The year Lisa Crawford turned 50, she quit her job to travel the USA. A couple of years later, she moved to Malta and then Italy, from which she explored Europe. Four years later she embarked on a 3-month tour of SE Asia before becoming a full-time, “happily homeless nomad.”
Lisa, tell us what prompted life changes for you after 50 and how.
In late 2011, I lost everything in a flood. I bought an RV, and as work got more stressful, the idea of traveling became more appealing. About a week before my 50th birthday, everything came to a head [at work]. I realized there was nothing I could do to change my situation, so I pulled the plug, and I have to say the relief was overwhelming! A week later, I hit the road and never looked back.
Wow. So you were working as a civilian defense contractor after retiring from the military, and, suddenly, you’re free as a bird. What was the most difficult aspect of your life change? And what did you do about it?
At first, it was what to do with myself. I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, traveling the country re-building houses in disaster areas. I now had a purpose, and as an added benefit, I have made lifelong friends who were living the exact same life I was.
That’s beautiful! I’m so glad you found a new passion and direction. For you, what has been the best part of these big changes in your life?
That it’s still changing and nothing is final! After traveling around the US for 3 years, I sold everything, packed a suitcase, and moved to Malta. 3 years later, I again sold everything and now I travel the world, with no fixed address and just a suitcase. [Note: during the pandemic, Lisa is cooling her heels at her family home in the USA]
What makes you feel empowered now?
The fact that I have handled any situation that comes up. I can navigate in countries where I can’t read signs; I can figure out any public transport system; I can advise new travelers on everything from flights to lodging to what to do in a new city. I’m free to do what I want, when I want; to go where I want and stay as long as I want. I am the master of my own destiny.
You mentioned in your very interesting guest post earlier this year that you’ve had some bumps along the way, with more than a few humorous experiences. In the end, what’s gotten you through this huge shift in your life?
Without a doubt, belief in myself; that I can handle anything that comes my way. Being a hospice volunteer taught me that life is short. At the end of the day, what my patients regretted the most were things they didn’t do.
I can relate to that! But the life you describe can be exhausting in its own way. What inspires you to keep going?
What keeps me going is when I meet people who tell me I inspire them, that they live vicariously through my blog. That actually motivates me to keep traveling, trying new things, and to keep blogging even when I think no one is reading it. I feel like I can’t let people down. And of course, I meet other travelers, and I want to go where they went and see what they saw.
What’s next for you, my wanderlusting friend?
[To] just keep traveling until I’m tired of it. Ideally I would love to meet a man with the same wanderlust as myself, to have someone to share my adventure with. But there are certainly advantages to traveling solo. I get to make all the decisions, I don’t have to compromise, I can do anything I want.
A last word of encouragement for our Off & Running sisters?
Life is short, don’t be afraid! In the case of traveling, book that trip you’ve always wanted to go on. If you don’t like it, you can always go home, but at least you will have given it a try. Don’t have regrets for something you really wanted to do but were too afraid to try.
Connect with Lisa
Instagram – lisasphotographyandblog
Facebook – lisasphotographyandblog