JourneyWoman Solo Travel: Memories and Rituals Issue (December 2019)

Last updated on November 17th, 2021

In December, we held our second Facebook Live / Instagram Live. If you’d like to watch it, I recommend finding a cozy chair, and a refreshing beverage! The link is here for those that are on Facebook. 

Watch the live here, or read the transcript below!

This is a slightly edited, written transcript of our discussion, for those of you that prefer to scan and read. We hope you will enjoy this and look forward to our next Facebook Live in February, where we’ll discuss our upcoming February 3 Serendipity Issue. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback at


Carolyn: This is another exciting moment as we do our second Facebook Live. I want to start by thanking everybody for joining us today. One of the things I really want to do is create forums for conversation and dialogue. What we thought we would do, is every time we put a newsletter out, we would have one of these sessions to hear your feedback and to get your ideas for others. I’m joined today by my friend and editor Amanda Burgess.

We thought we would spend some time kind of walking through some of the topics that we explored in this month’s newsletter which was about memories and rituals and answer any questions you might have. And then talk about some exciting things that are coming up such as our new website and incorporating all the feedback that we got in the recent survey that we did with you just a few weeks ago.

Introducing Amanda Burgess

Let me start by introducing Amanda, who I have known for about 10 years. She’s a dear friend and I think we have a lot in common too, right?

Amanda: We do.

Carolyn: We’re both single mothers, we have daughters – you have two daughters, I have one. We both love writing. What else?

Amanda: We love to travel.

Carolyn: Of course, travel. And you’ve had a lot of experience in the publishing industry as well and have been an editor and journalist …

Amanda: Absolutely; I started my career as a journalist before going into public relations branding and then ending my career in marketing before going freelance. I really ran the gamut; I was an associate editor of an international trade publication that covered the kids’ entertainment industry for several years at the beginning of my career so really honed my journalistic skills there and that carried me throughout my career really.

Carolyn: I think writing is just one of those wonderful skills to have, right? And tell me, what’s your favourite travel destination? What’s the place that you love the most?

Amanda: I couldn’t pick just one and I think my home is really a reflection of all of my world travels. My late husband and I collected art wherever we went into the world so my home is like a museum to my travels. One of my favourite pieces – I have a triptych; we bought three pieces of teak when we were in Bali one year and we had a Balinese artist paint Jesus, Mohamed, and the Buddha across these triptychs which now sit on my bedroom wall. They’re sort of gold-leafed all around the side and carved and then beautifully painted, these three images. It takes me back to the Balinese jungle every time I look at it and I look at it every day when I wake up.

Values, beliefs and editorial philosophy

Carolyn: We want to talk about some of the editorials with you for sure and that’s why I asked Amanda to join today. But I also wanted to talk a little bit about how we think of the editorial and how we think of JourneyWoman and the ethos of JourneyWoman. I was so lucky to be interviewed by the wonderful Erica Ehm on the last Facebook Live in October, which is how I found the courage to do this again.

But one of the things that we didn’t really get into was a bit of what I believe. I want to share that with you because I think it’s important that you as our community know what I’m thinking as we’re developing the content thinking about the future of JourneyWoman and expanding Evelyn’s legacy of course.

I’ve had many roles in my life and I think the one thing that has made me successful in all of them is that I care deeply. I care deeply about the people I work with, I care deeply about our community. I care what you think, I care what our sponsors think. I care also about things like authenticity and integrity, which is something you learn when you’re leading different organizations. It’s important to have a strong sense of values and it is hard work to earn them. I have worked really hard to earn my values in my career.

It’s very important to me that JourneyWoman is a trusted and authentic place for our community and for women who want to travel and women who want to travel solo. And for anybody that is looking for a place to go to where you can count on things, to be honest, and real. I think Evelyn would agree with that.

It’s very hard to tell what is true and what is not in today’s world. So our goal, and I know Amanda agrees with me on this, is that we want JourneyWoman to be a place that is real. A place that is honest, a place that we can learn together and make mistakes together and share our challenges and our fears, and all of us go through this journey of self-discovery together. So that’s really important and something that compelled me to want to take over this business, and to sustain that idea that Evelyn created.

The other thing that I think Amanda knows from working with me is that I’m really hardworking. I will work very hard at this; not just for the next few months but I’m in this for years and years: 10 years, 20 years; I’m in it.

