Comfort Zones, Cards and Courage.

I’ve never uttered the words, “I’m a people person”. Which is probably why I usually travel solo with only the occasional interaction of my own species. Also why I choose hairstylists based on the amount they chit-chat.  It’s not that I don’t LOVE people. It’s just that for some reason my introverted brain requires a recharge after social encounters. I do people in doses.

So when I happen upon a link to Women’s Travel Fest, I’m torn. The thought of an entire weekend of networking, smiling and small talking with 300 women makes my left eye twitch. Yet my life’s passion is travel! In the end I follow my “if it’s not scary you shouldn’t be doing it” rule – and book a flight to New York.

This calls for new business cards!

Cards in hand, I taxi to The Wyndham Garden Chinatown ready to mingle with other humans. Who are these travel-crazed-broads after all? Blue haired retirees organizing their next Alaskan cruise? Or drunken back packers who roam Koh San Road barefoot and never shower?

Friday night I take the elevator to the basement to find out.

The Wu Room is dark with loud club music bumping. So dark that I can’t make out what type of “travel women” are lurking in the shadows. Kelly, the creator, emerges from the darkness giving me a friendly welcome along with friendlier drink tickets.

Thank God there’s booze!

I walk to the bar and think, “one woman down … 299 to go”.

While I wait for my vodka soda, splash of cran, one of the “crazy-bout-travel-women”, orders wine and introduces herself. She seems normal, cute, and close to my age. After only a few sips into my cocktail, we’re swapping funny travel stories, favorite destinations and business cards. She made new ones too.

Over and over I keep meeting these awesome women travelers that are just like me. They pack light. They travel for months on end. They actually quit their day job!

By the end of Travel Fest I leave with tons of cards, and zero doubt that the friends I’ve made will be future adventure companions for years to come. I’m already looking forward to next year!

I spend my last day in New York doing what I love best, wandering the streets aimlessly. Totally alone. And totally stoked.

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