If you do not believe in the power of a conversation, this story might change your mind. All it took was a short, ten minute conversation and 68 year old Victoria Rose packed her bags and began her journey around the world.
For 23 years, Victoria had been a soldier in the Australian Army Reserve who trained other servicemen with drills, weapon handling and theory. As a a leadership trainer in mastering communications, time management and emotional intelligence, Victoria trained numerous men and women in the business and corporate sector. Out of the 12,500 attendees over the years however, the demographic that stood out the most to Victoria were the older women. “Many shared their stories of bitterness and resignation of how their life had turned out,” she said. “They were really asking that questions, ‘Is that all there is?”
Victoria had found herself stuck in a similar situation, that required her to make drastic life changes. Faced with financial difficulties and near homelessness, she was forced to move out of her rented St Kilda flat to the more affordable Bellarine Peninsula where the nearest coffee shop was a 45 minute walk away. It was the best she could make out of her predicament at the time and Victoria found herself isolated and unhappy. “I made the best of it, but was not thriving. And I felt ashamed,” she said. “One day, a casual conversation opened my eyes to another way to live: house-sitting. In just 10 short minutes, a whole new world was revealed.”
Fitting her life into nine boxes, the sexagenarian packed up and left on a journey of self-discovery and personal fulfilment. Travelling solo was not new to Victoria. At 18, she sailed from Australia to the United Kingdom alone. Now, half a century later at a ripe age of 68, she is exploring Italy, Croatia, soon Turkey and hopes to travel to more countries. Since travelling, she has found herself on working holidays living in the quaint mountain villages of Tramutola, Italy, by the sparkling Adriatic Sea in Croatia and even in a small, organic farm. Soon comes November, where she will house-sit for three months in Turkey.
Victoria shares her journeys by going live on facebook in every country she visits, to share the realities, the quirkiness and shows how easy it is to “step up and out of the small, physical world we live in”. Of all her travels, Santorini is one of her favourite destinations, along with Crete for it’s rich culture, ancient history and mesmerising beaches. “Many women are afraid to travel solo. I’ve felt safer in countries like Italy and Greece than I have in my own country.”
Victoria continues to encourage anyone to take that first step through her live videos and blogs, and her hashtag #TravelWithVictoriaRose even if they have to do it alone. “Humour, resilience, flexibility and awe are good travel companions. And now I can truly put my hand on my heart and say ‘Yes! I am making the rest of my life the best of my life.’
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