It’s no good pretending we are as fit as we used to be, and frankly, if you’re going it alone you must get as fit as you can. You obviously should always follow a sensible health regime but hey, we’re not going to be goody gum drops at our age are we? So to rectify the gobbling of heavy meals and the slurping of too much booze and try to get as fit as possible before leaving. For me it’s swimming and the gym and a slightly more sensible diet and dwinky regime.


This can be tedious but with your reward in mind it’s easier to stick to than you think.

Climbing up to the mountain temple was no mean feat. Can you see how high up I am?!

For those going on a Baby Steps trip then you’ll need to concentrate on stamina (schlepping round those museums and sights is hard! ) and strangely balance. I’ve noticed I can sometimes be a little light headed and wobbly after flying and balance exercises can really help. This also applies for the Nippy Trips where there are slippery surfaces to negotiate. it’s more about your confidence really.

Still don’t understand why this amphitheatre was empty in Dalyan but phew, my poor legs clambering around

Below : Climbing down and back up to this rarely visited cave in Crete was challenging to say the least, torch in hand I went far in and, as you can see, both the cave AND the view of the massive entrance was fantastic.

These can easily be done at home. Ten steps toe to toe forward then backwards (wall to lean on if you lose balance at your side. Repeat three times. Then, as your confidence improves, with your eyes closed! Amazingly you can do it, with squinty eyes at the beginning no doubt but, you’ll get there trust me. They also have wobble balls at gyms which are good too but remember to have something to grab if you go too wobbly!!

Outside in ice cold water tub after sauna in Budapest’s very nippy winter

Alert: I will be posting a fitness regimen I am using for the next couple of weeks before heading off to Colombia, it will cover all the exercise and physical prep you might want to think about!

Applauding myself for climbing up to castle fortress with some random guy who’d be out all night!!

Top tip: At your local gym you can request to be shown around the equipment and how to use bits for your own programme. They are very helpful and can give you all the info you need to create a safe work out to suit your needs.

Don’t feel intimidated by all the pros, the ones that are muscle bound usually have very small brains. You’ll need to start small if you’re new to all this but it’s a vital part of the confidence and stamina building preparing you for your trip.

Diving down for a closer inspection of the whale sharks.

On Hot Trips where you’ll be swimming so obviously go to your local pool and swim! Ask if you can practise with a mask and snorkel if you want too. It’s so much more interesting if you can look underwater and maybe take photos there too, it’ll add immeasurably to your experience! Also hot yoga could be a good way to acclimatise and exercise your stamina for warmer environments .

Cheating with a ride home…..

Hitchhiking a lift from an empty tour bus when I had hiked too far in the middle of nowhere!

Quite often there are opportunities to see fabulous things ……but after a hike of some kind.

Rewards are important too!

Injuries and Consequences!

In Thailand on my last day I decided to squeeze in a jungle hike. It was extremely strenuous and involved a lot of climbing up over rocks and tree roots on a very thin mountain trail. It was also very fast. As I had wanted to be able to take photos along the way I stopped from time to time and got somewhat left behind. I ran to catch up and tripped on a concealed tree root, and as I fell, it broke my big toe. I was covered with grazes and bleeding too. Whilst shaking myself down, and the guide rubbing some old leaf on me saying it would stop the bleeding, I saw I had narrowly missed plummeting to my death as there was a sheer drop that was also concealed by dense jungle flora. The adrenaline hit lasted for about the half hour more it took to get to the icy waterfall pool where then the pain hit. swimming in the icy water helped but then I had to climb up and over a massive boulder to reach our lunch and mountain descent point. Needless to say I had to forego my jungle rafting and anything that involved more than a few steps walking.

Broken toe. Before it became hugely swollen and just before my flight home

I had to have a wheelchair at all airports and especially for the tight connection at Bangkok and had a very stressful flight back thinking it would explode with the swelling. The moral of this story is don’t get flash and over-reach. Check with the guide this is suitable for you.I am very used to going it alone and it’s foul when you get pushed to go more quickly rather than enjoying the moment. This is why I avoid any tours, but sadly for some expeditions you can’t get a private guide tour and have to go with a ghastly group.In Malaysia, the Bako National Park was great as it had the jungle trails marked on trees in different colours for the different routes so you could go at your own pace. Old birds are fit enough but hate being hurried!!!

Obviously check with your doc the suitability of the exercise and indeed trip right from the get go. I have a good old M.O.T. with mine and chat over with the clinics nurse about any shots I need, (no not tequila shots!) how the old blood pressure is going, and my cholesterol. I go back after a couple of weeks after having been on my fitness regime, and have a final check whilst picking up any meds I might need for this wonderful new adventure I’m going on. I’m always amazed at the improvement in just about everything and feel proud as a peacock!

Hauling in huge Nile carp…

And look how much energy I needed pulling this monster out of the Nile!

Alert: am preparing for my South America trip right now and have had my yellow fever jab done and am waiting on my Hep A booster. Buying DEET from the Boots where I had all my other jabs that you can’t get on the NHS. They will give you all your paperwork of this which is handy to give to your doc to update your medical record.

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  1. I loved this. As mature travellers, fitness is always a neglected area of our travels. This is a great reminder that fitness matters! Especially when travelling solo and you only have yourself to rely on. Happy and safe travels!


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