Amelia Murray an inspiration for the older female traveller

The Honourable Amelia Murraythe subject of my talk  on Monday night at Paddington  library, reminded me of something important – when is it too late to go travelling?

Murray traveturner-fighting-temeraire-NG524-fmlled at age 59, as my research has shown travelling over 40 was unusual for women. Travelling alone, as she did, was even rarer. So I am reminded as someone who is not so far off from that grand age that it is never too late to go wandering. As Tolkien said ‘Not all those who wander are lost’. This conjures up images of us all wandering aimlessly but I don’t think this is what Tolkien meant or what I propose. Murray’s journey was certainly not aimless – it was a well thought out trip to Canada, the United States and Cuba by steam ship in 1854. But whilst reading her letters, I did question why she waited so late in life to take such a big trip was she searching for something more than her life at Queen Victoria’s court? When I travelled at 39 to Mexico, I thought I was having an early mid life crisis, but it was there I decided my interest in travel was more than just that..it was an unquenchable obsession! Perhaps in travelling, writing and publishing her letters, Murray realised the same thing.

For anyone interested see my slides from the talk here AmeliaMurray_v5.

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(Above left: The Fighting Temeraire by J.M.W Turner mentioned by Murray in her journal. She was reminded of the picture by a sunset on approaching Newfoundland).

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