Positively Midlife Podcast

The Power of Midlife Girlfriend Getaways and Road Trips - Ep. 74

November 01, 2023 Tish & Ellen Season 2 Episode 74
Positively Midlife Podcast
The Power of Midlife Girlfriend Getaways and Road Trips - Ep. 74
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Ever dreamed of escaping with your girlfriends for a thrilling adventure? Well,  Ellen and Tish did just that taping this episode from a girls trip in the Cayman Islands! Sharing the magic of a  midlife getaway, they discuss the transformative experiences and the deeper connections fostered along the journey. From practical tips on planning and packing to stories of unforgettable moments, they give a full scoop on why these trips like the one to the Caymans are the ultimate game changers.

Tish and Ellen made this bucketlist trip with college friends  a catalyst for self-discovery and pushing boundaries and supporting each other. Ellen shares how she overcame her fear of the ocean to  kiss a stingray and swim with tarpons!  The group learned how to play Empire - so many laughs.  A beach photo shoot all in white at sunset.  Pickleball doubles! Yup, that's just a glimpse of the adrenaline rush they experienced with a group of nine friends!  They also discuss the importance of rest and relaxation during these trips and how they help in navigating transitions like empty nesting, new marriages, and career shifts.

Lastly, we share how these trips served as our own empowerment movement. Indulging in self-care, exploring new places, and creating lasting memories led us to a deeper level of connection and sisterhood. We learned the importance of un-plugging from everyday life without cell phones or TV, the joy of simple moments, and the beauty of being in the moment. At this stage a girls getaway needs to take into consideration midlife sleep habits, who is working and who is retiring,  planning a year out for a large group, assigning a photo master to organize and share photos, and how these trips have brought us joy and fulfillment. So ladies, are you ready to plan your midlife girls getaway?

Obsessions:
Tish:  Bucket Towel Warmer -  hot towel warmer with LED display for bathrooms a great holiday gift
Ellen:
7 Fathoms Rum - from the Cayman Islands

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Find Ellen Howard's gouache painting from the trip and her Plein Air art at
https://ellenhowardart.com

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Ellen:

I am happy to share with our listeners that we are coming to you today from the Cayman Islands on a lifetime bucket list girls trip with our college crew. Yesh, how are you doing today in Paradise?

Tish:

You know how could we not be doing outstanding right? The warm breezes from the ocean, the incredible sunshine. You know that laid back island lifestyle, what's not to love?

Ellen:

I'm with you in the blue, blue, blue water, you know, and there is something magical about hitting either the open road, a boat, a beach, a resort, a spa, any of these with your besties, especially at this stage in life, at midlife. It's not just a vacation, it's a journey of self discovery, laughter and reconnection.

Tish:

So we are so excited to dive into today's topic, which is all about the incredible power that comes from going on a girls road trip or a getaway at midlife. I mean, who doesn't love that great adventure, right?

Ellen:

Yeah, and you know, with Tish, we're not just talking about the destination, we're talking about the journey too. Right, Planning, packing, meeting at the airport, belting out our favorite tunes just pure bliss, being with people who have known you forever or that you're getting to know right at this point. And these trips remind us that midlife it's not about slowing down, it's about embracing life, Wouldn't you say so?

Tish:

Absolutely Just. The conversations alone that we have entered into mean everything.

Ellen:

It's so true, and you know what, our connections are deeper from this trip and we're going to share it all, no holds barred. We're going to give practical tips and advice on some of the planning we did, which will cover everything from like choosing the destination, how to pack and I'm not going to say packing light, because there was not one person on this trip that packed light- Nobody packed light. As well as maybe staying budget friendly, if that's what your crew needs.

Tish:

So, ellen, today I think we're going to share some amazing stories, of course, and some insights into why these trips are so transformative. Right, we'll be talking about our bonding experiences, newfound confidences in ourselves right. That these types of friendships just build in us and that sense of liberation that comes with exploring the world, but doing it alongside your girlfriends.

Ellen:

I love it. So you know what listeners. If you're considering planning your own girls getaway here at midlife, or you just want some inspiration or some laughter, today, this episode is for you. So stay tuned as we embark on this journey to celebrate friendship and adventure at midlife Ellen.

Tish:

Yes, I don't even sure where we should start, but you know where we do have to go first, right?

Ellen:

I do know this Tish, because you know, even though we've got the best episode coming, I love to start with our obsessions. What do you got for me this week?

