Adventures in Good Company has always been a proponent of adventure travel for women of all ages. We’ve written articles on Adventure Travel for Women Over 50, and Adventure Travel for Women Over 60. Many of our travelers, in fact, are living testimonials to the benefits of staying active and out-of-doors into the later stages of our lives.
Most of us also know, or are aware of, young women actively participating in some type of study abroad program or taking time out for what’s commonly referred to as a “gap year."
But what about adventure travel and that significant group of women who fall between these two bookends- Women Under 50?
Karen Katt in her late 20s adventuring in Oregon.
I think adventure travel is incredibly important for those women. Women in their late 20s, 30s and 40s tend to find themselves balancing heavy loads. These are the women stretching themselves to make advancements in their careers, raising the next generation of children to be strong, aware, and independent adults, taking care of aging parents, and working to maintain healthy and functional households.
These highly structured years in women’s lives, when finding the time to get outdoors and travel seems most restricted, may actually be when the restorative powers of nature and adventure travel are needed most.
Study after study has shown that nature has a positive impact on our lives, mentally, physically, and emotionally. (See How Does Nature Impact our Wellbeing?, from the University of Minnesota and Call to the Wild: This is Your Brain on Nature, from National Geographic for examples.) At AGC we strongly believe that feeling truly connected to the natural world is both a human need and deeply rejuvenating. I couldn't agree more, but I also know how hard it is make time for that when you're in this phase of life.
I clearly remember times in my life when I became completely lost in motherhood, volunteering at school, participating in church activities, and working in the family business. It was draining. I needed time to walk in the woods, to disappear into the beautify of the Oregon Coast for a few days, to unwind after a long day by paddleboarding on the lake late in the evening. These moments not only helped to restore me- they helped me to hold on to my own individual identity in the midst of so many competing demands on my time.
Karen in her 40s. She had to dig to find a single picture of herself in nature among the hundreds of her son.
In talking with many women who fall within the late 20s- 50s age range, I’ve learned that almost everyone feels the stress of those demands at some point or another. But many women think that adventure travel isn't an option- it seems selfish or expensive or downright negligent to their families or careers. I just don't think that's always true.
I believe that opportunities to stretch ourselves in new ways can be a valuable tool in not succumbing to the deadening nature of daily routine. It was during one of these hectic times in my own life that I took my first trip with AGC, Introduction to Lightweight Backpacking, which resonated strongly with me. Little was I to know how much of an influence this would have later in my life (for reference, I now work as a guide and a Program Manager for AGC- and I love it! But I also was instilled with enough confidence that I'm hiking part of the Appalachian Trail this week). Stretching myself in that new way was my version of self-care. Maybe it's yours, too.
For all the women falling in this stage of life whose endurance is being tested, what more important message can be sent than modeling taking time for self-care? Not only is this an important message for our children, but also our partners, our co-workers, our family and our friends.
At AGC we work to make sure women at all stages of life have that outlet. For women in their late 20s- 50s, our long weekend trips that require less of a time and money commitment make a lot of sense, as do trips where we completely remove ourselves from the urban environment to maximize the benefits of immersing ourselves in nature.
For me, it's what has kept me feeling like I can travel and be active much longer than I expected. In fact, I'm doing more now that I'm in my 50s than I could when I was younger, but I still feel young.
Quite simply, I am an ardent supporter of women traveling and getting in to nature long before they think they have the time or money to do so. So to those women under the age of 50 who are feeling all the pressures of this busy phase of life, I personally encourage you to take time for yourself in nature. I'd love to help.
“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” -Terry Tempest Williams
If you are a client who has enjoyed traveling with AGC and agree with the positive effects of getting out of your routine and being in nature, we invite you to share this article with the younger women in your life who you think may appreciate this message.