A 59-year-old grandmother who grew tired of the same daily routine working as a social assistant in Brazil’s prisons, decided to leave her life behind in order to fulfil a life-long dream of travelling the world. Ms. Joseja Feitosa, born in the northeast of Brazil, is close to finalising her tour of Vietnam. Her concern, however, is not the chaos of getting around, the differences in food, nor the difficulty of the language; it is the fact that her passport is running out of pages to stamp!
She has been on the road for two years, accompanied only by her hand luggage. Retired from her previous job where she would be constantly threatened by inmates, and also recently divorced after a troublesome relationship, she found a way of regaining her happiness and youthfulness through travel. Mother of three and grandmother to one, Ms. Jo, as she is known, decided to clear her house of furniture and clothing in order to rent it out. All of her possessions now fit into her luggage.
‘My head was a biographical heap of other people’s problems’, she says as she remembers her former occupation. So, as soon as she retired, she told her family and friends that they would no longer see her around the neighbourhood. She has now visited more than 40 countries.
Ms. Jo says she expects to return to her home country only to renew her passport. Anyone who wishes to follow her whereabouts and talk to her can follow her Facebook page, which she keeps up-to-date with pictures of her latest travels. She is also inspiring many people with whom she crosses paths, some even commenting on the Facebook page how they admire her and want to be like her when they reach her age.
‘There is lots of life outside this box they call home. Grandmothers weren’t made to look after grandchildren’, she says, highlighting the unfairness of elderly women who happen to take back adult sons or daughters – and accompanying grandchildren – after their failed relationships. She had been a mother all her life and now she has decided to become something else.
Her story reminds us of how youthfulness and joy come from the inside. You only truly grow old if you let it happen. By having a positive outlook on life and keeping your spirit always fresh, you can achieve great things just as when you were young. You don’t have to do it by yourself either! The Caleb Group in the UCKG HelpCentre unites senior citizens through activities that motivate them to dream and fulfil their dreams. The group provides help and support to seniors through social activities, outings, and help at home amongst other tasks. They promote events and outings that seniors had long before given up on ever doing them again. Through this group, they learn how to live again. Call our helpline (020 7686 6000) to find out more or go to your nearest UCKG HelpCentre branch to ask a pastor how to join the Group and the activities that will be taking place during the month.