Over the last few days, due to the horrific events that has happened in Paris and Beirut, my normally excited, cheerful wander-lusting, women’s travel group https://www.facebook.com/groups/girlswhotravel/, has now become scared. Many sharing their condolences, some stories of first hand accounts, and others now considering rerouting or canceling, all together, future travel plans. Traveling through terror is something that many women, or men for that matter, are afraid to do.
This is understandable, but also very sad. The normally, bubbly and enthusiastic globetrotting girls, are, instead of talking about upcoming trips, and sharing amazing photos of exotic locations, are now asking advice on if they should go on their previously planned trip to Paris or anywhere in Europe at all. Many are talking about all of the deaths and some are discussing the bigotry that has now, and sadly, not surprising, that has spiked against Muslims.
One girl shared that she was in the club when the attacks happened and laid on top of dead bodies, pretending she was dead to save herself. It was very scary to hear about and we were all so happy that she was okay. Another Muslim girl shared that since the attacks, she has been kicked out of another travel group because of her race[religion]. It was awful to hear and we all gave her words of comfort and acceptance.
Now these women, are in reality, strangers. I don’t think I’ve met any of them personally, all except the four girls that I encouraged to join the group, but we all feel like sisters.
It’s a very weird and beautiful thing. There are over 20,000 active members worldwide in the girls who travel group; coming from all races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, belief systems, etc, yet this group has that common bond of the love of travel. We give each other travel advice, inspire each other that we can travel solo, support each other during breakups or hardships, and come together during a crisis, like we did when a girl was mugged at knife-point in Sri Lanka and came to us for help. The outpouring of assistance made me so proud to be a member of this group. We were able to give her the phone numbers and address of her Embassy and contacted her mother. Thankfully she is totally fine and after her return home, updated us that she was okay, and how appreciative she was from all of our support.
Many of these girls have since joining the group, have done meet-ups and some became long-term travel partners. I hope to someday, through my travels, end up meeting one of these lovely ladies. This group has something magical about it. Most of us can’t go a day without popping in just to say hello or read some advice or a story that one of us has shared.
Through this group, I have been inspired to finally get the courage to take my first solo trip, which is coming in just two short weeks, to Belize. This group also helped me find an amazing travel steal, where I got tickets from Boston to San Jose, Costa Rica, roundtrip for $150.00!! This group also gave me insight on places I my have never considered visiting before, such as Tel Aviv or places I have never heard of, like Seychelles. I also felt a connection when girls would share their heartfelt break up stories and how travel gave them a new lease on life.
Since I started writing this post a few weeks ago, I stopped it altogether, midway. I was at a point where my social media was a constant stream of bigotry, anger and hatred. I literally needed to just get away from it all. I decided it was best for me to go on a social media detox for a few weeks, to reset and regroup my emotional state and disconnect a bit.
This was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I was in tune with my body enough to notice that the emotional distress I was having, due to all of the upsetting things I was reading, was actually taking a toll on my health. I couldn’t sleep, I had trouble eating, I felt teary at times, out of the blue, I felt agitated and extremely stressed.
In my absence from social media; I read, spent quality time with my family and friends, where I was actually completely present, I meditated, did yoga and through this I felt a subtle change happening in my body. It was a cleansing and it was exactly what I needed.
Now that I am back, I am happy to report that although things in the media are still heated and distressing, my girls who travel group is back to its old self again. I was so relieved and happy to see, that the massive posts of asking if people should cancel their trips, were now filled with stories and pictures of girls on their travels all over the world, some even in Paris. This made me smile.