Encouraging women to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

Time Travelers All

Some thoughts about the journey

 Kendra Brown

“There’s just no getting around it,” as my mother used to say.  Transitions are part of life, and with these changes, we take on new “identities”. Of course, we still retain some aspects of who we were in the past. In fact, it's not unusual for our internal pictures of ourselves to remain frozen in time. But to the outside world, whether we like it or not, we have changed.  The male grocery clerk no longer identifies us as someone to flirt with.  Instead, he asks gently if he can help us take the groceries to our cars!
As we enter the “mature” transitions, it's easy to associate these stages with loss and a self-image based on “less thans”.  We are less able to run as fast or as long as we once did.  We are less able to push those heavy wheelbarrows in the gardens.
Those aspects of identity that are “less than” are evident to us and to others. It seems to me critically important, then, that we stretch ourselves beyond what may be comfortable or easy and create, enhance, or enlarge other aspects of ourselves – so that the resulting identity is a positive one for each transition. 

Imagine what would happen to you in the following scenario:  You're on a cruise with some interesting people.  The captain has been inattentive to his job and the ship runs aground on a small island – a pleasant enough place – with ample food, supplies and water.  Unfortunately, it will be necessary for everyone to remain there until the tides change and that will not be soon. The days pass and each day is much like the one before.  You see the same people and talk about the same things each day.  There is nothing new or different to think about.  The identity you “brought” to the island would stay virtually the same – or even shrink.  You might experience your fellow passengers as no longer interesting and notice that they don’t seem to be listening to you either.

I admit this scenario is unlikely. But are there aspects of it that seem familiar?  How likely is it that we all drift - through inattention - into routines that are not invigorating or rejuvenating?  Throughout Eavesdropping and our "Newsletters", we discuss alternatives and options to regain a healthy self-image and embrace life. This newsletter is specifically about travel and how it can be much more than even the glossiest brochures promise.

Traveling to new places creates opportunities to process new information. We're exposed to unfamiliar languages, customs, food, people, as well as new vistas. While this might not be as “comfortable” as our couches at home, we gain many benefits from stretching ourselves. One of those is a physical response you may not even know about. There is evidence that the brain happily responds to novel stimuli by creating new neurons and new neural pathways. And there is even more good news:  we may gain more than neurons; we become more interesting to others.

Travel affords the possibility to meet new friends, to make new connections, and to nurture old friendships.  Being connected to others is not only vital for health and well being – it is also available and possible for us – if we just open ourselves up to the opportunities.  
There is no passion to be found playing small- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.  
Nelson Mandela
The following is from Edie Donohue, (see Meet the Pages on the website for more about her).
Edie Donohue
I am often invited to join married friends. They travel often and know that I like to go. Sometimes I go solo and sometimes I have a roommate.  It works either way.  
Photo by Edie
Since I am widowed, I want to travel with friends.  I have also gone to Rome for a week with Road Scholar.  I did that trip alone because I knew there would be other single women travelling alone - and there were!  We banded together and had great adventures.  And the couples on the trip were very gracious and welcoming.  I have discovered that being single is not an impediment to travel.  I just let everyone know:  I have my toothbrush and I will travel!

Edie’s summer trip this year was to South Africa.  She was invited by friends.  Here are some high points:
Photo by Edie

It was 21 days of magic.  From canvas tents in the Serengeti to a 5 star hotel in Cape Town.  Great weather.  Great sightings.  Wonderful people and landscapes.  We were on the Serengeti for 3 nights.  Saw lions, giraffe, rhino and most amazing, the Wildebeest migration.   At the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge we were housed in the trees.  The lake attracts all kinds of wild life.  On our rides, we had breakfast, lunch and sundowners in the bush.  All kinds of food and drink would be carried out of the Land Rovers.  It was like a magic trick.  Then to Ngorongoro Crater. It was like the Garden of Eden with all kinds of animals. 
Victoria Falls was awesome.  The natives called it “Mist that thunders” - a real wonder of the world and bigger than Niagara. We spent four nights at the Ngala Tented Camp at the edge of Kruger Park.  It was magical to be in the wild with the animals.  One night, we were awakened by baboons flinging themselves from the trees onto our canvas roof!  It sounded just like thunder.

