Travel adventure inspires seniors

Bundamba resident Judy Driscoll (left) with author of a new book Backpacking to Freedom, Maggie Counihan, at the Ipswich Library.
Bundamba resident Judy Driscoll (left) with author of a new book Backpacking to Freedom, Maggie Counihan, at the Ipswich Library. Sarah Harvey

PACKING your bags on a whim to begin a worldwide adventure is a daunting prospect for anyone - let alone being 60 years old.

This is exactly what Maggie Counihan did, and after a decade of living on the road, she proved age is no restriction to the backpacker life.

The Sunshine Coast resident recalled some of her fondest and challenging memories from trips across India and south-east Asia in her book Backpacking to Freedom: Solo at Sixty.

She spoke to Ipswich senior citizens on Friday, giving them an insight on what to expect in their own travel adventures.

Ms Counihan learnt some tough lessons while travelling, including fending off an attacker during her time in Thailand.

"I had a man in my room and I woke up and I realised I hadn't shut the windows. Then I quickly felt something touch my arm," she said.

"I came to and screamed 'what are you doing!' and I ran and chased him out. If you ever get in any trouble use your voice."

Ms Counihan managed to avoid any serious illness while travelling, but understood getting sick is a major concern of most seniors who want to travel.

"I say keep it positive. I don't expect to get sick but I look after myself. I eat the right thing and do exercises. We have to be extra fit when you travel."

Her story has inspired many senior citizens to fulfil their own travel ambitions.

"They write to me and they have heard me talk and know they are going to do their own thing. It's changed their life in their own way," she said.

The book details how Ms Counihan survived a six-day train trip from Beijing to Moscow, worked as a masseuse in Cambodia, ran a summer school in China and was robbed in Mexico.

Along the way Ms Counihan discovers humour, self-reliance and courage are essential and the ability to sleep standing up goes a long way.

She describes travelling solo as one of the most liberating experiences a person can ever have.

Ms Counihan's book is available for purchase at



Seniors Week Variety Day, today from 10am to 1pm at Ipswich Showgrounds.

Seniors free cinema day this Friday at Event Cinemas, Ipswich Mall.

Cyber Surfing for Seniors, Humanities Building on August 30.

Topics:  seniors seniors week travel travelling

Bushfire out of control north of Grafton

No Caption

Rural Fire Service and National Parks firefighters in action

Council's strategy to reduce impact of Maclean's bat problem

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Clarence Valley Council Mayor Jim Simmons talk at the bottom of Hillcrest where the bats population has taken over the trees. Clarence Valley Council has received a grant from the state government to manage the bat population in the area.

New seats stop school kids from 'getting splattered by bat poo'

Do you feel safe in our streets at night?

Police were kept busy in Grafton, when fights broke out on Saturday night, at the end of the Jacaranda Queen Crowning. Photo: Lynne Mowbray/The Daily Examiner

Report shows only 48% of women feel safe walking at night

Local Partners

Hear Ken Done speak at Grafton gallery

Fresh from judging this year's Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award, legendary Australian artist Ken Done will give a talk at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

2016 a life changing year for Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers will perform at the Grafton District Services Club on November 5.

"I feel like I have a new voice in my life."

Huge lineup of live entertainment this Jacaranda weekend

The Rocky Horror Dinner and Show is set for the Grafton District Service Club on Saturday night.

Entertainment hots up as Jacaranda fever strikes

Sister's leukaemia fight inspires Courtney to get UGLY

Courtney and Siobhan Hoy.

Top prizes include two days labour from Grafton Ghosts captain-coach

Angus T. Jones got miserable on Two and a Half Men

Child star's misery while shooting 'Two and a Half Men'

Bachelorette shock: "This isn't how it's supposed to go!"

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

Radio presenter's shocking joke about Dreamworld victims

Images from the scene after four people died on a ride at Dreamworld at the Gold Coast

Radio host taken off air after tactless Dreamworld joke

The Bachelorette fans rally around devastated Matty J

The Bachelorette runner-up Matty Johnson.

CALLS for reality dating show's runner-up to be the next Bachelor.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

2016 a life changing year for Kasey Chambers

Kasey Chambers will perform at the Grafton District Services Club on November 5.

"I feel like I have a new voice in my life."

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Maclean's highest house sale this decade

SOLD: Ray White real estate agent Alan Bruchert has just put a new sticker on Maclean's most expensive house to sell in a decade.

Unique riverfront home sells for more than $920,000

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?