A 78 Year Old Nomad

Written by Ayngelina Brogan. Ayngelina has left a great boyfriend, job and friends to find inspiration in Latin America. She writes about the people, places and food she discovers as she changes her life. You can find her on Bacon is Magic.

Sometimes you meet people for a fleeting moment but they are imprinted in your mind forever. Ten years ago, on a stopover in Fiji, I arrived at a very large hostel dorm with 20 beds in a room. Almost all of them were occupied by male gap year students getting ready for a night out on the prowl.

The lone female was Barbara, a 77-year-old woman who had been traveling for six months. Barbara introduced herself. She said she has 19 grandchildren, a bunch of great-grandchildren and was turning 78 in September. She had left Scotland in November after selling one of her two farms. This is when she decided to visit a friend in New Zealand. After a few weeks, Barbara also wanted to visit Fiji and I met her on her last night before heading back to New Zealand.

Photo: Ayngelina Brogan

She had planned to go back to Scotland in April, but decided her kids can wait because now she wants to go to Australia and maybe back to Fiji again. Barbara explained that her husband had died a year ago and she didn’t want to be like her friends who are waiting death in fear. Her family thought she was crazy, she told them not to worry. Barbara just wanted to actually live the last few years of her life.

When I ran into her, she was on a tour with the Kiwi Experience, a tour group, mainly popular with gap year students from England partying their way through a country. One would think Barbara felt alone and isolated. No. Instead, she was welcomed into the group even though she wasn’t downing shots and chugging beer. But she had already gone skydiving and jet skiing. Barbara taught me a valuable lesson of how to embrace my surroundings. It is never too late to achieve my dreams.

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