ageless over 50 woman
solo woman journey

Natalie Y. Wester

I’m a retired second-grade reading teacher who once stood with the President of the United States in the Oval Office of the White House as a state Teacher of the Year. And yet, ultimately I was not happy. Something was missing and I needed to figure it out. But first I needed to give myself permission to figure it out, and stop making decisions based on what I thought I should do, or what other people wanted me to do.

Teaching was my second career for 14 years. Prior to that I’d spent more than two decades in business, 14 years of which running my own consulting practice. (Is there such a thing as a 14-year itch?) I hadn’t planned on switching careers. I went back to school to get a second master’s degree because I wanted to understand how children learn to read, after my son had been diagnosed with dyslexia. The decision to take a more than 60-percent pay cut to become a teacher was not even on my radar. Until it was.

Someone once told me “you can’t burn out if you’ve never been on fire,” but being previously “on fire” was little comfort as I began to admit, after 14 years, I was no longer happy teaching. Believe me, there’s a lot of guilt, brutal self-criticism, and a feeling of failure that go into that realization.

I decided in 2018 that I would retire the following year, three years ahead of my financial plan. At 59 and single, I retired from my second career in June of 2019. Then, as a first-time solo traveler, I wandered around the world by myself for 70 days with only one carry-on bag. Afterward, I celebrated turning 60 in Colombia, where this photo was shot.

My solo travels taught me a lot about myself, and these lessons have changed the way I live, date, handle money, and view the world.  My journey to authenticity is unfolding, and I’m writing about it here. I’m still spreading my wings, finding my joy, and having the time of my life while I create an authentic life I love. In September 2022, at the age of 62, I left the U.S. to make a new home in Portugal as a solo midlife expat.

I hope by sharing my stories of personal transformation — some funny, some painful, all raw and unfiltered — I can inspire other solo women over 50 to give themselves permission to change the life they’re living so they can live a life they love.


  1. Hi Natalie, I first listen to you on Blaxit Global and now am beginning to read and enjoy your blog. I am inspired and motivated by your journey. I wanted to know have you found your purpose? Thank you for sharing, Kito.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading, and your encouraging words, Kito. I really appreciate your support! I believe we are always finding our various purposes in life, in an ongoing and unfolding process of discovery.


  2. Your blog is speaking to me! I’m a few years away from 50 but I just feel where you are in life, discovering who are in this new phase of your life. I am inspired but what your blog and I’ve only read one post and your “about” page. I’m looking forward to following your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m in the initial stages of contemplating a move outside of the US. I’ve wanted to live abroad my whole life, yet have always found reasons/excuses to put it off. You are inspiring me to stop dreaming of a life and start living my dream!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a kind comment. Thank you so much, Edrie! 💜 It is so easy for us midlife women to find reasons not to pursue our dreams, isn’t it? May 2023 find you taking a step to make your dream come true. My first step was just giving myself permission to be happy. Feliz Novo Ano! 🥂


  4. Hi Natalie! Happy New Year to you! I am so happy to have found your blog. I have only had time to read a couple of your posts but am going to work my way through, starting with your earliest ones. Finding myself divorced at 50, I have imagined living abroad after my children establish themselves. Portugal is high on the list of countries to “check out”, so I am very thankful to be reading your information. I grew up in Chardon, Ohio – not too far from CLE. Best wishes to you and thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Audra! Thank you so much for reading, and for your kind remarks 💜. I’m happy you are finding THG blog helpful and relatable. Love the CLE connection too. I appreciate your support! Best wishes on your journey ✨️


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