Why a women-only tour might be just right for you
Over the last 10 years I have been in the delightful business of creating exclusive, small-group tours for women and have recently been giving a lot of thought as to what makes it so special when you bring a group of women together.
Obviously, it comes down to a combination of many things, but a key element are the wonderful dynamics which occur whenever a group of women congregate in any space. You just need to listen in to an all-women table at a restaurant, and their fabulous conversations and divers opinions to know what I mean.
Our different cultures, personalities and life experiences subtly add to a group tour, and in this blog I have tried to identify some (by no means all) of the reasons why women-only tours rock.
1. We love to talk
In general we love talking together, a lot more than men. What does a lot of chat mean on a women’s tour? Well, primarily there is more sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences whether just as part of a conversation over dinner, or to help someone who maybe going through their own journey in life.
A great example of this was on our recent India Literally tour. We visited Varanasi post tour, and one evening on a boat trip on the Ganges River a body floated right past us (part of a burial ceremony). This event provoked a lot of deep discussion and soul searching. We were women from different backgrounds and religions and it was incredibly emotionally charged and somewhat confronting. The discussion then became a moving one about life and death. Was a Ganges burial more comforting to the family? Was it meaningful to us as Westerners? There was a lot of discussion, and, for a few, an unexpected way to remember a recent loss. A truly cathartic and bonding experience.
2. We love to learn
We love to learn, and this translates into why we create the detailed itineraries we offer, the questions we might ask our guides, and the plethora of books we will plough through to prepare for a trip. Every Travelling Diva tour has some sort of learning component. It can be a provocative speaker, whose politics are not for everyone, a local family who invites us into their home to share a meal and explain about the realities of village life. In Russia we met with a female University Professor who explained in detail about her work and life under the Soviet Union, both pre and post communism. In India we gained access to the Gymkhana Club to dine with local dignitaries. In Croatia we learnt from local farmers how to prepare pasta from scratch in a hands-on cooking class amongst the olive groves (with wine to assist as per this gorgeous photo!).
These experiences become the subject of many conversations, laughs and shared moments that all go to creating a memorable tour!
3. We love to see
It is common knowledge that women perceive differently from men. A man might see a mountainous landscape ind the distance, whereas we see the local family in the foreground. While photographing a mosque, we might also see the shy reaction of an Indian woman examining our western clothes or footwear, whereas our male companions will be looking at the architecture. Tours with women mean we can slow down while we watch local people navigate the trials, tribulations and happiness of their daily life. We are born unashamed people-watchers.
4. We love to share
Women naturally share. When a suitcase goes missing on arrival to our destination, we share shampoo, clothes and whatever we can immediately. Whilst on the bus or train, we share mints, biscuits and medicine. We share health care suggestions, financial advice and empathy for a recent widow, divorcee or anyone with a loss is always in plentiful supply. Retired ladies will share their varied experiences with younger professionals in the group. Younger women are happy to share the secrets of social media to those in the dark. Women’s need to share will profoundly change a tour. A computer expert might offer lessons to other ladies on using drop box to share tour photos. An artist might sketch the group as it travels or give an impromptu lesson in life drawing to those interested. A doctor will help check up on someone feeling sick or discuss the benefits of local medicines. When we shop as many of us love to do, our friends on tour will share their thoughts without being unkind to ensure you come away looking gorgeous and not buy something that really doesn’t work! What I do know is that we take care of each other.
5. We love to be inquisitive
Women can be more inquisitive about why things happen the way they do. Why do we need to leave at 6am to visit Machu Picchu? Why did we visit that fort in Jaipur at sunset and not in the afternoon? Why are women’s heads not covered by scarves in this Delhi mosque but we had to cover our bodies up? Women’s curiosity enhances a trip by encouraging guides to talk more openly. In certain countries with strict censorship, women’s questioning can garner information guides would be afraid to offer otherwise. In Vietnam, this might be a guide sharing how a primary school teacher is only paid USD$450 per month and often in their health care system, you have to share a bed in hospital when you are sick (true). Women help further compel the guide to provide information that is more complete and often from a personal perspective as well.
In a nutshell, women-only tours are different because we are different from our male counterparts, who shift the dynamics of any group. If you don’t want more than two of any of the above differences, maybe women-only tours aren’t for you and that is totally fine to (we can organise some cracking independent travel for you that absolutely suits your needs!)..
If you do want welcoming, helpful, nurturing, insightful, thinking and mostly chatty travel companions, come and join our next Travelling Divas tour where you can choose to have company when you want or need it, and the wonderful ability to enjoy your own space too (we all need that on holiday) – it’s a win-win!
See you next time!