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Solo travel for the over sixties: a story for Mothering Sunday, this 26 March 2017 - UK

Sarah Giblin, UK designer of the RiutBag. Read her story by clicking on this image Sarah Giblin, UK designer of the RiutBag. Read her story by clicking on this image


This story made me think of retired mothers and fathers out there with families all over the world. If you're part of the EasyJet generation, travel can be so easy; you travel regularly and sometimes you end up just staying - far away from home. But is travel as easy for your parents, especially if they are alone? In the UK it's Mothering Sunday day at the end of this month. If you have a mum and she hasn't quite made the trip to visit, you could help to make her feel safe and confident on the journey to see you. Read on to see how.

This moving story came from a RiutBag user. It always comes to mind when people ask me: what kind of people do you design safe backpacks for? Mostly, it's commuters and digital nomads, that's true. But really, I design RiutBags for all sorts of people. 

In her sixties, this RiutBag user lives in the UK and her children are gown up, living in Australia. Sadly, a year ago her husband passed away. This left her alone for the first time in many decades, without her usual travelling companion and, yet wanting to visit her children. As another year went by, the trip became more important and yet more daunting. 

When she heard about my backpack, RiutBag - designed for feeling secure on your journey - she ordered it, it arrived and she tried it on to see if it really works in practice - it did. But how could trying a backpack on possibly be relevant to this important journey?

The RiutBag is backwards. All its zips - the only openings - are against your back. That means when you're wearing it, you know all the entry points are protected. The worry of losing your wallet, cash and important belongings when you travel is no longer a problem. You can forget about those things and travel confidently, even if you're alone. 

It's incredible how something as simple as a backpack was an important step in allowing this RiutBag user to book the tickets and plan the journey as a solo traveller, for the first time in a long time.

Of course, it could be anyone of any age feeling trepidation about the first big trip, whether you're 18 or 80. In this, case, it made a real difference. And that was before she'd even left the house.

She did make the journey to Australia and saw the family for the first time on her own. I was so moved and grateful when I read her message - it let me see what kind of impact a simple design like this can have. Thanks to her for allowing me to share it with you.  

If you know someone who doesn't feel confident travelling alone, please share the RiutBag idea with them in case they can benefit. If it's your mum, then remember in the UK it's Mothering Sunday on 26 March 2017. A RiutBag lasts longer than a bunch of flowers and could make a real difference.