Check Out The Latest Episode
February 22, 2022
How International Travel can Help Women Embrace Life at 50 and Beyond With Robin Tillotson

Are you tired of making everyone else a priority? Are you looking for ways to add some excitement and meaning to your life? Then you'll want to hear from Robin Tillotson, an avid traveler and the Chief Cultural Officer for Th...

Are you tired of making everyone else a priority? Are you looking for ways to add some excitement and meaning to your life? Then you'll want to hear from Robin Tillotson, an avid traveler and the Chief Cultural Officer for This I do for me: Women Over 50, Black and Fabulous. Robin is also a self-proclaimed “activist for joyful aging.”  

 In this episode, Robin explores the challenges and triumphs of black women, over 50, who have put themselves on the back burner while attending to the needs of their families.  This is their starting point.  Where they end up is a completely different story, as they engage in international travel, learn about new cultures and meet new people, all of which helps to bring out the fabulousness in them!

Here Are Some Gems We Unpacked In This Episode:

  • Robin’s passion for sharing her knowledge with others 
  • That women sometimes have to be taught that doing for themselves isn’t selfish
  • How women, who have been historically self-sacrificing, need to start off small when they are trying to put themselves first
  • The history behind the naming of her show

4 Key Takeaways From Our Conversation:

  • The importance of finding the balance between the needs of others and your own needs
  • The importance of celebrating getting older
  • The importance of mindset in aging vibrantly
  • How travel can impact your growth and transformation

If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy:

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Peggie Kirkland  0:04  
Welcome to the Momma's Motivational Messages podcast, where women learn to stop putting themselves on the back burner and start paying attention to caring for themselves first, so they can be better for everyone else in their lives. I know you'll be inspired by the stories of resiliency and starting over, of health and self healing, of gaining clarity through journaling, of showing self love through world travel, and the list goes on. I encourage you to relax and enjoy. I'm your host Peggie Kirkland PK.

Peggie Kirkland  0:46  
Today we're welcoming to the show Robin Tillotson. Robin is the chief cultural officer for This I Do For Me, a business specializing in creating international travel for women who are over 50, black and fabulous. Robin herself is an avid traveler, and has traveled to several continents. And as you can imagine, that has allowed her to experience a variety of cultures, and to meet lots of new people. Robin also refers to herself as an activist for joyful aging. There's a lot I want to unpack there, Robin, I can't wait to get started. So welcome to the show.

Robin Tillotson  1:35  
Thank you so much. Peggie. Thank you for having me.

Peggie Kirkland  1:39  
It's my pleasure. Now, Robin, I know that you're a woman who wears several hats, and I've merely scratched the surface of your professional and entrepreneurial ventures. So what can you tell the audience about your background that would give them a deeper understanding about Robin Tillotson?

Robin Tillotson  2:02  
I think it's important to kno and if he were to talk to any of my friends or family, they would, you know, second that I am an avid learner. And I'm a voracious learner, voracious reader, and a voracious seeker of it information about other cultures and people and spirituality, that kind of thing. I've been a spiritual Seeker for a very long time. And so that actually, Peggie lays the foundation for everything else that I do. And so I've been blessed with a spirit of curiosity, and blessed with a spirit of wanting to share what I've learned or encountered or experienced with others.

Peggie Kirkland  3:00  
So what is it that makes you want to share? Because, you know, I mean, this is knowledge that you've acquired on your own over the years, and probably at a cost, I'm sure. What is it that makes you want to share?

Robin Tillotson  3:20  
Well, Peggie, I would say, first of all, to have a lot of anything, be it money, be it knowledge, education, it means absolutely nothing, if you're not willing to share that information, or whatever it is, that you know that you have wealth around. And so I just liked sharing the information, because I have found that a lot of people are not necessarily tuned in to a variety of different circuits, if you will. And so I've kind of felt it as part of my, my passion and my mission to share information. So whether it's around travel, what I mean, it's nice to travel to these places, it's nice to have material items. But what do those things really mean? If you cannot share them with others? I can remember a traveler having a conversation or being a part of a conversation, where one traveler was saying to the other, that Robin will always bring you along. And I just think that it's just something germane or innate to my personality. That whether you know if I don't care how much money I've paid for something, you know, I don't throw it away. But I'm, I'm mindful of I'm not forcing it on anybody. So I'm mindful of sharing it with people who could really benefit from it. So I think that's really my motive for doing it. It's not even anything I think about it's just that big a part of me.

