Why We Should Love Being a “Has-Been.”

imageOne of the issues we all struggle with as we age is becoming a “has-been.” We tend to have a lot of moments over time were we become “has-beens” (were single, were raising children, were married, were young, were thin, were superior at sports, were healthy, etc) but none is more jarring than “were employed as…”….when we become retired “has-beens.” Does this mean we are no longer who we were? In a way, yes, and this is a good thing.

Think of all the past “has-been” stages you have been through and how traumatic each one was at the time. Remember when you were about to get married and you though, “How is it going to be to never be free again? To never have sex with another person again? ” And then you got married anyway and found a new adventure and you thought,  “Well, I was getting tired of being single, being lonely, hanging out at clubs…” In other words, you had been single long enough and were in a rut, a rut of dating and playing the field. Then you had kids. And two decades later, you got hit with “empty nest” syndrome. And you thought, “How am I going to deal with the this? I was a hands-on parent for so long and now it’s all over.” And you struggled, until you found the extra time you had has led to new and exciting experiences. Suppose you got divorced and you thought, “How can I live without my partner?” And you suffered for a while until you found that the unexpected freedom led to a new career or new friends or even a new love. Have you ever had a job you really loved but after ten or more years doing the same thing, you really felt bored? Remember how hard it was to make a decision to change jobs? Frightening, but, once it was done and you moved on, you looked back and we’re thankful you had gotten out of the rut you were in (even if it was a great place for many years) so you could have new challenges and new experiences.

This is what life is really all about; change. Change leads to knowledge and wisdom, change leads to freshness and excitement, change leads to life. When we stop changing, if we stay in whatever rut for far too long (and not everything we do for a long time is a rut, so please don’t think I am advocating dumping your spouse or a job you truly enjoy going to everyday), we start living a sort of early death.

So, if you have retired, become a “has-been” in your field, don’t think of it as some kind of failure; think of it as a great success, that you have completed that phase of life, done enough there, and, rather than become stale and lifeless in a position that offers nothing new, you have moved on, on to new possibilities.

The most difficult thing about becoming a “has-been” in any part of life is being sure that you fight to become something new again, like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. The biggest challenge at sixty and beyond is finding those new goals, especially in a world where we seniors are often considered of the age where we should stop having any, that we should sit back and do “senior” things; play golf, read more books, play bridge, travel….all fine and fun things but the idea that we should no longer want to be challenged or contribute to the world is a terrible concept, that we should just want comfort and to be cared for, well, that we should accept being “has-beens” with no future – this is unacceptable. All humans need to be able to look ahead with some degree of possibilities….or we fall into the rut of old age and we never get out and then we are truly “has-beens.”

I just read about 99-year-old Lillian Weber who makes a dress a day for poor African girls (she is in the photo above); here is a woman who found something new to do, a new goal and challenge and she no longer is just a “has-been.” She has added meaning to her life and sets a great example for all of us.

Being a “has-been” is fine – actually a good thing, something we can look back at and be proud of – because that means we did something worthwhile while we were capable and inspired; hopefully, we have been “has-beens” many times over. And now we have moved on to do more awesome things. Life should be full of “has-beens,” even into our sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties….you shouldn’t be a “has-been” who hasn’t done anything new in the last two decades. Life needs purpose, life needs meaning, and you need that kind of life.

So, move on, you wonderful “has-beens” and start working on the next part of your life, your next adventure… start truly living again…find something, or create something…..and don’t dwell on the past, don’t keeping looking back …. or you will become a permanent “has-been” and that is not what being a “has-been” is all about.  Being a “has-been” should be but a chapter in our book and unless you have come to the very last page (which should be a surprise), you still should have many more chapters to go. Go write them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Would Rather Regret Something I Did Than Regret Not Trying

I would rather experience this than never get farther than my local park.

I would rather experience this than never get farther than my local park.

I have taken a lot of chances in life…not stupid, dangerous chances like joining ISIS to write a story about them….but chances doing things I had no clue were going to work out. I have started down roads which I feared could cause me great financial loss, put me in somewhat questionably safe circumstances, or cause me a good amount of humiliation. There was a risk going in….and I would not know if the outcome would be worth it.

However, I would rather regret that something didn’t work out or that I suffered some for taking a chance than live a life of regrets over missing opportunities or never knowing if I could have been successful in a venture. I would also regret being stagnant, living a life unfulfilled. I figure even if I try and failed, in reality, I had tried and won, won something if not the thing I set out to do.

