This one’s for the girls. For the daughters, the mothers, the wives, the girlfriends, the sisters…whoever you are. As women, we are typically the caretakers, the plate spinners, the glue that holds many families together. And everybody has an opinion on what we “should” be doing.
We’re told to lean in-but also to lean out, to be polite but break down barriers, to be gracious but also stand up for ourselves. We’re told to get good grades, go to college, get a good job, to exercise and eat right, to shave our pits, find a partner, buy a house, start a family, save for retirement and diversify our portfolios. Does anyone else want to scream?
You know what you need in your life? Girls' trips. You know why you need them? Because you deserve it. So many people lean on you or depend on you in some way, so it’s okay to chase your own happiness once in a while. Travel is about owning your own time, about choosing your destination, deciding where you want to eat, what you want to see, what time you want to get up in the morning.
As we get older, so little of our time is actually dictated by our own desires. You likely have a routine, a schedule that consumes nearly every waking hour of your day, at least five days a week. I don’t have to tell you how soul-sucking that can be, it’s like spending your paycheck before it even arrives.
Trips with your girlfriends is a great way to reconnect and breathe new life into the dark recesses of your mind and body that may have collected a few cobwebs over time. And while we’re at it, say this out loud with me: “Should is a word I am actively removing from my vocabulary.” Here are three reasons to give yourself permission to take girls' trips.
1. You will never have a bond like the one you have with your girlfriends
Hear me out. Your girlfriends are the ones who know that you are more than the labels you’ve assumed throughout your life. They knew the “you” who thought perms were fashion forward, the “you” who went through that unfortunate grunge phase, and also the “you” who made a mean grilled cheese with an iron in your dorm room.
To them, you are more than someone’s wife, girlfriend or mother, you’re still the same girl you’ve always been. The one who secretly egged their boyfriend’s car when he was caught cheating, and the one who encouraged them to take the job in the new city even though they didn’t know anyone. Sometimes, we all need a reminder that we are still the girl we used to be, especially if we haven’t recognized her in the mirror for quite some time.
Or you know what? Maybe you aren’t the same girl you used to be, and that’s ok too. But your girlfriends are the ones who’ve been your champions and have seen your growth over the years, no matter how painful that metamorphosis may have been. That bond is a level of intimacy that is hard to replicate because they know who you are at a fundamental level, not just who you are in your current chapter of life.
There is a huge sense of relief that comes with shedding the everyday pressures of who you have become. And not necessarily because you became someone you didn’t want to be…but because every once in a while we need to put the weight of it all down and just breathe.
2. You will never be as young as you are right now
Remember when you were a kid and you thought you were fat? You could’ve had matchstick legs, but nobody could change your mind no matter what they said. Well welcome to adulthood where you’re probably at least 50 pounds heavier than you were when you started complaining about your weight.
The same things happen as we get older, only it’s a number of new obstacles (real or perceived – more on that later). Your body may hurt a little more when you get out of bed in the morning, those hangovers definitely don’t go away as quickly as they used to, and you probably have more responsibilities now than ever before. Who will take care of the house, watch the kids, feed the dog or your spouse?
Well guess what, in another five years, you may have gotten a lofty and demanding promotion, you could be caring for an aging parent, given birth to another child or brought home yet another animal from the shelter.
The point is, life usually gets more complicated as we go, making it even harder to make time or pry yourself away. As we age, we also tend to become more risk averse, especially when there are people who depend on us and can’t really fend for themselves (see those perceived risks in action?).
There are countless ways to talk yourself out of investing your time and resources on your own well-being. But here’s the truth: your responsibilities will still be there when you get home and they’ll all be ok, even if they are in various states of disarray.
So round up the girls and go hiking in the mountains in Washington, go have your chakras balanced in Vegas or go on a Florence wine tour. None of us knows how many years we have left, let alone healthy years, where we would even consider a life-changing experience like trekking to a glacier. You won’t get any younger than you are right now, don’t let this time pass you by.
3. You will evolve into a better human
What travel can do for your evolution as a human being is seemingly infinite. And it’s often in ways we don’t even realize. Take for instance, a trip like the one I’m suggesting. You may see it as an elongated version of a boozy brunch with a group of friends, but what you will gain in return is endless.
You may see a scary zip-lining experience you can’t believe you’re about to take, but what you’re really gaining is the ability to overcome fear. You see the strange local delicacy you’re not sure if you should squish or eat, but you’re actually growing in curiosity and a willingness to not only try new things, but not to take them at face value. You may see inequality and injustice while you’re visiting far off lands, and in turn become more understanding and compassionate. Who knows, you may even become a fierce advocate.
By nurturing your closest relationships in unfamiliar places, you feed your soul and sense of self. And in return, you not only increase your confidence in who you are, but you gain the knowledge and insight to realize you can handle anything that is thrown your way, whether it be in the boardroom or the playroom. And that also means you get to watch the same growth happen for your girlfriends. What could be better than lifting them up? Rising together!
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Ashley Oñoz-Wright has been a travel writer and editor based in Las Vegas, NV for the last eight years and is a regular contributor for Manifesting Travel, Modern Luxury, Sophisticated Living, Greenspun Media Group, Vegas.com and LasVegas.com. She holds a degree in Sociology & Anthropology from DePauw University.