During solo travels in the last few years (because you don’t notice as much in a group, do you?), I kept spotting women travelling on their own – usually older, usually doing something interesting, always willing to talk and share a tip or ask a question. One had returned to her favourite Paris café, taking a flat nearby, to finish a book she started to write before marrying – she was 83. Another 60-something with oddly elegant blue mascara was a planner from a region at London’s edge, taking an engineering tour of the Thames. A third had great ideas for travel in Mexico, a bag of homegrown, and a warning about the perils of not applying sunscreen to the décolletage. Good advice.
Anyway, had a few minutes this morning and it appears that travel-site and market statistics bear this out, with women making 80% of travel decisions for themselves or families (and, one would imagine, for business trips as well…). One female marketing CEO noted“the purchasing power of the “adventure-seeking woman.” This woman crosses all ages, family configurations and fitness levels. She’s carving time in her schedule and finding wiggle room in her budget for new adventures that involve everything from rock climbing to Tuscan cooking to snowshoeing.” (“Desperately Seeking Something New: The Adventure-Driven Woman by Lisa Johnson, CEO of Reachwomen; May 10, 2005”)
That may have been before the recession, but I believe we’re figuring out ways to keep exploring despite the bust, traveling solo or with buddies. Mistresses of Google, we ferret out cottages in the Orkneys, sabbatical options in Costa Rica, last-minute deals on European weekends, and days out like blacksmithing workshops, rambling groups, and trips to the coast. It doesn’t hurt that so many of us have moved to exotic locales, so we have [relatively clean] couches to surf.
My trick was working internationally, and that may be at an end. Still, despite not having been ona plane in 13.5 months – an d I do miss a great airport – I’ve managed a fab wine-buying road trip to France (we were booked into a great B&B as ‘Thelma + Louise’, by a Buffalo girl who’d married a French wine merchant), an eco field trip to Freiburg, a couple of trips to Paris, and a bunch of day-trips and weekends within England, which I often forget people pay to visit!