I went to Hollywood when I was nineteen to become a model and actress. I failed to become either but I got an interesting look into that world and I got to be in a few movies and I got some great modeling photographs. I got to live in LA and I had an experience if not a particularly illustrious career.

I took a job as a sign language interpreter way before I reached a comfortable skill level because I got a job offer. I sweat out quite a number of days struggling with my level of competence but that choice led to a ten year career in a field I loved and ended up being very good at.

I became a Bollywood dancer because I fell in love with what I saw watching an Indian movie. I called up a woman who ran an adult ladies Bollywood dance class and asked if I could join even if I wasn’t Indian, never had danced, and was already in my mid-40s. She welcomed me and I spent quite a few humiliating classes in a culture I was unfamiliar with, awkwardly staggering about, and missing a lot of what was being said (since I didn’t speak Hindi). But, the other women were kind to me and I persisted and I ended up dancing for four years with the dance group, performing at temples and at an Indian wedding, I made great friends, and traveled to India. What a grand experience I would have missed if I hadn’t taken the chance and forged ahead.

I became a criminal profiler although my husband at the time told me I was insane to go into a field I had no background in. Believe me, I struggled and struggled to make headway. I spent a massive amount of time doing research, I went on to get my masters, and I spent a whole lot of money establishing my business. My choice led to a twenty-year career I am still active in, love, and feel has been my life’s work and contribution to the world.

I just started a tour agency, Older Women, Cheap Travel, in which I offer budget trips for small groups of women wishing to travel in a more adventurous manner…I lead a group of nine women on ten day trips to experience the cultures of other countries; in 2016, I am running trips to Nicaragua, India, Mongolia, and Mexico. How will it all work out? I have no idea, but I am hoping to have a great time and I hope I show a fabulous to nine other women as well each time I touch down in another country.

Life is for living, not for avoiding. Taking risks means appreciating the chances we have in life, the chances we are fortunate enough to even have the luck to be able to choose to take or not. So far, I have not regretted taking unknown roads….they have all led to a life worth living, a life that is full and rich, a life which, when I leave this earth, is one I can look back on and think I haven’t wasted a minute of.

Why I Think We Get Stupider as We Get Older

I kicked butt with a 643 point win! I'm not senile yet!

I kicked butt with a 643 point win! I’m not senile yet!

I think we get stupider because we stop making ourselves smarter!

Think about it! We spend our earlier years in school every day, learning new things, delving deeper and deeper into each subject, challenging ourselves with new material, building new pathways in our brain…we learn, learn, learn for a few decades – grade school, then high school, then college, then new employment. We often learn a new language or take up a new sport or a new hobby. And, then, somewhere along the way, we stop challenging our brains.

We get too busy raising kids. We start reading dumb magazines, romance books, crime series, and self-help books. We give up learning a musical instrument, think it is too late to become competent in a foreign language, since we aren’t forced to read more difficult literature, we don’t….we simply start taking the easy route….we enjoy ourselves but we don’t necessarily challenge ourselves.

I became a sign language interpreter in my mid 30s and was surprised that I could become fluent in a language after my college years (where I had failed getting very far in Spanish and German). Then, I changed careers in my for forties to be a criminal profiler, studied hundreds of books on my own and then got my master’s degree. I took up Bollywood dance and learned to perform the steps and present with my group on stage in front of audiences.

Okay, so far, I seemed to still be learning and getting smarter! But, then what about my late fifties and turning sixty? Was I done for? I had a couple of years where I took time off work to help my sisters care for my parents with Alzheimer’s and during that time, I kind of stalled. And I felt myself getting slower, physically and mentally. I began to wonder if this was a sign of decline as we age.

Then I moved and, in trying to find myself a place in my new community and new life after the deaths of my parents and the birth of my granddaughter, I desperately searched for new things to do and new people to meet. I found a group to play table tennis with, I took up pickleball, I started playing Scrabble not just at the club but nightly on the Internet, I joined sign language meetups so I could get my sign language fluency back and I started studying Spanish and Hindi. I started a new tour business taking senior women on fun trips abroad and I started developing a new profiling program for detectives.