Peggie Kirkland  5:15  
So that makes me wonder whether when you talk about bringing people along, it makes me think about the title of your podcast, which is Women Over 50 Black And Fabulous. And so it makes me wonder whether the fabulousness that you refer to in your title ... Is that part of what do women come with the fabulousness? Or is it you're bringing them along that helps to contribute to that fabulousness?

Unknown Speaker  5:52  
Well, I think it's important to note that the the part that you just mentioned is the tagline. So the podcast and the business travel side of the business is called This I Do For Me. And then the podcast is This I Do For Me, Women Over 50, Black And Fabulous. So if we look at the part of words, prior to the tagline, this I do for me, it emanates from a place where I realized at one point, when I looked at women at you know who were 50 Plus, they were doing everything for everyone, their aging parents, their churches and their volunteer organizations, their children, they were really immersed into doing for other people. And they weren't complaining. And they weren't bitter about it or anything like that. But one thing that stood out for me is that so many people, so many of those women, when I observed them over a period of time, they were not doing anything for themselves. So that's where the title comes from. And so it's not a matter of whether they come with fabulousness or not, it's more about self care is more about am I balancing my life in a way that allows me to care for others and do for others, but to also put more gas back into my own tank, so that I can continue to do for others.

Peggie Kirkland  7:33  
You know, that reminds me of a quote I read on your Instagram, which said, "The first step to were getting somewhere is deciding that you're not going to stay where you are". And so you just talked about women who have to balance careers and families and all of that stuff. And I'm wondering whether you found that it's a struggle for these women to make the decision not to stay where they are.

Unknown Speaker  8:07  
Great question, Peggie. I think it's a struggle for a while for people, for women, mainly because we haven't historically been taught that it's okay to do something for ourselves. We've been raised in many instances to be self sacrificing, and to give all we've got because that's what a good woman does. And so when you've been kind of in that mindset, and then those kinds of environments and where it's to the point where it's ingrained into your psyche, when you start thinking about doing something for yourself, or someone says to you, hi, you know, have you thought about taking yourself out to dinner or buying yourself a dozen roses? 

Robin Tillotson  8:55  
A lot of times it's, you know, it's a hard thing to penetrate, because it can be perceived as something selfish. Well, you know, I could take that same money and buy shoes from my granddaughter, or I can help my grandson with his tuition. And so I think it is a struggle, I think once they are in an environment, and it starts often with either an international excursion that I'm offering, or in many instances cultural events that I'm offering here in the city. Once they get in the habit of doing it, I think it becomes the norm. 

A perfect example Peggie would be when I am abroad with my travelers, I can often stand back and from the group and I can literally see the growth that they've experienced from the time they signed on for a trip or cultural event  that I'm offering. And by the time that trip is over, they're asking me, when is the next one? Whereas prior to that there might have been, even though they may have signed up for the trip, there's a little fear there, reticence, particularly if they have not traveled abroad, or particularly if they haven't done much travel at all. So it like that this is like anything else. If you do it gradually, and you do it, you know, regularly, it becomes a part of you. And then it changes, a lot of those former thoughts that you had that said doing for yourself was selfish.

Peggie Kirkland  10:45  
And so what I'm hearing is that what you do is really transformative for the women that you work with.

Unknown Speaker  10:55  
I think that's a great word. I think that describes it perfectly. And that's what you want. I mean, growth is transformative. And I think what is really nice about this group of women, this age group, particularly is that so many times people think after you hit age 50 growth and transformation stops. And that you should you know, go sit in a rocking chair somewhere and just enjoy the rest of your life or engage overly engage yourself in the lives of other people, to the exclusion of yourself. So yeah, I think ..transformation ...transformative is a great word for this.

