Penny's Travels

Why Women Want To Travel And Men Want To Lie On The Couch And Snore

Nathan Lake OMG Photo

Nathan Lake OMG Photo

As a member of a generation commonly referred to as a “Baby Boomer,” I have grown up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. Things might have been tough at different stages in my life but I had faith. With a bit of hard work and determination, payday would eventually come in the form of being able to travel and see the world for myself. It seems I am not the only one with these dreams because according to industry sources, Baby Boomers spend $157 billion each year on travel. With children educated, mortgages nearly paid off and retirement looming on the horizon, we are cashed up and have travel dreams – “our bucket list”- to fulfill.

Unlike our backpacking children, we would prefer to have a little luxury when it comes to accommodations, meals and side tours.

Unfortunately, life can throw a curveball, and ill health may mean travel plans will have to be put on hold. Many couples do not consider a few other things might have changed within the marriage arrangement itself. Sometimes, there is one partner who doesn’t want to be bothered with the hassle of traveling and would much prefer to stay at home in familiar surroundings. Resentment can often fester when this situation arises, especially when people have had their dreams squashed.

There is a reason why divorce is often instigated by a wife and this usually happens after the children have left home. Husbands are left dumbfounded when their once cooperative and reliable wife wants to see the world, experience new cultures and take up new interests. And she doesn’t seem to be at all too worried about doing it by herself!

Ladies, you don’t need to get a divorce if your old man wants to just stay at home and be a couch potato. These days, I am no longer surprised by the number of ‘Over 50’ women I meet, who are travelling solo or on ‘girl power’ tours. Recently, I met up with 5 “young” ladies in Dubai, who had been to college together in the 1970’s. They had just completed a European River Cruise and had left their spouses at home.

One of the ladies, Christine said, “My husband can stay at home, lie on the couch, watch TV and snore – that is as much as he wants to do these days. That does not mean I have to stay at home and listen to him!

So why do women want to travel and men want to lie on the couch and snore?

Hormones?

Hormones get a bad rap. They get blamed for kids going through difficult stages in their teenage years, premenstrual syndrome, post pregnancy blues and then finally, menopause. Someone forgot to tell men, that for many women, menopause means empowerment.

Hormones do not forget men either but they are not embracing their new found freedoms as much as women, especially when it comes to travel.

Nevertheless, many couples still manage to travel together and start to tick off that bucket list when it comes to “must see before you die destinations”.

For those less adventurous Baby Boomers, who do not want to travel independently, there are group tours  specifically designed for the over 50′s age group.

Baby Boomers have an ability to travel during the shoulder or low season for longer periods of time and can take advantage of some great offers on sale when resorts are less crowded and queues are shorter.

Travel has never been so affordable and our bucket list needs some serious attention before we kick the bucket ourselves!

My best friend has been preparing her bucket list for 29 years.  When Deb married she wanted a honeymoon in Paris but such an extravagant vacation was out of the question.

Instead, the newly married couple settled on a honeymoon in an inexpensive hotel at the beach for a week. Deb always said, Paris could wait  – until they had the time and money for the honeymoon she dreamt about.

A house and four children quickly followed and our lives mirrored each other’s.

Our kids grew up, went off to school and left home for jobs in the city.

Just when we finally thought the kids had settled into their careers and become independent, they wanted to come home!

But why now?

…they wanted to travel!

Hadn’t we always told our children to travel while they were young, before marriages and mortgages?

Yes! It seems, they had taken some notice after all.

Our kids reasoned they could save money for travel by living at home, rent free, with clean sheets, dinner waiting on the table, wide screen TVs and a resident maid, called, “Mom”.

Suddenly, we both found ourselves wanting to break away from our old priorities of being “chief cook and bottle washer” for children and husbands.

We wanted to find new paths to follow, and for Deb, Paris was sending her mental road maps!

Like many Baby Boomers, Deb and I feel we now want to start ticking off our own bucket list…after all we have worked hard to get to this stage in life and this will be “guilt free.”

It is time to travel while we still have our health and enthusiasm to accomplish a few dreams of our own.

Unfortunately for Deb, her husband of 29 years was not so keen on the idea of traveling to Paris. He took a little convincing but finally  realized their adult kids would be fine at home, and with a little planning, their honeymoon would not cost him the fortune which he had imagined. Deb did all the planning because after all, she had mastered Facebook and many of her “friends” could offer support and advice about traveling in Paris.

These days, over 50′s women are the ones heading to the airport and they don’t need a  husband  to fulfill their dreams of travel.

What Deb’s husband doesn’t know, is that she also wants to learn to paint and pursue a few more dreams which have been quietly percolating on the back burner for 29 years.

Next spring Paris, next summer, painting in Peru!

Happy Travels.

2 thoughts on “Why Women Want To Travel And Men Want To Lie On The Couch And Snore”

  1. A great article and appropriately encouraging women take some action and pursue their dreams. But alas, perhaps a bit hard on the male gender? Last time I checked, not all men want to simply lie on the couch and snore.

  2. In her thesis “Menopause: The Wise Woman Years”, Marisa Laursen deftly summarizes the hormonal basis for the profound change that women begin to go through as they age past their childbearing phase:

    “Throughout our childbearing years, women are bathed in a nurturing blend of hormones that keeps us contentedly taking care of our loved ones. Our own needs are often set aside in deference to others, and in general we do this willingly, lovingly, finding much fulfillment in our care-taking, peacekeeping roles. And then, sometime usually in the late 30’s or early 40’s, a change starts to take place; this bath of hormones begins to change, to shift. Over a period of 5 to 13 years, this change continues. Noted author Christiane Northrup, M.D. calls this period of time “the perimenopausal lifting of the hormonal veil”. Dr. Northrup goes on to say “In addition to the hormonal shift that means an end to childbearing, our bodies – and specifically, our nervous systems – are being, quite literally, rewired. It’s as simple as this: Our brains are changing. Testosterone levels are increasing. A woman’s thoughts, her ability to focus, and the amount of fuel going to the intuitive centers in the temporal lobes of her brain all are plugged into, and affected by, the circuits being rewired.”1 What this change translates into is a time of potential unprecedented personal transformation – a time of giving birth to our own spiritual selves. The nurturing and love that had been (and may continue to be) directed outwardly can be redirected inwardly, into a deeper self-understanding and expression of our own inner selves. And, perhaps, this storehouse can be released upon the world at large, where our newly discovered wisdom and strength can be channeled into causes that bring us fulfillment.”

    Likewise, at the same age, men are beginning to lose testosterone which will, in a broad generalization, tend to make them turn more to matters of family and home; makes them less adventurous, risk-taking.

    So while I don’t agree with the generalization that most men want to lay on the couch and snore, I think that there is a natural hormonal basis to the changes in relative roles that men and women tend to go through as they age. Healthy relationships are able to flex with those changes.

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