Editor’s Note: This month, that is August 2019, FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth is Travel, where we invite various articles narrating bitter-sweet travel experiences. If you’d like to share your story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are into “Wanderlust” or not, wandering with your wonderful girlfriends is an experience that is worth all your time, money and efforts. Girls trips are life events that have a high return on emotional, social, and monetary investment and almost always live up to the hype. Over my adulting years, I have had the privilege of discovering new places with some of my closest girlfriends, and although I am one of those people who are better at dishing out advice than taking it, here are a few lessons that I learnt, which could be useful to my fellow feminists.
Ditch the Dieting
One of my first international trips was as a young, 20-something woman with my equally young, 20-something friend to Malaysia and it is still one of my most memorable vacations, primarily because we went all-out on the local food scene. Those were the times when curves were out and size zero was in (hello Kate Moss, bye Kim Kardashian). But for us, food had to go in and unattainable beauty standards had to go out. While showing some serious love and dedication to Malaysian food, we realised that nothing can bring people closer, literally and figuratively, than finishing each other’s plates off.
The local food scene is an integral part of a place’s culture and can offer valuable insights, history lessons, and authentic experiences.
So, ditch the diet, embrace your inner decadent, hedonist self who luxuriates in having five full meals a day. The local food scene is an integral part of a place’s culture and can offer valuable insights, history lessons and authentic experiences. And as no one said ever, food may give you an upset stomach but it will never break your heart.
Take lots of Pictures, and then some more
Pictures are memories. Period. And on days when you are down, flipping through the Facebook album or Instagram posts of your girls trip is almost guaranteed to make you feel less of a nihilist and more of a sprightly cheerleader doing a high-V.
Ignore the sheepish feeling that you are being a total narcissistic fool by insisting on 50 pictures from different angles, even though the only thing that’s changed are the people in the background. Women are taught to hate their bodies. This is one way to flip patriarchal self-hate on its head and revel in the glory of your physical self, warts and all. And your girlfriends are the only people on earth who will move heaven and earth to find the right Instagram-worthy pic of you. In my opinion, boyfriends might be nice sometimes (and the Boyfriends of Instagram Facebook page is hilarious) but they have nothing on the patience and resilience of a girl friend who’s dead-set on making you look like an absolute queen.
Support your Girls
An all girls trip is like Girls Trip (the movie) without, hopefully, that scene with Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish. In other words, it is an overload of raucous fun. But with great times come great responsibility to look out for each other. Predatorial men are to be found everywhere—the phenomenon is as consistent as the laws of quantum physics. While patriarchy is unlikely to be defeated over the course of one vacation, it can definitely be given a body blow by supporting and protecting your friends.
Be it punching the guy who would not lay off on the dance floor or the rambunctious dude getting fresh with your super drunk friend, work through that alcohol-fuelled haze to make sure everyone is safe. Even better, take turns to be the designated “mom” and go easy on the intoxicants for that one night. Prevention is always better than the cure, especially when society doesn’t care about the latter.
But with great times comes great responsibility to look out for each other. Predatorial men are to be found everywhere—the phenomenon is as consistent as the laws of quantum physics.
Choose your Companions Carefully
Unfortunately, not all friends make the best travel partners. A trait that makes them indispensable in everyday life could be the very thing that can get annoying while travelling.
For instance, that friend who assiduously plans everything may be a life saver on weekends but obsessing over fine details and being intransigent on holidays can lead to petty arguments and resentment. Your high maintenance friend’s habits may be amusing in the bleak routine of your everyday existence but not when you are travelling on a shoestring budget. Heels look great when you are out in the city but may not be the safest choice on the sandy beaches of Goa (true story). That doesn’t mean that you cannot travel with your OCD-afflicted bestie. It simply means you need to decide if it’s a heel or sneakers kind of vacation and who fits that shoe.
Arguments will happen and that’s okay
Irrespective of who your friends are, chances are that personalities do clash and things, occasionally, come to a head. And travels, with all its heightened sense of excitement, anticipation and stress, tend to elevate our sensory and emotional levels that can make a milquetoast quibble seem like a scene from Fight Club. Because all travel is, is a case of too little time, too much to do, tempers can flay somewhere in the middle of Manhattan or worse, a cold war that puts the US and Russia to shame.
The trick is to to deal with it head-on and trash it out with your mate. Bottling resentments and suppressing emotions can be acceptable tactics when you are back to the daily grind. Minor wrangling distracts you from the incredible monotony and enervating isolation of this modern, capitalist life. But your time travelling is precious. Ditch the drama and forgive each other.
Sisters before Misters
Irrespective of how you feel about men, it’s best to regard them as superfluous to requirements when travelling with your girls. This means cutting down on the long Facetime and Whatsapp calls with your partner. They will still be there when the good times are over. Limited information dissemination also means that you can churn your holiday adventures into nice little yarns that can be spun over and over again to regale everyone who missed out on the fun (to which they weren’t invited to).
Holiday romance reads well in paperback novels but don’t translate into the three-dimensional world. There’s a reason why they sell in the millions; fantasies always do. And even though you might be hopelessly optimistic that such girl trips will become as frequent as your monthly period pain, the probability of men menstruating is higher.
Make friends, hang out with the locals, share a pint with your hostel mates but never neglect your girlfriends because these moments are precious and rare.
Whether it’s an impromptu road trip to Goa, a budget holiday in Thailand, or a fancy vacation in Europe, home is wherever you’re with girlfriends. Take the plunge (repeatedly); the world can wait.
Featured Image Source: Crossworld Holidays