do you have midlife wandermust by the backpacking housewife

Do You Have Midlife Wandermust?

If, like me, you’ve never thought a two-week holiday was long enough and the concept of travel means even more to you now you’re in your midlife, then I believe your wanderlust might have just shifted up a gear into midlife wandermust!

Looking back to the time before I was a middle-aged Backpacking Housewife and just a normal housewife – and before my backpacking husband and I had sold up to travel the world – I realise that even then I’d always prioritised travel over many other material aspects of our life as a family.

Luckily, my husband felt the same way and thought it was really important for us all to have a family holiday once a year.

colourful chairs on a beach

What is Wandermust?

A Compulsion To Travel: Saving up for that special family annual two-week holiday started the day after we returned from holiday. When our boys were small (for context they are now all in their 30’s) we always took advantage of booking early-bird package deals to get the special kids prices.

Holidays to the USA and Florida with a strong pound against the dollar were always good value back then and for several year’s kids under 12 years old travelled for £99 with a fare paying adult.

We flew into Sanford or Orlando and spent a week having fun on International Drive before heading over to The Space Coast or across to Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater Beach, St Petes’ Beach and all those other gorgeous spots on the sunny Gulf Coast.

I have glorious memories of endless roller-coasters, sunshine, and beaches and crab-shacks.

I do remember that we never took the ‘free car’ included in the ‘package deal’ because we thought the insurance was too expensive. Instead, we’d take the public bus than pay for the tourist transit coach out of the airport also to save money.

Money that we could then spend on park tickets.

One year, in Orlando, we took advantage of a credit card deal to pay for our park passes, which meant we’d buy two and get one free. We bought annual passes for a water park on I-Drive because it was the same price as a few visits, which meant that when we headed to Orlando two-weeks earlier the next year, we could use them again.

Granted, it got a lot more costly when our kids became teenagers. We had to get even more savvy with our travel hacks!

The Horton family
The Horton family on holiday

Midlife Wandermust

We did also take holidays in other long-haul destinations. So by the time our boys all went off to university, it’s safe to say, they were very well-travelled and travel savvy.

Finding ourselves with midlife wandermust and an empty nest, it wasn’t really any surprise to our boys when we decided we’d sell our home, our business, our cars, and all our belongings in exchange for a pot of capital and two backpacks.

And, to this day and ten years on, we still have to travel economically (and in economy) and to a tight budget, so that we can sustain our dream life of travel for longer and it has all worked out well for us so far. We’ve never regretted a thing.

Well perhaps we regretted travelling with heavy backpacks back then – as these days we’ve certainly lightened up!

And so far we’ve explored 60 countries and travelled around the whole world twice.

We’ve had amazing experiences and met lots of lovely people all over the world.

One of my favourite travel quotes has always been ‘we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us…’

The Backpacking Housewife Welcome

Midlife Wanderlust

The big news is that more people now feel the same way!

I saw that Elle Magazine has been looking into travel trends in the New Future:

Expect to see a heightened thirst for travel going forward, with people wanting to do, see, and experience more. We’re starting to get itchy feet and think of all of the possibilities that might be afforded to us if we can embrace travel once again if the pandemic’s threat reduces.

Their report also tells us that almost all of us have been spending much of our free time recently looking for travel inspiration with over a third of us looking at potential destinations as often as once a week! So, you might have noticed, while gazing wistfully at photos of palm tree and pools and beaches online and in magazines, that travel industry agents and the travel-watching media – while taking into account current travel safety advice – are all hot on the topic of advising us on the best places to travel in the New Future. It’s encouraging and it’s exciting but what exactly does all this mean?

What is the NEW FUTURE going to look like?

And, how does it fit in with our dreams of tropical beaches and sun-drenched places and our plans to spend our future winters in warmer climes? I personally believe that it means a seismic shift is about to happen in travel.

Why? Travel planning is trending right now and across ALL age groups!

travel is trending for all age groups

The travel industry is buzzing with words for in the New Future.

MINDFUL and SUSTAINABLE and SLOW travel will create our NEW NORMAL

And that’s why, here at The Backpacking Housewife Dotcom, I’m looking into the crystal ball of travel trends and hoping to inspire you to adopt this new movement while you initiate your own New Future travel itinerary of travel and adventures.

Forbes Magazine predicts many wanting to make up for ‘lost time’ and travel as soon as it is safe to do so.

But who these days has the time to take mindful, sustainable, slow travel trips?

The Under 45’s often have school age children and family commitments that don’t blend so well with taking extended trips abroad. But the booking platform Get Your Guide says the under 45’s intend to take more holidays in future. They’re planning to rebook trips and to make up for any missed celebrations they were forced to cancel during the pandemic. Short haul and/or domestic holidays with green credentials will be popular with this age group.

Over 45’s: are eager to resume traveling too with annual work leave being ‘rolled over’. The travel companies are reporting how more people in this age group than ever before are booking holidays for longer than the usual two weeks. The over 45’s are now considering the merits of being ‘location independent’ and working as ‘digital nomads’ with a huge rise in those planning a ‘workcation’ which involves relocating for weeks or even months at a time in order to work remotely while living abroad.

