CHALLENGER: Sydney backpacker Doreen Bainbridge, 95, on a bed at Metro Backpackers in Launceston yesterday while challenging the mould of independent travellers. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON.Mrs Bainbridge is the oldest person to stay at Launceston’s Metro Backpackers, beating the record set by a 92-year-old English tourist two years ago.
She can’t quite understand “all the fuss” but everyone at the hostel who meets her would beg to differ.
“She is quite amazing,” hostel spokesman John Bailey said.
Mrs Bainbridge started travelling with her husband Arnold in the 1950s and has explored most European and American countries.
After her husband’s death 11 years ago, she continued to travel and has been around Australia, the UK and parts of Asia by herself – despite the crippling affects of arthritis in her back and shoulders.
“We didn’t travel much when we were young with the Depression and war, but I started in 1955 when I went to England for seven-and-a- half months,” Mrs Bainbridge said during a stroll through City Park.
“When my husband retired we practically lived in tents around Australia – it was just something we wanted to do.”
While most people would be hesitant to travel by themselves, Mrs Bainbridge said she loved it, because she gets to meet some wonderful, friendly people.
“There’s nothing to be scared about,” she said matter-of-factly.
“When I was in Zimbabwe I was the only white person on the street and I had a feeling they weren’t going to kill me there and then.”
Mrs Bainbridge has been in Tasmania for a week and will visit Stanley on the North-West Coast before sailing back to NSW.
She said Tasmania was one of the most beautiful places she had visited. “London used to be my favourite but not any more,” she said. “It is too crowded and hard to get around. I like peaceful places, like here.”
The mother of three boys lives in a retirement village but spends more time travelling than sitting still.
She said the secret to living a long and healthy life was not smoking or drinking and eating well.
“And don’t wear ankle killers,” she said, pointing to a pair of high heels.
With the century milestone fast approaching, Mrs Bainbridge said she would keep travelling until she could no longer manage it.
“My arthritis kills me – but I won’t give in to it,” she said.
“I think I’ll be dead by (100) but then again, my doctor has told me I have very good genes.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.