8 Sensational Women Share their Vacation of a Lifetime

 The lovely Teri Gosselin in Greece

The lovely Teri Gosselin in Greece

Recently, I tried that snazzy InstaStories feature where I asked people to ask me questions. One of the fantastic questions I received was, “What is your favorite vacation memory?” I immediately was flooded with so many vivid images, smells, sounds, and joys that came to mind when thinking of past travel experiences.

It got me thinking, that is so much of what travel is about for me, and what I try to inspire for others, creating lasting moments that we can carry forward. Whether it’s a moment of clarity on a solo trip, a moment of deep connection with a loved one, or simply a chance to laugh, smile, and be together, travel at its heart, allows space and time for connection.

I’ll share (one of) my favorites below, but I also wanted to hear from others - from individuals I’ve met along the way to whom I know travel has meant so much. And I want to share their stories with you.

Felicia Murphy

 Felicia Murphy

Felicia Murphy

Felicia is a stay-at-home mom and artist in Greenville, SC. She has lived in Mexico, Germany, Rhode Island and South Carolina, but if you made her choose a place to call home, she would say Greenville, SC, where her husband and two boys are. Before deciding to stay home with her kiddos, she directed a non-profit that provided cataract surgeries to people in need, both locally and internationally.  

Felicia is now the owner of Blue House Paperie (@bluehousepaperie on Instagram) where she paints custom watercolor invitations, house portraits and whatever inspires her at the moment!

Ya’ll. Felicia is super talented, and possibly the sweetest human on the planet. She is most definitely the very best neighbor I could ask for.

And she has a real life, adorable blue house. Go see her amazing house portraits {and all the other things} on Instagram.

Favorite Vacation Memory

The vacation memory that I have been going back to over and over in my mind, has been a trip that we took to Bruges this September. We travel regularly to Germany to visit my extended family and this year we decided to brave the trip with our two boys (3 and 1 years old). We also decided to take a little 2 day break from visiting family and explore Bruges, Belgium, a beautifully preserved medieval town.

The only word to describe our time there is completely magical. What could be better than strolling through streets of beautiful architecture and history, while eating warm Belgian waffles and chocolate, both of which Bruges is famous for. My expectations for the trip were pretty loose (a must for traveling with kids). I didn't plan to do any history tours, museums or romantic dinners, like I might have if it was just me and my husband.  

I think what I really loved about this trip was that I got to see such a breathtaking place with my children, AND through my children's eyes. I often forget to stop and marvel and really wonder at the world around me. Even when traveling and seeing new places, I have this urge to see ALL THE notable sights. There have been times when I got so caught up in making sure I didn't miss any sights, that I think I actually missed a lot of beautiful things.

In Bruges, my children helped me to slow down and really experience where I was. I listened to the clip clop of the horses' hooves on cobblestone and watched my son delightedly imitate the sound with his mouth. We ate waffles with melted chocolate and paid no attention to the chocolate covering our fingers and cheeks (and arms and legs, in the case of my kids).

We took a boat tour along the canals and named the colors of the beautiful buildings and watched the swans swim. We listened to the medieval belltower, The Belfry, play a symphony for an hour and I watched my one-year-old look up and clap after each song ended.

My children taught me to see, really see, and listen and taste all that Bruges was. I am so thankful for that experience, and I can't wait to keep traveling with them and to show them new places, cultures and history as they grow. I want them to have a heart for the world outside of their little home in Greenville, South Carolina, and I want them to keep helping me to stop and really wonder at the world and all that God created for us to enjoy.

There have been times when I got so caught up in making sure I didn’t miss any sights, that I think I actually missed a lot of beautiful things. In Bruges, my children helped me to slow down and really experience where I was.
— Felicia Murphy

Michelle Knight

Michelle Knight is a mother, wife, world traveler and storyteller. She is also a Branding and Business Coach and the founder of Brandmerry.com.

