Empty nester Patsy Dimm, 57, took off to explore India with her husband when her youngest child left home last year. She tells High50 how travelling has reawakened her adventurous side
I used to be television news producer for a programme on the Discovery Channel called World Monitor. I specialised in international news and travel – so I’d go to South Africa or Nicaragua and spend a month in each of those places compiling lengthy news stories.
I became pregnant just as my programme was cancelled. I moved to Chicago to join my husband and we had two sons.
My husband is a preservation architect and he’s often asked to attend conferences around the world. I was never able to travel with him before because someone had to be here for the kids.
I can remember times when he said, “Come join me,” and I’d say, “But that’s when the kids start school again and someone has to be here.”
But now, my oldest son Graham is at Yale University and last year my youngest son, Brory, left for college and that’s when I became an empty nester.
Shortly after Brory left, India was one of the very first travel opportunities that cropped up.
My husband was invited to attend an international meeting of preservation architects and we travelled around India for three weeks.
We started out in Delhi where we stayed at the Imperial Hotel, which I loved as it’s so elegant and has a real colonial feel.
One of my highlights of the trip was meeting up with an Indian journalist friend. We took a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi together. Amid the teeming masses, spices, marigolds, cows, and twisted electrical wires, we talked non-stop and couldn’t believe that here we were in Delhi together after meeting on the assignment desk at CBS News some 30 years ago.
While my husband was still in Chandigarh, I was able to hook up with friends who were travelling there. We took a boat on the Ganges and at dusk we watched from afar as bodies burned on sandalwood biers in front of centuries old Hindu temples.
The next morning, again on the water, I watched the place come alive as many entered the waters to wash. The sights, sounds and smells are overwhelming. The images stay with you.
A crowded overnight train ride landed us all in Agra. We were intending to see the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, but our train was five hours late. We splurged and stayed that night at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur.
The hotel was something out of the days when this part of India was ruled by a Raj. The staff welcomed us with rose petals, they drew the bath with floating marigolds and served us dinner on the terrace. With the palace in the background, I felt like a maharani myself!
Our final stop was Goa, where I swam in the Indian ccean, ate lots of seafood and drank Sula, the Indian white wine – a relaxing end to an intense trip.
Since then, I’ve been to Bucharest in Romania, enjoyed several trips to Denmark, spent Thanksgiving in London and Berlin and visited Paris. I’m always getting on a plane now.
Even one of my sons asked, “What’s the deal now? Are you never home anymore? Is this your new life?”
Maybe it is my new life. I do see it that way. Last year I thought all this travel was a novelty and now I’ve realised this is the new reality.
My trip to India and the many that have followed have reconnected me to that journalist part of myself that is so curious about meeting interesting people who lead very different lives.
It’s reawakened my love of travel.