Where did the time go?

How are you surviving 2020 so far? Did you jump right in with all the intention to take on #allthethings and #alltheresolutions?

Did you take our advice and start planning for the year?

Me – I feel like I’m still playing catch up, and not quite ready for the new year.

Because last week my youngest turned two years old. And the day after I celebrated 11 years with my hubby and I’m sitting here wondering to myself how in the world did that all happen?

Let’s start with the anniversary – because that’s a doozy. 

I got married to a soldier in a Georgia courthouse 11 years ago, Sunday. We eloped so that I could move to Germany with him.  

That’s right. I got married in January and by March I was on a plane headed out of the country for the first time ever. I was from a small town in Kansas and married this man and flew halfway around the world only to have him deploy for a year to Iraq just months after I got there.  

I was alone. I was unemployed. I was not really sure what to do with myself. So I traveled.

Did you know that’s when my love of travel really started?  I made friends and we got up and went. To Poland to shop for polish pottery. To Paris where we rode around on Segways and took food tours and walking tours. We went shopping for pottery in France. We ran all over Germany and took down so many flea markets that my house is one Kathe Wolfthart chimney decoration away from being a German tourist trap. 

And all that travel with my friends – it made me brave. And the connections and bonds I made totally saved me. And the people I traveled with? 11 years later we are still planning annual vacations to get together.

When my husband came home we just kept going. To Ireland, France, Italy, Montenegro, Spain. Every chance we could we were on the road somewhere. 

And from all of that we built this life. Travel is where we really found each other again after he came back from that deployment. 

Flash forward two kids later and now my youngest is two AND we have a seven year old and I can’t help but wonder where did all of that time go?

What I do know is that I feel so incredibly blessed to have taken advantage of opportunities when they were presented to me instead of waiting for a better time. Because if I had waited I wouldn’t have been as brave. I wouldn’t have seen and experienced as much. And, for all I know, my life would have been much much different than it is today.  

Someday I’ll go there. 

Someday I’ll see that in person.

We can always say, “someday.” Well there are 7 days in a week and someday isn’t one of them. 

So make 2020 your year of trying to turn your “somedays” into an actual day. 

And if I can help, you know I’d love to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

 

Auld Lang Syne and Other Reflections of the New Year

Every time I hear the ball drop I can’t help but think of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally (my all time FAVORITE movie btw) when he looks at her at the end when everyone is singing Auld Lang Syne and says “What does this song mean? My whole life I don’t know what this means.”

In a nutshell, the song itself is reflective of not forgetting our old times with friends, and is basically about two friends catching up, their friendship having been long and occasionally distant.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t we basically starting every year with a song singing about how we need to reunite with our friends?

Personally, I love the New Year, but I loathe resolutions.  Resolutions seem to always remind me of all the things I should be doing, or that I’m not doing well. I feel resentful of them somewhere around March, and by April they are a distant memory.  

 

Then I heard a suggestion from Tim Ferriss that turned the idea of resolutions on my head.  He encourages you to reflect on the past year (or two if you wish) and come up with a list of the things that made you happy, or your best self. Then you take that list and actively schedule in more of those things.  

If you are not new to our newsletter you already know – I’m all about living a life by design not default

What better way to do that then by planning out and intentionally doing all the things that make us happier, better people?

And what better way to accomplish that then by planning a vacation with your friends?

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So let’s put it on the calendar, make your wishlist, make your plans, call your people and put it on the calendar. 

2020 has a lot to look forward to, from the once every ten years Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, to the Olympics in Tokyo, to all of the milestones, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations and other special events you are personally celebrating in your lives.  Not to mention all the great trips Serendipitous Traveler will announce this year!

This February I am lucky enough to celebrate a series of 50th birthdays on a Girls Cruise that we planned over a year ago. Over the holidays my family made plans for a cruise reunion in 2022.

Over the top to plan that far in advance? Not at all! In fact, when you are juggling so many different schedules and budgets, I argue that it’s the only way to plan a large trip like that. 