Over 50’s: According to a survey by Prudential via Wise Living Magazine – the majority of over 50’s and those with midlife wandermust now have bucket lists. Adventure holidays, luxury holidays, cycling and walking, solo travel, and escorted tours, are all very popular with this age group. So, unsurprisingly, travel agents are reporting a steep rise in those planning ‘bucket list’ trips.

Travel ranks TOP for the over 50’s who have a bucket list.

bucket list travel

The Cambridge English Dictionary describes the bucket list as a list of the things that a person would like to do or achieve before they die. And, according to Age Partnership research:

53 percent over over 50’s cite travel as their number one aspiration, and seeing the Northern Lights is the most popular, followed by bucket list holiday ideas such as driving Route 66 in the US. One adventurous soon‑to‑be‑retiree has set his sights on Base Camp at Mount Everest”.

Over 55’s: Older travellers are even more eager to get back to travel. Many are looking into or considering taking early retirement or planning for their retirement. 90 percent of over 55s have written a bucket list too. It’s this age group who suddenly finding themselves with an empty nest, who may now have the freedom and resources to travel more often and for much longer.

Slow travel is booming amongst the baby boomers.

A ‘baby boomer’ or ‘boomer’ is a person born during a baby boom between 1945 and 1965.

slow travel sign

The concept of slow travels means taking longer trips and staying in your chosen location for longer and “soaking in your environment rather than rushing through it” according to ABTA who are the leading trade association for travel agents and tour operators. Their survey indicates that slow travel “will top the pile for travel trends in the future”.

Is slow travel kinder to the environment?

Researchers agree that the further you travel then the longer you should stay in a place if you considering the C02 emissions released by the plane that you flew in to get there. Skyscanner goes further by stating that “many airlines are opting to fly their newer aircraft, which are often more fuel efficient. Want the most eco-friendly flight? Simply look for the ‘Greener Choice’ option whenever you search”.

Local sustainable travel means being mindful of local culture and respectful of the local history and people and the environment. Taking your rubbish away with you. Spending money locally to support local people and small business. Using Get Your Guide to find reliable local guides.

Those Over 65 are typically now looking to spend their retirement and their resources on travel and new experiences according to the article entitled ‘Travels New Normal’ by Get Your Guide.

“The over 65’s are even more eager to get back to travel than typically wanderlust driven millennials and where they go and what activities they’ll choose and what types of vacations they envision are quite different from just 6 months ago”.

older people travelling


It seems the NEW FUTURE of TRAVEL fits well with wandermusters in all age groups. And, the good news is that those with midlife wandermust and older travellers are being seen as the keenest of all to throw off the shackles of a more sedentary lifestyle in favour of travel, adventure, and new experiences!

As I have midlife wandermust myself, I’m certainly an example of that trend, and I want you to know it is absolutely possible to travel more and to enrich your later life with travel experiences and to live the life of your dreams.

I can show you how we did it – and how you might do it too – if that’s your goal.

But, of course, your situation might be very different to ours. You might not want or need to sell everything you own like we did. You might just downscale in order to travel more often in later life. If you haven’t quite reached that stage yet, then you might just want to arrange a six-month sabbatical from work to travel. You might want to travel as a couple or you might be travelling solo.

Perhaps you’re trying to work out how you can travel and work remotely as a digital nomad?

You might take early retirement or have reached retirement age and want to tick off your bucket list.

You might rent out your home in order to fund your travels and return to it later.

You might get house sitters in to look after your home and pets while you travel for a while.

Your idea of travel might involve shiny suitcases rather than backpacks – and that’s perfectly okay too!

Because there are lots and lots of ways to travel and I’m going to explore them all with you through this website and together we can talk about the pros and the cons, the good and the bad, your concerns and your expectations.

That’s if – like me – you never ever did think that a two-week holiday/vacation was long enough!

Let me know if you have a bucket list and if your wanderlust has shifted up a gear into wandermust.

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And please leave a comment as I’d love to hear from you!


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Travel trends and midlife wanderlust wandermust

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Ryan K Biddulph -

Hi Janice,

Loving your blog.

Yep; I have Wandermust 🙂 My wife and I began traveling domestically in the US 5 months into the current global situation and we began traveling internationally 1 week ago today. We are in Panama now. We had to get out of the US not out of need or greed, but because our heart knew it was time to do what we most love doing, for us, and for folks who feel inspired through our travels.

Signing off from the beach in Panama.



Hi Ryan! Thanks for your comment – I’m really envious of you being on a beach in Panama right now. This is the first winter we’ve spent in our homeland of Scotland in 7 years and it feels not only cold and snowy but surreal and frustrating as we can’t see family and friends while we are here because of the lockdown. The wanderlust is hitting hard and I really hope we’ll be able to travel again safely soon. Take care and stay safe and I’ll look forward to reading your posts and tweets from afar! Janice


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