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Meet the 72-Year Old Woman Backpacking the World

Backpacking knows no limits.

Whether you’re a nomad or a working professional who finally took a month off, it’s truly a fulfilling experience unlike any other. For 72-year old Sherill, backpacking has become a way of life.

72 year old

For the last 10 years, she’s seen a lot of the world and has no signs of slowing down. Here’s an excerpt of her interview with Nomadic Matt.

Nomadic Matt: Tell everyone about yourself.

Sherill: Since my dad was military, I was traveling before I knew what traveling was. At age 5, I flew from Boston to Buffalo on a prop jet and decided that I wanted to be a stewardess, wear a nice suit and hat, and fly on a plane.

Years later, I married a military man and traveled in the United States, [and also spent] three years in France and in the Bavarian Alps. That really put the [travel] bug in my ear. But during the years of raising children and working, traveling was at the bottom of the priority list — until retirement age.

At 62, with the kids out of the house and the husband gone, I cleaned out my life and packed up what was left in a Plymouth Voyager van with my cats and two tents (I could not decide which one I wanted), and I headed south from Tacoma, WA, to Sayulita, Mexico. The plan was to camp on the beaches for the winter and figure out the rest on the way. Ten years, later I am still traveling.

Did people think you were crazy for going off to travel the world alone when you’re 72?

Yes and no. People who knew me well were not surprised. People who knew me casually were either horrified (“You’re doing what? Alone? At your age?”) or awed (“You’re doing what? Alone? At your age? Good for you!”). I was either a crazy lady or a beacon of hope. I like to think of myself as the beacon.

I have a travel blog for my friends and love to hear them say what an inspiration it is to them and how great [it is] to have an adventurous friend, or from my friends who physically cannot travel, how they enjoy seeing and learning about new places in the world. A couple of my friends even use my travels to awe their friends.

For the full, enlightening interview, head on over to Nomadic Matt’s website. This is definitely one major inspiration for us to set off again. Now where to next?

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