Whatever it is you are wishing to do – it’s never too early to start planning. And when you are ready, you know I’d love to help! So here’s to our old friends, and new friends we bring into our lives, and to intentionally planning for all the great experiences we will share with them in the New Year!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

Ready to plan your next adventures? Click here to schedule a free consultation call with moi to discuss your next group travel adventure

Click here to check out our most recently announced Group Travel Opportunities 

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Who run the world? (Girls!)

2019 brought on a boom of articles like Taking a Trip With Your Girlfriends is Good For Your Health, According to Science. We talk over and over again as to why you should take a Girlfriend Getaway

We know it’s good for us, we know it’s why we need to getaway. And it’s no wonder that in 2019 the fastest growing demographic for travel was Single Women and Women Only Travel. 

And, here at Serendipitous Traveler, we. are. here. for it. 

When Serendipitous Traveler was founded, it was founded with the ideal that all women deserve a vacation. Women are the caretakers of everyone, even when on vacation.  I mean, Mom’s, when you take a vacation, do you really feel like you were on vacation

NO!

But why don’t we take vacations with our friends?

  • Because women will traditionally put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. 
  • Because they feel guilty about spending the money on themselves.
  • Because they can’t trust their partners to hold down the fort to get away.
  • Because they don’t have people to travel with
  • Because
  • Because 
  • Because

And to that we say phooey

Because if women practiced real self care instead of superficial self care (i.e. a long weekend away to refresh and recharge versus a bubble bath where someone is knocking on the door every three minutes) then we really could run the world.  

So here’s our response:

Women will traditionally put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. 

When you put your needs on the back burner, the only thing you end up being is resentful and frustrated. And that serves no one.  Now I’m not advocating for you to flip the switch and become a narcissist. (And if you do, please don’t join us on on of our Serendipitous Squad trips).

But if you are taking care of you, you show up to take care of others even better. And you do it from a happy, wholehearted place, then you are setting the example for your own family to show up happier and more wholehearted as well.

And can’t the world use a little more of that?

NEXT!

Money

Man, people would rather talk about puke before they talk about finances.  And for many years, I was very much the same. Ignoring my finances and putting my head in the sand was really the only safe way to deal with the scariest topic I could think of – money. And spending money on travel can, at times, feel frivolous.

But let me challenge you there.

I believe that we should be living a life by design, not default. And if we aren’t intentional about our lives, including money, then we are letting life happen to us. And, once again, that serves nobody.  When someone stands up at your funeral, I doubt they will tell many stories about how pretty your tchotchkes were. But they will tell a great story about time they spent with you. Quality time, fun moments, endearing conversations – that’s what we want to be remembered for. And we can’t create these moments if we are too afraid to take the time to plan them out and schedule them.

I had a college professor that started every class with the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And nothing could be more true when it comes to our finances and travel.  So plan out your travels. Talk with a good advisor to see how much your travel is going to cost, and figure out and make a plan for what you’ll need to do to make it happen.  Trust me – you won’t regret your vacation near as much as you’ll regret that ill fitting top you bought from the factory outlet.  

They can’t trust their partners to hold down the fort to get away.

Excuse me while I pull out the soap box for a minute (I’m really short, you see).

They. Absolutely. Can. Survive. Without. You. 

Do you know how I know that? Because you are amazing, but if you had to leave this world tomorrow, they would find a way. The problem is that it may not be your way. 

And that’s ok.  

They may flounder a little. They may make cheese quesadillas for every meal while you are gone. They may order out. The house may be a little messy. 

But they absolutely will make it. And they may even find new appreciation for you and all the things you do in the process.  

And either way, it’s not a good enough reason for you to not take care of you. Remember the resentful, burnt out part I mentioned earlier. It serves no one. But the refreshed you. The one that laughed until she cried. The one that talked things out with her friends. The one that slept in and let someone take care of her for a change. That woman shows up and makes her family even better. And don’t they deserve that too?

They don’t have people to travel with.

This was the number one feedback I got from women over and over again as to why they don’t take girlfriend getaways. 

So how can we at Serendipitous Traveler hold up our mission when this is a problem so many women face?

