TravelAwaits’ editors are proud to curate the stories and insights of inspirational women who live, work, and travel all over the world. From RVing Alaska to living on a cattle ranch in the Zambian bush, our women writers represent beautiful and thrilling diversity. And they have something in common: They’re over 50.

In 2004, the blockbuster 13 Going on 30 gave us “Thirty and flirty and thriving” (thank you, young Jenna Rink/Jennifer Garner), and one of my favorite fashion influencers, Aeberhard Stutz (a New Zealander based in Zurich) of FunkyForty has built an entire brand — and magazine — around the conviction that, “After all, 40 something is still young!”

But thinking about our 50s? For many of us, that invites the M word — menopause — out of the shadows and into our conscious minds. And it can come with a slew of misconceptions and fears. Lucky for us, and our readers, in addition to being inspired by our adventurous women writers on the daily, we’ve also partnered with women-led intimacy product company Kindra to spark real, unabridged conversations around menopause.

Last month, we explored the surprising mental signs of menopause from trouble sleeping to forgetfulness. This month, some of our 50+ contributors are sharing the things they wish they’d known about menopause before turning 50. Prepare to be surprised, delighted, and educated by their insights.

Image: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

1. Let Go Of What Other People Think

Cindy Ladage of Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl is a regular TravelAwaits contributor who’s shared advice on topics from her all-time favorite bakeries in Illinois to tips for visiting a flea market for the first time.

What she wishes she’d known before turning 50: to let go of what other people think. “There are so many decisions that women make based on what they think they should do rather than what they want to do. While of course duty demands we make some decisions based on love or just plain necessity, if we throw out the worry of public opinion, I think of how much happier we would be at a younger age. Growing older is a freeing thing because many of us allow ourselves to be who we want to be.”

Want to experience that 50+ freedom Cindy’s referring to? Check out Kindra’s Navigating Stress and Managing Moods in Menopause blog post and shop The Core Dietary Supplement, which contains Pycnogenol® and ashwagandha to support mental clarity, skin suppleness, healthy circulation, stress reduction, and your libido!

2. Don’t Count Yourself Out

Ann Marie McQueen, a Canadian journalist, moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2008 to help launch The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi. She never thought she’d stay this long, but she loves “living in the middle of the world in a country that is host to more than 200 nationalities.”

She’s traveled to over 40 countries since relocating, and in addition to freelancing, she’s launched hotflash inc, a platform about getting older and going through menopause.

Ann Marie’s birthday is just a few days away. “I turn 51 on May 28,” she told us, “and could not be more excited about my life. It’s not perfect of course. But I have a real purpose with hotflash inc, which I am building into my own business, and I have dealt with a lot of the trauma and poor coping mechanisms that held me back when I was young. I’m not through menopause yet, but I already feel a real freedom and it’s amazing. All the older women I meet tell me it only gets better, which is why my tagline is ‘This is going somewhere good.’”

She also shared, “What I wish I’d known before I was 50 (and much much earlier) is not to count myself out: from the guy, from the job, from the thing that’s in your heart that you want to do.”

“One more thing I’d like my younger self to know: Don’t stuff down your feelings. It won’t kill you to sit through some tough emotions; it will make you more honest, stronger, and, when you learn how, dramatically reduce the anxiety you are feeling.”

Not sure where you are in your journey toward, through, or beyond menopause? Take Kindra’s Hormone Assessment Quiz.

Want to be ready for anything — from the guy to the job to that thing on your heart that you really want to do, as Ann Marie puts it? Consider Kindra’s Ready for Anything Bundle, which includes Pycnogenol®, vitamin E, coconut oil, and green tea leaf extract in The Daily Vaginal Lotion, plus medical grade silicone, easy grip The Aurora Applicator, and their Energy Boosting Dietary Supplement.

Best friends in summer on the beach girls
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

3. “Your Mom Wasn’t Crazy”

“And you’re not, either,” author Kimberly King told us. She was talking about hot flashes.

“Don’t laugh at people with hot flashes! They are real! And they are impossible to control. So don’t stare or joke if you see one happening! And if you get one yourself, breathe and remember it is just part of this uncomfortable process. You are not alone and it will pass! They always do!”

Elizabeth Green, a 72-year-old, British-born author and entrepreneur who now calls New York City home (and is headed for a Juicy Mountain Rustic Health Retreat in Turkey this summer), seconded that. “I’ve lived on three continents, but thank God during menopause I was at home in my own bed. Now you’ve got me wondering how do women in such a hot place as India, where I lived for two years, deal with the sweats and hot flushes!”

Senior woman doing yoga exercises with beautiful mountain view on the background
Image: kudla, Shutterstock

4. Cool Down And Warm Up With These Tips

Beyond espousing hot flash empathy, Kimberly told us she’s 51 and “right in the menopause thick of it!”

