TRAVELLING SOLO

TAKING ON AN ADVENTURE WITH NEW COMPANIONS

Have you ever wanted to go on a group trip – but were hesitant about travelling with a group of people you didn’t know?

Take Anna Tsirakidis for example. Anna and her husband had always planned to travel the world, but when her husband passed away Anna found she was reluctant to travel alone.

“I had lots of question marks in my head – especially about the ‘unknown’ waiting at the other end. But I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and decided to just do it.”

So last September Anna travelled solo for the first time, and emboldened by the experience, she decided to join The Divine Destination Collection trip to El Camino in Spain this past May.

“It was exactly the kind of trip I wanted,” says Anna. “I wanted all the bells and whistles.”

At first Anna was worried that the other people might form cliques and she would feel out of place. But after attending the initial trip presentation, her fears were allayed. “It gave me a picture of who would be going and I felt very comfortable.”

The group also did a pre-trip walk to prepare for El Camino, which made Anna feel even more at ease. “As we walked I got to talk with more people. It was a wonderful group to talk to and listen to.”

The trip ended up exceeding Anna’s expectations – especially the extra details The Divine Destination Collection puts into the trip, like garden parties, surprise dinner nights, and invitations waiting at each new hotel. “It all flowed so beautifully, and these little incidentals made it so memorable.”

In fact, Anna ended up enjoying the trip so much she will be travelling solo again next year when The Divine Destination Collection heads to the South of France. “I think travelling alone makes you more open to new possibilities. It expands your horizons.”

Her Camino adventure also made her appreciate the care The Divine Destination Collection takes in planning their trips, especially for solo travellers. “You have everything you need – even if you didn’t know you needed it. I felt confident knowing there was someone at the other end taking care of all the arrangements.”

ONCE IS OFTEN NOT ENOUGH FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS

Nancy Cronyn is another repeat Divine Destination Collection solo traveller. She has actually gone on five different trips, with two by herself – Muskoka and El Camino.

“I’ve travelled a lot by myself,” says Nancy. “I like meeting people. If you just travel with family you don’t tend to mix.”

Like Anna, Nancy took advantage of the chance to meet her fellow travellers at the pre-trip gatherings The Divine Destination Collection organized.

She admits it’s natural to feel a bit nervous about meeting a new group of people and wondering what they will think, but Nancy always remembers the advice her mother gave her when she was scared about going to a new school – everyone else is actually thinking the same thing.

“You can’t be afraid,” says Nancy. “You have to go for it. Be yourself. Enjoy yourself!”

There are also lots of opportunities to get to know your travelling companions at the many group activities planned for each trip. Although you can choose whether to participate or not, Nancy loved taking part in each group adventure.

While on Divine’s Muskoka Experience, Nancy did everything from foraging for mushrooms and taking a boat ride with a local wildlife expert, to carving Hallowe’en pumpkins. In Spain she loved the horse ride on the last day and the Queimada Ceremony, and the chance to enjoy a fantastic Galician meal at the O Muiño de Pena, a charming 19th century mill.

But since she likes to meditate, Nancy also enjoys being by herself, and found she liked walking alone when the group travelled along the Camino trail.

“It was a nice surprise,” she says. “Being alone was very pleasant, a perfect way to do the journey – hearing the wind and listening to the birds.”

THE LUXURY OF HAVING SOMEONE ELSE TAKE CARE OF ALL THE ARRANGEMENTS

Even for people who usually travel on their own, the chance to travel with a group can be a nice change.

Maura Lendon also went on the El Camino trip, as well as The Divine Destination Collection trip to Mexico a few years ago.

Although she is a well-seasoned solo traveller, Maura finds it good to be part of a bigger group with like-minded travellers from time to time.

“Travelling by yourself can be tiring, so it’s nice to have someone organize things, and to have a group of people to have dinner with,” says Maura. “You also get to take part in activities and experiences that you couldn’t access by yourself that brings an authentic aspect to your trip.”

For example, the Camino group was treated to a private performance by local singers in a beautiful Spanish Church in Santiago and a Youth Choir at the final night’s dinner. A historian joined them on their journey to point out significant sites along the Camino trail. The food was also “mind-blowingly good,” says Maura.

There was also lots of freedom, adds Maura. You didn’t have to take part in the group activities if you didn’t want to, and you could choose to walk alone or walk with different people at different times.

Maura’s advice to other solo travellers considering a group adventure – “Be open to the experience!”

FINDING THE TRIP THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

El Camino had been on Kathleen Fanstone’s wish list for a long time. “I’m pretty sporty. Lying on a beach just isn’t me. I like a trip where you need to push yourself.”

While the Camino wasn’t a tough journey, Kathleen enjoyed walking for five or six hours a day. “It made my heart sing,” she says.

An avid traveller, Kathleen takes at least three or four trips a year, usually on her own, but sometimes meeting up with friends for part of the trip.

“My philosophy is – I like doing what I like. Some mornings I want to sleep in, other times I’m ready to get up and go. It’s my day, my way.”

When Kathleen heard about The Divine Destination Collection trip to El Camino she knew that this was what she wanted to do. “It was the right place and the right time.” She also liked the combination of a spiritual journey wrapped in luxury.

“You are so very well looked after if you are travelling alone. The Divine Destination Collection co-founders, Allison and Deb have a knack for knowing what you need before you do. They are always looking out for everyone’s best interests.”

Like Maura, Kathleen likes the fact that you have lots of choices. “Whatever you want to do, they support you.”

She also enjoyed the surprises that were planned along the way – like private concerts, learning opportunities, and unique locations. “Just when you are wondering when you will be stopping for lunch – the place is revealed and you have an absolutely incredible meal.

“Each day was even better than the one before. I’d do it again in a heartbeat”.

Interested in joining The Divine Destination Collection trip this October to Scotland: Mists, Mystics and the Whisky Trail? We only have 2 rooms remaining. Or next year’s Sacred South of France and the Mystery of Mary Magdalene? The exciting itinerary will be revealed soon! You can also read more testimonials from The Divine Destination Collection travellers on the website.

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