Easy – that’s why we are starting to host Girlfriend Getaways of our own. Because if you don’t have a tribe, then you should travel with ours. You can read more about it here and see more information about our group travel opportunities here. We work hard to forward plan different opportunities to make it easy for you to travel and getaway. We hope you can join us!

 

In a world where time is money, why aren’t we all working to be more productive and intentional? That’s why we encourage every woman to plan her getaway, work backwards to save and prepare, and then take the time to put herself first. Because it makes all her days better, more relaxed, more productive, and happier.  

So in the New Year, we have a new challenge to put in front of our female comrades everywhere. Schedule it. Take time for it. And take time for YOU.

The world needs you to.

Because when we are practicing self care and self love we are showing up for our people in our corner of the world even better than before. 

And then who run the world (even better than before)? Girls!

At Serendipitous Traveler we believe your vibe attracts your tribe, and our tribe is the BEST! If you don’t have a tribe to travel with, then we invite you to join our Serendipitous Squad Travel Community! We host trips for women who need and deserve a Girlfriend Getaway. Click here to join our private VIP Facebook Group! Can’t wait to have you as a part of the squad!

Belize:the perfect destination for a Girlfriend Getaway

When it comes to getting away with your friends, nothing sounds better in the middle of winter than a warm destination South of the border.  But when it comes to you and your friends, you  are looking for a little more than an “all-inclusive drunken debauchery long weekend away.” Enter Belize. 

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The ultimate welcome to your resort

Belize has absolutely everything you could want in an ideal girlfriend  getaway:

-Excellent Spas [check]

-Comfortable accommodations with great common areas [check]

-Great food [check]

-Safe Environment [check]

-A beach [check]

-Exciting excursion activities [check check]

Whatever you are looking for Belize has got it.

Depending on what you are looking for in your Girlfriend Getaway, this is what I recommend:

Active/Adventure

Start your vacation off in the jungle at San Ignacio, and stay at Chaa Creek – enough rustic adventure options from glamping, to little cottage rooms, amazing staff, extensive spa, butterfly garden, culinary classes, and guided activities from canoeing to hiking to the more adventurous excursions like canyoning. 

Making the most of your stay you can start the day off with a short guided excursion to a Mayan Ruin. In the afternoon enjoy a quiet massage out on the deck. Then partake in some of the fun beverages at the bar and restaurant at the Lodge.  

Chill and Mature

You want to go to Placencia – Stay at Chabil Mar if you are looking to stay closer to town. Their cute little villas can sleep 6 comfortably, with living room common areas to sit and relax.  For a little more luxury, spring for the three bedroom villas at Naia with the largest Spa Center in Belize. At Naia you’ll also find the only yoga studio in Belize offering aerial yoga, ashtanga, among others. Be sure to head down to the boardwalk for some fun shopping. 

 

Fun and Sun

For a more fun and beach vibe atmosphere – head over to San Pedro. Stay at the Victoria House to get everything you need: beautiful infinity pool, great spa, beach access, excellent food and excellent service.  

Head into town for a little dancing and fun, watch the chicken drop, eat at Elvis’ Kitchen, and, if you are feeling really adventurous, head on over tot he Truck Stop for rotating events each night from Trivia to family movie night. Take a day trip to ATM caves or snorkeling at Mexico Rocks. Diving adventures can also be found here.  

A little of both? Via a short, twenty minute plane ride, you can split your stay for two different experiences. Want to start in the Jungle, and finish your stay by the beach? Start off in San Ignacio and then slide into a different atmosphere and experience in San Pedro.  

Whichever you decide to do, Belize has you covered. 

And if I can help you get there, you’d know I would love to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO Krystal

10 Rules for a Successful Girls Weekend

When it comes to getting away for the weekend, there’s a lot that goes into it. It takes a lot to plan, coordinate and get several busy women to take a break and make the time for each other. Yet, we know – and study after study shows – that when we do we are happier, healthier, people!

But if you are going to finally bring the girls together, here are a few rules to make it a successful getaway:

Rule #1 – Pick a date and stick to it.

