Thoughts on travel

Why married baby-boomer women don’t travel alone, and how to fix that

As a married baby-boomer woman just back from a long solo trip, I was wondering why more of us don’t do this. Many do, of course, but a far greater number don’t. Why not?

Here are some familiar sounding excuses. Each comes with a matching solution to get us all out exploring.

Reason Number One for not travelling without your husband (or wife, partner, significant other, etc.): You’re in lurvvve.

Love happens. That’s why most of us get married in the first place. I still love my husband very much, immensely in fact, all these years later. I can lose myself in a solo adventure if I know things are all OK at home. It’s easier to go off alone when we both know the sky won’t fall if we’re apart.

If you don’t have that level of comfort, there’s another way to deal with this psychological barrier. The strong and bitter cure for a togetherness obsession is to ask: Do I have to keep track of my spouse 24/7? If the answer is yes, you may be a domestic stalker. Yuck. Just imagining yourself that way should fix the problem.

Reason Number Two: There’s not enough money.

Agreed, it’s not fair for one person to take all the cookies from the cookie jar. Nobody says your trip has to be costly, though. Learn to pitch a tent, investigate couch surfing, or visit a friend in another town.

Reason Number Three: There’s not enough vacation time.

This is a problem for all travellers. It has nothing to do with being married. Sorry, there’s no easy fix.

London church and red double decker bus

Solo travel has its own rewards


Reason Number Four: Someone has to stay home and take care of X, Y, and Z.

I’m with you on this but only if X, Y and Z are dairy cattle, young children or feeble elders you have promised to care for. If that’s the case, you have a good reason to delay the solo travel and opt for family trips and staycations.

When you can’t go because your partner can’t do his laundry, cook his meals, or find anything without your help, well, I hate to break it to you, but you’re his mother, not his wife.

He needs a crash course in independence. Leave him alone and see how he does.

Reason Number Five: When I get home the house will be a disaster.

This reason has got two parts.

Five A: You have unreasonably high housekeeping standards.

Solution: Stop being a princess, embrace your inner Pig Pen, and learn to love dirt and disorder.

Five B:  You’re right, by any objective standard, the house will indeed be a disaster when you return.

Closely related to Number Four, this is a sad truth. It’s also a disrespectful way for a man to treat his wife (you) and your shared home. Sounds like grounds for divorce to me.

However, if you think your marriage can be saved, then either hire a housekeeper for the time you’re away or let his mother know you won’t be clothing and feeding him for a couple of weeks. Problem solved.

Reason Number Six: He won’t let me go.

Shock, horror, what a sexist thing to even suggest. But wait, it’s true. And it’s true of wives too. Getting Spousal Approval is the number one item on the travel to-do list, just like it’s the number one item on the boys’ night out list.

Start talking about the trip and see what objections you and he come up with. Armed with the responses above, you should be able to trump them all.

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