And then I realized something! I didn’t feel like I was going downhill any more. I was playing table tennis better than I did in my twenties, I went from beginner to advanced in one year of pickleball, i went from the middle to the top of the Scrabble club for games won, my sign language fluency was returning, and I was doing really well learning both Spanish and Hindi! All my new projects were taking off and I was feeling a lot sharper.  Essentially, I was doing what I used to do when I was in my youth, only I could do it in a smarter way because I could analyze what worked better for me in terms of improving skills.

So, actually, we DON’T grown stupider as we get older; we just stop doing and trying and and we start gathering moss and losing brain cells. Putting our minds (and bodies) back to work, challenging ourselves, and doing it CONSISTENTLY (and this is often why we fail and think we can’t learn things when we are older), it is surprising how we can find ourselves soaring again.

Give it a try! Don’t tell yourself (and everyone else) you are an old dog who can’t learn new tricks or learning a foreign language is for the young or it’s too late to pursue new intellectual interests. You CAN succeed and when you do, you will find it pretty thrilling…..I know I do! Now, I can’t wait to learn more, move to a higher level, try something completely outside my repertoire…because I know I can do it if I just start and keep  on doing it.


Lost and Found: Dealing with Loss as We Grow Older

Found! Time to Smell the Flowers!

Found! Time to Smell the Flowers!

I spent way too many hours not sleeping recently ruminating over the issue of accumulative loss as we age. While psychologists often have good advice on grieving one loss, they seem to be “at a loss” on how to help people deal with multiple losses. The elderly often suffer the worst from the problem of loss after loss as their family and friends die, as they lose their careers, their incomes, their homes, their freedom, their mobility….the list goes on and on. And what is unique about loss and aging is that it seems to us as we get older, we aren’t able to replace our losses as well as when we were young; we may never get another job or we may never get back the use of our knee or our group of friends is dwindling rapidly. How do we deal with these mounting losses? How do we still see life in a positive way, prevent severe depression and hopelessness?

What really brought this to a head with me was the loss of both my parents and the loss of my beloved home of thirty years. I look back twenty years and it never crossed my mind that these people and my home would just vanish out of my life one day, never to return. But, then, it happened. Gone. Not coming back. My hair color isn’t returning either without the help of hair dye. My skin isn’t going to retract and look youthful again. Bikinis are something I wouldn’t even wear in private. Ever again.

It made me sad to think of these losses. How I could never stop by and see my parents again. How I would never climb the stairs to my bedroom in my big old house again. Seems wrong somehow this part of my life has been ripped away from me.

So, I tried to think of why, why this happens, why I was responding to the losses the way I did, and was there anything to be gained by such losses?

And, oddly, I began to realize that we need losses in our life in order to gain life. A paradox, but a truth. As long as my elderly parents were on the earth, I had a responsibility to care for them and, as many know, this can be very time-consuming and exhausting. I cherished my time with my parents in their late years but it was a big focus which prevented me from having other focuses, kind of like when you raising children; being a full-time parent is wonderful but you can’t do a lot of other things because of the responsibility. When my children reached adulthood, I started a new life with many new challenges and opportunities. I loved being an at-home mother but I love not being one, too! I loved helping my sisters with my parents, but I love not having to do so as well.

Then, I realized, I love being the age I am even with the grey hair underneath my blonde color. I love my body even if it isn’t the hot body of a teen because now I can be more relaxed and just be me instead of having to deal with being a young, sexy girl. I loved being that but I love NOT being that now!

I loved my big old house where I raised my kids. I loved its large space which allowed many of their friends to play there. I loved being able to have large get togethers. I loved it being a single family home with a big yard with trees and flowers. I loved having lots of animals as pets. I loved being able to buy stuff and decorate all the rooms. But, now I love not having the responsibility of its upkeep and amount of stuff in it. I love my downsized house next to my daughter so I don’t have to live alone and far from my kids. I love having no yard work. I love not having to walk a mile from one end of the house to the other. I love having so little to clean.

We have to accept loss in order to find the new. If we hang on the the old or the old hangs on to us, we would be forever in a rut, never experiencing new things in life. Maybe we hate to share our toys with others! We don’t want our old house to be enjoyed by the new residents, we don’t want our kids to grow up and spend their time with families that exclude us; we don’t want to give up our place on earth to allow others to be born onto it and experience its wonders. Maybe we are foolish and selfish not to be thankful for change. Maybe change is a gift that we must learn to appreciate and recognize is good for us even if it is difficult to receive.

After thinking for night after night over what I have lost, I finally realized how much I have found and I then I finally had a good night’s sleep!

