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

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Serendipitous Squad Travel Community

It’s been a little over a year since I started Serendipitous Traveler. Like any new entrepreneurial journey, year one definitely came with ups and downs. It takes awhile to find your footing in a new industry, to learn who all the players are and to decide where you plan on staking your ground.

It’s largely known that the travel industry is a conundrum.  There are so many options a person has when it comes to booking their travel – from Online Agencies like Expedia for the budget traveler, to large corporate consortias, to small agencies like myself. There is no shortage of finding what you need. There is someone out there ready to serve up what you ask for, you just have to be diligent enough to ask. Yet, for all of us out there, no one still understands airline pricing, so at least we all have that in common.

So, when I decided to declare my niche in this industry, it was very clear to me from day one what kind of travel I wanted to specialize in.  Girlfriend Getaways! I wanted to be the #girlfriendgetawayguru. Why? Because I know how important they are and what a cornerstone they have been in my life. So, I set out on a mission – to take care of the people that seem to spend so much of their time taking care of everyone else, and encourage them to travel with their girlfriends.

This was the feedback I got:

  • I don’t have anyone to travel with
  • My friends don’t like to travel
  • My friends can’t afford to travel

And just like that I knew what I needed to do – founded the Serendipitous Squad Travel Community. They say your vibe attracts your tribe and at Serendipitous Traveler we 100% agree. And we say, if you don’t have a squad to travel with, then we want you to travel with us.

We believe in community over competition.

We believe in supporting one another through all walks of life.

We believe that we are our best selves when we practice real self care.

And we want to see as much of this world as we can before our time is up and want to do it in the company of other extraordinary women who believe these things, too.

Because we want to live a life by design, not by default.

So I invite you to join us. We have a private Facebook community called The Serendipitous Squad Travel Community.  Starting in 2020, we will be hosting group trips. We have some domestic and some international plans up our sleeves, but here is the kicker – we are announcing them in our Serendipitous Squad Facebook Group first.

Our first hosted trip will be announced on Black Friday. We will make a general public announcement later, but I’m a little worried that if you wait for the general announcement, the trips might be sold out.

And I’d hate for you to miss out.

So do us both a favor – jump into our private Facebook Group.

Done? Good!

So happy to have you as a part of the squad!

Until next time, happy wanderlusting!
XO Krystal

Girlfriend Getaways are what cures your soul

Google “girlfriend getaways” and you will be hit with a myriad of articles telling you that it’s been scientifically proven that time away with your girlfriends makes you happier, healthier, and can lead to a longer life.

And women everywhere read that and let out a collective, “Duh.”

Because we know it. And we feel it every time we get together. The camaraderie. The community. The laughter. All of it.

So why don’t we do it more?

There are a lot of reasons, but most of them center around the same idea. We are the caretakers. Of our jobs. Of our families. Of our marriages. Of our homes…..the list could go on and on.

But every once in awhile, we need to lay it down and be the caretakers of ourselves. Which is why I do what I do. I get to be the caretaker of other women who work so hard to take care of every one else.

So what kind of girls trip are we planning in the next year? Here I’ve listed a few of my favorites:

The Wellness Trip

2018 Advisor Contest

Wellness vacations are on the rise for 2019, and there’s no wonder why. Its a vacation in the truest sense. A chance to recharge in all the right ways, whether it’s via a swim up bar, a spa retreat, or a yoga and fitness escape. Wellness travel focuses on the whole individual – from spa resorts on land or at sea, to fitness camps, to full wellness retreats travelers have a treasure trove of options to create the perfect wellness getaway with your girlfriends.

The Culinary Experience

Culinary travel is an industry that is really coming up these days. Travelers looking for well-rounded culinary experiences that are immersive, interactive and educational needn’t look very hard. Itineraries for culinary experiences are a fun, interactive way to travel with your girlfriends, taking it a step further from traditional wine and dine options. Options can include dining with a local, taking a food-centric city tour, and actively taking part in food-sourcing and preparation.