I want to do everything I can to make this a place for all of you that feels comfortable and welcoming and approachable. That’s very important to me.

I am learning from all of you — there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes here. I have been joining different travel writing organizations. I just spent 12 weeks taking a travel writing class to make sure that I could write at a higher journalistic style level. I’ve just been accredited to go to the New York Travel Show. I’ve been to TBEX which is a travel writers conference. I’m in the learning zone and I’m dragging Amanda along to different events as well so that she can be on that journey with me.

But I know that I have to earn the right to take this business over and to sustain Evelyn’s legacy. I welcome any feedback and ideas you have. I have met with so many JourneyWomen and had so many wonderful messages from you of support and ideas. In fact, I wouldn’t have gone to TBEX if one of the community members hadn’t suggested that. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can, so that we can get JourneyWoman to a place that you find a lot of value in and trust.

So that’s what I’m all about. I don’t know if there are any questions about that because I’m old and I can’t read the screen; it’s too far away!

Amanda: I am too and I also cannot read the screen. (Laughter)

Carolyn: We have somebody here helping us with social media, but it’s still a little touch and go. But we’ll carry on and hopefully be able to read the screen shortly and answer questions. 

Editorial Calendar and Themes

I want to talk with Amanda about some of the themes and our editorial calendar. It is posted on our website and basically outlines the thematic approach to all of the issues for the next year. We’ve done one, which came out in October. The December issue is about memories and rituals. The next one in February is about serendipity.

Amanda, do you want to talk a bit about what these things mean? Like why these crazy names? They feel a little abstract in a way, right?

Amanda: They’re abstract but when we were taking a look at what we wanted our editorial to do, we didn’t want a run of the mill travel editorial, we didn’t want to be focused exclusively on destinations. We wanted to understand the reasons people go to certain places. We wanted to focus on the deeper meaning, the deeper ‘whys’ behind why we travel. Some of those whys are universal to all of us, but a lot of those whys are deeper and more personally meaningful.

So we developed some themes that focus on those broader universal whys; things like inspiration, memory and rituals, serendipity, growth, curiosity, love, and generosity. These are all reasons why many of us who travel, like travel. But then we also wanted to leave it open enough so that we can dig a little bit deeper with you and get into some really meaty themes that get to your more personal whys.

Carolyn: We’re all on this journey of self-discovery, right? Travel is, at least from my experience, one of the best ways to learn things about yourself that you may not know. Courage and curiosity are so essential and so needed. You might call these ‘soft skills’, but they’re so needed in today’s world. I also want to be a role model for my daughter in terms of generosity and empathy. So this isn’t to say we won’t cover destinations – of course, we will – I think this is more about trying to elevate the discussion and connect in a more emotional and meaningful way.

Amanda: It gives us a more meaningful lens to focus on specific destinations. Without focusing on the “Croatia is hot right now, why don’t you go there?” Instead, we’re asking: “What aligns with your personal values? What do you want to get out of travel? And then figure out where you want to go.

Carolyn: Yes. We are trying to invite a conversation. I’m actually very proud of this issue because I think we did a great job pulling out lovely stories about places that they went and when they felt uncomfortable. By sharing their stories, I hope we’ll be able to help other people.

Let’s talk a bit about some of the stories that we did. So there three main features that aligned with our Memories and Rituals theme. Then we can talk about some of the other features as well.

Amanda: So, when we were planning out the features, we knew that we didn’t want to do just a happy-happy-joy-joy holiday issue –

Carolyn: We did, we’re happy.

Amanda: We did, we wanted to be happy by the end of it, but we recognize that the holidays aren’t only a time of joy and happiness for people. The holidays can be a very difficult, challenging, personally uncomfortable time. You get triggered by your family, maybe you’re experiencing some mental health issues, maybe you’ve experienced some loss, and this is a time of grief for you.

We wanted to recognize that, but we also wanted to put our own personal spin on that. How can we recognize that in a way that is relevant and meaningful to JourneyWomen and the concept of travel in all of our readers? So that’s how we came up with the memory and rituals theme for the holidays. We wanted to focus on the times when you do get uncomfortable when you travel and the times that lead to personal growth and change and personal discovery. It’s about those times where you push fear aside and you push all of those limiting thoughts and beliefs and that little voice that says: “You should. You shouldn’t. Do this. Do that.”

