By Niamh Shackleton and Jack Mobley
A high flying 55-year-old has quit her job to enjoy a gap year by travelling across the world.
Tracey Mobley, from Lichfield, Staffs, left her job as a property support manager as soon as she was able to access funds from her pension, and decided to use the money to travel the world.
Since starting her trip August 2019, Tracey has visited Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa, including Kruger National Park where she has enjoyed a private safari and has volunteered at a an education community project teaching English.
Tracey also plans to visit Namibia, New Zealand and Borneo before Christmas.
Tracey said: “It was a bit daunting at first because it is largely young people doing these kind of trips – I’m definitely the eldest I’ve come across so far.
“Some of the places I’ve stayed have been shared accommodation and I was worried no one would want to be put up with the ‘old woman’ but luckily we’ve all got on really well as we were all there for the same purpose and I’ve come to realise age is just a attitude.
“I’m trying my hardest not to act as a surrogate mum to them because, if anything, they’ve come travelling to get away from their parents!”
Tracey began her trip on August 3 and will be returning home one week before Christmas to spend the festive season with her family.
As well as travelling around Africa, she will also be visiting New Zealand and Borneo.
Whilst travelling the world is most commonly done by students and younger people, Tracey hasn’t been put off by this.
She said: “It was a big decision to make, but I’m so glad I did – I’m honestly the happiest I have been in a long time as I feel at peace and content.
Tracey has not opted for 5 star luxury accommodation and has instead opted for more basic living in a bid to get as close to nature as possible.
She added: “I’ve always had a passion for Africa and I have visited a few times, but this time I didn’t just want it to be a short trip, I wanted it to be more meaningful so the nature enthusiast course was the perfect way to enhance the basic knowledge I already had. Although studying in 30 degree heat has been a challenge.
“It was hard leaving my two sons, Jack, 24, and Nick, 26, in the UK but fortunately they were really supportive of my decision; they kind of expected it if anything.”
In regards to getting a job again when she’s back in the UK, Tracey is focusing more on the present and says she will cross that bridge when she gets to it as for now she’s embracing every moment.
Whilst she’s not fully sure what will happen in the future, it’s an aspiration of hers to apply for a three year volunteering visa to continue her studies to hopefully become a qualified nature safari guide in Africa in the future.
Despite it being a hard decision to make to leave home and travel, Tracey says she would encourage others to give it a try it regardless of their age.
She said: “If I was to give advice to other people considering taking the risk and going travelling, I’d say to just be brave and do it!
“They need to plan, plan, plan and then be prepared for things to go wrong – for example flight times changing can really put a spanner in the works.
“Doing this has really helped me revaluate my life and helped me appreciate the simple things in life.
“When I was at home, I’d never leave the house without make up and my hair straightened but here I haven’t worn make up for weeks.
“I have let my crazy curly hair go wild and it’s very liberating to be accepted for who you are rather than how you look.
“No one is as bothered about how you look here – you’re too busy focusing on more important things to be bothered about things like that anyway!
“And when you’re up at 5am every day for a game walk or drive, there’s little time for pampering.”
– Stay at Tanzanian ‘Secret Garden’ in Tanzania
– Volunteer with an education and community project with the Maasai community with African Impact
– Three night private safari to Serengeti
– Go to stay at Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate
– Undertake Nature Enthusiast Course with Campfire Academy
– Volunteer with African Impact for the Namibian Desert Elephant Conservation Project
– Orangutan and Tribes tour with The Great Projects