On the morning of her 50th birthday, Donna Lynch’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. First, came the tears, and then came the realization that life needed to be lived to the fullest each day.
“I have always been a traveller, having been through 43 countries since I was 21,” says Donna. “I don’t know who sent me the Facebook map that led to the dream, but I am thankful to them. That night, the idea for a book came to me. ‘I’m 50, and I want to speak to 50 women in 50 countries over the next year.’”
So began a year that was a dream come true and consequently a book. Donna, author of 50 ish, began to plan where and how to complete her travels.
“I met women who had never left their village, still cooked on open fires and had to get water from a stream,” she says. “I also met a doctor and a lawyer. The women were all ambitious, multi-tasking, determined. No one had slowed down, and most seemed to have found inner wisdom to enjoy and appreciate life as it is. They realized at 50 they are who they are, they don't have to prove themselves or worry what others may think. The women helped me understand that turning 50 was a new freedom that was to be embraced with joy and excitement.”
Donna planned to visit 25 first-world countries and 25 developing countries. But, like all great plans, it didn’t work out quite the way she thought it would. She gave six months’ notice at work, set her plans in motion and decided to follow the sun.
She seldom travelled alone, and sometimes she joined a small tour. Over the period, seven friends joined her for several weeks. She came home twice during the trek.
The book is beautifully laid out, easy to read, begins in Mexico, goes around the world and ends in Costa Rica; there is an interview with a 50ish woman from each country.
Donna finishes her book with this statement. “I will never stop exploring the world, but even after 50 countries, I still believe that we in Canada and especially in Victoria are the luckiest people in the world. Our quality of life and our environment is absolutely the best.”
The experience has Donna planning her next book: how Victoria compares with the world.
For more information, visit 50ishthebook.com
NOVEMBER 2011 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER ISLAND