In a recent Huffington Post article, Leyla Giray asks: “Can You Be Too Old To Travel?” This is a silly question. The answer is easy: no. Giray agrees. After enduring the excuses a friend listed as reasons not to embark on an extended backpacking trip – hostels, bus rides, lack of privacy, etc. – Giray wisely told her friend: “I do think you’re too old for this. I do not think this is because of your biological age.”
Giray explains how she was forty-three when she decided to fulfill a dream and packpack across Africa and Asia for half a year. Along the way, she met an eighty-year-old man who’d made it a mission to visit every country on the planet; he only had twenty more to go. Along with meeting fascinating people, Giray accrued some insight and has distilled it into a set of ten questions, the answers to which determine your travel age, in a non-quantifiable way. The questions aren’t revelatory, at least not if you enjoy traveling: Are you curious? Do you enjoy communicating? Are you patient?
Such matters fall under the seasoned traveler’s purview, and, really, should be something everyone thinks about, right? Without curiosity, how do we learn anything? If we don’t communicate, how do express ourselves? Patience, well, you can never have too much patience, so I’m told. The point is, Giray’s method of determining an individual’s readiness to travel, especially for a long period of time, can, and should, be applied to readiness for life in general.
Yes, life is a journey, but it doesn’t always involve language barriers and unfamiliar customs, unless that’s what you’re looking for. I know plenty of curious people very capable of communicating their ideas, but not all of them identify as travelers. So while Giray’s ideas are on target they don’t really get to the heart of what makes for wanderlust in an individual.