“Do it while you’re young,” everyone used to tell me. “I’m too old to travel now. I’ve got a house, a job, kids, responsibilities. I wish I had traveled more when I was young enough to do it.”

I’m not that old, but I’m old enough to remember what it was like to travel “while young.” It’s sleepless nights crashing on a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend’s couch in Boston. It’s getting sick to my stomach from eating greasy street food in Istanbul, so I could save on cash. It’s smelling like body odor, and not shaving my legs for weeks, because I had the genius idea to just take overnight trains through Europe, instead of paying a little bit more for a room at a hotel.

Those experiences of course taught me lessons, but now I enjoy knowing that each trip I take will be better than the last, because of the stupid mistakes I made in my youth.

At the Globe Theater in London, during my first international trip.

The way I travel now is very different from the way I used to travel. When I was a teenager, my travels were restricted to wherever my parents would drop me off. We took family vacations where the locations and activities were dictated by those in charge – the parents, the “older folks” who constantly complained about not being able to travel enough (well, they did just fine it seemed, bringing us around the USA and teaching us new things along the way).

In my early 20s I finally had the time and the freedom, but money was my biggest constraint. I’d work up to three jobs sometimes to help pay for a study abroad program in London, or raise money to volunteer in Ghana.


I traveled whenever I could afford to do so, and became an expert budget traveler in the process; wherever I went, I carefully calculated the cost of the trip and every expense. If I had enough money leftover, I’d eat at a fancy restaurant in Budapest, or treat myself to a custom-made dress from a tailor in Cape Coast.

Traveling like that was a lot of fun. I’d meet the most interesting people in hostels, and we’d party until the sun came up. I’d have brief romantic encounters with beautiful foreign men, and come home with no regrets.

I’d think about all of the ways I could incorporate the feelings I experienced on the road into my daily life, and became scared at the possibility that I could grow older and lose it all.


Now I’m in my late 20s, and things have changed a lot. I not only travel for work, but part of my job is to write about my experiences abroad. I make more money than I did previously, and can afford to stay in homey AirBnBs in Buenos Aires, taste secret menus designed by world-famous chefs in Tokyo, and fly Business Class (well, talk my way into an upgrade at least – wearing sharp-looking clothing certainly helps!).

It makes me wonder what the future holds. Soon I will be married, and I will probably buy a house, and eventually have a family. While some might see those as restrictions on an otherwise idealistic life, I think of them as parts of my life that will transform the way I travel.


Maybe with a mortgage, I’ll have to go back to budgeting my travels. But maybe with a few children, I’ll get to watch how they react when I show them this incredible world. Seeing places you know and love, and getting to discover new cities alongside your family, is a very different, very rewarding way to travel. That’s the kind of attitude I must always have in order to not become exhausted by the thought.

What may be even more interesting, is getting to revisit places from my youth, as a growing adult. How will Prague feel to me ten years since I moved back to New York? What new developments will the village I volunteered at in Ghana have, and how are the lives of the women I used to work alongside?

Whenever someone says they are “too old to travel,” I try to help them understand that it is possible, no matter what age they are. There are so many great things to experience, you don’t always have to be young.


Maybe you won’t understand what it’s like to sleep with 16 other people in a hostel dorm room, but getting treated to some fancy cocktails at a rooftop bar in Bangkok will make up for it. Maybe you won’t ever hike Mount Kilimanjaro – or maybe you will, after learning that the oldest person to reach the summit was 85-years old.

It’s important to cherish the memories and experiences we had as young travelers. We need to always acknowledge and appreciate the way those times helped us become who we are today.


But I will never let time, or age, or memories of youth get in the way of seeing the world. As long as I am alive, the world will be too, and that means even if there are times when I can’t take a Round-The-World trip one year, perhaps maybe I will the next.

Travel in your older years is not harder, or worse than when you were younger – it’s just different. And no matter what, it will challenge you to see your life from a new perspective, whether it’s a weekend away at a nearby seaside village, or retiring to another country somewhere warm and sunny, with good food and friendly people.

As long as you remember that, you’ll never let age affect the way you travel ever again.