Tish:

Okay. So again, I have an eye off to the side, thinking about different Christmas gifts and stuff. But this is also a good gift to yourself. I am always cold, right, I'm always cold. So the idea of taking a shower and just getting out of that nice warm, hot shower into like a cold bathroom or a cold room, I just don't like. So my obsession this week are towel warmers. And it's like a little tub, right, and you put your towels in it. You can put a bunch of them in big ones too, the big bath towels and stuff in there, and so when you come out of your shower you can wrap yourself in these beautiful warm towels. So if you've got a nice big bathroom that can accommodate this tub for your towel warming, how luxurious is that Okay. Or even if your grandkids over I know I don't have any of them, but I know a lot of our friends.

Ellen:

You know you and I can lament on that. That's another episode when everybody has grandkids. But you right, you know. I guess I'm glad you said that you put this appliance in your bathroom, because I was wondering in the past put things in the dryer and run out and gotten them. You know blankets, but this is actually something that sits in your bathroom, right?

Tish:

It is. It is and it looks nice. It's very chic and nice and you know it's white, but it has like a bamboo like base on it, so it looks attractive in your bathroom as well.

Ellen:

I'm definitely going to look into that.

Tish:

So what about you, Ellen? What is your obsession?

Ellen:

Well, you know, I'm thinking about Christmas or holiday, hanukkah gifts, and I'm going to combine something from the Caymans with something for holidays. I purchased something very special called Seven Fathoms Rum, and it's a rum only made on the Cayman Islands. They put into, I think, american or French oak and they put it Seven Fathoms under the water, which is 42 feet, and they leave it there to kind of, you know, develop its flavor and its essence. So it's the only spirit, allegedly I'm just going by what they said that is processed under the water and it's in a secret location. So I got a few bottles of that on my way out of town, but I'm sure they sell it everywhere.

Tish:

I was going to think you were saying that you went diving for it on your last days.

Ellen:

Well, we'll get to that. I was there two days longer than Tish, and let me tell you the FOMO that we had for people who got there earlier, stayed late, was pretty incredible. All right, tish, let's jump into this episode, though. Why don't you lead us off? Take the first reason why midlife getaways or road trips are so important to women at midlife.

Tish:

So really it's about rediscovering adventure, right? So midlife girlfriends trip addition, as we'll call it. So you know, it's the idea of exploring the importance of these adventures and how girlfriend trips can be a catalyst for our own self rediscovery, getting us excited about midlife. You know it's funny, my youngest. I get this frantic text from him that said are you okay? Where are you? I had told him I was going but he wasn't listening, right Of course not. I said yeah, I'm fine, I'm on my trip. He goes my life 360 says you are South of Cuba, where are you? I said well, honey, I told you I was going on this trip. You didn't tell me you were leaving the country. He said why are all these fabulous trips coming now that I'm gone? I said that's what it's all about. Baby. I've done all my work raising you guys, and now it's mom's time. That's why rediscovering adventure at Midlife is important. We've done all our work. We've raised the kids, we've launched them. Now it's time that we finally have some time and resources to put into ourselves.

Ellen:

Tisha, I couldn't agree with you more. My kids are feeling the same way, but I want us to dig one step deeper, which is I did three things that pushed myself on this trip. I know we're going to laugh a little bit this is where it gets silly but I swam with tarpon that seemed like they were as big as me. It was very difficult. I kissed a stingray and I held a starfish. All of those have to do with the ocean, which I'm pretty afraid of. I love swimming by the shore, but one of the best things about these trips is that you can really push yourself to have some adventure, have a little adrenaline, wouldn't you agree?

Tish:

Absolutely I know. Especially when we were approaching the tarpon thing, we all had had lunch and then after we finished our lunch we started getting on our snorkel gear. I could tell your anxiety was starting, that your fear. I loved that we were all surrounding you to make you feel safe to push yourself out of that comfort zone. One of the things that you said to me that really just made my heart just so fill up was how proud you were of yourself, of doing something that scared you, and how you would have been so upset if you had sat at the sidelines watching everyone else.

Ellen:

Yep, just to have. I think there were about six of us in snorkeling At that time. Every single person was supportive of me. Nobody was like don't be afraid. They were like get in, you've got it. It was a really big part for me of the trip. I've lived my life, a lot of my life, in fear. I was bit by a crab at the Jersey Shore when I was three. Just to give some backstory here In my mind, the crab was about a 20-inch radius. My dad always claimed it was the size of a silver dollar. Regardless, the ocean has been someplace that I've been afraid of. Everyone just even surrounded me in the water to make it comfortable for me that adventure. I know some people need ziplining or skydiving, whatever it is. Wherever your comfort zone is on that continuum, push yourself to do something that you're afraid of. That gives you that adventure.

Tish:

Do you think that you would have done the swimming with the tarpons if you had been alone, or just with a male friend?