She works with female entrepreneurs to create an authentic, captivating and money-making brand through the power of story. Michelle supports women at various stages of their business who share one common goal - creating an authentic brand that allows them to show up as they are, build a loyal community and experience time, financial and location freedom as a result of their work.

 Michelle Knight

Michelle Knight

In just 9 months, Michelle launched her freedom-based business and left her 9 to 5, while raising a new baby. Just one year into her coaching business, Michelle created a 6-figure business and thriving community of women ready to share their story.

Now she spends her time supporting women to achieve time, financial and location freedom while traveling the world with her little family of three and exploring life with her son.

You have got to check out Michelle! She has been such an encouragement to me, not to mention, pretty much everything I know about running a business, I learned from her. I am just loving her Free to Be Podcast right now. It’s sooo good. Find her on Instagram or on her website and blog.

Favorite Vacation Memory

My favorite vacation to date has been my husband and I's honeymoon to Italy. We explored Italy for two weeks and totally immersed ourselves in the Italian culture. I don't think a month goes by where we don't reminisce about our time in Italy.

Our favorite thing to do in Italy was walk and eat, walk and eat and then repeat again. We would begin our day with a light breakfast, followed by a mid-morning snack, usually a sandwich and then we'd dive into lunch. We traveled around Italy testing every single Margherita pizza and Spaghetti Pomodoro we could get our hands on.

One of my favorite memories was the wine tour we created in Florence. We knew we wanted to try as many wines as possible, especially while in the Tuscany region, but the thought of traveling on a bus all day did not light us up. Instead, we found some of the top wine shops in Florence and hopped around the city trying various wines at each location.

The day ended with the most delicious cannoli being consumed inside a photobooth in the town square. Needless to say, we felt really good by the end of the day and had so much fun experimenting with wines, talking to the locals and laughing our way through Florence.  

Michelle’s Best Toddler Traveling Tip

Since our honeymoon, Ben and I have continued to travel with our son who is now two and a half. We've been to Belgium, Amsterdam, Paris, Iceland and many places in the US over the past 2-ish years.

My top tip for traveling with a toddler is to just do it! Seriously, book the freaking trip! I think you'll be so surprised how well kids do when traveling. It's a completely new experience for them and they are just as eager to explore as you are.

Give them the opportunity to explore with you, pack lots of snacks and if you are all about the baby-wearing life, I highly recommend leaving the stroller at home and just bringing your favorite carrier, I love the Lillebaby. I still carried Cal through Iceland, and he is almost 3.

Teri Gosselin

 Teri Gosselin

Teri Gosselin

After a ten year journey navigating the depths of grief, anxiety, depression and overwhelm, Teri Gosselin has transformed her pain to purpose as a Transformational Strength Coach + Healer.

Teri has always known her life purpose is to serve and help others, doing this both professionally and personally her entire life.

Now, using a compassionate, gentle and encouraging approach, Teri helps women who have suffered great loss (whether it be loss of a loved one, loss of self, loss of passion) truly embrace their authenticity at their soul essence, enabling them to discover their strength within to persevere and heal from the inside out.

Her mission is to empower women to embrace their vulnerability and authenticity, know their value and worth and truly shine their light in this world and LIVE after loss!

I just love Teri’s mission and her heart for her work and clients! Connect with Teri through her empowering Facebook Group, Instagram @terigoesselincoaching, or email her at terigosselincoachin@gmail.com. She also offers this amazing gem of advice:

If you are navigating grief or overwhelm at this time, my guidance to you is to be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel through your emotions, every bit of them, as this will aid in your healing process. If you need added support, know that there is great strength in asking for help.

Favorite Vacation Memory

In May 2018, my husband and I took the trip of a lifetime to celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary. We headed to Greece for ten days to explore Athens and a few of the incredible islands, to reconnect with each other sans kids, and to truly relish in how far we have come as a couple.

I looked at this trip as a honeymoon re-do. You see, three weeks before our wedding day, I lost my little brother suddenly, so although we kept our wedding date and headed to Jamaica following the big day, I spent much of it, settling into the foreign feelings of grief, not comprehending what had just happened that entire month before, and not enjoying being a newlywed as I had originally planned.