Peggie Kirkland  11:45  
I think that that really speaks to the point I want to make next. And that has to do with the fact that our society is constantly looking for signs of youth and fitness and holding that up as the barometer. And you know, promoting 50 is the new 30 or 60 is the new 40 and so on. So with those kind of societal pressures, what motivates you to continue to encourage women to celebrate getting older?

Unknown Speaker  12:21  
I think for me, Peggie, those notions about, you know, 50 is the new 30 Those things don't even enter my mindset. And I think because they don't enter my mindset, I don't carry it over into my work with women who are 50 Plus, what I am celebrating, and what they are learning to celebrate, is the fact that I am 50 Plus whether, I'm 60, 70 ...I have a woman in my group who is currently 79 years old, and she started an events planning business at age 76. 

Peggie Kirkland  13:00  

Robin Tillotson  13:01  
So, that tells you a lot. And I think once people realize that they don't have to operate within this, these constraints of age, and just be you and focus on the things that you the desires that you have, maybe there's something you've always wanted to do, that you've put off. Or maybe it's something that someone told you you could never do. Maybe it was a teacher or a parent, even,  who had discouraged you and, uh, you know, discouraged to, in doing something, I think what starts to happen is, they're able to block out all of this, you know, minutia, if you will, about youth, and focus on being who you are and stand in that proudly.  

Women in this age group in this cohort 50 Plus, I'm talking like I said, 60s 70s and even early 80s are doing some phenomenal things. They're writing books for the first time. They're creating beautiful works of art, and having art showings at really well known galleries. They are skydiving, or it might be indoor skydiving, but they're doing it they are taking much better care of themselves, physically, I mean, they're exercising, eating right and making concrete plans to live as long as they possibly can. So what's the purpose of living till you're 90 if you if you can't do something with that time, and so that's what I'm seeing. I'm seeing that people are now beginning to really accept that, you know, aging does not mean the end of the world, it's how you age, it's the mindset that you take into it. And then you still have quite a bit to contribute to this world.

Peggie Kirkland  15:16  
I wonder if all of that reasoning formed the part of your title, This I Do  For Me?

Unknown Speaker  15:30  
Well, let me give you a little history about how that title came about. So my mom was left as a widow to raise me and my brother. And like with most mothers, they are always sacrificing. You know, they might need a pair of shoes or with like a pair of shoes, but they are going to put their children first. And so one day, my mom said to my brother, and me, I bought a new purse, she showed us the person she said, Now this I do for me, now, I must have been about 11, perhaps 12 years old. And that stuck with me. I never forgot it. I never knew that down the line many, many years later, that I would name a business that, but when it came to the time to name my business, I had a mission first. So I knew I wanted to work with women who were 50 plus. And immediately that same my mom made at the time came, it came back in a resounding way. Wow. Now the business got named in that way. Yes.

Peggie Kirkland  16:49  
It's amazing how the things that we learn, while we're impressionable, we never know when they're going to resurface again. And I think that's a beautiful story really

Unknown Speaker  17:00  
Great point.  I just never, but I remember I think at the time she said it, as I mentioned, I couldn't I could not have been more than 11 or 12. What stuck with me then was not just the saying, but just that the reaction, the energy that was surrounding her when she said  that. And so that was something that I recognize that meant a lot, that she was doing something for herself,

Peggie Kirkland  17:31  
As you go through the process of getting women to the point where they're, they've made a decision to do something for themselves, and they decide that it's going to be international travel with you and your group. Are there challenges that some of them encounter in preparing to make this giant step? For some of them?

Robin Tillotson  17:57  
Yes, I mean, for some, they might be getting negative feedback from a spouse. Then for some it might be, you know, it may be friends that  say, Well, why didn't you want to go over there? Vietnam? Why are you going over to Vietnam? So yeah, those kinds of things come up. I think also Peggie, it's a matter of people. Not understanding not having a broad perspective. And how these things play a role in your growth and transformation to use your word. I think that those are, there are lots of obstacles that get in the way. I think it also shows up. And I've been thinking about this in the last couple of days, because I've had a couple of situations that have come up, but it really wasn't the first time it came up. It's just that it's the first time that I was able to really analyze it. 

