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Thursday, September 29, 2016


A longtime journalist, Kay Harwell Fernandez is a freelance travel writer who has visited 56 countries--and counting. She has been published in international, national and regional magazines, newspapers and webzines. She has written two travel-related e-books and contributed to five National Geographic books. She's also working on a cozy mystery and historical suspense. Learn more about Kay here.

Saint Augustine says it all, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." I'm a firm believer that travel broadens your horizons.

I realize how fortunate I am to have been traveling overseas for three decades--both as a consumer and as a travel writer. When I turned 50, I backpacked alone in seven countries. Did that experience broaden my horizons? Absolutely. 

Although my backpacking days are long gone, I still yearn to travel, especially to Europe. As I have gotten older, I have had to adjust to traveling differently. Alas, the physical limitations can't be ignored. I prefer to call it my "new normal."

I wanted to share some of my travel tips and suggestions, while encouraging women of a certain age to travel abroad. That's why my e-book came about.

Sometimes travel books tend to be dry--informative, but dry. My aim was to add a bit of lightheartedness and humor, starting with the title It Ain't Heavy, It's My Luggage: Tips for Older Women Traveling Abroad.

Using a conversational style, the book is geared toward, but not limited to, women in their 60s, 70s and beyond, traveling overseas either solo or with female friends or relatives. I have traveled with my older sisters, friends and by myself. Each trip was distinctive and special. No, this isn't meant to discount our spouses or significant others. In this particular case, however, the focus is on women and cheering them on.

Chapters include Heartbreak Hotel--Glitches and quirks with your accommodations; Big Girls Don't Cry--Expect the unexpected; The Cane Mutiny--Adjusting to your limitations; Over the Lips and Under the Gums, Look Out Stomach Here It Comes--How to keep potential tummy problems at bay; and Dancing in the Street--Finding your inner child.

Inching toward her mid-70s, a colleague recently went scuba diving on a solo trek to Indonesia. A 63-year-old friend is about to go on an African safari. My sister's close friend in her mid-60s has post-polio syndrome and must use a mobility scooter. Earlier this year, she took her granddaughter to Italy. Admiration runs deep for these three women and the hundreds of others who jump out of their armchair traveler status. To borrow from Dr. Seuss, oh, the places you'll go!

Invariably, folks ask me what my "favorite" destination is. Paris. Always Paris. And now a work-in-progress is a historical suspense set in Paris.

It Ain't Heavy, It's My Luggage: Tips for Older Women Traveling Abroad
In a conversational style with tinges of humor, It Ain't Heavy, It's My Luggage: Tips for Older Women Traveling Abroad, delivers practical pointers and encouragement on how women in their 60s, 70s and beyond--whether going solo or with female friends or relatives--can travel overseas smoothly and safely while broadening their horizons. Nix the "I can't," because regret comes from not going at all.

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