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Not in my 20's anymore...

Travel Forums General Talk Not in my 20's anymore...


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1. Posted by Khandilee (Respected Member 99 posts) 8y

I am curious about something...

I am a nearly 40 y/o female from the US that has never traveled any further than Mexico/Canada and those were 'border' trips. I am planning a solo (well, mostly solo! I am meeting a friend in Vietnam for the first few days). I am planning to 'backpack' in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and hopefully Laos.

I worry that I will have a difficult time meeting people due to my age. I get the impression that most of the backpackers are quite young and possibly traveling the 'gap' year thing.

I am past the party all night long stage but still enjoy going out and having a few drinks and my interests would include the local culture, food, and sites.

I feel that I am a fairly open minded, youthful (in spirit), and easy-going person.

So....question is ?? Am I too old to start doing this? Am I going to have difficulty meeting people? Are the 'young' travelers going to look at me and wonder to themselves 'wtf is this old lady doing here'?


2. Posted by Sam2000 (Inactive 121 posts) 8y

Well, I'm 18, and doing gap year travelling, but one of my dads' mate's, 45 years old, quit his job, sold his house and car and went round the world travelling by himself and met loads of people on the no, its not too late, loads of people do it.

3. Posted by andy11 (Full Member 136 posts) 8y

It depends on why you want to do it, sounds like you are maybe trying to relive your 20's or so as a lot of people do ?

I mean you could go on a package holiday to some sunny resort and sit back and relax but the places you are aiming at, especially Thailand can be geared a lot toward the 20 year old party seeker...

If your hosteling then you will find a mixed bunch of people but mainly 18-25 year olds, but in my experience the type that use hostels are very easy going and pretty welcoming and you could find your self invited out with a group of 20 y-olds for a drink on your first night or maybe not, maybe you will pick up some small chat here and there then go and do your thing......

Maybe try the official youth hostels as they are much more formal and more like a hotel rather than a party all night independent hostel..... ?

I think as long as you have a goal as to why you are traveling and what you want to do and see, or discover, then that's the most important thing...

4. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

Quoting Khandilee

I get the impression that most of the backpackers are quite young and possibly traveling the 'gap' year thing.

My experience has been that in general, this is not the case. However, it does depend on where you are. In South America, I saw very few people under the age of 20. Most were in their 30s and 40s, some even travelling with their family. I have run into some folks in their late 60s even. Contrast that to my only hostel experience in Europe was in Dublin, and pretty much everyone was around 20 and very drunk.

But in general I find that most folks on the road I meet tend to be people in their 30s and 40s who have ditched a career for a bit and enjoy some time away from the rat race.

Quoting Khandilee

Am I too old to start doing this? Am I going to have difficulty meeting people? Are the 'young' travelers going to look at me and wonder to themselves 'wtf is this old lady doing here'?

No, you are not too old. You won't have difficulty meeting people while travelling, assuming you aren't the type of person who has difficulty meeting people in general.

And who knows what young people think? They like to wear their pants hanging around their thighs...

Quoting Khandilee

I feel that I am a fairly open minded, youthful (in spirit), and easy-going person.

This is probably the most important thing you need, so you shouldn't have much problem.

Enjoy your trip.


5. Posted by Khandilee (Respected Member 99 posts) 8y

THank you everyone for the replies. I am certainly not trying to 'relive my 20's' as one poster stated. In fact, I want to stay AWAY from the party all night scene! I guess I was just feeling a little out of sorts with my decision to do this. I am not doing long term travel at this point, just a month to start.

I really didn't 'choose' to go to SEA, rather it came as a great opportunity due to a friend being in that region. From my hours of reading here and other sites, it appears that there is a lot to see and do in the region and I am excited as well as scared (being my first trip).

THanks again for your responses....

6. Posted by WBodley (Budding Member 5 posts) 8y

What a great opportunity you have! You'll have a great time, I'm trying to justify a month next year in SEA with my family. When I was in Thailand last year there seemed to be a lot of 30's and 40's traveling so I'm sure you won't be lonely. You might like to visit Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand, it's real nice-you can take an overnight train from Bangkok that's fun all by itself. You might consider a first class berth but sleep on the bottom bunk if you can-the AC blows very cold from the ceiling. I remember the Thai dinner was great and the American style breakfast was terrible (I guess that figures) I hope you have a great time- the people are wonderful in Asia and it's very safe compared to most regions of the world. Happy Travels.

7. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

Hey Khandilee,

I think it depends on yourself and where you go. I found, for example, that the backpackers I met in South America tended to be a lot older than, say, those you would meet in New Zealand or Australia.

There is definitely no shortage of middle-aged backpackers out there, and some of the coolest people I met on all my travels were a 70 year old couple in Bolivia. I also remember sharing a room with this woman from Tasmania who was in her 60s, had never been outside Australia until her husband died just a few years before, at which point she decided to take her savings, hit the road on her own, and she had been all over South America and even as far as Antartica.

My experience has been that generally most backpackers have no problem mixing with any age group. You do occasionally get the groups of beer louts who can take over a hostel and be a bit of a nightmare for everyone else, but they are few and far between.

I would say that you will be surprised by the attitude of younger backpackers out there. Most travellers are extremely inclusive and ready to get to know you.

Good luck on your travels! ;)

8. Posted by Khandilee (Respected Member 99 posts) 8y

Thanks again to everyone who has replied. I feel much more confident now.... I guess I just needed a little 'nudge' to get me thinking on the right track again!! ha ha

Now I am stressing over family contacting me in case of emergency....ahhh the details!!

9. Posted by steff (Travel Guru 1160 posts) 8y

I can also only reassure you that you're never too old to go backpacking if you feel like it and especially in South East Asia I had the impression that backpackers in general were older than I was used to travelling around South America and Australia/New Zealand.
Most of the people I met in Laos and Vietnam for example were either my age (late 20s) or even older. Sure we still had a drink or two together in the evenings, but the majority wasn't really up for big nights out anymore and prefered getting up in the mornings to do the sightseeing, which was nice! And just like Ev said most travellers were open-minded and age never was an issue. I always think it's not the number of years you have lived that is important but the way you feel! So I'm sure you'll love South East Asia as much as I did! Have a great journey ;)!

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 28, 2008, at 4:29 PM by steff ]

10. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3736 posts) 8y

I don't think you have anything to worry about - I travelled round SE Asia 2 years ago and met people off all ages. you will have something in common with everyone you meet - in that you enjoy travelling and so do they - so in that sense it doesn't matter how old anyone is.

I think more and more people are starting to go travelling later these days, and 'career breaks' seem to be increasingly popular and it would generally be older travellers doing these.

I am 32 and certainly have no plans to give up travelling any time in the next few decades!