But a lot of times I think it manifests itself in not following instructions. Or maybe there's some kind of discomfort that pushes you still to do something your way. To give you an example,  I say to my group early on that the minute that you make your first payment on this trip, you should arrange for purchasing travel insurance. And the reason you want to do that is because there are companies that will penalize you, if you don't do that. And so invariably, there will be someone who will not do that. And if down the line that shows up in a way, like my husband is sick. And I may not be able to go to on this trip, well, if we've put deposits down on things, or plane tickets and that kind of thing, we can't refund your money. However, if you have to back out of a trip, that is why you have travel insurance, trip cancellation, there's trip cancellation with an additional clause for any reason. You know, and so I use that example to point out how, a lot of times people don't follow instructions, which can really cause problems for you, for the traveler, and it can cause problems for the trip planner as well.

Peggie Kirkland  20:56  
So for anyone who might be listening and thinking, Oh, I think I want to get involved with traveling with Robin and her group. But I'm concerned right now, what would you say to such a person other than what you've mentioned already, in terms of making sure that you have travel insurance? Are there any other protocols that are put in place that allow, you know, upcoming travelers to feel comfortable?

Robin Tillotson  21:27  
So, great question. First of all, I announced four  trips in January, a couple of weeks ago, on January 1, three weeks, I guess now.  Three of those four trips are not scheduled till the fall and, and or early winter of 2023. One of the four is scheduled for October of this year. And so we will have to play it by ear to see if that you know if we run into any problems, but one of the things that I do, along with my co- leads, is we will hold monthly meetings, anywhere from four to five months prior to departure. And each of the topics of those meetings centered around different things. But obviously COVID and COVID protocols will be really will be a really big topic for probably a couple of those meetings. So one thing we'll have to do is educate the group on what the country's protocols are. 

So, you know, in Ghana, Ghana is one of those countries admirably, so that has been very strict about letting people in and closing their borders, they have maintained like Australia, like Brazil, and like Vietnam, they have really stayed on top of this. They've had deaths, but nothing like we have seen here in the United States, are they so a big part of the Peggie is knowing and educating the group on the protocols of the particular country. So we will be and you know, that can change from moment to moment. I mean, you know, it just depends on where things are at that time. So a big part will be around education. 

Luckily, well, I won't say luckily, but because my travelers are aged 50 plus several of them have underlying medical issues. So they're not trying, they're not really trying not to follow protocols. They're not  trying, I mean, they want to be very conscious about mask wearing and you know, sanitation and social distancing. And that kind of thing. And Ghana, you know, there are some other things you have to have, you can't in order to enter data, you will have to have a yellow fever shot. And you will also have to show proof of your vaccination. And as it stands now, you have to show a negative test that has been taking taken I think in the last 24 hours, might be a little bit more but I think it's 24 hours. So a key all of that is going to be dictated by the country itself. But more importantly, we're educating them along the way. And then again, I have travelers that have underlying health issues, so they're not playing Russian roulette with health

Peggie Kirkland  25:02  
For anyone who's listening, they can certainly hear the the care and concern that you're taking at this particular time, which is absolutely necessary. So Robin, we're coming to the close of our conversation. But before we end, I wanted to ask you, what's next for Robin?

Robin Tillotson  25:23  
Hmm. So I do want to continue to grow my podcast, I've been noticing, the numbers have gone up, and more and more people are learning about it. And so I want to continue to attract a larger audience. But more importantly, I want the stories of the people that I interview, the women that I interview who are 50 Plus, I want those stories known. And I'm, I've been interviewing some really fascinating people for almost three years now. And as I mentioned to you, the woman who started a business age 76, it's like who does that? 

 So I really do want to continue to use that platform for promoting the phenomenal things that African American women aged 50 Plus are doing. I'm also giving some serious thought to relocating to another country.

Peggie Kirkland  26:35  

Robin Tillotson  26:36  
And I won't talk about what that country is just yet. But I will be scouting it out in the spring. And so you may you may be talking to a soon to be ex-pat. 

Peggie Kirkland  26:52  
Oh, wow.

