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At 20, Joy Fox Sold Her Ring To Travel Solo - Now 89, She's Still At It

With decades of solo travel experience, Joy Fox stands as an inspiration, demonstrating that the world is out there to be explored, one solo adventure at a time.

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Oshi Saxena
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Joy Fox/BBC

Image credit: -Adrienne Guinn/Joy Fox/BBC

Amidst the bitter cold of January 1956, Joy Fox faced the end of an engagement and the dawn of a new beginning. At just 20 years old, with a heart freshly shattered, she decided to change the course of her life forever. She sold her engagement ring, not for its material worth but as a ticket to a world beyond her village, beyond her wildest dreams.

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As reported by the BBC, hailing from modest beginnings and shaped by the turbulent backdrop of World War Two, Joy Fox always found herself captivated by the stories of her parents' voyages to far-flung destinations such as Egypt, China, and India. Inspired by their experiences and her brother Alan's accounts of his ventures to Venice, Joy, fueled by the embers of lost love, resolved to seize the moment. Thus, with strength and determination, she parted ways with her engagement ring, using the proceeds to inaugurate her journey of discovery.

A Lifetime of Adventures

Though that initial trip may not have unfolded as expected, it planted the seeds of confidence that would flourish into a thriving solo travel ethos. Since then, Fox has traversed the globe with an insatiable curiosity, creating fresh tales of adventure that captivate and inspire. From traversing the western expanse of the United States with her growing family to embarking on solo expeditions across Europe, Joy's wanderlust became the guiding force of her existence.

Joy Fox
(Image Credit: Joy Fox/BBC)

With each destination she conquered, from the rugged terrain of Norway to the sun-kissed shores of Australia, Joy's spirit shone bright, making way for fellow travellers and kindred souls alike. Embracing solitude as a companion, she encourages aspiring adventurers to acclimate themselves to the rhythm of solo exploration, fostering self-reliance and resilience amidst the vast expanse of the unknown. Italy, with its captivating scenery and vibrant culture, set the stage for Joy's first adventure abroad.

Meeting Luigi, a kindred soul, sparked a two-week journey along the Italian Riviera. This voyage not only healed Joy's heart but also ignited her love for exploration. From the charming streets of Portofino to the majestic architecture of Milan, Joy's time in Italy marked the beginning of a new chapter filled with bravery, strength, and endless curiosity. Despite the misadventures of being underdressed for church visits, Joy emerged from her Italian sojourn not only healed from heartache but emboldened by the realization of her own strength.

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Legacy of Inspiration

Beyond her adventures on the road, Joy Fox's contributions to the world are as diverse as they are impactful. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from Pacific Western University, Fox embarked on a successful career as a meeting planner and communications manager, leaving an indelible mark on Fortune 500 companies. In 1995, she founded the Independent Meeting Planners Association of Canada (IMPAC), now known as the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CANSPEP), where her visionary leadership continues to shape the industry.

Joy Fox
Image Credit - Adrienne Guinn/BBC

Fox's journey is not merely about the places she's been or the awards she's received; it's about the lives she's touched and the legacy she's built. In 2015, she faced the profound loss of her husband, Mike, to Parkinson's disease, emerging from that crucible of grief with a renewed commitment to supporting others on similar paths.

Currently, as per media reports, Fox resides on the breathtaking Vancouver Island, where she finds solace amidst the beauty of nature, singing melodies with a small band, and penning the chapters of her next adventure.

Joy Fox
Image Credit - Adrienne Guinn/BBC
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At 89 years young, Joy Fox embarks on another chapter of her remarkable journey. While time may have mellowed her youthful vigour, it hasn't quenched the flame in her heart. With plans to celebrate her 90th birthday in Malta and dreams of traversing the Camino de Santiago and the enchanting Lake Como calling her name, Joy's bucket list speaks volumes about the enduring allure of exploration and the timeless appeal of the unknown.

Joy Fox solo traveller Woman Traveller
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