How the Electronic World has Made Life Better for Older People (Who Don’t Fight It)

Seniors, THIS is a Smartphone with Emails Right at the Touch of your Finger! If You Don't Have One, You Should!

Seniors, THIS is a Smartphone with Emails Right at the Touch of your Finger! If You Don’t Have One, You Should!

I have met quite a few seniors who object to new technology, saying it is foolish or too hard to figure out or unnecessary. They could not be more wrong! Here is a list of reasons:

1) Cell phones

Some have said they can’t see why people can’t just call you at home and, if you are not there, leave a message. Hey, older folks? You know how you complain your kids and others don’t call you enough? It is because you haven’t got a cell phone! A cell phone can go with you twenty four hours a day; anyone who calls you, will find you immediately which means they are more willing to call you. Not only that, you can call others when you are out; while you are waiting in the doctor’s office, for example. And, what a great tool for emergencies! If your car breaks down, if you fall down, you have a phone right there. If you are anywhere in your house, your phone can be with you…in your pocket or in your hand. If someone calls you, you don’t need to get up and walk to the phone. If you fall inside the house, you’ve got your phone again! If the land lines go down, you still have a phone! What is not to like about all of this? And if someone leaves you a message, you get it right away even if you are out. You won’t miss out on anything when you have a phone with you all the time.

Oh, and here is a really cool thing about a cell phone! Even if you don’t have one, you should be thankful others do. When my son was in India and I called him, he would chat with me while he was walking through the city. I could here voices and traffic and he would tell me what he was passing by. I felt like I was walking right beside him. He could even go on Facetime (read below) and I could see the sights with him!

2) Texting

So, some seniors have cell phone but they hate texting. They say, “If someone wants to talk to me, they can just call me!” Yes, they could, but, sometimes, people just want to make a short contact with you (especially young people) and if they have to call you to do so, they won’t. My kids and friends text me quite often with things like “Want to go to lunch?” or “What about a walk this morning?” They don’t want a long conversation, perhaps they are in the middle of something, but they want to find out quickly if you are interested. You can quickly text back, “Sure! What time?” and then you haven’t missed out on a chance to socialize. Texting is not really very hard when you only have to text a few words. It takes mere minutes to learn how to do and you can find a phone which makes texting easy for you.

There are other uses for texting, too. I had to laugh the other day when a seventy-year-old friend and I argued about texting on a walk. He said it was silly and unnecessary. Then, we walked into a restaurant and asked for a table. The lady at the front door told us it would be about twenty minutes or so but we could relax on one of the benches outside and she would text us when our table was ready. She asked him for his phone number while I was snickering next to him!

3) Skype and Facetime

Can’t be with loved ones? Are they overseas? Are your grandchildren on the other side of the country? For seniors Facetime and Skype are a wonderful and cheap way to see family and friends who are far away. You can have an entire conversation face to face as if you were sitting in a livingroom together. I have even known people to set up a computer on a table at holiday time or at a birthday party so grandma or grandpa could “be there” and be a part of the celebration!

If you have a Smartphone, even better, because that makes Facetime mobile. If you are away from your iPad or computer, you can have a face to face chat with someone no matter where you are. You can share the scenary with someone as you are traveling as well. One problem seniors sometimes have is that their communication methods are as old as they are and the younger generation gets frustrated that they can’t contact them the same as they do their other friends.

4) Email

Speaking of losing contact, seniors, NOBODY writes letters any more! Yes, I know, sad, sad, but, too bad! Letterwriting has gone the way of the horse and carriage. Email is faster and cheaper and if this is the way people communicate and you want to hear from them, get an email address. Plus, people will communicate with you more often because email is easier than letterwriting. Emails are often shorter, as well, so people don’t have to put so much effort into contacting you and so they will do so regularly.

You can get email on your iPad or computer but also on a smartphone which would mean you can get email no matter where you are. And, most important, CHECK your email often. Some seniors only check their email once or twice a week which means people will stop emailing them when they get no response. If I send an email to someone suggesting a movie night on Friday but they don’t see the email until Saturday, I am going to give up on them! It doesn’t take much effort to at least check email in the morning when you wake up and before bedtime or even one more time in the afternoon. If you have a smartphone, you don’t even have to do anything more than tap it to see if you have emails and, if you want, you can have an alert that will beep when an email comes in. I check my email every half hour or hour automatically. It isn’t a burden, it is fun! Oh, look, my friend just sent me something! Oh, look, my sister just sent my photos! Oh, look, an invite to lunch! You won’t feel so alone when you have emails and texts coming in.

