I travel a lot, but more often than not, it’s based on my husband’s triathlete training and race schedule or the kids’ activities and not my dream vacation. But, every once in awhile, I take the opportunity to travel just for me and go where I want. See, I’m quite happy and comfortable to travel solo – which I realize makes me something of an oddity. I’m at ease exploring the world on my own, being in control, and not having to worry about pleasing other people.
My past travel history has, therefore, either been with family or on my own. I’ve not been much of a girl’s weekend type traveler, maybe once to twice, nor have David and I often traveled with other couples. But, I recently came to the conclusion that it was time to be bold & expand my travel world. And, I’m hoping to inspire you to forget all your misconceptions, inhibitions, and fears and take that leap into the unfamiliar travel world! And, here’s why…
When I was approached with the opportunity to travel to China and bring along 4 fellow writers, I didn’t hesitate to accept. It’s been definitely on my list of “places I must get to“, especially Hangzhou. But, my beyond excitement soon turned to a world of panic. I seriously had to figure out a way to adjust to this new and I must admit, very uncomfortable for me travel arrangement. It wasn’t going to be just one other person to share my travel journey with, but 4 well-traveled, impressive women. My mind started to come up with all of these issues that I thought would have to be dealt with and I started having second thoughts.
- Will I end up being like a den mother?
- What happens if we don’t get along? It’s not like we can just pack up our toys and go home!
- What happens if the trip doesn’t meet everyone’s standards?
- Will I feel responsible for everyone’s good time? Well, of course, ugh…
But, there was no turning back, so I began the task of putting together a group of women who I thought would appreciate each other and the adventure we were about to embark on. Of course, it’s always a gamble because until the journey’s over, you have no idea what will happen; part of the fun, too.
The trip turned out to be what could be classified as a sort of girlfriend getaway. And guess what? The world didn’t fall apart! All it took was spending a bit of time with these lovely fellow travelers and I was able to relax and appreciate what everyone else brought to the table. Now, I’d be lying if I said it was a totally smooth adventure, but I’d have to say any issues were handled with little fuss. We all started out as relative strangers, but returned home friends.
Easily, the best part of the journey was that I ended up with a new found appreciation for group travel. I learned that there is really something special about being with a group of dynamic, intelligent, diverse, outgoing women. When you travel solo, you spend a lot of time looking inward based on what you see, who you talk to, and how you feel. But, add four women to the travel experience and it is really life changing.
We listened to one another’s opinions and didn’t judge. We shared our thoughts and emotions. We challenged each other. We brought to the table our backgrounds, beliefs, and past experiences. I came away from this journey not only with my lessons learned, but was afforded the opportunity to look at the trip from four quite diverse viewpoints. Wow, something I certainly don’t get traveling solo or even with my family. So, not only did I experience China through my eyes, but through 4 other unique individuals!
I hope by my sharing this story, you are challenged to be brave in your travels; to look beyond your comfort zone and expand your travel horizons, trying something you thought you never would. Cast those fears and misconceptions to the wind. There is a world, literally, of travel options out there, so don’t dismiss any. The results can be nothing short of amazing…