From there to Cape town for 4 full days of wine tasting, touring, and visiting the prison where Mandela was held.  All went well.  My roommate was great fun and we are now good buddies. All in all, a perfect trip.  I am so glad I went and did the whole tour.
Travel affords a wonderful way to connect with important family members.  Doris Etelson, one of the “Pages,” captured the hearts of our audience at our Stuart, Florida book launch, with her hilarious stories of her trips with her grandchildren.  Doris took each of them on a special trip – one at a time.  After these trips, they thought of their grandmother in new ways.  She forged a new identity with them! 

Click here for a printable copy of the Pages Suggestions about travel in Eavesdropping:
And this, from my 13 year-old grand-daughter, Eleanor, about our trip to Crete this summer.  By way of introduction, Eleanor, her brother (Angus) and her parents live in England.  They visit us once a year in the spring and we visit their home in the summer.  As part of our summer vacation, we all travel together to another country.  In the last five years, we’ve been to Wales, France, Spain, Sweden and Crete.
Eleanor Cousins-Brown

As a general rule, I find that it’s often the little things that you really notice, that make something what it is. Our trip to Crete was no different. 

The little things: like watching the â€œgoat parade” that walked past our gate everyday; first noticing the breeze (very different to the quite frankly vicious gales of England); and being able to perform everyday tasks with a slight Grecian twist was what I really loved about the trip. We are fortunate enough to go on holidays like this every year, as well as meeting up at our homes.

And so though I always love the adventure and tranquility of holiday time-the best part is always the company. Living across the seas from your grandparents is not so unusual these days, and we are still able to stay very connected-and I think our little gallivants help with this. To just sit around the table and talk about everyday, normal events of our lives, or gather by the pool, are the ropes that keep us together across the ocean. For these days, we are able to live together. Sharing experiences keeps my family very, very close to me.
Sometimes it simply isn’t possible or practical to travel far away.  You can still enrich your identity through travel and exploration close to home.  Peggy Post did it.  You can read about her in our March newsletter (check the website archives). Since she was the primary caretaker for her ailing spouse, Peggy was unwilling to be away from home overnight.  So she found near-by places to hike – trails and parks she could explore and be home before evening.  She kept notes and took photos.  Her book, “One Day Jaunts,” is a valuable guide for local hikers and is available through our website. 

What Inspires You?

I was inspired to write about "identity" after listening to Ted Talks on my local NPR station.  I recommend their website for inspiration, motivation, and thought-provoking discussions.
We’d love to hear your travel tips and adventures…. What inspires you?

From the Bookshelf:

The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, 2nd edition  

By: Janice Leith Wauth

Janice Wauth says that a love of travel, personal loss, and an empty nest prompted her writing a blog, which developed into The Solo Traveler’s Handbook. She says, “Now I travel.  I travel solo and I carefully observe how I do it.  Then I write and share my stories, tips and advice.”

According to Amazon, The Solo Traveler's Handbook offers:

  • A comprehensive how and why of solo travel.
  • Real solo travel stories
  • How to be solo and social: meeting locals and other travelers 
  • Safety: four priorities, five principles and sixty tips 
  • Planning and packing 
  • Where to go and when. 
  • Dozens of resources
Here is a link to Janice Leith Wauth’s blog: Solo Traveler Blog
Author to Share Secrets of Aging Well
Kendra Brown will be discussing various aspects of  Eavesdropping as well as the hows and whys of forming support groups like the Pages. She expects to enjoy simulating conversations with audiences- especially the challenges and possibilities of embracing aging. 
November 7, 2013 Stuart, FL 

If you live in the Stuart, FL area, you may be interested in attending a special tea and conversation. An invitation is waiting your response on the website. See the event page for more details. 
November 14, 2013 Elgin, IL

Gail Borden Library Authors on the Fox:  Dr. Kendra Brown, “Eavesdropping”
Just as she did with her initial group of wise women (who dubbed themselves, “the Pages”), Dr. Brown will invite her audience into conversation, talking about subjects such as how to  enhance life throughout transitions, the importance of membership in a support group, and strategies to form a support system that works for you.  
Just visit the website for details  
We’d love for you to attend. Events Page
Newsletter Preview
November: Gratitude
December: New Year- Recreation, Kelly’s Part II Healthy Living 

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