5) Facebook

Best. Thing. Ever. Invented. I kid you not. Not only can I share things with others on my Facebook page – this blog, photos, thoughts, etc., but, others can share things with me. Best yet, I can check out what is going on with my friends and kids. Without Facebook, I wouldn’t have known my daughter was at the park in the morning with my granddaughter (cute photos!) or that she and my son went to a concert together. Not only is it a great way to spy on your kids (I mean, find out what your kids are doing!), it is a great way to stay connected to their lives and have something to talk about. How often seniors wonder what is happening in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives and then call them and ask the dreaded question, “So, what’s new?” to which the answer always is “Not much.” If you read their Facebook posts, you can call and say, “How was the Taylor Swift concert?” and you will probably get a real answer and have a nice conversation. You can also leave comments on their Facebook page so they can see that you are interested in what they are doing and they can see you enjoy their posts.

6) Fun and Games Online

I play Scrabble every night on the Internet. I can only go to the Scrabble club once a week and the online version allows me to play any time I want. Also, sometimes I play shut-ins, so I know they are happy they don’t have to go out to play a game they like. Not only do we enjoy playing with each other, but I have made nice online friends this way as well.

Add to this, all the other stuff the Internet has to offer. Easy shopping for seniors (I LOVE Amazon!); if you have a disability or transportation issue, you just buy online and the stuff shows up at your house in a couple of days. You can watch movies, learn foreign languages, read books, get the news, read blogs, learn anything by Googling a few words….it is crazy wonderful for times when a senior is alone at home. I am never bored with the Internet available to me. I also can prevent looking stupid or spending money when I need something fixed. I can google something like “Do the higher or lower numbers in the refrigerator make it colder?” and get a quick answer! I have fixed things in my house that previously I would have had to call somebody to do, but because I could Google a question on how to fix it myself and get a tutorial, I took care of it myself. So cool!

Also, on the Internet is Meetup, a great site for finding things to do near you. All you have to do is go to http://www.meetup.com and toss in a word of something that interests you like “books” or “walking” or “sign language” and up comes groups that you can join to have fun with. I have joined a number of groups in my area. Yesterday, I went with a group walking through a park. On Thursday evening, I will go to a local Panera and meet a group to practice sign language. I have even started my own groups, so people come and join me! It is a great tool for seniors who might find themselves without company or activities; find a meetup near you, click “I am going” and show up! Kind of like inviting yourself to a party! I now have so many choices of things to do I have to figure out which ones I have time for!

All these wonderful electronic devices and internet connections can add so much to the world of seniors! What is sad is so many seniors fight using them when their lives would be so much improved if they took advantage of modern technology.

Make your life better, seniors! Get yourself a cell phone, learn to text, move up to an iPad, get fast Internet (seriously, get rid of dial-up; it is ridiculously slow), get cable TV so you don’t just have three channels, and start playing around on the Internet and seeing all the great things you can do with it!

Choosing to be Happy is Work

Ah!!! I was happy floating down this river but I only got to be happy because I worked to find this place.

Ah!!! I was happy floating down this river but I only got to be happy because I worked to find this place.

How often do you hear this psychobable phrase, “You CHOOSE to be happy!” like all you have to do is decide to have a good attitude and think positive thoughts and you will automatically be happy, no matter what the circumtances. What rot! Choosing to be happy requires choosing a lot of stuff that will then MAKE us happy! I don’t mean buying happiness with things (although some things actually DO make us happier and choosing to buy good things is a very good idea) but choosing stuff like good relationships, good lifestyles, good work, good hobbies, good environment…and so on. And choosing such stuff takes a lot of research, trial and error, and a whole lot of effort.

When I moved to my new home in my new town, I didn’t just sit around saying, “Well, I CHOOSE to be happy, so, therefore, I will just sit here and happiness will surround me.” No, I had to figure out how to get happy….and this has taken a lot of work. I actually have to fight to be happy by finding things that make my life good. Some things I am fortunate enough to already have….my three great kids and my new in-laws and my wonderful little granddaughter, two marvelous sisters, and some long term friends. But, I still need to work to make my life happy. In order to have good relationships with these fantastic folk, I have to work at being a decent friend and family member. Sometimes I don’t live up to this (I get too busy and ignore someone or I am cranky and am not fun to be with or I don’t actually put enough effort into our relationships and they can flounder which makes makes me not as happy as well as making them not so happy. So, I have to get back to work on improving things.

