WHO AM I

Hello. My name is Geneva Broussard.
I describe my life like an oyster developing a pearl inside
—the pearl being the person I’m becoming.

In order for a pearl to emerge, life provides irritants, and dare I say, I provide irritants such as self-doubt, anxiety, arrogance, that list could go on. Sometimes, I actually face the music and man up as the saying goes. But interestingly ,over time all this activity shapes the person I’m becoming.

My defensive behaviors built protective layers against what I’ve considered life’s irritants. But after multiple failures and beating myself up over them, eventually I realized, maybe I should try going with the flow and stop fighting so hard. I should accept who I am and who I’m becoming. Accepting myself, life got a whole lot easier. Now, I do what feels good to me and causes no harm to others. And, the pearl started to emerge. I’m just me, an ordinary person with hopes, wishes, dreams and failures and that was plenty to deal with. Wow! Life really is easier and all of the proclaimed irritants in my life transformed and became opportunities for growth instead of forces to protect myself against.

Such an opportunity for growth presented itself in February 2014 after I retired from thirty-two years in public service. I wanted to travel. But finding friends to travel with became one of those life irritants. One friend couldn’t take time off to travel with me. Another didn’t think she had finances and yet another couldn’t decide if she wanted to go. Before, I would have been frustrated, angry and sulked. Then spent time trying to convince one of them to go with me.

I remembered another trip that almost was in 2006. I wanted to go to the World Cup in Germany. I canceled the trip because the friend I was going with backed out at the last minute. Again, in 2010 I wanted to go to the World Cup in South Africa and passed because a different friend couldn’t go. I sulked over not going on these trips for months and had falling outs with the friends who didn’t go with me.

This time, my disappointment over not traveling was an opportunity for growth instead of an irritant and I needed to make a decision. Either I needed to start traveling alone or not travel and be upset. It was frightening thinking of traveling alone and required some major soul-searching. It wasn’t an easy decision. Me, out there in the big, scary world all by myself; it sounded terrifying. But, I had to decide between which would make me feel worse—traveling alone or not traveling at all?

MY DECISION
I decided to try traveling alone. First on my agenda, was Manhattan. But, not quite trusting my decision, I asked my sister to join me. It was her first trip to New York and my fourth. She hated it. She hated its pace, noise, the hustle and the bustle of New York. Everything that makes Manhattan, Manhattan! I couldn’t believe she could hate New York. It was difficult getting her out of our hotel room. While the hotel room was fine, the city is where everything happens. I set out on my own exploring the nooks and crannies of a city so alive I don’t know how any one ever sleeps. I made dinner reservations for midnight—where else could I do that (excluding Las Vegas)?

Manhattan remains one of my favorite places in the world. I sleep very little when there. Usually, there’s so much to do I stumble back to my hotel room passing out from sheer exhaustion. For me, that’s the way to do New York. At sixty-four, with some ailments, I’ve had to slow down a bit, but I still push it to my limits.

My sister’s opinion of New York gave me more reason why I should travel alone. I’m the only person I have to confer or consult what to do, where to go and when. I can compromise, but it’s challenging traveling with someone else and still satisfying all involved. But alone I’m the only person I have to please. My mind was made up.

THE NAME—21STCENTURYNANA
My three twenty-something year-old grandchildren say I’m not like their friends’ grandmothers. I say to them, “that’s because I’m a 21stCentury Nana,” and a name was born. (I don’t like the “G” word) but, I’m a single nana, uh hmm, grandmother, traveling the world, solo.

I’ve developed this website to share travels, adventures, tips and journeys of a single woman baby-boomer. I’m discovering the world and its wonders. Traveling alone isn’t frightening as I thought it would be because people everywhere are quite happy to talk about their lives or yours and particularly their town, city or country. I’ve delightfully discovered another side of me exists. A side not afraid to get lost or to discover parts of a city or town either on the back pages of the travel guides or not listed at all.

