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24 Responses to Something Old, Something New

  1. Martine says:

    Have a wonderful time Meg-I’ll be thinking of you! Xoxoxo

  2. Kim Black says:

    Hi Meg
    I am envious of your adventure! I am also keen to follow the blog. When you do get home you will have to teach us soon to be retirees how to do this for ourselves….
    Take care

  3. Liz says:

    Bon voyage! I can’t wait to live vicariously through you!

  4. Nancy mccune says:

    Much love and wishes for awesome adventures to you dear Meg.

    Have a splendid journey!

    The Bride McCune’s

  5. crankmorecrankmore says:

    How absolutely wonderful, Meg! I can’t wait to hear of your amazing trip,. Go get ‘em , cowgirl!


  6. Nancy Epstein says:

    Bon voyage! I admire your spirit!! Look forward to the blog love Nancy E

    • Meg Westley says:

      Thanks Nancy. Look forward to seeing you once the Festival launches again. I have David’s book on my kindle for edification en route.

  7. Fred Anthony says:

    As the gypsies say, ‘Latcho drom!’.

  8. Meg Westley says:

    Thanks Fred. What the hell does that mean again?

  9. Janine says:

    You are so brave! So excited for Meg’s excellent adventures. Have a wonderful time. Much love.

  10. KeithH says:

    bon voyage!!!

  11. Rosemary says:

    Wow Meg, lovely! And courageous and inspiring. Thanks for letting us travel with you through your blog. Happy travels..

  12. Lally Cadeau says:

    Bon, Bon Voyage, Meg! J’espere que vous trouvez tous ce quels vous avez envies. Sante!

  13. Tegan says:

    Have a wonderful time Meg!! Please keep us all posted about your adventures!!

  14. Geoff says:

    As some doors close, others open – happy you are seizing the opportunity!

  15. David Pratt says:

    Wow! What an itinerary! Thank you so much for keeping me on your mailing list, Meg. I admire your organizational ability.

    I hope all your travels are rewarding. I should be on the Gulf Coast still. But I had a fall and broke three ribs. My kids were

    worried about me so I came back early. I still hope my days of travel in Europe are not over. Best regards, David


  16. This sounds exciting and positive. The beginning of the next stage of your life. I know it will be wonderful – though with some moments of sorrow, too.

  17. says:

    Hi Meg! It all sounds like a wonderful adventure and one you totally deserve. Looking forward to hearing updates from the road! Hopefully your immersion in French won’t mean you’ll switch languages on your posts. I don’t get much French here in California – but I do quite often have the opportunity to speak English to Spanish-speakers here! Best wishes and happy travels! Kim Kim Webster Cell: (510) 409-8727

  18. Francie says:

    Bon Voyage and much love. We’ll be tuned in to every step of the journey! Xxxooo

  19. I’m so excited for you. I can wait to hear how your adventure is going. Have a wonderful time. I’ll be there in spirit.

  20. Sue K says:

    See you in Paris!

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