Hello and welcome to Travel Puffin. My name is Sarah, I am in my 40’s and I have the travel bug. That is the short version. Check out my posts and let me know what you think of the site, or take a deep breath and read on for the long version.
My life hasn’t followed what some would call a conventional path. Leave school, go to university, start a meaningful career, meet a guy, get engaged, get married, buy a house, have 2.4 kids, live happily ever after….er….?
Well ok, I did some of that – I left school, but skipped university in favour of a local college. I never wanted the marriage or the kids, I only wanted the career. Which I got. My first job at 18, first as a computer programmer and then as an IT Manager. Not my first love by any means.
As it would happen I also got the guy and the kids (two daughters – the loves of my life). We bought the house. We even did the engagement thing but never quite made it to the marriage stage. I was 25 when we went our separate ways.
Then my parents moved to Spain when I was 26.
Fast forward about 6 years and just before Gemma was due to start secondary school I made the decision to move to Spain and take the girls. I wanted them to have a lifestyle they could not have in England and grow up bilingual immersed in a new culture. They are both fluent in Spanish now and I like to think this has been the biggest gift I could ever give to them.
Living in Spain
Looking back and being honest I was running away. From a life in England that was not making me happy.
How many of us travel to escape our bad times, not realising how often we just take the bad parts with us? The difference with this trip was that it was one way.
As life in Spain unfolded (as great as it was for a lot of the time) plans didn’t always come to fruition. I changed, dreams changed and fell by the wayside. Five years after arriving, my daughters left Spain to go back to the UK. It was the worst day of my life.
Being vulnerable I fell into a toxic and unfulfilling relationship with someone I would normally never get involved with. His only hobby was drinking and as it turned out he was also a drug dealer just to top it off. I was lied to from day one by him and his family, cheated on numerous times, and bullied, not just by him but some of his friends and family who had either fallen for his lies or just didn’t care anyway. I had started to drink too much and felt ashamed of who I had become. My relationship with some of my family and friends became strained.
I was an intelligent woman in her 40’s who had had a successful career and I found myself at my lowest point feeling completely lost. Somewhere along the line I had lost my brain. He would lie to my face and swear on his family’s life that he was telling the truth so eventually I would start to believe him. I started to question my own mind. It wasn’t physically abusive but it was mentally abusive. My self esteem hit rock bottom.
I took plenty of kicks over the five year relationship but like a loyal puppy I kept going back. But everyone has their breaking points and eventually this puppy stopped caring and the last time he lied and cheated I told him to go. It was a relief but I was angry with myself for wasting so much time and allowing myself to be treated the way I was. Someone once suggested to me it was like Stockholm Syndrome as they couldn’t understand why I kept staying with him through all the lies and cheating. Even after our breakup the bullying continued for a few months. It feels shameful to admit that. Being bullied in your 40’s. But I’m here to tell you, adults can be bullied too, and it is the bullies who should be ashamed. Not me. THEY are the bullies.
Maybe I will write about everything that happened one day, it would make quite a read.
I started to rebuild my life, and my self-esteem. I now had room to breathe and reacquaint myself with my dreams and put those horrible years behind me.
However! just before this relationship ended we had a trip to Las Vegas booked. I had doubts as to whether I could go to Vegas on my own. It wasn’t hard to picture myself on a beach getaway, lying by the sea, reading books to while away the days and the emotions. I could happily do that. But Vegas? Honestly it scared the life out of me. It turned out to be my first solo trip and the beginning of my rebirth (not wanting to sound overly dramatic or anything).
When I came back from Vegas I immediately booked a ticket to see Elton John in New York the next year. My travel bug had been planted and the tiny roots were starting to taking shape underground.
Travelling in your 40s
I have since come across so many people in their 40’s, 50’s, and older who are bucking convention and living life their own way. Some choose not to have kids, some choose to not get married. Some people live their life out of a backpack. It really does not matter what you choose for your own life as long as you are happy. If you are reading this, chances are you like travelling and so that’s one thing we have in common.
We are all different and we should all embrace and support each other, not believe that somehow we are not worthy because we have not followed the traditional path we are brought up to follow. Although I don’t believe this path exists anymore, and there is so much more opportunity and so many experiences to be had out there.
I spend so much time on the internet researching travel and looking at travel blogs only to find some of them out of date or incomplete. So I hope to provide a resource of information which is accurate, honest, helpful and of high quality. Any blogs featured on this site will be current unless they are in the archive section.
For me it will partly be a diary of my travels, for my children to read and hopefully be proud of.
This website won’t exclude anyone but the personal articles I write will be written from my point of view. Product articles will be unbiased and honest. Guest posts will be welcome. Please get in touch if you have something you’d like to collaborate on or an article you would like to share.
Thank you for reading this incredibly long About Me! Who wants to be conventional anyway?