Geneva Broussard
Geneva BroussardTraveler Extrordinaire
Geneva currently lives fifteen miles east of Los Angeles in Arcadia, California. She’s transformed her one-bedroom apartment into an art studio for oil and acrylic paints, canvases, inks and pens, camera equipment, a guitar, keyboard and snippets of the novel she’s working on.

Her life, she says, is not and never has been a normal one, however that word is defined. But she’s always on the look out for any opportunity to learn and live more.

Before retiring she worked as a paralegal for the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Office. She obtained a law degree in her forties and took the California Bar Exam eight times. But, ultimately decided against practicing law (or she might still be taking the bar exam, she says). Instead she worked as a paralegal. Currently, she’s progressing steadily in efforts towards becoming a travel writer. Her hopes are that travel writing will provide more opportunities for traveling.

Please follow her on 21stCenturyNana to see where and what adventures she encounters next.

Traveling and meeting people in the process got me out of my routine and trying things outside my comfort zone. It has enlightened me to the person I can become, expanded my point of view and breathed new energy into me—continuously shaping and sculpting who I am. Retirement has been an adventure and I’d like to share the discoveries.

Some friends labeled me a female Benjamin Buttons because I gather energy and have more fun the older I get. I admit I have Peter Pan syndrome. Even though I’m getting older, I refuse to grow up and that allows me to see the world with eyes like a child. It’s like looking at the world the way I look at a painting—squinting in order to see only the painting’s highlights. That’s how I see life. And I’m finding it’s chock full of wonderment in its simplicities, dynamics and intricacies seeing it as a 21stCenturyNana.

MY CONNECTION WITH PEOPLE
Being a Nana with Peter Pan Syndrome I’m learning my internal struggles are my most valuable teachers or they can be my biggest enemies. My choice how I view them. My struggles have stripped me of any pretense of who I am and I can speak with people the world over. I see how much alike all of us are not our differences.

Many of the personality characteristics in myself I detested when I was twenty or thirty, now, at sixty-four I consider my greatest assets.

My stubbornness and tenacity helped me complete a Masters Degree in English this year. In my forties, I hated being stubborn and tenacious because it drove me to continue taking the California Bar Exam eight, yes eight times—I never passed. My dreaminess and romanticism motivated me this year to take guitar lessons and oil painting classes. But in my thirties, those same traits pushed me to get a law degree and accrue debt to the tune of over $100,000.

My personality traits now involve me in activities that amuse me, and sometimes others. My guitar instructor, Mike, tells me, despite my enthusiastic approach, it still may take longer than a few weeks for me to become the next Eric Clapton. But oh well, time, I’ve got. With some of that time I’ve started work on the novel I’ve always wanted to write.

Understanding myself helps me to understand and connect with others and I love meeting and interacting with people in my travels. I’ve learned in interacting with them that we’re all the same on any level that’s important. We’re closer to each other than we know.

MY SOLO TRAVELS
I’ve taken several solo trips so far. My first trip was fall 2014. I traveled to Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Capri, Pompeii and Rome, Italy. From there, I traveled to Nauplia and Athens, Greece. I enjoyed traveling alone and three months later returned to Italy for a week in Venice.

In Spring 2015, I flew to Miami and explored the city for several days. Then set sail for a nine-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. This coming Fall I’m traveling to Lake Como, the Italian Riviera, and Venice, Italy. In 2017, I’m going to Ireland.

It is my hope 21stCenturyNana offers insight and courage to other baby boomers like me who face new lifestyle choices and opportunities to re-focus their lives. Or, for anyone finding he or she wants to travel, but has no one in particular to travel with. I’ve met the most incredible people from all over the world, including and maybe even mostly, the United States. Many of them I remain in touch with and who’ve suggested I blog about my travels, experiences and antics. I thought, why not indeed?

I want to post material that interests, informs or just plain entertains because my life has provided plenty of that for me. I look forward to hearing from you and welcome your thoughts, suggestions and comments.

Follow me, 21stCenturyNana, and let’s discover what else is in the world, but mostly, what’s inside ourselves!!