Traveling as young VS Traveling as old

Ok, I’m not old but I’m older! 

There are thirteen years between my first real taste of the world and my latest one. My first big step into the world was made in 2001 when I was 20 and I was inter-railing alone for a month in Europe. And my latest adventure in the world was for fifteen month in 2013-2015 and I was then 33-35.

When I was 20 years old I thought I knew so much about life but now at 36 I’m just laughing thinking about myself as 20! And when I am 50 I probably will be laughing harder when thinking of me back as 36!

So traveling as 20 and traveling as 36 is totally different for me because I have mentally and physically changed during those sixteen years.

If I’m now going to redo the same trip as in 2001 the trip would totally be different! 

So at what stage in life is the best time to travel for me? Everyone is of course different so this post is based on me and how I was before VS how I am now.


Happy to have a nice room once awhile. Here in Jodhpur, India 2014

Money is important if you want to travel and when I was younger I didn’t have a lot. I had a job in a kindergarten but saving up money was harder at 20 because at that time it was hard saying no to my friends when they wanted to do something that included spending money. As older I am just saying firmly but kindly NO!

So I am having more money to travel as older and therefore I can do more cool stuff and permit myself to eat better than instant noodles in hostel kitchen. And sleep in a better room than in a dormitory.

Young: 0  VS Old: 1

Physically lazy

Hike Rinjani Indonesia Photo: Mount Rinjani, Indonesia 2014

Honestly, at 20 I was adventurous by heart but I was physically lazy! I was choosing to do activities that was not physically hard but often I was wishing to do them. Now when I am older I am in better shape and not afraid of physical challenges. For example I went trekking for ten days in Himalaya. At 20 years old I would never do that but instead rather lay down by the beach reading a book. That is fine to, but for three weeks? I missed a lot of great adventures traveling at 20!

So for me traveling as older I am having greater experiences than I had before!

Young: 0 VS Old: 2

 Mentally ready

Venice Italy Solo traveler at 20. Photo: Venize, Italy 2001

When you travel in the world for the first time it is important to be mentally ready because it can be lonely out there! Oh my! I was shy and insecure about myself and very socially awkward…but in spite of that I had the courage to take the huge step to traveling on my own! But I missed out a lot of fun as I was shy and rather spend the evening reading a book rather than to hang out with other backpackers from the same hostel. If I was as I am now I wouldn’t miss a single opportunity to hangout with people.

For me people are those who makes my day memorable and not only the place.

Athen GreeceVery shy but I made some friends! I remeber them more than I remember the site. Photo: Athen, Greece 2001

Young: 0 VS Old: 3

The cultural interest

Stupa Katmandu NepalVisiting a stupa. Photo: Buddhanath temple, Nepal 2013

As younger I didn’t go to Rome to see the Colosseum. I was traveling for the sake of traveling! I just went somewhere just to get away. I didn’t care if there was a Van Gogh museum just around the corner. I was just happy to be walking on the street of Amsterdam. Now at 36 I still love just to stroll around without any goal but as older I also need, not necessary always a museum but it could be for an example a garden or a building, to make my day complete.

But at the end as I was younger I was happy even though I didn’t go to Van Gogh museum or entered the Colosseum because I was happy just being there. So why not?

Young: 0 VS Old: 3


At 20 I was traveling without any guide books. Zero plans! I don’t remember how I managed to get around places to places. I often got surprised as I never knew what to expect of the place. I remember when I traveled for the first time with David. We went to Sardegna and he wanted to rent guide books and I told him “No, let’s rent a car and be spontaneous!”. We had a nice week but I agreed with David when we were in the middle of nowhere that if we had a guide-book we could have known if there is anything interesting nearby. Or a good recommended restaurant.

Venice Italy I used maps! Photo: Venize, Italy 2009

Now at 36 I just love to make research before traveling and decide my destination according to my research. Perhaps because it is easier now than before to find information thanks to IT and Iphones instead of always go to the library and rent guide books.

Young: 0 VS Old: 4

Taking a photo

Photography goes hand in hand with travel. I loved to take photos and I still love it! The difference is that I was taking the photo for me. One click and I was happy. Now I am clicking thousands and just to impress others. It is very sad and very time-consuming! So as young I enjoyed the moment more as I spend less time worrying about taking the perfect picture.

Angor wat traveling as young CambodiaPhoto: Angor Wat, Cambodia 2011


Young: 1 VS Old: 4


As you can see at the final score traveling as an older me is better than younger me. I have more money, more courage, I am fitter and I plan better my trips!

How about you guys? Did you had more fun traveling when you were younger?


Family Earth Trek


  1. I must say I never thought about comparing how I travelled before and how I travel now as getting older. It is so true that we are so differently traveling at 20 than later! Thanks for this great idea of blog post!

  2. Interesting comparison. You forgot to mention that taking pictures in the early 2000s probably involved film rolls, time to develop, etc. so OF COURSE you only took one picture!

    I tend to agree that “older is better”, especially with the financial possibilities that enable you to go to destinations and do stuff that you would not have been able to afford as a young traveler.

    Even so, traveling always broadens our horizon, at 20, mid-30 or 50 and beyond!

    • Haha you are right about those film rolls but perhaps thats why its good to take one click and just move on. Now as we can delete easily I just click and delete click and delete just to have the best picture. But at the end I dont want to go back to those rolls! I just need to focus on taking less picture and be more present!
      And I remember how exited I always was to see the pictures after been developping.

  3. Very interesting how we view travel as we get older! For me, my travel planning took a 180-degree turn after we had our son. Now, we have -traded in hotels for apartments with a kitchen, and more space than a hotel room. Camping and unplanned road trips made way for itineraries and reservations. But regardless of age, the urge to travel just keeps growing!

  4. Very interesting comparison! There is also a big difference if you travel alone or with kids! That changes lots of things too 🙂

  5. Fun post. I think I was more in the moment when I was younger, but I think I enjoy it more now. At least I remember more because there are more photos.

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