When it comes to getting older, societal stereotypes tend to say that once you hit a certain age, you have to stop having adventures.
Travel is for the youth, they say. (Especially solo travel.)
Once you reach that age, you’re expected to settle down, slow down, and be sensible.
But what if society has it all wrong?
At 56 years old, Della hasn’t let age stop her from exploring. She’s driven by a passion to fly off to all corners of the world and experience all that life has to offer. That’s what makes her so Wanderful.
Della is proving that travel and adventures can happen at any age.
I asked Della (pictured above) to share with the Wanderful community a little bit more about her travel style, and why it’s so important for older women to continue to travel.
Astrid Vinje: What got you into traveling? What do you love about it?
Della Beaver: I’ve always wanted to see the world, since I was young. The world is so big, yet, we are all the same underneath the color of our skin and the bodies that we inhabit. I am interested in different cultures, lifestyles, experiences, and people. I want to see the beauty of the earth that God created and to marvel in all of His majesty.
AV: I noticed that you’re older than the typical traveler. How has this influenced the way that you travel?
DB: I think I am more ready to go outside my comfort zone and explore and experience new things. I am more willing to take risks because I know that tomorrow is never promised.
AV: How has your age influenced the way you interact with the people you meet on the road?
DB: I’m more likely to engage strangers and to talk to others no matter their age, race, religion, etc. I’m not an introvert when I’m on the road. I want to know and experience everything I can.
AV: How do you prefer to travel?
DB: I actually love to travel solo. I don’t need to be considerate of anyone else’s preferences, time, or personality in deciding what it is I want to do and experience. However, this December, I am going on a trip to Iceland with a group of 6 other women over 50 that I arranged. I started a group in December of last year, […] the Fierce and Fabulous After 50 Tribe. The reason that I started the group was to find my “tribe.” Those women are looking to make the next 50 years of their lives the best 50 years of their lives.
AV: I love that you started the Fierce and Fabulous After 50 Tribe! Why do you think it’s so important for women over 50 to keep traveling?
DB: I think it’s important that women over 50 keep traveling because it broadens their perspective of their place in the world. It keeps them young and vibrant and allows them to treat each day as the gift that it is!
AV: How true! There is something about travel that makes you appreciate what life has to offer. In your own travels, where have been your most memorable travel experiences?
DB: I think that my most memorable travel experience was my trip to Marrakesh, Morocco this past May. I traveled solo and was able to check a number of experiences off my bucket list: Hot air balloon ride over the Sahara Desert, riding a camel in the Sahara Desert, and sleeping under the stars in the Sahara Desert. I don’t think that I have experienced such a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight as the stars in the sky and the sunrise over the Sahara. Many people tried to convince me that it wasn’t safe to travel to a Muslim country by myself, but nothing could be further from the truth. The people and the country were so warm and inviting and I never once felt unsafe.
AV: That sounds amazing! How great that you were able to have an experience like that. On the flip side, what have been your most challenging travel experiences?
DB: My most challenging travel experience was my first trip overseas in 2008. I was scheduled to travel with a group to London, Paris, Italy, and Switzerland. I had paid in advance for the trip and the only thing I needed to purchase was my plane ticket. On the day we were to leave, the trip was cancelled. I had a plane ticket in my purse, but nowhere to stay and no idea what I would do. But I got on that plane anyway. I got to London, found a place to stay, and had the time of my life for 10 days (with a side trip of three days to Paris). It taught me that I could go anywhere in the world and make my own way!
AV: Sometimes it’s scary for a woman to take that leap and go on a trip like that on her own. What’s your best piece of advice to get other women, especially older women, to go out there and travel the world?
DB: Really, just do it. You have more yesterdays than tomorrows and you don’t want to get to the end of your life and say I should have, would have, could have. You really want to say, “I’m glad I did!” I love this quote: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride.’” This is the way I want to live my life.
I love meeting women who defy stereotypes.
I think they embody everything that Wanderful represents. As a woman over 50 who is choosing to continue to travel the world, Della is serving as an inspiration to women (and all travelers, for that matter!) and showing the society that travel is possible for any age.
Thinking about Della’s story, I am reminded of one of my aunts, who often travels solo throughout Europe and Asia. Or even my grandmother, who happily jumped on a trans-Pacific flight to visit our family while we were living in Indonesia. They, like Della, know that there is still so much of the world to explore.
As travelers, we have a responsibility to show others that travel is for everyone.
Thanks for doing what you do, Della!
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