Ellen:

No, no, because I couldn't be vulnerable the way I was vulnerable with you guys, you all. I think that's the thing about friendships. All of my friendships are people that I can be vulnerable with. I was terrified getting in at Stingray City and just swimming with the Stingrays, I had the opportunity to kiss one Other people in our group. They were holding one, kristen, but I couldn't do that. But I was in the water and our friend Lisa kept saying they're like puppies, ellen, they're like puppies, don't be afraid. And again it was that I was with a group that was so understood my fear and kind of let me ease into it, and I tried to kiss one the first time and I couldn't. And there was another guy, a local guy, holding it. He was like get back here, you're not leaving without really kissing this Stingray. So I did, and it was really letting people know too, I'm nervous. This is big for me.

Tish:

I think a lot of people have fear of the water, so I think a lot of people can relate to this, but we all have our little fears of something. But to have a group of friends that can support you through this and encourage you. Would I have thought anything less if you said, no, I really can't do this. No, but I know that this was a goal that you had was to push yourself, and I loved that you embraced it. You did it. You did it in a way that wasn't reckless either.

Ellen:

Right. No, it was a way I felt really comfortable. I'm going to take the second one, tish, because I think this one is so important as well. It's building lasting connections and really the unique bonds that are formed during these trips, especially at midlife. They just really positively impact our growth and support and build our friendship, and I'm just going to talk about that. Very first day we were sitting around a table and our friend Felicia videotaped us all talking about what was important to us, why we were there, what we wanted to get out of the trip. It was such a grounding moment and such a connective moment.

Tish:

Absolutely. You know, no matter what you choose to do and stuff like that, it's about reconnecting. So this group of friends you know you're always closer to certain ones than others, right? That's just the nature of a big group of friends. Well, what these kind of experiences give you the opportunity is to get that closer connection to, maybe people you weren't as close to, and there's that bonding that happens during a shared experience and the growth that you get from that, the things that you can learn about them, how they've changed. You know advice you can give to one, advice they can give to another, and I think about all the cosmetic knowledge that we acquired just being around Felicia and her massive amount of makeup, that she just knows what to buy. Right, people were taking pictures of what she buys.

Ellen:

I'm telling you we could do a whole episode just on her products and hair tools. I mean, it was unbelievable. You know, one of the connections I think we made that was so fun is I believe it was Felicia as well asked us each to bring a white dress and one of our friends from college has just gotten remarried Congratulations, karen and James. And we all were white and we did some super fun photos and then did photos at the beach at sunset and I'm telling you those laughs and silliness that we had doing that the jumping, the posing, the posering. The not really jumping when we thought we were jumping, but it can be something just as silly as I want to say silly or simple as everybody throwing on a white dress and heading down to the beach and just having fun for a couple hours at sunset. So I think that is something that I know. I'm going to put a picture up in my home, just probably one of the funny ones, right, because that was just so connective to me doing that. I really enjoyed it and it really did support my friendship with a couple of the gals from our group that I'm not as close to and I did have that long head chef. You know, the ability to sit in a beach chair, toes in the water, ass in the sand, is our good friend Zach Brown-Band says, and just really catch up, and I think that's one of the most phenomenal parts about the trip. All right, tish, I know you're taking number three for us this week.

Tish:

So I want to talk about self care and empowerment, this idea of nurturing ourselves in midlife through our use of girlfriend trips. Right yeah, exploring ways in which a midlife girlfriend's trip can provide an opportunity for that self care and rejuvenation, that idea of empowerment, both individually and collectively as a group. Because I think just on this trip alone I think I grew as an individual but I also grew closer to other people and it's like you know how does? How do you grow individually on a group trip when you really start embracing and you really start knowing who you are and what's important to you and you're sharing that and it's being reflected as something you know that other people recognize in you. You know, and again, when you have that type of supportive friendships, that you can totally be yourself with. It's amazing because I think we all have our strengths, we all have our weaknesses and stuff, but that self discovery that happens during a girlfriend's trip is just amazing. You know just that getting together, cooking together and who does what and how Lisa puts stuff together and how this one does, and just everyone kind of chipping in or whatever. But we also there were times that people kind of just went off, you know, on a beach lounger and just took in the sun and quiet, and everybody was okay with that. We would be on walks on the beach and in great conversation and then I would just kind of start falling back and just really savoring the quiet of the moment, the feel of the sand on my feet, the feel of the water, the beauty, the smells in my own little world. Yeah, when I felt like reconnecting, I just, you know, quickened my pace and joined up with the group again and everybody was okay with that.