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It’s hard to sync up multiple family schedules. Especially when you don’t live local to your girlfriends.  School activities and breaks rarely match up perfectly.  If you have to factor in a spouse’s work schedule it makes it doubly hard. But if you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you. Pick a date, make it sacred and stick to it. This is your weekend and you deserve the break.

Rule #2 – Set your budget ahead of time

This may seem silly, but the older I get the more apparent it has become to me that not everyone operates on the same budget.  Every person has their own set of personal considerations to deal with. So to be transparent and head off awkward conversations later on- set the budget. These are your friends! They are nothing but supportive and considerate of your situation. That way your friend doesn’t suffer from sticker shock when you suggest the tasting menu at the hot new restaurant you just heard about.

Rule #3 Make reservations.

It seems silly, and there are more and more places getting away from this, but when possible make reservations for dinner at least one night while you are out.  You aren’t used to traveling in a large group, and those are most easily accommodated with reservations ahead of time.  Especially if you DO decide to indulge in that tasting menu.

Rule #4 Have a plan.

Travel Advisors in Action

No I don’t mean schedule every activity down to the minute. But have a general game day plan in mind ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect. Getting 6-10 people to make a decision in the moment is like pulling teeth. Then you have to run 6-10 people through showers to get ready. No thanks. But if everyone generally knows that you plan to head to the outlets when it opens up at 10, or that you have brunch reservations at 10:30, everyone can plan out their morning accordingly.

Rule #5 Book as far in advance as your schedule allows

This goes back to the “Pick a day and stick with it rule.” It’s even easier if you have an annual long weekend/week like Labor Day or Memorial Day that you always plan for. But the further out you plan, the more time you have to budget/save accordingly and to hash out a plan with your friends.

Rule #6 Rotate planning responsibilities

It is exhausting year after  year coming up with something to do, somewhere to go. It takes a lot of effort to do the research, make a plan, pitch the proposal, and make the necessary bookings and reservations. This often falls on the shoulders of one person. Spread the responsibility (and stress).  Take turns planning and being in charge of the event. This gives you more variety to the types of trips you have, and makes it easier to have it annually.

Rule #7 – Not everyone is going to make it, and that’s ok

Not so much a rule as a handy reminder. It’s hard to get 10 people together every year. Life happens. Baptisms, weddings, funerals, school plays.  Take the time to acknowledge the chapter of your life that you are in and honor that. It’s impossible to make every event every time. But don’t give up on the opportunity for everyone to get together if one or two people can’t make it. There’s always next year!

Rule #8 Don’t cover down for every little thing prior to you leaving

This was particularly hard for me when I first started taking annual girls trips. I would go out of my way to make it as easy on my partner as possible while I was gone. I would meal prep, lay out kids clothes, color code a calendar, do all the laundry, clean the house, etc etc etc.  Then I remembered – my spouse is my PARTNER, not my EMPLOYER.  I don’t have to do everything for him because he is in this WITH me. And totally and completely capable of cooking, cleaning, and clothing kids while I’m gone. Which leads me to…..

Rule #9 Bless and release what happens while you are gone

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So what if your kids eat mac and cheese for five days straight and wear mismatched clothing? There are worse things (like never taking a vacation and having to be responsible for everything 24/7). And work will absolutely survive while you are gone.  Partner with a trusted colleague to handle emergent cases while you are traveling and agree to do the same for her when she is gone. Then bless and release. This is your time. You have earned it. Don’t waste it by stressing about things beyond your control.

Finally,

Rule #10 Someone always pack a wine key

Nothing worse than being in your hotel or your rented villa, you are ready to toast the start of vacation with your girls and you can’t find the wine key. Someone always pack a wine key (just not if you plan on bringing a carry on).

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The bottom line: you deserve a weekend away with your girlfriends. Why not make it the best it can be?  And if I can help, you know I want to!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!

XO

They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and at Serendipitous Traveler we 100% agree. Do you have wanderlust? Do you want to connect with like minded people? Are you looking for a tribe? Look no further! Join our Serendipitous Squad Travel Community on Facebook and keep in touch! We are a tribe of women who believe in community over competition, love travel, suffer from FOMO, and want to be kept in the loop of #allthethings. Join us!