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How Travel Can Benefit Your Second Act

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Last month, I took a trip of a lifetime to Nepal, along with eight family members that included my husband,  siblings, cousin, and their spouses – and two nieces.

Why Nepal ? Well, thirty+ years ago, my brother David fell in love with a young woman while serving in the Peace Corps in Nepal. After a very brief courtship, they moved back to the States, married and raised a family here. Over the years, they encouraged us to join them on their visits back to Nepal. But between growing families and busy careers, the timing was never quite right.

Fast forward to 2015. The kids are grown, my sister, brother and cousin-in-law all “retired” this past spring, and my brother called us and said, “What are we waiting for? Nobody is getting any younger. The time is now.”  

So after much discussion, off we flew! JFK to Dubai >>>Dubai to Kathmandu. A day and a half of travel later we arrived in Nepal, exhausted but excited. Over the course of ten action-packed days, we covered a lot of territory. We rode the elephants in Chitwan, relaxed in the resort town of Pokhara and toured lots of fascinating sites. Here are just a few shots to give you a sense of Nepal:

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Pretty incredible, right? But interesting photos aside (and thanks for indulging me!) let’s get back to the point of the post. How can travel benefit your second act?

Well, as anyone who has done much traveling knows, there’s something downright therapeutic about removing yourself from your normal routine. It gives you greater clarity about what’s important in life. Issues you normally worry about fade away and you return home feeling more energized than ever.

Of course, you can reap the benefits of rest and relaxation in other ways. You don’t need to travel halfway across the world for that. So why take a big trip to somewhere new and different? I’ve thought hard about that question since coming home. This was the first time we took such a big trip, and while I’m not sure I’ve yet got it all sorted out yet, some benefits are very clear:

Traveling to a different part of the world opens your mind in new ways and widens your understanding of what’s possible.

It provides a new understanding of our “global economy.”

It awakens your inner child by offering you novel first-time experiences.

It shakes up your understanding of what’s “normal” by connecting you to new cultures, customs and people. Case in point, check out this sign that explains how to use a Western style toilet!


Amidst the beauty of Nepal, we witnessed some pretty sobering sights as well. We saw children, some as young as six, hauling drinking water up mountain roads before the crack of dawn. Older women and men trudged up the hillside carrying large sacks of rice on their backs. And the impact of the recent earthquakes in Nepal were evident everywhere. We spoke with several people who suffered great losses in the quake. One man told us his house was destroyed. Another said his sister-in-law was killed by the earthquakes.

During our visit, Nepal was struggling with a severe fuel crisis. People stood in line for days to get a few liters of cooking fuel, many had no fuel for their cars. Here’s a photo of one of the many fuel lines we saw throughout the country.


We returned home with a renewed appreciation for the incredible abundance, convenience and infrastructure we enjoy here. Things like clean air, traffic lights, seat belts, and clean drinking water. Our country is far from perfect, but we have so much here that others don’t. Since settling back into life at home, I’ve made it a point to be more consciously grateful for all our many blessings.

I could go on and on about this trip, but suffice it to say that it proved transformative in ways I’m just now beginning to understand.

So the next time you have an opportunity to travel somewhere new and exotic I encourage you to give it a go. Interestingly, I just added up our bills for the trip and realized that this trip cost less than our trip out West last summer – the cost of food, hotels, etc. in Nepal are ridiculously inexpensive. An even more affordable option is to take a volunteer vacation.  Or find a way to get paid as you travel. And if you’re really adventurous, you might want to consider a second act with the Peace Corps (Yes, they actually encourage people over 50 to sign-up!).

Whatever you choose, I hope your travels prove to be as enlightening and memorable as ours. Namaste and Happy Trails!

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