A Trip for all the Single Ladies
PHOTO: Solo travel to the Taj Mahal. (Photo courtesy of Intrepid Travel)
It was 10 years ago this month that Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat. Pray. Love. first made its way onto bookshelves and into the psyche of women around the world. The premise of self-discovery on a nomadic journey around the globe inspired a generation of women to make their own transformative trips – whether to celebrate a milestone anniversary – or as Gilbert did – to find themselves after a breakup. Women around the world were struck by the novel’s invitation to hit the road solo.
Indianapolis schoolteacher Laura Rinderknect had a similar yearning after her own divorce. Like Gilbert, she wanted to explore the world while doing some soul searching and Rinderknect turned to Intrepid Travel for her wanderings.
Having enjoyed a trip with her husband to Indochina with Intrepid, she had struck up a friendship with their Australian guide Mel, whom she contacted after her divorce was final. Mel was leading itineraries in the Middle East and before Rinderknect knew it, she was touring Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
“On that trip, I realized that what I needed was a period of time to ‘reset,’” she said. “To get to know who I was if I wasn't ‘Seth and Laura’ and to have a break from patterns. While traveling that summer, I set a tentative itinerary for a dream trip around the world. I went home, worked another year as a teacher, sold the house, planned, saved, and started packing.”
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While Rinderknect didn’t replicate Gilbert’s journey by destination (hers was more like Eat. Hike. Salsa (Dance), she mimicked it in spirit.
“Taking time to get to know yourself after a divorce is vital... And what better way than to travel,” she said. “I think you're forced to get to know yourself when you travel. We get into patterns, into ruts. It's easy to fall into a routine and just be on autopilot. It's impossible to do that when you're in a foreign country where you don't speak the language, don't recognize any of the food and have to mime your way through the entire day. Not everything will go right, and you figure it out.”
Rinderknect used Intrepid for nine of her trips over her 10 month sojourn, which she looked at as an advantage.
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“There are parts of the world where I didn't feel as safe as a woman, but I have had friends who are female who have done these destinations solo, not as part of a trip, and are stronger for it,” she said. “That's not me. I didn't want to eat alone for 10 months, and I know that when I'm a part of a group, there's a sense of safety that lets me take my guard down and make friends.”
For those ladies who are looking for their own journey of self-discovery – to leave it all behind in the name of travel – Intrepid travel has created an itinerary modeled after the novel. Its new Italy, India and Indonesia Discovery is a 38-day romp through the places Gilbert wrote about in her book. The one-time journey begins in the vineyards of Italy, travels to the Taj Mahal and ends in the mist-shrouded mountains of Bedugal, Bali.
The itinerary leaves on Sept. 30 from Rome and ends in Bali on Nov. 6. There is limited space available and rates begin at $7,250.
More by Janeen Christoff
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