Then, I need things to do so that I want to get up in the morning. I need challenge, goals for my work, and fun! I have to get up each day and make plans to see things happen and sometimes I have to work my ass off to make progress. For example, I want to do more walking and hiking, but the two Meetup groups I joined (trial and error), I wasn’t too happy with. The walks and hikes were often too far from my house which required a lot of driving and I didn’t like the way the groups moved at such a fast pace if you weren’t thirty and in super shape, you got left behind in the forest! So, I just started my own Meetup group called “Maryland Relaxed Walkers and Hikers” and I hosted my first walk of 11 people. It is more work than just showing up at someone else’s group, but I am hoping my own group will be at locations closer to me and at better times (hehe, they all seem to fit perfectly in my schedule!) and that I provide a service to others who are also looking for a more relaxed walking group….then they will be happier, too!

I just had a friend visit from out of town and she had relatives from India visiting Maryland as well. I wanted to make sure they had fun (and me, too!) so I did a lot of research to figure out what to do. We ended up having a great day on the mall in DC visiting museums and memorials and then we went sailing on a schooner in Annapolis and then tubing down a river in Monkton, Md. It was work to figure this out but I had a very happy week and they had a very happy visit.

One reason I started Older Women, Cheap Travel is because I love to travel but often have no one to go with and I also don’t like what I call “senior travel” which means we are shoveled onto SeniorMobiles and taken on a Senior style trip. I want a little more adventure and excitement, so I decided to start a tour company that will offer an alternative to travel for older women and make me and others happier!

There are certain choices that make us happier that ARE about changing our mindset (focus on the positive and not the negative, be thankful, don’t take everything so seriously, forgive, etc), but, a good portion of being happier is fighting to build your life into the kind of life that makes you happy. It is not only the action of changing your attitude, but changing many things in your life so that you actually have stuff in it you like doing. It is also about working to make sure your choices are actually good choice, not stupid or bad ones.

So, the next time you hear that you “choose to be happy,” realize that you need to do a lot more than change your attitude about your life; you actually need to CHANGE your life as well, constantly thinking and choosing better options and building your life into the happiest one you possibly can. Being happy also means constantly rebuilding and reconstructing as our circumstances changes, as we grow older or suffer disability or financial setbacks or career losses, when we lose friends and family through divorce, death, and distance….since life changes constantly, we need to change with it by working hard to make whatever we have better, to make our lives the best lives we can live.

Older Women, Cheap Travel is heading to Mexico! (October 25 – November 3)

Woo Hoo! I love Mexico and I want you ladies to see it in the most vibrant way possible! Many people only think of Mexico as a beach like Cancun, full of young American partiers drinking up a storm! Or they think Mexico is just violent drug gangs shooting down the tourists (I have NEVER heard one news story of a tourist being killed by a drug cartel!)

There is a fascinating Mexico waiting for you to explore….central Mexico, busy big cities, charming small ones, and quaint rural towns and amazing scenery. We start our trip by flying into Mexico City. Below is a sample of our itinerary…with more to come (and subject to change on the fly) which should give you an idea of what you will see and do on the trip.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Day One – Sunday Oct 25 – Arrival in Mexico City: We will be staying in the heart of Mexico City so we will be able to visit museums and parks and little restaurants….Mexico City is always a comfortable temperature and Sunday is family day….we will join them out and about. We will have a short day as everyone is just arriving, perhaps a relaxed stroll in the parks and a delicious dinner. But who knows? If everyone is all hyper from being in a new city, we could always go to the arena and see the insane, acrobatic masked Mexican wrestlers do their thing! Not to worry, though, we will be returning to Mexico City later in the trip and will have more time to explore the city in depth.

Day Two – Monday Oct 26 – We will take the bus two hours to the nearby charming colonial city of Puebla. First Class Buses in Mexico are awesome! Super comfortable with air conditioning, bathrooms, and movies.

The

The “Chicken Bus”

Day Three – Tuesday Oct 27 – We will take another two hour bus ride (but this time on a “chicken bus” – it is an experience! )to the small city of Tehuacan. This is a city most tourists pass right by which is why we will stop! It is regular Mexico and we will get a real feel for normal life. We can visit a couple of small museums, a beautiful church, and the biosphere reserve nearby which has awesome cacti!.