Push all of that aside and you jump in with both feet and then you think “Why didn’t I do that before?” We wanted to focus on those times. So that piece on transformational travel experiences was really, really interesting.

Feature: How has solo travel transformed you? We ask, you share.

Carolyn: You interviewed a number of people; tell me about those people.

Amanda: It was an amazing experience. I spoke to one woman, her name is Brenda. It was a long time ago that she took this trip but that’s how much the experience stuck with her. She wanted to prepare for a time in her life where her family would be away, and she would need to spend the holiday alone. And I mean, who can’t relate to that? We all have to think ahead. I really applaud her, you know, the personal love that she had for her future self in doing that.

But one of the funniest things to come out of that conversation – and it just goes to show that you should ask questions that aren’t related to a story that you’re covering. As a journalist, I go down lots of side roads in my interviews and it always leads to gold.

Carolyn: Yeah, you like to ask a lot of questions –

Amanda: I do like to ask a lot of questions; it’s my curiosity. I asked if there was something that happened, if there was anything funny or out of the ordinary that happened or a mishap that occurred on her trip that she wanted to share with me beyond the personal growth she experienced. And so, she had gone to Oaxaca Mexico and she had packed for – she was going to stay, I think it was for a month and a half, something like that. She was in a long-term apartment rental in Oaxaca and she opened her luggage and realized that she had spilled an entire bottle of peppermint oil all over her clothes. It got everywhere. When she took her clothes out of the bag it spilled everywhere and she had noticed, when she got there, a cockroach, she says the size of size 5 shoe, inside the door and a whole bunch of ants.

Carolyn: I don’t think I would’ve stayed.

Amanda: Yeah, and as soon as the peppermint oil spilled everywhere, she started noticing a conga line of ants like dancing out the windowsill and out. And she said, you know, the windows were open the entire stay that she was there, she had a one-inch gap between the door to the apartment and the inside of the apartment and she never saw another bug again the entire six weeks that she was there. So, it was a travel hack discovered by accident and now she carries a bottle of peppermint oil wherever she goes.

Carolyn: Which is a bit – I’m going to segue a little but then come back – which is one of the new features that we are starting, MzAdventures. This story just went out on Instagram just a little while ago and we’d like to hear more about these stories. They are a wonderful way to learn – not only to learn travel hacks but learn about when things go wrong and what do you do.

I mean I just had an experience flying back from New York this week where all the flights were canceled on the airline that we were at and one of the things that I’ve learned is you can actually ask to be put on another airline when that happens. Fortunately, we knew to do that, or we wouldn’t have come back until a day later. There are all these things that kind of go wrong and so how do you deal with them and how can we learn from each other? I think those are always good.

Coming back to the women that you interviewed in this article about transformational travel, I think you’d like to thank them so maybe you could just mention their names.

Amanda: Absolutely. So Brenda, Marti, and Aurelia thank you for sharing your stories with me, thank you for being so open and forthcoming with the good, the bad, the ugly of those stories where you were deeply uncomfortable and you came out on the other side of it a better, stronger person. It takes a lot of courage to not only do those things but to share them publicly with other people. So, thank you so much for that. 

Feature: A Call Through the Blood – Exploring Your Roots

Carolyn: Another story that we did was about going out in the world to find your roots.

Amanda: Yes. That was focusing on the kind of travel where you are going to personally trace your family’s footsteps. And we all think that we know our family, we all think that we know the family stories, where we came from, who our ancestors were. And then sometimes we start digging a little deeper into our ancestry and we actually make a sojourn to our ancestral homelands, wherever those may be, however many generations back. It’s an amazing experience when you step onto the lands of your ancestors. It’s almost like there’s a drumbeat calling you home. It’s a call through the blood.

We had a few women that shared their experience where they’ve actually done that; really researched their genealogy and went back to discover their family in the hometowns where their families came from. In some cases, some family members still living in those places which is amazing.

Carolyn: Who did you interview for that, because I know we want to thank them?