Ellen:

I agree with you, Everybody took the time they needed. One thing for me and I think this was really apparent with you and most people was we decided to spend as little time on our phones as we could. Now, our group is photo obsessed, so there was a little time on the phone around photos, but you know almost all the time one of our biggest things everyone said that first day was to be present, and part of self care is disconnecting. I did not check my work email once. Now that is self care. I'm not sure you did either, Tish. So I think for a lot of us, finally at midlife, we feel comfortable really unplugging. I wasn't tracking children, I wasn't tracking projects at work, Nothing and I think that was another really unique part of a midlife girls getaway. You're not trying to do 15 different things and have a good time. I think most of us would need to use a handphone. I forget.

Tish:

Kristin was the best one about ladies. Ladies be present. Put the phone down and there were a couple of times where you know I had, you know, stuff going on with my youngest and I was, you're right, put the phone down. It'll still be there. It will still be there.

Ellen:

Now I have to throw this out because this is about self care. We do have a few midlife snorers on our trip and one of the things that you need to do when going on a midlife getaway is to really understand people's sleep habits. Who gets up early, who wants to sleep in, who may snore. You know all of these things are important at midlife the way they weren't when we used to throw four in a room, you know, for a week somewhere it's a little bit different, and so I think this time we took care with that Really, how people were paired up, or you know, there was almost, almost we almost got there.

Tish:

I should have been with our snorer because I'm completely deaf in one ear and I can always sleep on my good ear and not be bothered by snoring. I should have been paired with the snorer.

Ellen:

Well, you know a little wine and almost all of us snore, at midlife I think. But it's one last time, a little wine.

Tish:

Who had a little wine?

Ellen:

You had a lot of wine, it was a lot of wine. But you know, another piece of self-care to me, Tish, was really around the idea of doing what we wanted that you touched on. That is to me self-care no longer feeling like you have to go with a group every second. And one thing I'm going to just throw out there is that I played pickleball a few times and each time I was with you and Kristin and Nigel and I really got some confidence. It empowered me. I am now, I'm going to say, kind of pickle obsessed, which you know I mean you missed my last pickle. You missed my last pickling, but Lisa joined and she and I were at the same level and so we were really having fun, and so it really was about empowering me to get that confidence right to play and I'm going to say I'm going to walk away as a pickleballer from the trip.

Tish:

I love that. But here's the thing Again. This is, I think, leans into the self-care part of it is we had enough activities planned that we were busy, but we weren't overly structured in our planning that we were exhausted, Right? You know, it was really a nice balance of doing something and then resting. And you know, you had a recent trip road trip a couple of months back and it was the same thing. It was very metered out you know right. So if anybody is thinking of putting a girl's trip together, do not overpack it with activity. That's right. That's right. It just make it find your key ones. One to two things a day should really be what you strive for, and that's it, yes and I'm organic.

Ellen:

I agree, and being in a house and we want to just throw a big thanks out to our hosts, nigel and Lisa meant that we could be together with nothing and activity. There was no activity. It was cleaning the dishes, or you know. They introduced us to this game. I think it's British games. You think it's a British game Empire.

Tish:

Empire. Yes, we're going to go with it.

Ellen:

It sounds British because you know the Caymans are part of the British overseas something or other. I mean, really not. I sort of researched that a little bit, but it was a really fun game that we played almost every night, and you really do need six or more people, I think, for it to be. I mean, that's where the laughter came in, oh and the same. So something is simple and just playing a game For whole. We played it every night, every night.

Tish:

Every night and just real quick, you choose a character. It could be a fictional character, it could be a cartoon character, it could be a person, and then people try to guess who you picked Right, and the gamut that people would pick. It was hilarious. It was definitely fun.

Ellen:

I mean, I learned things from that who people picked. Absolutely it gave me some deep knowledge into friends I've known for like almost 40 years. But let's go to our fourth thing, because I think this one is really good as well Navigating transitions, really using a girl's road trip or a getaway for reinvention. We did discuss a lot how it was a platform for reflection, for embracing change, for talking about this. It could be career shifts, empty nesting, personal growth or, like our friend Karen, who got married after being single for a long time, several years. So I think that we all talked about this idea of reinvention and reflection. Now, no journaling on this trip.

Tish:

I just wanna say you and Kitty were our final empty nesters. That's right, and so it made it complete that we were now all empty nesters and sharing what works and what doesn't and supporting each other during all of that Huge, huge sharing moments and stuff like that, with our successes and our struggles, with our kids.

Ellen:

Absolutely and like your new job. Your new job transition.

Tish:

A lot of people gave me a lot of advice on how to navigate these new transitions with my job.

