Today I address three readers’ questions: “How do I feel safe when traveling to remote places?” and “How do I get along with my daughter-in-law?” and “I love my daughter, but how can I accept the loss of my son now that she is transgender?”
You may also enjoy reading How to Live a Life of Contentment After 50.
This first question has actually been asked by multiple people both by email and also in the comments on my stories about traveling to East Africa. Please read on to see my tips on feeling safe and why I think travel is so important.
Ask Honey: How Do You Feel Safe Traveling to Remote Places After 50?
“I would like to hear your insights about your trip to East Africa. Were you ever fearful of being in such a remote area that there would be some medical emergency with any of your family members there with you that you would not be able to get adequate treatment? That is a big concern for me when traveling, especially as we age. I love your blog! So genuine and reassuring.”
My Ultimate Concierge and I just returned from a four-day trip. We traveled to New Orleans. The occasion was a celebration! My friends from my days living in Honolulu gifted the New Orleans Museum their photography collection and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and a special birthday. I would call this traveling adventure a love-in. It was a time to renew old friendships and meet new people, taste new delicacies, and explore new sights. Life begins after the age of 50. It does not stop.
During an evening of celebration, our host, Jim, made a toast. He ended it with a saying: “You meet new friends by chance; you keep them by choice.” I would add, at every age.
The saying is a truism; worth remembering, don’t you think? If we did not venture out and travel into unknown waters, think of all the mortals we would miss knowing.
This leads me to your question…
Yes, Africa is a remote area of the world. Traveling to Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania was long and grueling. Were there risks? Of course. Was it worth it? Every second.
In East Africa, I was enamored by the animals I met on the Serengeti Plain in Tanzania and in the mountains of Rwanda. No, they were not human, but nevertheless, they had an important impact on my life. They spoke to me with movements, without a sound. Their silence proved captivating. The animals taught me to appreciate the silence of the day. The animals taught me to be a good listener. They taught me that silence is truly golden. If I had been afraid to travel to these remote areas of the world, I would have missed this valuable opportunity.
I met my animal friends by chance; I will keep their lesson in my head by choice! I left East Africa refreshed, wise, and filled with wonder. If I had let fear stop me from traveling to a remote area, I would not have learned this lesson in such an unexpected manner.
I was so captivated by the silence on the Serengeti that I recall the fourth day, thanking God for packing Noah’s Ark with hundreds of pairs of animals!
Naturally, I concern myself with the unexpected. I avoid making this a top priority with wise decisions. I realize that travel after the age of 50 to remote areas is a risk. I do my due diligence. This relieves all fear.
Here are a few tips:
- Never leave home without antibiotics from your internist and over-the-counter medical products.
- Visit a travel doctor for proper meds and inoculations. Most hospitals have a department.
- Have a check-up with your internist.
- Buy the best travel insurance with medical evacuation.
- Choose a tour or a travel agent wisely.
- Erase the word fear in your itinerary!
If a problem does occur in a remote area, you did your homework, you are prepared. You took the right approach, covering your backside, so to speak.
Please do not let fear stop you from experiencing exciting new adventures. In today’s world, nothing is that remote. You are a woman over 50, probably free as the breeze to explore the wonderful world of travel.
Five of us traveled to East Africa. During our travels to the remote areas of Africa, I don’t recall hearing even one sneeze!
Our Next Trip
I knew my Ultimate Concierge was loving our trip because he asked me three times where I would like to travel after Africa.
I told him nothing could ever compete with this adventure to East Africa.
Three weeks later, I said, “ I decided!” He smiled, knowing I would come up with a whopper of a trip.
“I would love to take a trip down the Nile River in Egypt. And then travel to Mesopotamia, now Turkey, to Mt. Ararat and beyond since that was the cradle of civilization and the beginning of the Five Books of Moses. I want to take a religious pilgrimage with you and some of our grands.”
My Ultimate Concierge was not surprised and said, “ I know you want to go to the resting place of Noah’s Ark because you fell in love with the animals on the Serengeti and in Rwanda!” I laughed.
I am now reading, Walking the Bible by Bruce Feiler. It is the story of a journey by land through the five books of Moses.
Ask Honey: How Do I Get Along with My Daughter-In-Law?
“I and so many of my friends are mothers of grown and married sons. Do you have any info on why it is so often hard to mesh with daughters-in-law or is it biology?”
Mothers-in-laws and their daughters-in-law usually clash due to competition. I think the mother-in-law develops a feeling of insecurity because she feels her new daughter-in-law is replacing her. These feelings are the beginning of a sad saga of jealousy and even bitterness.
A wise mother-in-law knows better than to fall into her own trap. There are different types of love. A wise mother-in-law knows this. The ball is in your court to try and make the relationship work for the benefit of the family.
The relationship between these two women is complex. Navigating the relationship can be difficult. Please know your boundaries.
Here are a few tips:
- Find ways to complement her.
- Nurture your relationship with the realization that she is not your daughter.
- Be careful with giving advice.
- Accept that her habits and behavior are not like yours. She came from a different environment.
- If your son is happy, you should be happy!
- IF YOUR SON IS UNHAPPY, THEN HE SHOULD BE THE ONE TO WORK IT OUT WITH HER, NOT YOU!
- Respect her. She is your son’s choice and your grandchildren’s mom.
- And, lastly, get along with her mother!
Ask Honey: How Do I Move On From the Loss of My Son
Now That She Is Transgender?
Thank you for this space.
My oldest (I have three children) is transgender. Her happiness and feeling like herself in the world matters most to me—it’s what we’ve always wanted most for the humans we brought into the world.
My pain is this, I miss my boy, and then that boy who became a man. That person is gone. We are never to speak his old name—it is “dead.” We were asked to take all pictures down from when she was a male—we did. I parted with things she gave me from that part of their life—my husband cannot.
It is such a profound loss in my life—I don’t understand and I am grieving to which she has said “I’m right here.” I feel like I have tried to give her my heart and my love—I don’t think she is giving us enough of a chance.
In the last three years, my world has turned upside down. My oldest and I barely talk, and it is not at all like it used to be. She is not “right there.”
I don’t really want to see my friends, and I know this is on me, but I am not “me” anymore.
Thanks for listening,
You are mourning the death of your son because he changed his sexual assignment. To you, it is like a true death. It is a proven fact that a person must mourn any form of death in order to heal.
In my forties, I was widowed and went through the mourning process. I know how you are feeling, to a large degree, because any form of loss is a loss.
I think you should seek professional help or join a group of mothers who grieve or one for mothers of transgender children. You will learn there is a process to accepting death of any type. You will have tools to help.
I have a private Facebook group, Sisters in Widowhood. I think you should also consider joining this free group. These women understand the feeling of loss and help one another with coping skills. You may open the gates for other women struggling with your type of situation to join.
I can feel your pain. Truly.
Warmly and in friendship,