The Wine Trip

You know that Napa was listed as one of my top destinations for a Girlfriend Getaway in 2019. But your options for wine don’t have to end there (although it wouldn’t be the worst place in the world to end up). A Bordeaux River Cruise through France, experiencing local vineyards is another option. Wine tourism is on the rise all over the world, and I bet you anything your favorite travel advisor can point you in the right direction for the best options wherever you want to go.

The options are certainly not limited to what’s listed here. There is hiking and adventure and so many more options. However you decide to spend your vacation, I hope you are taking the opportunity to do it with the ones that really know you – your girlfriends. For your own health and wellbeing. And if I can help you, you know where to find me friends.

5 Best Girlfriend Getaways for 2019

I don’t know about you, but the start of 2019 feels sort of exciting for me! For us there’s a lot of change coming up, which is why I’m putting my trips in my calendar now before the year gets away from me. Of course, I’m blocking out time for my girlfriends. And since 2019 seems to be the year of the girl (looking at you congress), let’s talk about my pick for the top 5 Girlfriend Getaways for 2019.

Chicago

When it comes to a girls weekend, look no further than Chicago! Centrally located, convenient to fly in and out of and so full of things to do, there’s no way you can pack it all in for one weekend. Spend your days shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Grab lunch at The Gage before crossing the street to the Cloud Gate for your mandatory photo op in front of “The Bean.” Duck into the Ghiradelli chocolate factory for a quick treat. Rest your feet on the Architecture Boat Tour in the late afternoon. Grab dinner at Piccolo Sogno– be sure to make a reservation for the patio, it’s one of the best in the city! Feeling a little less fancy? Grab a table at Avec and enjoy a few shared plates to pass around!

Napa Valley

While it may seem an obvious choice, we would be remiss to mention Napa as the perfect Girlfriend Getaway location this year. Obviously, there are plenty of vineyard and wine tours available to satisfy any palate. You can also spend a morning learning the art of sabrage, spend an afternoon hiking in the Redwoods, and finish your evening at 3-star Michelin restaurant, The French Laundry. Relaxing spa options and boutique shopping opportunities round this out as the perfect long weekend for you and your girlfriends.

New York

It’s the city that never sleeps, which is a perfect way to spend your weekend away! Plan your weekend around one of the cities great festivals. Grab brunch at Sarabeth’s before you enjoy a stroll through Central Park. Enjoy shopping on Fifth Avenue. Take a minute to visit the 9/11 memorial and museum. Grab a show on Broadway. Enjoy the lights and people watching on Times Square. It will be a weekend you never forget!

Florence

We can’t keep everything domestic! And with flights to Europe looking reasonable this season why not think Italy – specifically Florence! Florence is a great destination for a girlfriend getaway. Start your day walking through the leather markets and take a crack at your haggling skills to find the best price! Spend a weekend trying ALL the gelato to find your favorite. Take a chianti wine tour through the Italian countryside. Spend an afternoon checking out the statue of Michelangelo’s David and grab an evening meal with some homemade pasta at Yellow Bar.

Paris

I know – when people conjure up images of Paris, they are usually immediately flooded with all thoughts amoré, BUT what if I told you that Paris was more than one-love-dimensional? If you are trying to plan a girls trip Paris NEEDS to be at the top of your list. The city’s charm and magic doesn’t stop for the romantics.  Start with great shopping down the Champs-Élysées, be sure to try out ALL the macron flavors at Laduree and take a segway tour through all the major sites. End the evening with a picnic on the Champs du Mars in front of the Eiffel tower and catch the perfect photo opportunity when the tower’s lights come on.

So tell me, what are your plans for 2019? Any trips planned? Need some travel inspiration? Drop me a note and let’s plan your next girlfriend getaway!

Until next time, Happy Wonderlusting! xo-K