Become a World Traveler

Making Sense Of It All

A New Year of Travel

Location: Around the World

Why do we travel? I get many, many questions about our travel life, everything from how do I make coffee in my French Press to how do we afford a life of travel? Some people find it hard – making sense of it all – my travel life.

But the questions I like the best are when someone asks me to describe the way a place smells? Or what are the sounds I hear when alone sipping coffee in the morning? I love it when someone is astute enough or interested enough to ask a meaningful question like how does travel make me feel? What are the sensory elements of travel? How does a handshake feel from a Masai warrior, a Mayan weaver or a Chinese fisherman?

Door knocker in Oman

Because as we tumble into our seventh year of travel these are the moments that linger for me. I am long past being impressed by tourism kitsch, fancy restaurants or hotels and shopping deals. Travel is now about the senses and mine are more alive than at any time before in my life.

A Sense of Adventure

Adventure is a key part of our travel life. In fact we are much more adventurous in our sixties than we ever were in our twenties or thirties. Living a life with a sense of adventure creates remarkable moments – moments that are often difficult to describe – but are part of this person I have become through travel. This reality of being someone different than who I was before is part of our grand adventure, a part I never planned or expected and yet, here it is. And it makes sense.

Sailing in Seattle

A Sense of Space

No one is more surprised than myself about how I have become a minimalist. Learning that I can, easily, live with very little has created a sense in me of openness. A sense of space. And I like that space. It feels good. It feels healthy. I feel lighter and more free. I don’t want to fill that space with anything more than moments. For now that is what makes sense.

Balloons over Bagan Myanmar

A Sense of Time

As I age I am acutely aware of waning time. I am accepting of the fact that there is a lot more territory in my rearview mirror than in my windshield ahead. As I have mourned several dear friends these past years my sense of time has been sharpened. Each individual approaches this sense of time differently, but for me and my husband filling our lives with a travel life of memorable moments brings us joy and a sense of happiness. This makes sense to us.

Arabic clock Tunisia

Common Sense

You might think that travel and the frequent stress it can create would make me high-strung and irritable. But it’s actually the opposite. Travel has instilled in me more common sense than I have ever possessed before. Learning to navigate the world while loving the experience and just going with the flow is a learned skill – one you cannot do without common sense. Serving as a self-appointed ambassador for my home country – showing a big and beautiful world that Americans can be nice, thoughtful, tolerant and understanding has provided me a greater sense of being…and a well rounded repertoire of common sense. Nothing could make more sense.

Bridge in Hanoi Vietnam

A Sixth Sense

Maturity more than travel is what I credit for my own awareness. A sort of sixth sense has developed in me as I have aged. I’ve learned to read my own intuition and act on it, rather than regret it later. I’ve learned awareness of my surroundings, and my place in it, and my impact on it. I have tried to be a better steward for our planet, a better representative for my generation and a better American towards other cultures. In my own little way, I am here. This is how I make sense of it all.

Temple in Hua Hin Thailand


So here we go again. Our travels in 2023 will take from oceans to mountaintops. From jungles to cities. From beaches to glaciers. It’s all there. Waiting to fulfill us and our thirst for sensing how the world turns and what makes it’s people tick. A full and fabulous experience. A Fabulous Fifties Life.

Taj Mahal India

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This blog post was originally posted in December 2019 and was updated for this posting.

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  • Reply Ann Hedreen

    Laureen, I’m in Orizaba, Mexico (a charming mountain town Rustin and I had never heard of before we planned this trip!) as I read this, and so your reflections really resonate for me. You and Arne are an inspiration. Now, more than ever, America needs good ambassadors like you! Happy New Year,
    xox Ann

    December 28, 2019 at 5:00 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Your comment means a lot to me Ann. Thank you and Happy New Year!

      December 28, 2019 at 5:52 am
  • Reply Roxane Van Datta

    Enjoyed reading the heartfelt and deep thoughts you shared. The journey your lives have embarked upon together, with intention to experience our world in depth for yourselves as well as others by sharing the real culture, beauty, sadness and intriguing experiences via pictures, posts, articles and blogs is truly more than a gift to all! The opportunity of travel you two have been blessed to experience is incredible. As representatives from America you both are a shining stars. The talent you embrace in the methods you use to share your experiences with all of us provides opportunity to explore! Enjoy the Ride!

    December 28, 2019 at 7:52 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Love you dear friend and thank you for such kind comments.

      December 28, 2019 at 8:34 am
  • Reply Amy

    You put our thoughts about travel into words. Thanks. It’s so hard to explain what we get from travel and what our adventures add to those we meet along the way.

    December 29, 2019 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply Alma

    So beautifully put! This resonates with me especially at this stage of my life. We’ve made a life changing decision and whilst we might not travel quite as much, we certainly will be on an adventure. We too have made the decision that possessions are not as important as family and friendships, as our years on this earth are dwindling. Hopefully we still have a good few years of being mobile but life changes in a moment. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    December 3, 2022 at 12:04 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Thank you for reading it. I’m glad it spoke to you.

      December 6, 2022 at 3:44 pm
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    I have to agree that we are more adventurous now than in our early years. Some of that is having time. And maybe even having a better sense of having less time. It sounds like you have a great 2023 planned. We only have one trip booked. But we too are looking for many more adventures.

    December 3, 2022 at 6:23 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Yea I agree. Time in all aspects has a lot
      To do with our outlook.

      December 6, 2022 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Heather

    I love hearing how all this wisdom comes with age. I’ve learned some of the same things and look forward to the beautiful grounding in yourself you’ve cultivated. Just beautiful and a wonderful post!

    December 3, 2022 at 8:18 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Thank you so much.

      December 6, 2022 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Jan

    Enjoyed this blog post! Yes, we are more adventurous in our 50s and 60s than in the 20s definitely. I did my tandem sky-jump at 52. I would not have done it earlier. We also walk more and want to see more nature and waterfalls than cities. Yes, being comfortable and seeking minimalism is another thing that creeps in our 60s and 70s.Your 2023 plans sound great. Travel is the best thing to do now to keep us alive and kicking! 🙂

    December 3, 2022 at 10:47 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Yes. Keep moving!!!

      December 6, 2022 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply Sue

    What a beautiful post & something that definitely resonates with me. It’s sometimes hard to explain our choices to others but I think you sum it up perfectly. From the sights, sounds & smells to the sense of adventure & trusted intuition. I also agree that it is surprising how little we need to make us happy. As I’m packing again to head to Australia, I realise how I’m even taking less than in previous years. It’s liberating. Excited to read more about your adventures into 2023.

    December 4, 2022 at 11:26 pm
    • Reply Laureen

      Haha but you are taking a chair!!! Have a wonderful trip and 2023 is gonna be great.

      December 6, 2022 at 3:47 pm

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