CHICKS ROCK! welcomes our latest guest blogger, Rita.
Rita Chhabra is a CFA charterholder and has over 12 years experience in the Financial services industry. She loves to cook and has a new found love of travel.
In my 33rd year of life, I traveled alone for the first time. This was a difficult decision to make, as I am not the type who even goes to the movies or restaurants alone. But I found myself with plenty of time on my hands, an urge to travel, and a bunch of broke friends! I decided to look into travel groups -- I might be flying alone, but I didn’t want to be alone once I arrived at my destination (baby steps!).
My destination was Tuscany. I arrived on the 4th of July, Independence Day in my home country -- quite poetic given my solo journey, huh? I spent my first week at a cooking school whipping up wonderful Tuscan meals. I planned my second week at a yoga retreat, which allowed me to do four hours of yoga each day.
For the first four days of the retreat, we participated in an exercise called “be here now.” We were not allowed to talk about anything in our lives that happened prior to our arrival in Italy. If we heard someone starting to tell a story about her “past,” we yelled “be here now!” This was a difficult exercise because we are so programmed to tell people about ourselves when we meet them, particularly what we do for a living. We end up defining ourselves by our occupation alone, and more often than not, we are judged by it.
It took some getting used to, but it was enlightening to talk to people and learn who they are right now: who are you right now, what do you enjoy doing right now? On the fifth day we were able to talk about our ‘other’ lives outside of Tuscany… but by then, we didn’t really care about those things!
This trip did wonders for me, in terms of getting over my fear of traveling alone. In the process, I also made new friends and found a new way of living in the present.
I don’t know why I didn’t look into travel groups before, but now I’m already searching for my next destination!