She still loves to travel, and as a retired navy wife, she’s traveled all over the world. Before the pandemic, she enjoyed a wonderful trip to Rome with her daughter, and her “absolute favorite destination” is Nicaragua, where she participated in a yoga retreat and stayed at luxurious TreeCasa resort.

At home and during her travels, she recommends breathing techniques — “Taking a few simple ocean breaths can really calm you down” — and hot yoga.

This might sound counterintuitive (considering the hot flashes!), but Kimberly told us in her experience, it “helps stimulate endorphins and helps you maintain a general well-balanced feeling. And it is global! You can take a class anywhere if you need your chill back.”

Not interested in hot yoga? That’s okay. Michelle Davies, professional life coach and co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Best Ever Guide To Life, says regular physical activity is key and advises choosing activities that best suit your lifestyle and fitness level. “Due to change in hormone levels, menopausal women tend to lose muscle mass and gain fat in the midsection. That’s why it’s important to keep the physical activity going, especially when approaching 50. Not only will it help keep off extra weight, it’ll do a lot in regulating overall mood thanks to a boost in feel-good hormones.”

Sleep better and wake up ready for the day’s activities (hot yoga or otherwise!) with Kindra’s Day-to-Night Booster Bundle.

older woman relaxing on a hammock in a tropical destination
Image: Quinn Martin, Shutterstock

5. Nurture Yourself At Every Opportunity

Michelle also said women need to embrace self-care during and after menopause. “At this point, the kids have probably grown up or you may have already gone past the hectic years of building your career. So now’s the time to be a little more selfish. You now have the luxury of being more laid-back and spending more time exploring things you love and enjoy. Take time to travel to new places or pick up a new hobby.”

For Cindy Maricle, essential oil enthusiast and women’s health advocate, that’s meant saying yes to spontaneous travel invitations, including a recent impromptu week in Maui, and Michelle said she’s incorporated more self-care practices since she has more time to herself. “I took to journaling and meditation. I also spend a lot of time hiking and exploring the great outdoors.”

Cindy told us she wished she would’ve known to listen to her body and pivot faster before going through menopause.

Now she nurtures herself at every opportunity — “soaking in an aromatherapy bath or sipping a refreshing cold sparkling drink.”

“If I’m going to be pampered, it’s up to me,” she said, “and, I deserve it!”

6. Expect Itchy Skin

For Cindy, pampering means simple, inexpensive-yet-luxurious ways of treating herself and her girlfriends, including home spa experiences like lavender steam facials, foot soaks, and deep cleansing masks. Obviously, a lot of these menopause self-care regimens are skin-focused, which makes sense considering the hormonal shifts and skin changes menopause entails.

Cindy said she focuses on supporting her skin naturally by staying well hydrated and supplementing with collagen, natural progesterone, and superfoods.

Curiosity piqued? See Kindra’s guide to hydrating from the inside out plus their skin-friendly supplement advice here, and know that, according to Kimberly, keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water and using hydrating lotion can save you time at the doctor because you probably don’t have poison ivy. In her experience, “itchy skin is one of those strange side effects of menopause.”

Group Of Mature Female Friends On Outdoor Yoga Retreat Walking Along Path Through Campsite
Image: Monkey Business Images, Shutterstock

7. This Is When Life Begins!

Singer-songwriter Belinda Fraley Huesman calls herself The Menopause Outlaw, and she’s aiming to “write” the wrong of ageism through the power of story and song.

She told us turning 50 is when life begins. “Adventure awaits and even though seasons of life bring change, it’s an invitation to reinvent ourselves and believe in the beauty of our dreams.”

“This isn’t our mother’s menopause with misinformation about the change. We are well-informed, confident women who are aging fearlessly and defying boundaries. By inspiring women to live their truth we can change the paradigm, transforming the perception of menopause and pass down the generational knowledge that our mothers and grandmothers were afraid to talk about.”

Belinda shared the words of her own mother, who passed away at 54: “Don’t get my age and have a wish list of things you want to accomplish. Go after it even if you fail. It won’t be because you didn’t try.”

She went on to tell us, “Those words spurred me to believe that 50 can be the start of something new. For me, it was to honor my talent of writing and singing and use my voice to encourage women to find the girl they left behind and believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Finally, Cindy suggests that menopause and beyond is a time “to focus on gratitudes, allowing rather than striving, attracting rather than promoting, dreaming rather than goal-setting, mindset rather than strategy, relating rather than producing, listening rather than talking, and wins rather than misses.”

Whatever that looks like for you (from splurging on extra comfy footwear to enjoying your food and wine — two Kimberly recommendations I already resonate with!) the Kindra Journal and product lineup offer accessible menopause education and support that’s worth your consideration, and they’ve established an online community of supportive women, that’s free to join, too.