When I was 6 years old my family moved from Northern Ireland to New Zealand with the ultimate goal of ending up in Australia. This was the 1970’s and the era of multiple flight connections to reach your destination. On this trip we flew Belfast, London, LA, Honolulu, Auckland to Dunedin. I have this really clear memory of walking down the aisle of the plane with an Air New Zealand flight attendant distributing lollies to passengers. The significant part of this memory was standing near the exit door on the plane and looking out the window, observing the curve of the earth and the vast blue sea below. I think it was the first time I started to understand the concept of the earth being round and being just a little above it in that Air New Zealand plane. I can’t remember what I said or thought but I can remember how I felt, and I believe it was when my fascination of air travel and moving from place to place began.
It is no surprise to me then that I ended up working in the travel industry and I could never have imagined where that job would take me and the places I would experience.
Travel is in my cells. There is no other way for me to explain this. It is part of my DNA, who I am, how I see myself and keeps me excited and interested in life. Whether I’m heading down the Great Ocean Road for the weekend, Port Douglas for a week or as far as the Canadian Arctic, it is still the thrill of a new adventure. But what fills my soul is the opportunity to step out of my everyday life (which I love by the way), take some time with my family or even by myself, and just have that experience of being present and focused on the day.
Just one week away can change everything. Firstly, you look forward to it and get excited about your future adventure. Then you are there, making the most of every day, more so than you would at home, to the point where every day feels longer than 24 hours, but in a good way. And then you return, and you are different, you have experienced something new and your eyes see the world more openly. Maybe it’s the sense of inner peace and relaxation that you bring back or maybe you experienced a new culture which impacted the way you look at life. Or a greater sense of appreciation for your own life, something I experienced after my first trip to Africa. Maybe new friends appear, ones you didn’t expect. As a result of a trip Mark and I took to the Arctic many years ago, I have 2 wonderful friends that I know I will have for life. We met on the deck of a Russian Ice Breaker in the Canadian Arctic 10 years ago and have enjoyed a beautiful bond ever since.
Some people approach travel as an opportunity to tick off their long list of desired places. Others simply want to see new sights and have new experiences. The majority of us travel to give ourselves a break from work or from our lives at home. Whatever the reason, travelling is a rejuvenating experience that most of us yearn for.
In almost 20 years of being in the travel industry I’ve never seen anyone unhappy about heading off on a holiday.
One of the ways I love to travel is in a small group. Particularly with a small group of women. On a recent trip with 10 people I’d never met before I wasn’t surprised when 3 of us enjoyed a pre-flight drink at the airport, whilst sharing stories of our lives, our families and the loss of loved ones within 1 hour of meeting each other.
Something special happens when women travel together. We talk, we connect, we share and we seek meaning from the environment we are exposed to. As we walk down streets we haven’t seen before we notice how kids are playing, how grandparents are valued members of the community and how people live and work together. We take notice of beauty in the landscape, a gorgeous flower that is new to us, the colours and smells of life and the architecture that creates the sense of place. And we shop…yes even if you are not a shopper at heart it’s hard not to be swept up in the magic of a food market or streets full of textiles. If you are lucky there is time for a spa break, a cocktail by the pool or just a few spare hours to lie in a hammock and read a book.
Uninterrupted, alone, quiet and time just for you.
What if a trip like this was possible? Would you take it, would you give yourself permission?
A group of like-minded women on a journey to another place. Somewhere you may not want to go alone or somewhere your partner has no interest. A place that challenges you due to its beauty and confrontation all at once. An opportunity for you to take some time out of your life to be with yourself, whilst at the same time enjoying the company and connection of other women. Where comfort is not compromised and the organising comes complete with excellent hotels, unique sightseeing opportunities and time for personal reflection and education. At a pace that gives you the time to soak in the sights and yet have a sleep in where possible. In a way that leaves you open, joyful, connected and inspired when you return home.
Believe me it’s possible, and next March I’m hosting a group of 8-10 women on a trip to India to seek just this. Soulful India will give you all of the above if you let it. Your comfort and safety is paramount and this trip has been designed to give you the structure you need to experience a unique place such as India in all of its colour and chaos. Along with an English speaking guide who will travel with us to enhance your experience, and myself as a Holistic Life Coach and Meditation Teacher who will be giving you the opportunity for self-reflection and meditation within the group experience.
Love and light