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I am an unusual traveler. I go where my soul tells me and to places that I want to explore. The opportunity to discover a new city, area or nature within our world fills me up to the brim of my existence.
l do my best to plan ahead, but I travel without any expectations or worries of the outcome of those plans and I try to allow the trip to unfold the way it's fated. Right now, I find myself alone, writing on a plane, taking my first trip to Portland, Oregon. I was supposed to have my close friend and business partner with me, but, she came down with the flu. Now, I have an empty seat next to me and I am "going it alone". What? Traveling for pleasure by myself??? Yes. I have done it before and I am sure I will do it again.
Traveling alone is quite a different experience. Sometimes, it is like attending a silent retreat with no one to talk to but yourself, but I am looking forward to spending time communing with the trees, sitting by the river, tasting the local faire, connecting with local people and being free to do whatever makes me happy. I admit, traveling alone isn't my first choice, but sometimes, it's exactly what I need.
However, I know I enjoy traveling with my girlfriends more and here is why... there is nothing like the kinship and sisterhood of close female friends.
Currently, I am a single women. I have been amicably divorced for almost nine years. My ex-husband is still a close friend. I was married for 23 years and have three wonderful adult sons, and today, I love my life as it is. I have witnessed, through my travels, my inner transformation and I cherish the places I've visited and the people I've met around the globe.
Traveling with other women has been a wonderful and meaningful experience for me. As I see it, sharing time and space with someone I don't normally live with on a daily basis can become either a challenging situation or an incredibly blissful experience!! I've realized, though, the outcome depends on my attitude as well as the expectations I place on the trip and the person I'm traveling with.
Here are seven tips to make traveling with a friend the most enjoyable:
- Accept that you are different. Understand that you will not be eating the same foods, using the bathroom in the same way, or waking up and going to sleep at exactly the same time. Know that the other person may have quirks and you may have some of your own but accepting that makes everything a lot easier.
- Be considerate of the other person's needs to see sites and participate in activities the way they are comfortable. Split up, if necessary, so you can both do what you desire. If you want to take a hike and she wants to spa for the day, allow it to be just that. It's okay to not be together every minute of the trip or vacation.
- Laugh!! Laugh at yourself, laugh at the circumstances and make the best of what happens! Lost your luggage for a couple of days? Find a better way to make your wardrobe work. Have fun shopping, share clothes, and go skinny dipping when your bathing suit is gone!! (just kidding….well, maybe not… just do it!)
- Make some rules and boundaries with spending money before traveling together. Establish who is paying for what items or activities. Are you splitting everything or is one person being kind and supporting the other person who may not be able to afford the trip? Either way, make sure you have a clear understanding of how money will be handled.
- Appreciate each other. Appreciate what you are able to see and what you are fortunate enough to do. Appreciation and gratitude goes a long way in any relationship, but especially when you are traveling together.
- If there are any issues…COMMUNICATE!! Be open to dialogue and understanding. Listen to each other's point of view and try to come to an agreement that helps both of you remain happy for the remainder of the trip. Do not exercise the silent treatment or become passive aggressive. It will only make the time unbearable and uncomfortable for you both.
- Be open to possibilities!!! For any traveler, with a partner, alone or with your family, you never know what can happen and there is MAGIC to be found - sometimes in the mundane and often when you least expect it!!
Last small piece of advice: explore with your heart, not just your mind. As the saying goes, "the world is your oyster". There is so much to see and amazing human beings to interact with. Be the light wherever you may be in the world and you will learn, grow and wonder.
Although traveling with girlfriends is wonderful, sometimes it's nice to get completely away and explore solo. Here are some great tips for women traveling solo.