In today’s travel chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time, full-time travel blogger and circumnavigation sailor Lisa Dorenfest, shares how she has already visited 64 countries, despite not getting started with sailing around the world until she was 50.

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

It’s been quite a journey for this inspiring mature travel blogger who weaves wonderful stories of the places she’s been and the adventures she’s had. Before you dip into her blog, here’s Lisa’s story:

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m currently floating with my partner aboard Amandla in The Sea of Cortez.

What's covered in this article

I am a circumnavigating sailor & visual storyteller. My dream to sail around the world has carried me across 360° of longitude to 64 countries and I completed my first circumnavigation in Panama in November 2019.

Q1. When did you start travelling?

I started sailing around the world with The Captain in February 2013, at the age of 50.

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

Q2. Where did you go on your first trip, and why?

Our first sail together was from Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a 513 nautical miles sailing passage with a stopover in Key West. We brought the boat to Florida for a one-month refit before setting off on our grand adventure. 

Q3. How would you describe your travel style?

The adventurer side of me likes to travel deeply, letting serendipity be my tour guide with the only limitation on schedules being the winds and weather. However, the overachiever side of me wanted to circumnavigate in two years and get back to work. Thankfully, my partner slowed me down, and I’ve enjoyed over seven years with him on the high-seas.  

Interview with Over 50s travel blogger Lisa Dorenfest

Q4. What do you love most about travelling? And what drives you crazy? 

My favourite aspect of travelling is: immersing myself in new cultures.

My biggest challenge is: lifting anchor and leaving a port that has become like home while visiting there. 

Q5. How do you most like to travel? (mode of transport)

A sailboat. Wherever I go, I am home, only my backyard changes. 

Q6. Are you a planner or a last-minute traveller?

I am a seasonal planner, identifying our ultimate destinations based on weather patterns and the general points in between. Otherwise, I prefer to linger where I like and let chance encounters carry us where they will.

Q7. Are you a full-time or part-time traveller?

I am a full-time traveller. Even when I stop moving for an extended period to replenish the cruising kitty, I feel that I am still traveling and can find adventure wherever I am. For me, travel is a state of mind.

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

Q8. Do you travel differently today to how you did in your 20s and 30s? What’s changed, and why?

In my 20s and 30s, I viewed travel as something that I did for a few weeks a year when I had time off from work. Now, I find adventure in my every day, wherever I may be.  

Q9. Has Coronavirus made you think differently about your future travels?

After completing our first sailing circumnavigation in Panama at the end of last year, our plan for 2020 was to store the boat in Baja, Mexico, and return to the US to replenish the cruising kitty.

But by the time we’d sailed from Panama City to La Paz, Mexico, the coronavirus had travelled to every country in the world. Rather than proceed with our original plan, we opted to remain aboard our boat until the coronavirus situation stabilized, with me pursuing job opportunities remotely

Q10. Tell us about the most memorable place you’ve visited so far

The list is endless, but the first one that comes to mind is Nosy Be, Madagascar. Culturally rich. Favourable winds. Comfortable anchorages. Amazing wildlife. Visually pleasing. Affordable.

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

Q11. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go, or a type of travel/experience you wouldn’t be comfortable with?

I’d pretty much travel anywhere, only steering clear of active war zones. I prefer sea and overland and travel to air travel, and it is highly unlikely that you’ll see me parachuting out of an airplane in this lifetime.

Q12. If you could live in one other country, here would you choose, and why?

The world is my country. Every time I visit somewhere new, I think, “oh, I could totally live here.”  One place that comes to mind is Vietnam. Vibrant, diverse culture, energetic expat community, endless beauty, etc.

Q13. What’s the worst travel mistake/regret you’ll admit to?

Knowingly sailing into lousy weather to accommodate guests. We’ve vowed never to do that again after voyaging from the Gambier Islands to The Marquesas in storm-force winds.

Q14. What do you do first when you arrive somewhere new?

Over 50s sailing blogger Lisa at home on her yacht

Drop the dinghy in the water and head for shore.

Q15. How do you stay healthy when travelling?

With a hope and a prayer. The possibility of illness is always top of mind. We’ve circumnavigated the world with cancer, with us being treated for it or other maladies in a combined ten different countries. Our most recent visit was a surgery La Paz, Mexico, for an obstructed intestine, The Captain’s, hopefully, our last medical emergency.

Q16. What wouldn’t you leave home without in your cabin bag?

My Title Nine flowery sailing-skort (a gift from blogger Lex Klein) 

Q17. Which movie(s) or book(s) have inspired your travels?

  • Little House on The Prairie
  • Peter Pan
  • From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • Life on The Mississippi
  • Eat Pray Love
  • A Voyage of Madmen
  • The Alchemist
  • Vagabonding  
Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

Q18. What are the best and the worst things you’ve eaten on your travels?

Best – Homemade Ice Cream at an Illinois Farm long ago. Worst – Tripe.

Q19.When choosing somewhere to visit, what’s most important to you?

Is it on my (very circuitous) way?

Q20. Tell us about three midlife bloggers you follow and why their blogs inspire you.

