Have you ever taken a holiday with close girlfriends?
I’ve read and heard stories about these kinds of shared-dream holidays that have gone spectacularly wrong. Disagreements emerged at every turn: where and what to eat, how much alcohol was ok, how early to get up, how much to do in one day, which side trips made sense, how much each person was willing to spend, etc. etc.
I realized after doing a little research that close-friend getaways can be a disaster. Sometimes ending up in the loss of long cherished friendships.
But in my experience, if you can agree ahead of time on the kind of trip you are going to take; and if you make and keep your priorities clear, a vacation with close girlfriends can be life-changing in the best of ways! Let me tell you about mine.
Some years ago, I invited my dear friend Claire to join me at a place in Mexico where my husband and I often stay. As a couple, we have had some joyous and memorable holidays there. The condo looks out at the azure-blue Caribbean Sea. The beach is sandy and white and not overcrowded. Most days are very warm and sunny. It’s a kind of paradise.
But holidays often come at a time of year when one is feeling pretty tired. So, Claire and I decided that rest was a primary requirement for our joint getaway in early February. We agreed that we may or may not travel around Mexico after getting to the condo.
Though she is a dynamo of a woman, she was suffering at that time from very bad asthma. She thought the sun would do her a lot of good. But we did not want to end up having a “drain-cation.” So we agreed upon careful parameters.
After a few days in the sun, Claire’s symptoms of asthma improved remarkably. Deep rest, many hours of daylight, quiet meals, laughter and great conversation all added up to a shift in health that was pretty life-changing for her. After two weeks, we both returned home inspired and rested. Our work goals clearer; our energies renewed. We decided to do it again the following year.
When the time came a year later to plan another girlfriend escape, we included Claire’s daughter, Erin, who, in her late 30s, is also a close friend of mine. This vacation ended up being even more memorable and transformative than the first. Both women are deep thinkers, but they also like to have fun. Again, we did not travel. Our main expenditures were the flight and condo costs. Perfect for our budgets.
Rest was a priority for each of us. Erin, who is in the documentary film business, has a brutal work schedule. So she also welcomed some down time. But we found things to do that rejuvenated us not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well.
Here are a few of the activities that brought us joy and helped us to shift our perspectives in ways that have improved our lives. Perhaps you too can plan these kinds of things on your own girlfriend vacation.
On our first trip together, Claire had brought some silky tops with the idea that we would take photos of ourselves in our bathing suits with these light cover-ups on the balcony overlooking the ocean. In her mind, these would be “here we are in our 60s and still smashing it” photos. When Erin joined us, we decided to do these quirky “photoshoots” again. And we have done this each year for 7 years.
We know after all this time that these photoshoots are much more than merely taking pictures of one another. They stimulate long and deep conversations about what it means to grow older as a woman.
We observe the changes in our bodies as inevitable. But we explore more carefully the changes in how we feel about life. Can we find ways to maintain a positive outlook and spark some magic in our daily lives? Can we help one another to do this? And how?
I believe that it was youthful Erin who encouraged a midnight topless swim in the ocean. It’s not often that you will see 60-something women take off their tops and dive into inky late-night waters, but there we were, following Erin’s lead. It was exhilarating and naughty.
Fun to feel that kind of freedom for a few stolen minutes. That simple, zany outing opened up some pretty dazzling conversation about ways to spark more joy in our lives. Not just on vacation, but in everyday life.
Another night, we lay outside on a mattress on the balcony, watching the stars. We listened to the rhythm of the waves and talked about feeling ageless in that moment. Then we danced to 60s’ music in our pajamas until sleep beckoned.
These are simple, inexpensive things to do on a vacation. Some will find this type of vacation too limited – lacking in opportunities to see new things in a foreign country. From these no-frills kind of holidays, I have learned what a boon it is to have the support of women friends as the years go by.
Recent studies have shown us that we are more likely to age well and live longer if we have good friends and a loving social framework. I’m discovering that one way to build that framework with little stress is to take easy-going vacations together in a beautiful place. Perhaps this kind of getaway is also intriguing to you?
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Have you ever taken a girlfriend vacation? If so, did you enjoy it? What kinds of things did you do that gave you happiness? If not, are you drawn to the idea?
My group of friends and I go away each year in February to a place where they celebrate the 1920’s. Everyone dresses in theme and there is appropriate entertainment and the whole town gets in on the fun. There is outdoor concerts and dancing in the streets. We dress up at night and dine out and it is totally different than our everyday life. We have a lot of laughs and fun.We love it so much that we book ahead for the next year.Last year we didn’t get to go because of a cyclone but I can’t wait for February to roll around again!
Neat…where is this place?
It’s in Cancun, Mexico!
that sounds like a wonderful event! Unique in Memorable. Thanks so much for writing about it!
My husband and I (age 75) moved away from my girlfriends over a year ago, but I took a girls’ river cruise with them last May. It filled my empty reservoir like nothing else can. This year we are taking an Alaska cruise & Denali land cruise, ending with a 12 tour up to the Arctic Circle! One friend has two fake knees and one has had hip replacement. I am spending $$ that I probably shouldn’t..but I wouldn’t trade these days of laughter and sharing! Your video and article touched me and reminded me how important my women friends are to me!
I can’t agree more! Spending time with beloved friends heals so much inside us.
All those mysterious places that need that kind of friendship are filled. Thank you for sharing your story!
My small circle of girlfriends range in age from 32 to 70(I’m 67).
Several times a year, those of who can get away travel to trailheads in remote places to spend 5-7 days backpacking. We hike daily, camping with or without a tent, depending on the weather. Most of the time we sleep near a body of water, guaranteeing wildlife spotting and soothing, sleep enhancing nighttime music.
On the trail, under the stars, or during mid-day snack breaks in gorgeous settings, we share our thoughts on what’s happening in the world, our place in the universe, how we’re living, growing, and making our way through life.
The trips are challenging and we must work as a team, so any sort of discord is not an option. Decisions are made by the group, and we all accept majority rule.
These are beautiful vacations, affordable, relationship deepening, and life enhancing. Each of us has built an incredible bond with Nature.
Yes, I agree with you. Girlfriend vacations are life changing!
Beautiful description of how powerful these kinds of shared “vacations” can be. Thank you.
Your getaway sounds memorable and life enhancing. 🌷🙏🏻
I have a group of 10+ women friends who have been spending a weekend away every summer for close to 40 years! We started out as young mothers helping each other with a babysitting coop and now most of us are in our 70s. The location changes each year – within driving distance most years, but we did do the train a couple of times. The themes for our time together are good food, games, lots of laughter, exploring, and whatever pops up at the time. It’s a much treasured gift to ourselves..
i’m so happy to read your description of a lifetime of girlfriend get togethers. I had no idea that so many people took part in these powerful reunions. Thank you for sharing!
I went on a cruise with a friend I hadn’t seen in almost thirty five years on a whim when she asked me. We had a great time! We’ve become very close friends. We often go away for two or three day getaways to various places and this year have already booked a tiny house for the Victoria Day long weekend and cottage for 4 days along with 2 other friends for the last weekend in June. Not everything has to involve husbands or family. Women can and should spend time away together. It’s very good for us.
I agree. The bond between women is special, especially in these times of planetary crisis. Thanks so much for sharing.