Tag Archives: vacation

Single this Valentine’s Day? Give this Ultimate Gift to Yourself

Gift-to-selfLove Yourself and Give Yourself the Gift of a Solo Vacation this Valentine’s Day! 

Most of us have become somewhat complacent and dependent on other people for companionship, acceptance, validation or cling to others simply out of a fear of loneliness among a multitude of other possible reasons.  As such, very few people are truly independent.  Unfortunately in our society, those who have the strength and courage to be truly independent are socially stigmatized,  especially on lovely Hallmark holidays such as Valentine’s Day.

For this reason, most people find the thought of being alone, never-mind travelling alone on vacation completely and utterly daunting.

I bring this up because the most common objection to solo travel that I hear is that people don’t want to be alone. But why?

Nobody to talk to? Afraid of getting lost in one’s own thoughts? Fear of being in a dangerous situation and unable to help oneself?

The fact of the matter is that in this day and age, people don’t even really TALK to each other anymore.  I mean, everyone just texts or instant messages and nobody actually picks up the phone and actually calls each other anymore.  Last week my younger brother stayed at my place and when my phone rang, he handed it to me and said, “Wow, your friends actually call you?”.

Heck, these days even if you sit in a coffee shop alone and aren’t scrolling through your smart phone or reading a book people will look at you like you’re a psychopath.

psychopath

What I’m trying to get at here, is that although we are so “connected to everyone” we are not truly physically or directly interacting with people in person.  This type of communication (texting, IM, emails, social media even real phone calls! etc. ) can all be done while abroad and while travelling solo. So what is everyone so afraid of?

I digress.  Now that that’s out of the way, lets explore how taking a solo vacation can benefit you and why it is the best gift you can give yourself!

5 Reasons Why Everyone Should take a Solo Vacation at Least Once in Their Lifetime:

1. You Will Make New Friends

group of smiling friends traveling by tour busWhen travelling alone, you will have to interact with others whether you like it or not. Some interactions may be brief and superficial however you will very likely meet other travellers that you otherwise never would have met or engaged with if you were in the company of your travel companion(s). Chances are you will also meet other solo travellers and if you meet someone you like, make plans to do something together even if it’s just to sit at a beach for a day, share a taxi or grab a coffee.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.

2. Your Self-Confidence Will Improve as You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

comfort zoneWithout anyone to depend on but yourself, you have no choice but to take care of all of the planning and preparation for your trip. If you find this potentially daunting, all you have to do is write out a list of your plans and everything you need for your trip and cross them off as you’ve completed each component of your itinerary. Upon returning from your adventure, you will not only be proud of yourself for all of the organization you put into the trip but also all of the amazing experiences you had as a result.  It was all you! This will no doubt boost your self-confidence immensely.

3. You will become more introspective and in-tune with your surroundings

mountain-climbingWithout the distraction of another person, you may notice and think of things you otherwise never would have noticed which can enrich your thought process and enlighten you as a human being.

 

 

 

4. You Get to do Exactly What You Want When You Want.

Me-TimeYou are in complete control of your vacation from start to finish. You can plan your itinerary just as quickly as you can ditch it and devise a new plan and not have to worry about upsetting anyone else. Want to sleep in? Do it and have nothing to feel guilty about as after all, it’s your vacation.  Want to wake up early the next day and go for a run or a head start on a road trip? No problem, just go! Tired and want to go home? Go home!  Hungry? Well, go get something to eat, whatever YOU are in the mood for and take as long as YOU like.

5. You Create your Budget and Control it.

150914_RTW_MillennialMillionaireWhen travelling alone, you spend what you want to spend and not get guilt tripped into paying to do some expensive excursion that you never wanted to do in the first place.

As you can see, there are a multitude of benefits to taking a solo vacation but there are some potential setbacks.  For example, if you are embarking on an all-inclusive vacation, most resorts have a singles surcharge which can be as high as $1000 or more.  Even worse, some resorts such as Sandals, ban single travellers all together as though singles are some outcasts in society (But don’t take it personally because these same resorts also ban gay couples so why anyone in their right mind would support such a bigoted organization is beyond me!).   Furthermore, if you are travelling solo, you must exert extra caution to ensure your personal safety especially if you are female.

Prior to booking and shorty before you leave for your trip regardless of where in the world it may be, be sure to check out your country’s government travel advisory page. If the region or the country you will be visiting becomes subject to a travel advisory, your travel health insurance or your trip cancellation insurance may be affected.