Amanda: I interviewed a woman named Tara who went to Iceland to explore her family roots there. Jo-Anne who went to Scotland which is amazing. Riguhey actually went home to Columbia after being away from her homeland for many years and left an infant daughter there who she returned for several years later and moved back with her daughter to the US which is an amazing story. And Marlene, who actually discovered on a trip to New Zealand that she was standing about two kilometers from her great-grandfather’s grave in New Zealand. And then Shirley, who went to the Ukraine where her family was from.

Carolyn: Those are amazing stories. And by the way, these came to us – I get a lot of e-mails which I love and try to be responsive with. I want to remind everyone to send emails or connect through Facebook or whatever platform you prefer. Or just call actually. I meant to have the number handy so that I could – but we’ll put that up because we do have a phone number and happy to talk to people on the phone too, or a text message. Whatever you prefer but we’re always obviously looking for story ideas too, right? 

Feature: A Very Global Holiday – Bring a Taste of Trips Past (or Future!) to Your Table This Season

The other story that we did was about memory. How do you bring the memory of a place that you’ve been back to your home? We looked at food and wine and there’s obviously more that brings you back to a place – I would’ve loved to have done something with music too but …

Amanda: But it’s those sensory experiences whether it’s food and drink or whether it’s music or whether it’s the touch, taste, feel, smell of things. Those are sensory experiences that become time capsules. When you have them in your home – whether it’s art, music, whether you taste a bite of something that you’ve had in another country– that transports you instantly back to that experience, those emotions, the feeling you had, and it’s one of the best experiences. It’s like going on that trip all over again.

Carolyn: We were very lucky; we had a number of chefs that participated in it and we also had Erin Henderson from The Wine Sisters give us some sommelier recommendations. They also gave us recipes to try out. I also found it interesting what food brings back that place … you know, even a spice or food like almonds.

Amanda: Tastes transport them instantly back to a favourite region that they visited and learned how to cook in. That transports them back home and makes them feel closer to the people at home. It’s an amazing thing and really the impetus behind that story is to inspire all of you. The holidays are a time of tradition but also sometimes tradition gets a little bit staid and you’re like –

Carolyn: Or you want to create new traditions, right?

Amanda: Yes, you want to create new memories and new traditions. Or you really want to bring a flavour of your year back into the end of your year when you’re sharing that holiday meal with your family. So how can you bring a taste of your travels and the places that you loved and the flavours and textures that you love into your 2019 meal at home and make it feel like you’re going away even if you aren’t going away until the new year which sometimes is the case.

Carolyn: Or you can plant the seed for presents.

Amanda: Yeah, exactly. And maybe sometimes you’re having people come over for your holiday 2019 meal who are from different countries and you want to make them feel welcome and honour some of their traditions and the dishes that are most beloved to them. It’s another idea and a way to do that.

Carolyn: In writing these articles, we’re kind of on a heavy topic at the moment in terms of transformation. But what did you learn when you were talking to our community members and what kind of resonated with you as something you could learn from them?

Amanda: It’s funny because I’ve had many transformational travel experiences myself and I didn’t realize that this was a universal experience for everyone. Sometimes it’s not about the discomfort that you feel in actually doing the thing that you fear to do or the thing that’s holding you back from what you know will be an amazing experience. It’s really about when you come back to your life after that life-changing experience that changed you and made you grow as a person; how do you reintegrate into a life that in some ways you’ve outgrown because you’re not the same person you were before.

Carolyn: Wow, that’s so good. That’s so deep, I’m like “Wow.” You got like really deep there.

Amanda: I’ve had that experience but I wasn’t sure if it was just me or the depth of the experience that I had but every woman I spoke to said something along those lines about it’s difficult to come back. And one woman – actually Aurelia – did not go back. She eventually sold all of her belongings and is now travelling full-time because she could not reintegrate back into her old life.

Carolyn: There are the little things. Sometimes it takes a little while to process what you’ve gone through. I was in Kenya last year and I came back, you know, quite changed. You do wonder “What can I do differently now” – from the very simple things like not using plastic bags to “How can I be a better human being and what are the things I can do to be of service in the world”. Sometimes it does take a little bit of time to kind of work through that.

Amanda: That’s the uncomfortable bit.

Carolyn: Well, that would explain why I’m uncomfortable most of the time.

Amanda: I’m uncomfortable whenever I’m not travelling.

Carolyn: Ditto. Or you’re not comfortable if you’re not uncomfortable. Maybe that’s another topic for later.

Amanda: Now I just live in that space and I don’t know how to go back to my comfort zone because my comfort zone probably used to be this big and now it’s this big.

Carolyn: Yeah, I find too if I’m not doing something like that. I start to get kind of itchy to do something which is why I’m going to Puerto Rico in a few weeks.

What would be your aspiration for people that are reading these articles and now may want to go back and read them again, I hope. What do you hope they might learn or do or think for?

Amanda: First, I do hope that this content in some ways makes you feel challenged. I hope that in some respects it makes you feel uncomfortable because that’s where growth lives. And I hope that it inspires you and I hope that it inspires you on a couple of levels. I hope that it makes you feel inspired to maybe push those voices of fear and little niggling thoughts aside and just do the thing that you’re wanting to do. But most of all I hope it inspires you to action in some way. I hope that you do something new, I hope that you try something new, I hope that you’re inspired by somebody’s story and seek to emulate it in your own unique way.

And, if you try one of our recipes or you take a trip to explore your roots or you do something that makes you uncomfortable because you know an exceptional experience lies on the other side of that, I hope you tell us about it and share it with us. Because honestly, that would be the most amazing holiday gift you could give to us is our content inspiring you because that’s what we seek to do.

Carolyn: We talked about MzAdventures already which is a fun thing that we want to do. We are also working to improve the newsletter itself, which is not yet where I want it to be, so we’re examining new templates with larger fonts.

We did introduce in this issue a destination focus. So it would be great to have any ideas on what destinations would you like us to focus on that would of interest to you and, you know, when we get the new website up which we’ll talk about in just a minute, we’ll be able to do a lot more of that not just in the newsletter. 

Feature: Discovering Key West’s Literary Secrets: From Hemingway to Judy Blume

For this issue, I was in Florida and was able to spend a few weeks down there. I am from Florida but Key West is a new place for me. I have now been there five or six times. But I did not know that Judy Blume had a book store there until this last trip so I was overwhelmed meeting Judy Blume. Judy Blume got me through adolescence. I don’t know about anybody else but it was through her books that I learned a lot. And I gave them to my daughter when she became a teenager as well. But just to walk in and see her in the store and then have a very nice conversation with her and –

Amanda: And she was fangirling in case you were wondering.

Carolyn: Yes, my daughter was extremely embarrassed if you read the article that I wrote about this. It was: “Mom, stop you’re –” I’m one of those and she just kind of left me. But then to see her talking with Judy Blume and knowing that she had read those books, so that was just a lovely experience.

And then Judy said to her “Have you read my book, Summer Sisters?” so she gave Alyx a copy of Summer Sisters and signed it for her. And then I saw Alyx doing a little fangirl too. So that was really lovely. I also took a really great literary book tour, a walking tour, around Key West which I recommend to anyone who is going down there because there’s so much of Key West that is kind of touristy.

There’s the main street, but as you walk around there are all these little places and even on the streets of Key West there are a few – I hadn’t even noticed before, quotes from stories and poems and things like that. I had always gone to Hemingway House and I knew about Tennessee Williams. But to know that there are so many Pulitzer prize winners living in Key West and they’re really trying to position Key West as a literary destination that is stimulating. Certainly, the weather I think helps with that and just the – it’s just very like … I don’t know, it just feels – I love it there.

I did that tour and then went to a number of other places. I’m putting together a guide on Key West of all the places that I’ve stayed and the restaurants that are a little bit off the beaten track and things that I’ve enjoyed that I thought will be helpful for the community as well. I think we’ll have that ready in the new year. 

Feature: Falling in Love at Florida’s Turtle Hospital

I also went to The Turtle Hospital which is about an hour and a half north of Key West where they rescue injured turtles and they have helped thousands of turtles. I think just hearing about the effects of climate change on these turtles, I was really surprised. I thought that most of them would be of course, you know, shark attacks and animals, but a lot of the damage being done to turtles – and other animals too – but in this case turtles, is being done by people hitting them with boats which pushes their shell up and creates air in the shell so that they can’t dive down and eat.

It’s a condition oddly enough called bubble butt and the first bubble butt turtle is at the Turtle Hospital. There were a lot of them swimming around in the pool. Then turtles are also getting tumors from the toxins in the water and fertilizer. I learned a lot going there and it was very nice to meet Bette who’s the general manager of. I did get a media pass for that which was $27 but it was a remarkable experience to go. So again worth a visit if you’re in that area. And I’ve been to a lot of other places down there too and again that will come in the guide I’ve put together. All that to say that we’re looking to do destination focuses in the newsletters and on the website so we’d love any ideas that you have that you’d like us to focus on.

Questions from our Community

JourneyWoman website

I want to answer a couple of questions that have come in. One is about the website and what’s happening with the website. In terms of making changes to the website, we are actually building a completely new website and one of the reasons that we’re doing this is because the current website, as many of you know, was built in 1997 and it actually predates things like WordPress and … which means we have to program any copy or photographs. Which is why the text is tiny, which is why it’s hard to search. That website has about 3,000 pages of content on it and we’ve been able to transfer a huge portion of it actually into a new system and we’re currently in the process of evaluating that content. And I really want to thank everybody who reached out and said that they could help review that content because we were definitely going to need that help.

We’re just right now trying to get it into a format that can be edited. There’s a team of lovely ladies who are helping me do that and I think we should be ready to send out some content for review in January. We’ve also done a new design and all of this is being informed by the survey that so many of you did; 1500 people filled out our website survey and oh my gosh, thank you so much. I also got hundreds of e-mails with other suggestions and ideas and there’s probably too much to go through on this video but we are making it more accessible, we are making it more searchable, we are making it much, much easier to use. I’m hoping that we can also share a preview of that with you in February so that we can get your feedback on that.

So, all of that is happening in the background which is partly why we’re not publishing too much new content right now because we want to really focus on getting it right for the new year.

I have to say I have now cried twice seeing the new – Amanda saw me today cry a little bit with the new design because it is really, really nice.

Amanda: It’s modern, clean, intuitive, slick, easy to track with your eyes. Just a really enjoyable reading experience for online.


Carolyn: We have a question on that note; will you build in accessibility tenders for the new website? Yes, and part of that is, as I understand it, is relates to the browsers that people are using and part of it is related to the website. We’re looking at colours, we’re really doing a review to make sure that it is accessible and easy to read.

Website Survey

A lot of thought is going into the website and again, thank you for all of the feedback that you gave us. One of the questions we asked you was: ‘is it important to you that we focus on travel that is responsible’ and overwhelmingly the answer was yes.

We also asked about what products and services would you like to see featured on the site and we got a lot of feedback on that. So mostly related obviously to things you would take with you when you travel, so luggage and backpacks and just a whole range of things. We’re still in the process of going through the survey, but boy, that was so helpful and that’s really informed a lot of our thinking.

Our Sponsors

Before we move on to something else that I wanted to thank the sponsors that have helped us put out the newsletter. We have some really wonderful partners who have been with JourneyWoman for a long time and I hope that the community will continue to support them.

To be clear, we do not get any commission for anything sold through the tours and I want to mention them briefly: Babes in Bali has a tour coming up in the summer, Sow walking journeys with Amit Janco has a walking trip coming up in Tuscany. Linda from Women’s Journey to Kenya has some tours coming up in February and July and Linda is so wonderful, I really love talking to her and I told her I would love to go on her trip to Kenya, it looks really nice. Pack A Fork is another one that has a number of culinary adventures coming up and also Isla Women’s Retreat which is doing trips to Bali.

I want to thank all of the women that have helped us with this newsletter because having their support just makes a huge difference for us. I’m investing a lot to get everything where it needs to be and to make it really easy for you to access content.

I wanted to do was just thank some of our friends and partners who offered little surprises in our newsletter, right? So, we had a couple of nice surprises; Janice Waugh, from Solo Traveller, and I met and so she offered us three passes for her travel course for solo travel. I think that contest just ended yesterday and we’re going to be announcing three winners tomorrow on Instagram. So, thank you for those who entered that contest.

Erin Henderson from The Wine Sisters also offered a discount for her wine classes. I have taken her wine class; it is amazing. I can now swish and sniff and do all those things you’re supposed to do when you drink wine without looking too silly. That’s a great class to go to and of course, what could be better than drinking wine and champagne. Then Vanessa McDonald has a fantastic book called The Brave Journal and she also offered a JourneyWoman discount for that.