  • The Single Handed Sailor: Dustin Reynolds is my favourite Captain of mid-adventure. His blog chronicles his legendary escapades as he attempts to become the first double-amputee to circumnavigate the globe solo. 
  • One Foot Out The Door: When I grow up, I want to write like Lex Klein. She doesn’t publish often, but when she does, it is to be savoured. And she was crazy enough to take a leap of faith and fly halfway around the world (with two bags of boat parts) to sail Madagascar with us even though we’d never met in person.   
  • Wish I Were Here: Julie Riso’s writing is everything I’ve said about Lex‘s, but we haven’t met in person… yet. Travelling with this vast soul through place and time is a stirring, ethereal experience.  

Q21. What’s #1 on your travel bucket list, and why?

It’s a tie. Either sail around the world AGAIN #victorylap or take a roundtrip from London to China via rail. Why? Because there is so much out there to explore.

Q22. Where are you planning to visit next?

The United States, via The Sea of Cortez.

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

A Little More Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time

Lisa’s Top 3 Travel Tips:

Top packing tip

If it doesn’t fit in your bag, you don’t need it.

How to survive long-haul flying

Meditation to relax, media to distract, and medication if all else fails. Better yet, sail or rail there if you have time.

How to stay safe when travelling

Keep your eyes open

Final Quick Words for this Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time

  • Self-guided travel or join a tour? Self-guided
  • Window seat or aisle? Window
  • Favourite thing to wear for travelling? My Title Nine flowery sailing-skort (a gift from fellow blogger Lex Klein)
  • Favourite Country? Canada
  • Checked bags or carry on only? Carry-on
  • Book or Kindle? Kindle
  • Best travel resource(s)Noonsite and The Man in Seat 61

I hope you’ve enjoyed this travel chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time! Don’t forget to check out her travel stories on One Ocean at A Time and do follow her on social media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  Instagram

Like it? Pin it!

Travel Chat with Lisa from One Ocean at a Time - An over 50s travel blog

More Travel Chats

While you’re here, why not take a peek at more travel chats with inspiring travel bloggers? They have so many tales to tell!

If you have any feedback or suggestions for other mature travel bloggers to interview, please let me know in the comments box below! If you have any questions, feel free to ask too. Be sure to subscribe to my mailing list by popping your email in the form below and follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest and Twitter

About Author

Coralie is a Brit living in North Yorkshire. When she's not writing, she's either out exploring, planning a new trip, tasting street food or relaxing with a cold G&T. With 40+ years of adventurous travel to almost 40 countries (so far), she knows there's still much to see and remains an adventure-seeker at heart. Follow her on social media and keep up with her adventures and awesome travel tips.

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16 Comments

  1. Thank you, Lisa, for saying such nice things about me and my blog (and the skort – haha), and thank you, Grey Globetrotters, for featuring Lisa, a very inspiring blogger and adventurer! I’ll have to check out some of your other featured travelers.

    1. Thanks guys – I really enjoyed getting to know Lisa and her story! So tempted now to follow in her wake 🙂

      PS I’ve just checked out your blog and have enjoyed reading your stories too.

      Coralie x

  2. This was so great to read. I’ve been following Lisa’s adventures for a few years now (and Lex’s) so it was fun to read some more details. Thanks Coralie for the interview. I must delve into some of the others.

    1. Hi Alison
      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this post, and learning more about Lisa! I hope you enjoyed reading some of the other bloggers’ stories too – there’s a couple of new ones now if you wanted to take a peek 🙂
      Have an awesome day.
      Coralie x

  3. I love the interview, ladies! I had the pleasure to meet Lisa and have our sailboats share multiple anchorages. Later, we visited her and the Captain in New Zealand to catch up on life. Another meeting is long overdue! She’s one of my favorite people I’ve met on the road, or better, on the water. 🙂

    Great and entertaining questions, Coralie. If only I was fifty. As a lifetime nomad, I would love to be interviewed by you as well. Do I have to wait five more years?

    1. Hi Liesbet – how wonderful to hear about how much you appreciate Lisa! She’s such an inspiration to me and a fabulous storyteller!

      I’d love to interview you too – the age criteria is quite loose – I’m just focussing on interviewing mature women with real-life experience of travel, and it sounds like you fit the profile perfectly. I’ll send you a quick email 🙂

      Coralie x

    2. Can’t wait to see your story here, Liesbet. And I think we have another meet-up in our near future, We are sailing to Puerto Peñsasco and then driving Stateside, initially to Arizona …and then wherever the winds (or roads) take us. Look forward to seeing you and Mark in person again.

  4. Hi, Coralie – I was delighted to discover your blog (via Liesbet). I am thrilled to see that you also recently interviewed Lisa Dorenfest. I regularly follow Lisa’s blog and had been anxiously awaiting her next post. So cool to see her here and get a bit more catch up with her. I have just subscribed to your blog so I no longer miss (or almost miss) any awesome interviews.

    Hi, Lisa – So glad to hear that you and the Captain are well. I’ve been thinking about you. Sending warm hugs your way!

    1. Hi Donna, thanks for following me – I’ve a bunch more awesome mature women travel bloggers lined up with travel interviews to share. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as Lisa and Liesbet’s 🙂

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