It’s time for another interview with one of the world’s most interesting travelers! Today we interview Claire Davies. Claire began traveling the world at age 63 and visited 25 countries by the time she was 80. She has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. She was born on the Lower East Side and raised her children on Long Island. She current resides in White Plains, NY. Claire just turned 89 and still has the travel bug. She wants to encourage everyone to see the world.
Claire also occasionally writes guest posts for her daughter Sue’s blog, Travel For Life Now.
What inspired your love of travel – how did you get started?
I grew up in the 1930s on the Lower Eastside of New York City. I was fascinated when I was very young with the thoughts of faraway places. I wanted to see how other people lived, to see the wonders of the world. I wasn’t able to do that until I was much older. I started traveling when I was in my 60s. My first trip was 4 weeks in Asia—China, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nepal and Indonesia. It was amazing, and it made me want to do more. I visited 25 countries between 1993 and 2009 and had the most amazing adventures.
Tell us about your favorite style of traveling…luxury or budget? Packing heavy or light? On the go or laid back?
Unfortunately for me, I pack very heavy. It’s hard for me to decide in advance exactly what I want to wear so I bring a lot. When I took my first trip to China, I got stopped in the airport on my way back. I was scared and crying. It was my first trip out of the country. They wanted to know why I had so many bags. I think they thought I was a smuggler. I would suggest that others plan their packing using colors, similar colors so they can pack less.
I liked to be on the go every minute of the day. When I traveled with a tour and they went back in the afternoon to rest before dinner, I always went somewhere on my own to see more, to do more. Since I started traveling when I was 63, I wanted to see as much as possible in the time that I had. I’m 89 now and I still have a long list of the places that I would have liked to have seen.
What’s your favorite travel story: the weirdest, or funniest, or most exciting, or most beautiful trip you’ve ever been on?
The most exciting trips for me were always when I was able to see animals in their own territory whether it was the monkeys in Borobudur, or lions in Africa or tigers in India or seals and birds in the Galapagos Islands, seeing animals in the wild always made me happy. It was like they were free, and we were in cages. My daughter recently did a post on my travel adventures: 20 Years of Amazing and True Short Travel Stories by Mom.
What advice do you have specifically for female travelers?
I don’t think there are specifics for males or females. Visit places carefully without the thought that people others might want to harm you. I think that is the best suggestion. Take time to explore on your own if you are with a group. Be open to talking to people and finding out about their lives. And, you’re never too old to start traveling.
What would you say to encourage someone who wants to travel but is afraid to because of cost, time, etc.?
Just do it. Travel. There’s a whole world out there. I didn’t have money or time to travel when I was young and I had to wait until I was older. Figure out how you feel comfortable doing it. As a woman in my 60s and 70s, I went with groups, but I still found ways to be on my own and explore. Some people like to be on their own. Some people like groups. Some people like animals. Some people like cities and museums. Find what excites you and do it.
What are your top 3 tips for newbie or wanna-be travelers?
First, just do it. Go see the world. There is nothing more exciting or interesting than the big, wide, world.
Second, think of small things to bring back for family and friends to share with them what you have experienced. It will help you re-live the experiences and remember where you’ve been.
Third, don’t be afraid to explore. I’m 89 years old, and I still want to travel.
It’s very clear that Sue inherited her mom’s desire to travel. Sue writes her own stories on our fantastic blog at https://travelforlifenow.com
You can also follow Sue on social media at: