Episode from the podcastTravatical-formerly The Expat Chat

Life Begins at 55: How I Overcame Illness to Travel the World

Released Tuesday, 13th October 2015
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Facing death is the ultimate motivation to revisit your life’s purpose and ask yourself whether what you are doing is truly making you happy. For Barbara Weibel that challenge came to a head in 2007 when, dealing with lymes disease, she realized her corporate life was making her richer but leaving her feeling empty inside.

She hopped on a plane to Vietnam writing the story of her journey while away. Upon returning to the US she discovered that over 1200 people had found her journey worth reading and with that as her motivation she embarked on a permanent travel lifestyle that has taken her to 60 countries over the past 9 years.

Barbara has become one of the world’s biggest travel bloggers and has proven that a single woman in her 50’s can travel the world safely with the right attitude. Her saying “Faith and fear can’t live in the same place” has been her source of comfort along her journey.

We caught up with Barbara in Croatia where she shared her insights into how she lives her life and why the American dream is not delivering on its promise.

You can follow Barbara’s journey at her popular blog www.holeinthedonut.com . If you’re looking to send a picture from your own journey Barbara offers $1 e-postcards of her travel photos. Barbara is a strong supporter of charities in many of the countries she visits and you can support her work with an e postcard from her many travel photos at www.holeinthedonut.net

What I learned from speaking with Barbara:

  1. There are no barriers to being a perpetual traveler. Barbara has not allowed age, sex or any other barrier to stand in her way to doing what she loves. She is happier for the experience and stands as motivation to millions of baby boomers that the best years don’t have to be behind you once you reach your fifties or sixties.

  2. Travel is all about people. A wonderful as many of the countries have been that she has visited ultimately it’s the people that make the difference. You can’t build a relationship from an air conditioned bus during two weeks of annual holidays. If you base yourself in a location and put yourself out there you’ll be continually staggered at the kindness that your fellow humans will show you

  3. Barbara highlighted many of the well-known expat destinations as being well worth visiting (and Columbia again gets a mention from those who have visited there) but what was particularly interesting was her take on eastern Europe, including Hungary, but particularly the Balkan states such as Croatia, and Bulgaria. These places offer a lot with very affordable lifestyles and I feel sure they will become increasingly popular as expat havens in the future. We will be following these areas with more interest.

  4. Being a woman doesn’t expose you to greater travel risk. Barbara has had no incidents in 9 years (outside of the US that is) and believes much of the concern is misplaced