Backpacking in your 30s – Is it too late?

backpacking in your 30sWhen I decided to quit a well paid job to travel around the world (again), I was met with some bemused looks from family and friends.

Sure, have you not got the travel bug out of your system yet?
Why would you want to quit a perfectly good job, and have to start from scratch again.
Are you not too old to be living in shitty dorms with loads of smelly student travellers?

Most of the objections came from people who hadn’t travelled outside their own country (besides a brief holiday). They were deeply entrenched in their own routine, safe within their own comfort zone with the same childhood friends, and in many cases working the same job for years.

Career Suicide they told me. I’d never find a better job, or one as well paid. All valid points from their frame of reference. Having travelled extensively (usually solo) before, I knew what to expect and trying to convince others was like pissing in the wind.

There was a definite shift in my priorities in the latest trip through South America, compared to previous escapades when I was younger. My mindset on this occasion was much more about having sober fun and experiences, meeting new people and integrating into the culture, whereas in yesteryear it was all about getting hammered and partying as hard as my budget would stretch.

Backpacking in your thirties can give a much more complete experience, opening the traveller up to new avenues they wouldn’t have considered in their twenties. Most people in my decade have more life experience and are more socially skilled than those in their twenties. I know that’s definitely true for me.

I decided to travel because it was a perfect storm of opportunity. Single, at a career crossroads, a deep interest in learning Spanish – a burning desire to see South America…all of these elements prompted me to take the plunge while I was still unattached and free of responsibility.

Of course, backpacking in your thirties doesn’t need to be a year long exodus in S.E. Asia. It can be a jaunt closer to home whether that be inter-railing around Europe or biking Route 66.

Adventure can be just around the corner.

I met so many people in my backpacking travels who were older than me. There is nothing quite like an adventure to breathe new life into a tired soul or even to offer to re-evaluate career or your personal path to date.

I returned totally refreshed, transformed by a life changing experience and quickly picked up another job.

So much for career suicide.

6 thoughts on “Backpacking in your 30s – Is it too late?

      • Not yet. Grandbaby #1 is due in less than four weeks, so that’s cut into our plans. I lost my job in November, so we’re hoping to do some travel before I find another job (we did the Smoky Mountains in December, a few weeks after I was laid off). But the travel has to fit around my daughter snapping her fingers that I will be there when she has the baby and helping out afterwards.

        The Smoky Mountains were awesome – all kinds of snow – great pictures (which I’m still editing).

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  • I am about to make this same decision – everyone is staring at me like I have turned into a monkey. But I keep think – why not? Seriously not one answer is strong enough to stop me going in my 30s 🙂 Have a great trip!

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  • THANK YOU!!!! Recently I’ve been saying that I feel like the list of places I want to still travel to is so much bigger than the “time I have left” (what does that even mean?!). Anyone who hasn’t traveled will never understand long adventures, but they don’t need to : )

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