Robin Tillotson  26:56  
 So that's a big thing on my radar. And I'm really excited about the possibilities with that, and how I can grow in a new environment, and what kinds of things I can get into in a new country. The wonderful thing about my business is, it's  location independent, so I don't have to be in I can do it anywhere in the world, actually. So that's what makes that that a really good opportunity, potential opportunity. So that's, those are the podcast, the potentiality of relocating to another country, I will soon be getting my       LS W certification. So that's another thing that I will be able to do in an independent setting. The clinical side of working with not just older women, but younger women as well. So ... using my clinical skills in a therapeutic setting. And since nowadays, a lot of that is done on Zoom and other types of platforms, you can do that anywhere in the world. So those are I think for right now, Peggie that's plenty.

Peggie Kirkland  28:30  
I think so Robin, I really think at the top of the show, I said you were a woman of several hats. And now I have to add a few more hats to that

Robin Tillotson  28:42  
Well, it's just as a reminder, you know, I have to chuckle at myself. Because I just like I said earlier, I like learning new things I like exposing myself to new things, trying new things. And, you know, I'm always looking for ways in which way new ways in which for for me to grow, which is going to obviously help others to grow. So it's never a selfish kind of thing. It's never just about me. There'll be other people and situations that I believe will benefit from anything that I do.

Peggie Kirkland  29:28  
Well, Robin, I wish you much success in your future ventures. And I hope you come back and tell us about your new home country when that happens.

Robin Tillotson  29:40  
 Oh, thank you, thank you.  As I mentioned, I'll be going down for a visit for seven days, 7/8 days in April, and it's really the kind of place that if I had to pack up and leave today I could do it. My wisdom, obviously tells me not to do it that way. But I think in my younger years, I would have done it like that. But because there are other things involved, like letting go of a home and you know, I won't say connections because I don't anticipate losing my family connections or friendships and that kind of thing. But it'll be a new way of operating in the world for me. And so that that, you know, there's some change, you know, there's some fear there, there's a lot of emotion here. You know, it's not like, I'm just doing this like, Okay, what's my next conquest? It's really about, okay, what is going to bring me a new level of satisfaction in my life at this point?

Peggie Kirkland  30:53  
Wow. Well, clearly, you don't just tell people what to do and how to be you're also practicing it. So I think that is awesome.

Robin Tillotson  31:05  
You and I think that's the key because nobody wants to be told to do anything, especially at this stage in life. 

Peggie Kirkland  31:11  

Robin Tillotson  31:11  
Who are you going to tell? What are you going to tell him anyway? But I think, what excites me and I think what excites them is that the sky's the limit, and somebody else may not, would never become an ex-pat. But they might still decide that they're going to begin working with sculpture, or whatever it is something that they've been putting off, or something they wanted to do or something they wanted to explore and just never took the time to do it. So it might look like one thing for me and another thing for you and something, but the key is, is it bringing you satisfaction? 

Peggie Kirkland  31:54  
Yes. And that's a great note to end our conversation on. Is it bringing you satisfaction? Robin, how can anyone get in touch with you if they wanted to find out more about your upcoming destinations?

Robin Tillotson  32:09  
Oh, thank you. Well, I can be reached on my email, which is Robintillotson46 I can also be found on Facebook. As Robin Joyce Tillotson, you can just, you know, put my name in the search section, and it should come right up. I have two groups. One is called This I Do For Me, Women Over 50 Black And Fabulous podcast. And another group called It's Our Time To Live and you can just put that in the search engine and that would come up. And I can be found on Instagram, as This I Do For Me. And on Twitter as TheNestKeeper

Peggie Kirkland  32:58  
 Okay, well, all of that information will be in the show notes, so you'll be able to access that very easily my listeners. Alrighty, well, Robin, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and your expertise with us. It's been such a pleasure chatting with you. 

Robin Tillotson  33:21  
Oh Peggie. Thank you. I've enjoyed it.

Peggie Kirkland  33:25  
If you've been inspired and encouraged by the positive messages in today's show, please take a moment to rate and review the show on Apple podcast. This will help to keep the show alive. And remember, sharing is caring. So don't forget to share these gems with friends and family strangers too if you like. Let them know it's available wherever they listen to their podcast. I'm counting on you to share the love. Until next time. This is PK sending you much light and a whole lot of love.