My return to Greece also reminded me of a trip in 2005 with my family including my brother, to some of the very places we went too. It was like a full circle moment!

So, this trip, was a new opportunity to create incredible memories! And we did! We climbed the Acropolis, we drove a 4 wheeler across Mykonos, we went on an incredible boat ride on the Aegean in Santorini and I felt so much freedom, inner peace, light within, and the knowing that this trip was going to change our lives, in the best most amazing way possible.

I am so grateful for that trip to step out of my comfort zone with the man I love, to date each other again, to be Teri and Jared, and not just Mom and Dad. To rediscover our dreams and that it’s all still possible!

Olivia Waddell

Olivia Waddell is a marketer for The Garage Authority where she learns all things about garage organization and the world of internet marketing. In her spare time, she enjoys running, baking and watching The Bachelor. Her dream vacation is Santorini, Greece with her husband.

 Olivia Waddell

Olivia Waddell

If you are in the Upstate South Carolina or Western North Carolina region, and you need organizing help (which let’s be honest, who doesn’t), The Garage Authority is the place to go.

Here is her top Garage Organization Tip:

When organizing your garage make it a family effort. Have each member go through their items and put them in three piles: keep, throw away, or donate. Once everything has been sorted, give each family member a different color bin and tote bag for their items. This will help each member keep their items together and will be easy for them to find.

Favorite Vacation Memory

One of my favorite vacation memories was with my mom and sister in Maui, Hawaii. We were looking for some of the best adventures on the island and found a company that offers guided bike tours down the Haleakala Volcano. We booked for the next day and before I knew it I was in a van getting bused up to the top of a very high volcano.

At the top, we explored the extremely large Haleakala crater, the visitor center, and got to know other people in our group. After exploring we were given a bike and helmet and started to cruise down the volcano. We made a stop for lunch at the Ali’l Kula Lavender Farm for a delicious lavender pizza and sweet treats. The weather was perfect the whole ride and it was a great way to start off the trip!

Biking in Maui.jpg

JP Rainsford

JP Rainsford is the co-owner of Rainsford Photography - a husband & wife photography team located in Greenville, SC. She is a dreamer, writer, photographer, & recently a new mom! You can follow along with her & her family on Instagram at @RainsfordPhotography & also at www.rainsfordphotography.com  

JP and her husband take the most GORGEOUS photos, epitomize professional, and put their heart and soul into their business, capturing life’s most important moments. They also happen to have just about the cutest baby ever.

 JP Rainsford

JP Rainsford

Favorite Vacation Memory

This past August, my family had the opportunity to travel to France for a full week! While I was terrified at how my baby would do with the travel & sleep portion of our trip, I knew If we didn’t go, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

Endless walks in the town square, macaroons, coffees, gardens... Is it all worth the jet lag, the possible melt down of a 6 month old at 2:00 am? “Yes! It will definitely be worth it! I've got to try this!” I decided.

Every morning, I would walk to the bakery for fresh bread (duh!) & most mornings the bakery would be filled with men in their work clothes picking up bread for the day. When I would walk in with Kerr (pronounced “car”), they would step aside, “Bebe, bebe!” they would all say!

Motioning me to the front, I was at first embarrassed. Then suddenly it hit me. They acknowledged “We see you! You are not insignificant! You also are doing hard work in raising your baby. Please, come to the front!”. When we would get back to our apartment, I would weep.

Oh friends. The amount of times that I have struggled to open a door in a public place while people have just stood by & watched here in the States - too many times to count.

My eyes were opened to a new reality. It was then that I realized: I have a lot to model our baby. “Look at others little one. See them for who they are - human. Real. Significant. Don’t turn away. We all need each other!” I pray that traveling makes us better humans, parents, & Christ-followers.