Day Four – Wednesday Oct 28 – We will probably take another chicken bus (all depends on what we feel like and what is available) on down to Oaxaca (another couple hours). This is a fabulous city which everyone raves about visiting. There is much to do and the cuisine is outstanding. We will have a great time here.

Oaxaca

Oaxaca

Day Five -Thursday Oct 29 – Oaxaca

Day Six – Friday Oct 30 – We leave Oaxaca on the fancy bus and return to Mexico City. We will have all afternoon and evening to check out the city. One of my favorite places to visit is the magnificent Zocolo (the big square) and the Frida Khalo museum which is located in a lovely section of the city. Oh, and the National Palace with huge Diego Rivera Murals and the Plaza Garibaldo in the evening for Mariachi music!

 Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan

Day Seven – Saturday Oct 31 – We get up early to catch a bus to Teotihuacan (just a 45 minute ride). Teotihuacan is an incredible complex of pyramids, my favorite group of pyramids along with those in Egypt. After we exhaust ourselves climbing in and up the pyramids, we will bus back to the city and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Xochimilco: City of Canals

Xochimilco: City of Canals

Day Eight – Sunday Nov 1 – Two great things to do in Mexico City on a Sunday is to visit the zoo (I love visiting zoos in other countries; you get to mix with local families and sometimes see some really odd animal exhibits) and then we will take the light rail to Xochimilco, a beautiful town of canals and gondolas which will will board and enjoy the relaxing ride and the songs of the musicians along the way.

Day of the Dead Celebrations

Day of the Dead Celebrations

Day Nine – Monday Nov 2 – Now that you are really good at traveling in Mexico, you are ready for the final exam. We will take the metro to the edge of the city and catch a local bus to Mizquic, a small town in which will be a massive celebration for the Day of the Dead. The decorations and the fireworks, the thousands of candles, the music, the specialty food, just wow….we will join in the craziness, even going with others to the church, the plaza, and the cemetery to see the amazing work the locals have done on the graves of their loved ones. The locals are really nice to visitors who come to join them in remembering their loved ones who have passed….it will be a fantastic final day and evening in Mexico. We will return by bus and metro to our hotel, hopefully, by midnight!

Day Ten – Tuesday Nov 3 – We say good-bye to Mexico and fly home.

Are you ready to go? This is a preview of the trip and as soon as I get the website completed and up, there will be lots more information provided on this trip and how my trips work. But, I can tell you this now: the cost is approximately one-third of what most tours will run you and you will have a far more unique experience – no tourist buses and tourist hotels and tourist food. Our experience will be much more, well, “down-to-earth” and MUCH MORE FUN! Every day will be an adventure….and although you have seen the basic itinerary, we have a lot of choices we can make along the way as to what we will do, where we will stay (what? you thought I would make reservations everywhere? Nah….maybe just in Mexico City so when you arrive and before you leave, we won’t have any problems), what we will eat…and…the itinerary can change if something better to do pops up or there is a need to divert our course.

Oh, back to the cost: there is a nonrefundable $300 fee to book your place in this group of no-more than 10 of us) and get me for your tour planner and guide and the daily cost will be between $50-$75 (for all lodging, travel, food, and entertainment), and the cost of whatever flight you book from your hometown. You can’t beat the price!

Last comment: This is a older women only trip. We will be rooming together which is why we can keep the cost down and women without partners can actual go on this trip and not be charged extra for being forced into a private room. As a woman who has traveled alone before, I can tell you that having someone to share the experience with is so much better and so much safer. We will be bringing very little luggage….no more than a daypack (I will explain later how one actually carries enough clothing in so little space) so we can walk and hop on and off of transport without dragging a monstrosity with us. Because we will not always be checking right into a hotel upon arrival in a town, whatever we carry with us will need to be our light, little friend! Women who go on this trip also must be able to walk a reasonable amount (we might need to walk a couple miles through the city) and not be totally freaked at hotels that might not be exactly swank and meals that we might consume in the middle of a busy market or on the side of a street. We are not backpacking and hiking, but we are roughing it a little…. and loving it!

Well, that is it for now. Keep tuned through this blog and my FB pages and Twitter for updates and follow my new blog for Older Women, Cheap Travel at olderwomencheaptravel.wordpress.com. If you are interested in going, contact me asap at profilerpatbrown@gmail.com.