Ellen:

Yeah, so I mean, I really felt heard on this as well around how to reinvent myself here, around my job, around being an empty nester, around perhaps going and working, kind of doing this digital nomad idea. We really threw a lot out there. So Tish, what is our last item here?

Tish:

This is all about creating lasting memories right, and that midlife girlfriend trips should be such a source of joy, exploring that joy and fulfillment that comes from creating these memories together. These will be memories I will carry the rest of my life. These are lifelong friendships and this was a trip of a lifetime for me. That happened at midlife. I talk about our friendship to a lot of people and I know a lot of people don't have these and they kind of inquire about it and I said, you know, this type of friendship with this size of a group takes effort. I think, faehly being our super connector, kkb is very much a super connector that brings people together, that gets people together. I think that's really key. We had a couple friends that didn't make it on this trip. We are already planning another one that is going to celebrate as we start to all turn 60, which blows my mind because of course, we look 29, but I want us all to be there because you know, I think you know, making sure that everyone has their piece, their part, that they feel included and heard, and stuff like that. It just, you know, these memories will go on forever, really, for me.

Ellen:

You know me as well. I wanted to just bring up three things that happened on the trip for people who are thinking about a girl's trip. One is that we have a friend, alicia, as you know. She puts together a Google album. She kind of curates, and Lisa also kind of curates the photos overnight for us. So having someone who's in charge of the photo memory is amazing. I think it was you, tish, that encouraged we all brought a cup from Starbucks from our city and gave them to our host as a thank you, and it was like Portland, oregon, boston, new York, california, charlotte. It was such a cute idea because then they had a set of mug and people. I'm sure we'll go to their house and be like why do you have a mug from Portland Oregon? You know I was in Portland the weekend before, so I bought a Portland mug. I really loved that. We wanted to commemorate that aspect, where we're all from and share it with them. And then, lastly, our other friend, ellen, who's been a guest on our show, who is our plein air artist. She brought boas and these were like multi-colored boas and everyone got one and there were feathers all over and up and down. We took pictures with them and we were a little raunchy with them, but what she did was she brought another thing to the quote-unquote party for us to be silly and have fun with, and it is that source of joy.

Tish:

Don't forget. She also brought her paints. She commemorated the backyard. She did a painting of that and I would like to get a photo of her. I'll send her a photo of that so we can have it. But again she kind of had removed herself, was sitting, everyone was in the pool. She came out of the pool, sat at the table and was painting the palm tree at the side of the. You know, it was just beautiful, just beautiful.

Ellen:

It's gouache, which is kind of like a richer watercolor type of medium that she does. So let's put a link to her website and her newsletter because I believe she's going to put it in there. But you know, everything we've just talked about Tish goes back to show that these do not have to be lifelong friends. You can get your new crew, your old crew, you can mix a crew. It can be really a staycation in your town. It doesn't have to be anything other than getting away, letting go of the day to day. You know whatever that is in your life and being together. And I have to say big thanks to Lisa and Nigel May for hosting us. And you know, to those that didn't make it, we can't wait to have you in Tom Springs in 2024, because that's the other thing. Have somebody plan the next one. But these are some really good reasons why midlife road trips or girls getaway are so important.

Tish:

You know it's, and I want to also like reiterate here you know we have some people who have really high powered jobs to take this time away, to go and do this. We're not talking about we're all retired, you know, right, right, one of us are retired, that's it. It was not easy, or to say to their spouse I'm going to take this time with friends and not with you all, but I'm telling you, it's important. It's important for your soul to reconnect with girlfriends in this way and build these kind of memories. Not to take anything away from spouses and significant others, but there's something about what it does for your own growth, your soul, your everything, to have these girlfriend connections. And if you don't have them in the way that you want them, you be the builder, you be the super connector that starts bringing people together, because it's worth your time. It's worth the time, it's worth the effort. Yeah.

Ellen:

And we'll post some photos of the trip on our website. We'll also put the link to the seven fathoms rum and the super towel warmer for your bathroom. Get ready for those holiday gifts Till next week, midlifers.

Tish:

One last thing If you listen to our podcast and you've done one of your incredible girlfriend trips, share it with us.

Ellen:

We love it.

Tish:

We are email at positivelymidlifepodcom. We want to see these pictures as well. We want to share, we want to really create this conversation, this community. I know we have people from all over the world that I think we're up to. Was it 55 countries?

Ellen:

Yes, it's crazy.

Tish:

We want to hear from you. So if you're listening to us from overseas, reach out. We want to hear from you.

Ellen:

That's right. Welcome Luxembourg, and till next week midlifers.

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