JP’s Travel Tips:

  1. We use these packing cubes to keep all our stuff from sliding around in our bags & separate from Kerr's. That way if we need to pack up for the day, we can take one "cube" with us. This keeps all our stuff neat & helps us stay organized!

  2. If you are traveling with an infant that is less than 22 pounds, you can upgrade to the bulk heads seats & ask for a bassinet! The flight attendants will hook it into the wall for you after take off & uninstall it right before landing. The only catch is that during turbulence, you have to take the baby out of the bassinet. That was hard but it was GREAT to give our arms a rest & have a place for Kerr to sleep & play!

My eyes were opened to a new reality. It was then that I realized: I have a lot to model our baby. “Look at others little one. See them for who they are - human. Real. Significant. Don’t turn away. We all need each other!”
— JP Rainsford

Tani Morgan

Tani Morgan.jpg

Tani Morgan is a Spiritual Business Coach who empowers women to co-create the life and business that gives them the freedom, abundance and joy they desire.

Tani supports women feeling called to step up but who are being held back by fears and doubts. She helps them to release past traumas, transcend limiting beliefs and create a high vibration that results in the confidence and empowerment that they need to be successful.  

Through private coaching and group programs, she transforms the lives and businesses of women by guiding them to live their purpose, own their spiritual gifts and build businesses that make a positive impact in the world.

Find Tani on her website at www.tanimorgan.com or on Facebook or Instagram.

Also, join me in her Facebook group for the most amazing support, guidance, and community. Tani has been such an inspiration to me. Her authenticity and general high vibe living is something I try to emulate in my own life and business. Her tips below on manifestation are GOLD.

Favorite Vacation Memory

Do you ever have an experience and think “wow, I can’t believe how this all came to be?” Well, that’s what happened with my favorite vacation memory to Palma De Mallorca, Spain. A huge reason that this vacation is my favorite is how it came to be. 

By following my intuition I manifested this trip.
— -Tani Morgan

In March of this year, I fell this calling to go to my local metaphysical bookstore. I wasn’t sure why but when I arrived, I was lead to the Wiccan department where one book immediately caught my attention. It was ‘Witch’ by Lisa Lister and when I opened it and read a few sentences it spoke directly to my soul. I took it home and started reading. It spoke to me so deeply, that I could feel it in my bones.

The next weekend, I felt called to go back to the bookstore and get a tarot card reading and to pick you a crystal chakra set. The tarot card reader was bang on but I hesitated when he said that I would travel in June.  I knew my kids would be in school and doubted I would be traveling in June. I didn’t know it then but I was dead wrong.

When I got home, I checked my email and found my first ever email from Lisa Lister who talked about her upcoming tour. As I read the first few events, I felt nothing but the third strongly called to me. But as a wife and mother, it felt impossible to pick up and fly across the world alone. I decided to check if I had enough air miles and said to myself “If I do, then it will be a sign that I’m meant to go”. I pull up the website and guess what, I did!

Sign after sign the universe kept showing me that I was meant to go so I obtained my husband’s support and booked my trip. Two days after I booked my flight, I was sitting with a friend at a park and was saying that I now felt like I need to bring in new business to pay for this trip which was not originally planned for in our budget. And she asked “Really? Do you? Do you need to find a way to pay for it? Can’t you ask the universe in all it’s abundance and resources to support you on this journey?”

“Yes please! That is what I want,” I said to the universe with my arms open to the sky.

Only 4 days later, I found I was getting an unexpected cheque that would cover the expense of my trip and more!

Palma de Mallorca is a beautiful island full of friendly people, delicious food, amazing history, and gorgeous views. Besides attending a life-changing workshop, and getting to hang out with Lisa Lister herself,  I visited the Bellver Castle, the ancient Green goddess sacred site and swam in the Mediterranean Sea. The Palma Harbor was an incredible view all in itself.

