Three's A'loud

Top tips for travelling when you are older - Part 3

  • “Let’s go camping this weekend.” my husband said one day about 2 years ago. “The kids will love it.”
  • “Okay, that will be great.” I replied. “But hey, let’s also start planning a trip to Machu Picchu. Without the kids.”
  • He looked at me.
  • I looked at him.
  • He looked at my wine.
  • I looked at my wine.
  • I drank some more of my wine.
  • This is how our epic trip to Rio and Peru started.

Certainly I will not win any Mother of the Year awards anytime soon, but I did end up planning an absolutely spectacular once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America. These past few weeks I have been sharing my top tips for travelling when you are older (than 21) (or 22) (or 30) and I would love to give you some more pointers today.

Brazil after dark.

When planning your next big trip, make sure that you include:

  • At least one thing that you can really dress up for.
    Just do it! It is fun and makes you feel fabulous and will also make you look at your beautifully groomed better half with new eyes. (“New eyes” are good when on holiday.)
  • At least one thing that is just slightly above your budget.
    Pft. Responsibility. If you were a responsible adult in the first place you would pay your water and electricity instead of going on this trip. Sure, you don’t want to mortgage your house for your trip but overspend just a little bit on one of your dream activities.
  • And then, absolutely definitely, my next top tip:

  1. Book at least one thing that takes you out of your comfort zone.

    Of course we are not 21 anymore (although I do feel I am emphasizing this point a bit too much now.) Of course we want to see new places in comfort. We want to get away to relax, not to have panic attacks about heights or dangerous animals or scary locals. But listen to me closely. Life is short. Book at least one activity that you will never forget. And probably never (want to) do again.

Of course little old me took this idea entirely completely to the next level. In Afrikaans we would say “Ek het heeltemal die dam onder die eend se gat uitgeruk.” You would think climbing the Inca trail to Machu Picchu is already “out of our comfort zone”, right? Wrong. At the time I felt absolutely convinced that we had to go to Machu Picchu but ALSO add

  • some mountain biking going 53km down a mountain pass in the rain with busses and trucks sharing the road with us.
  • Zip lining over some Peruvian valleys
  • Hang gliding over Rio (seriously, how can you NOT add that)
  • And some white water rafting down a “little” side branch of the mighty Amazon.

Cycling the Malaga High pass

Hang gliding over Rio

Zip-lining in Peru

We will cross that bridge when we get there

You would think I was going through some sort of midlife crisis but I am so happy we did it. And so happy that we never have to do it again! When you book these kinds of activities one of two things will happen:

  1. You will either find it is not nearly as scary as you thought and pat yourself on the back for being awesome.
  2. Or you will find it is way scarier than you expected and pat yourself on the back for being awesome and surviving it.

Either way, you win. Do it. You only live once.

But after all that:

  1. Do some things that are entirely comfortable.

    So after you have risked your life (or at least a few of your limbs), make sure that you also do something that is entirely safely within your comfort zone. Treat yourself to something you know and love. Something relaxing and luxurious. It might be an activity (spa treatment, beach morning, fancy lunch) or it might just be some off time. Because after about a week of non-stop awe and wonder I started to realise my senses literally needed a break. Just take a little moment in-between to reflect on all you are experiencing. Switch off. Watch TV. Find some free Wi-Fi and scroll through your Facebook feed. Yes really. And get up the next morning and make the absolute best of your remaining time.

Siesta time

Santa Teresa Hot Springs


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