So what are you waiting for? Suck it up Princess, and go book yourself your dream solo vacation! You’ll be so proud you had that experience and have memories you will never forget!

Bon voyage!

TSW

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Is a Bad Premonition Just Cause for Cancelling a Trip?

womanlookingtofuture

Spooky? Or a case of being spooked?

Hallowe’en has always been my favorite holiday and it is just around the corner! What isn’t there to enjoy about the fall colours, visits to the orchard, haunted houses and scary movies on every channel?

This week I was originally planning on writing about some scary experiences that I have had while on the road however, something very unusual happened to me a few days ago which I feel is a much more suitable topic for the week of Halloween.

I had a premonition: A bad premonition and 3 warnings, so I decided to cancel my trip.

Before you think I’ve totally fallen off my rocker, let me tell you that I am a scientist by nature so I am naturally skeptical of such things but this has only ever happened to me twice before in my life.  The first time I was not able to avoid the situation and the second time I was able to avoid it.  These are my stories:

Premonition #1: Saved My Little Brother’s Life

My brother 8 and me 11.

My brother 8 and me 11.

When I was 11 years old, I had a premonition that the next day my mother, brother and I were going to be in a serious car accident and that my brother who was seated in the front seat of the vehicle was going to die.  When the next day came around, the entire morning felt like Deja-vu and the dreadful feeling intensified.  It was my brother’s turn to sit in the front seat that day so I begged him to sit in the back seat with me, in the middle which is the safest seat in the car.  As my premonition had it, we did get into a terrible car accident. My mother who was driving was not wearing a seat-belt ended up on the passenger side of the car with her head smashed through passenger side windshield.  If my little brother who was just 8 years old was seated in that seat, I am certain that he would have died that day.  Fortunately, we were all okay.

Premonition #2: “Don’t take the rock!”

ElvesAfter hiking my very first volcano in Iceland, I decided that I wanted to take home a souvenir. In spite of being warned by the locals (who believe in folklore-in particular about the “Hidden People”) to NEVER move or remove any rocks, I decided that I wanted to take one from the volcano.  As soon as I picked it up, this daunting, dreadful, feeling of impending doom came over me and it was as though I heard a voice in my head saying, “Don’t take the rock!”.  So I decided to listen and immediately put the rock back where I found it.  Nothing happened after but who knows what could have happened if I would have taken it?

So even if my premonition was only correct the first time, in my mind it means that when I have one there is at least a 50% chance that my premonition will turn out to be true.  Statistically speaking, that is quite significant.

So what happened this time?

Originally I was elated to go on this trip to Las Vegas but as I went to actually book it, I became completely overwhelmed with a terrible, daunting feeling as though something awful will happen to me there if go.

Am I afraid of travel?

Hell no! I’m the Travelling Saleswoman!  For the past 10 years I have travelled for up to 100 days a year in hotels and most of the time done so alone.

Am I afraid of travelling alone?

Hell no! I travel solo for both business and leisure over 90% of the time. Frankly, I prefer it!

What were these “warning” signs?

1. Failed Booking Attempt #1: On Sunday afternoon, as I submitted the payment details for my trip as I have always done using the Air Canada vacations booking site, this dreadful feeling took a hold of me and urged me not to press submit. I got a sudden rush of these very dark images in my mind-nothing specific but very dark. In spite of this, I pressed submit but received an error message saying that it was unable to book. I tried another 3 times and received the same message so I decided to call the Air Canada Call Center and they informed me that their system was down until further notice and that they were unable to book my trip, so I gave up for the time being.

2. My TV Froze on the film “Hostel III” which happens to take place in Vegas. After I got off the phone with Air Canada and made some lunch, I sat down and turn on the TV and Hostel III was on HBO.  I thought great! I hadn’t seen this one before (believe it or not!). For those of you who are unfamiliar with these films, the story goes something along the lines of rich psychopaths who are part of an elite killing club which kidnaps tourists and tortures them. Coincidentally, this film took place in Vegas, where I was planning on going and had the bad premonition about! After I realized that I had in fact seen this movie before (I forget movies all the time!), I tried to check the other channels to see what other movies were on but, I couldn’t change the channel because my PVR froze. Was this telling me something? Or am I just crazy?

3. Failed Booking Attempt #2 and 3: Ignoring the previous bad gut feeling, failed booking attempt and timely exposure to Hostel III, the following day I decided to try and book my trip once again. This time I simultaneously tried booking on Air Canada’s site AND Expedia BUT BOTH SITES FAILED! Even with different airlines. For some unknown reason, both sites kept timing out and wouldn’t let me book. It wasn’t an issue with my internet connection since I have the fastest connection available and was able to operate all other websites without issue.  I took this as a final warning sign and decided not to go on this trip.