Tani’s Top Three Tips on Manifesting your Desires:

1.     Raise Your Vibration Authentically

2.     Tune in to your intuition and follow the divine guidance

3.     Take massive inspired action (even when it’s scary).

Jennifer Bloomingdale

I’m Jennifer Bloomingdale, a mom of two young boys, wife, former educator and professional development provider. My passion is supporting others, especially moms, as they work towards their hopes and dreams. I have developed workshops and coaching programs specifically for moms to support them as they work towards a balanced life that works best for them and their family and reconnect with themselves.

As a mom I can tell you that what Jennifer does is so important and needed! We can’t do it alone, guys, and guess what? We don’t have to! Jennifer provides practical, doable, individualized support for moms. Thank you Jennifer! Find her on her website www.JenniferBloomingdale.com or on Facebook.

jbloomingdaleheadshot.jpeg

Favorite Vacation Memory

Thinking about my favorite vacation memory automatically brought me back to being a kid and spending summers at our camp in Vermont. We absolutely loved it there, as soon as the weather warmed up enough we would start going up.  When summer arrived and school ended we spent a majority of our time there. We had no cable, a rotary party line phone and at times, no car since my dad would return home to work.

We spent our time playing, reading, swimming, making up games, running off the dock, and going on boat rides....I just remember a feeling of ease when we were there. I still find that lake comforting as an adult.

We recently got to spend the weekend there with my whole family. Our family has grown quite a bit, spouses and kids of our own....but it felt like just like it did when we were kids, made even more special by the fact that our own kids got to experience too.

Top Vacation Tip:

Build in vacations or time away that aren't over planned. While those are amazing in their own way, having one every once in a while where you just get to be, can be just as memorable.

Jannan Poppen

jannan poppen headshot.jpg

Ya’ll prolly know me, but just in case…I am a wellness travel agent specializing in helping people plan unique travel experiences so they can celebrate special life moments through travel.

I've lived in Ecuador and Mexico, traveled to ten countries, and helped travelers go to seven countries and counting. I believe in empowering others to live and travel with intention. I believe that time spent with those you love is never wasted. 

I’m a sometimes writer, mom of two funny kiddos, natural-living aspirer, and yogini. Nature inspires me, I’m an introverted lover of people, and baking is a fun time for me, because it’s precise. I can quote Rumi all day, and I do, in fact, over on Instagram.

Favorite Vacation Memory

“The temptation to try to see as much as possible is strong. “I visited 13 countries in 12 days,” sounds more impressive than, “I found the perfect hammock spot and didn’t move all day!” But, really, who are you trying to impress?

When you move slowly, you have time to talk to people, to get to know a place beyond just the superficial. You have the chance to go deeper into a locale, and in a sense, you see more.”

This little excerpt comes from my 4 Secrets to Change the Way You Travel guide, and in my favorite vacation memory, I took my own advice very seriously.

When Matt and I were teaching English in Quito, Ecuador, every two months, we had ten days off. We took that time try to visit as much of Ecuador as possible, and during one of those breaks, we took an overnight bus ride to the coast, north of Guayaquil.

We had grand plans that week. We were going to meet up with friends at the surfer town of Montanita, visit the Mangrove forest, take a boat out to see wildlife. So many plans.

And we did none of them. Once we settled into Finca Punta Ayampe, we didn’t budge. A ten-minute walk from the small village of Ayampe, half-way between Puerto Lopez and Montanita, Finca Punta is nestled high on a hill overlooking the ocean.

We had our own bungalow, complete with hammock, which is were we stayed most of the week. But, we also spent a good bit of time in the open-air common space. We talked to people, including a family from Montana, a surfer from Australia, and a Chicagoan writing a book. We talked to the kind soul who cooked all of the meals, and who made the BEST burritos ever.

We talked to each other. About our experience, our future, our dreams. We slept. We slowed down and soaked in what, all in all, had actually been a quite intense experience. Getting married, traveling to another country, figuring out jobs and daily life in different culture and language.

When we took the bus to Montanita for the day and met up with our friends, we realized how much we needed that time, and space, and pause in life together. And I will never forget that burrito.