Amanda: And if you’re looking to get uncomfortable in 2020, it’s a great idea.

Carolyn: It’s based on her own personal experience and sharing her learnings with others. And then I also want to thank Karlyn Percil, who I met earlier this year. She has a success planner which is intended to take action on your dreams and she also offered a discount to us. Those were some nice things that we thought would be fun to include in this newsletter and I hope people take advantage of those and try them out because this is all about empowering you and inspiring you. I think these are good tools to – especially the wine – to help with that. I’m just kidding.

Facebook Group

Carolyn: One of the questions we received is about ‘how to connect with the Journey Woman community in the future’ and this is exactly that. Our Facebook page is limited in that it’s very hard to have kind of multiple discussions going on – although it has been going on – we want to create a private group. So that’s something that will happen in the next few weeks, but it will be a private group where you can go on and ask questions of each other and share learnings. And we also want to set up a mentoring there so those of you with vast experience can mentor people that are just needing to find the courage to travel or travel solo.

Amanda: And if you have a lot of experience maybe you aren’t able to travel anymore and connecting with a newbie who really needs your advice will make it feel like you’re travelling still which is amazing. Bring two needs together and making something completely new out of it. We want to build a bigger forum for that so that we can have more of those conversations and make it really easy. So stay tuned, that’s coming as well.

Amanda: Where are you headed over the holidays, Carolyn?

Carolyn: I’m leaving in a few days to go to Puerto Rico. I love Spain, so we’re going to try Puerto Rico this year and stay there for a few weeks. I have been in touch with the tourism folks there and they were kind enough to give me a list of women-owned businesses.

I think ever since Hurricane Maria I’ve been asking myself what I can do to help. I had many people say the best thing you can do right now is go down there and help with tourism and what the country needs – the country needs tourism dollars. So, we’re going to do that and I’m also hoping to meet a lot of women-owned entrepreneurs and business owners at restaurants and farms and tour operators and eventually create kind of woman-friendly guide to Puerto Rico.

And by the way, if anyone has tips on Puerto Rico … please. I was there very young as a teenager on a cruise and if you’ve ever been on a cruise with your parents when you’re 15 it’s not …

Amanda: It’s not the same as going, it’s better.

Carolyn: Maybe it was different for me. But yeah, anyway, time to go back and create a whole new experience. So that’s what I’ll do, what about you?

Amanda: During the holidays I’m not going anywhere because my daughter’s coming home from university in The Netherlands so I agreed to stay in the cold of Canada for the holidays. But I’m going to Bali and Australia and I’m going to go live on that side of the world for about two months starting in January.

So, any JourneyWomen on that side of the world who want to meet up, share your ideas, Bali, Australia. I’ll be in Sydney but touring around to other areas of Australia so hit me up.

Carolyn: Thank all of you for taking the time to listen in today. We’re probably going to let you get back to holiday shopping and all the things you need to do.

But the other thing, speaking of shopping, is some of these books that were in our book club list, I’m reading them right now so I hope that was just helpful because they were all your ideas and wonderful suggestions. (Check out the book suggestions on our Holiday Book Lovers List)  So hopefully that gives everyone something to give to the woman in their life as a way to inspire more travel and more learning.

Amanda: Shall we give a toast to our community Carolyn? For the holidays?

Carolyn: Yeah, in fact – so we’re ready to – we’re going to – here we go.

Amanda: Okay, here we go. A little bit of the holiday spirit for everybody.

Carolyn: Cheers to all of you. Have a very happy holiday and we look forward to seeing you all in 2020.

Amanda: Thank you for making the last half of 2019 so rich, engaging and welcoming for both of us. It’s been an amazing experience so thank you.

Carolyn: Thank you very much. Here’s to Evelyn.

Carolyn is the Publisher + Editor-in-Chief of JourneyWoman and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC). A Canadian raised in South Florida, Carolyn loves all things Spanish, historic destinations and always has her backpack ready to go.




  1. Barbara Desjardins

    Just recently learned of journeywoman and I’m very excited to learn tips for Travel for women… What you girls are up to and trips planned. I look forward to being on your email list.

    • Carolyn Ray

      Welcome Barbara! So glad you found us!


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