As I mentioned previously, I rarely get any sort of premonition but based on my personal experience, I do not take these lightly. Call it what you may, “woman’s instinct”, “gut feeling” or whatever but the bottom line is, when my gut or whatever it may be gives me such a powerful feeling, I won’t ignore it.

Is it a coincidence that over 350 passengers originally scheduled on the hijacked 9/11 flights either cancelled or didn’t board last minute? Maybe or maybe not.

The truth of the matter is that in spite of how much science can explain, there is much more to life out there that we cannot yet explain and perhaps never will.

In reading this, do you think that having a bad premonition is just cause for cancelling a trip?

Have you ever had a similar experience? Or known someone who has?

I would love to hear your stories.

In the meantime, travel safe my friends and listen to your gut.

Cheers,

TSW

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Vacation? How to Really Unplug From Work and Check Into Vacation Mode

phone-in-sand

In theory this sounds easy to do, but if you’re in sales or own your own business it can be almost impossible.  If you’re like me, you worry that if you check-out from work that nobody else in your company will be able to handle your clients with the same quality of care that you do.

This is especially so because I’m guilty of checking my work emails and messages from the moment I wake up at 5:30am until just before I go to sleep at 10pm. Whether it’s the evening, the weekend or I’m off stick, I can’t help but attend to all my work-related calls, emails and text messages.  By doing this, my clients have an expectation that I am available at all times.

The primary reason I opted to make myself so available is because I manage clients across Canada.  I am based out of the east coast and almost half of my clients are on the west coast.  This means that when my head office is closed at 4pm, it is still 1pm, the middle of the work day, for a substantial portion of my clients.  Needless to say, I made myself available to them to secure the business and it was an excellent move.

This is all great until I need to take a break and go on vacation.  How does one take time off when work is constantly beckoning you at your side?

Similar to the electronic devices we use on a daily basis, we too need to rest and recharge. It is essential to our mental and physical health.  Taking a well-deserved break will enable you to come back to work refreshed and better able to tackle all of the challenges in front of you.

How can you “separate” yourself from work and not feel guilty? 

Keep in mind that everyone (your clients included) can understand the need to take a break. As long as you can get away without  their service being completely interrupted in your absence, go for it!  We are all deserve some sort of vacation, so don’t cheat yourself of that.

Follow the following steps:

  1. Make a Contact List for Your Clients to Contact in Your Absence

Compile a list of the basic elements of your job and assign a person in your company to handle those tasks in your absence.  Make sure to get their permission and your supervisor’s permission to delegate your tasks before you leave, otherwise you might land in some hot water with your co-workers.

  1. Set an Out-of-Office Email Reply

This is quite standard practice.  Be sure to include the exact dates that you will be unavailable and all of the contact information of your colleagues who will be able to assist your customers in your absence.  Upon my return to the office, I will send an email to all of my clients who emailed me while I was away in order to assure that their inquiries were taken care of.  This is important because I have noticed that almost 50% of my clients will wait for me to come back because they prefer to deal with me directly.

  1. Change Your Voicemail

Compile a temporary voicemail message which will relay the same details as your out-of-office reply.

  1. Give Your Clients a Head’s Up

Email: This is very important if you have clients that have grown accustomed to emailing you and assuming you have everything taken care of and don’t check their inbox for a reply.  If a client places an order in the morning and doesn’t see your out-of-office reply until later that day or the next day, their order may be substantially delayed and they will not likely be very happy.  Send them a quick email before you leave stating exactly when and how long you will be away and who they are to contact in your absence. Your clients will really appreciate this.

Text: Since there is no automatic out-of-office text message reply, be sure to text your clients who regularly text you before you leave to let them know you will not be receiving your messages.  I have no idea why there isn’t an app for this in this day in age. Whoever invents this will be a millionaire!

  1. Turn Off Your Phone and Get Off the Internet!

Yes, that’s right! Disconnect!

  1. Enjoy Your Vacation!

Today I’m heading off on vacation for one week. I’ve finished scrambling to get everything done before I leave, which often is more stressful than the average work week and I’ve completed all of the steps above and plan to enjoy my time off guilt-free.  I hope you do the same.

Safe travels my friends and don’t forget to charge your batteries every once in a while too.

 

TSW

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