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Posts Tagged ‘romance’

Well, it’s February, the month of LOVE. And today, February 13th, precedes the day of love, Valentine’s Day. I may try to convince myself that Valentine’s Day doesn’t matter, that it’s an over-commercialized holiday pressuring all of us to buy Hallmark cards and chocolates. But the truth is that this day does influence our lives. Like it or not, Valentine’s Day reminds us that part of the human experience is relationship, and part of relationship is love and romance.

I find that this time of year influences that amount of time I spend reflecting on love in my own life, and more often than not, it seems that romantic love is missing from the equation. Anyone else? While Valentine’s Day brings attention and gifts to all the couples out there, there are still a few of us single people who need love too!

So what to do? I can’t very well force romantic love into my life, but I can give thanks for the other types of love I experience every day–love from my family and friendships, and love from myself.

If, like me, you are dealing with singledom this Valentine’s Day, and all the emotional issues it brings up, aromatherapy can help. While there are plenty of blends for supporting romance, there are blends for soothing loneliness, too. I plan filling this year’s Valentine’s Day with self-love, using a few aromatherapy blends to enhance the process. I have sparkling wine and organic chocolates ready to go, and will probably buy myself some flowers today (doing it tomorrow might be a little depressing). And I will treat myself to an evening of DIY pampering with herbal facials and an essential oil bath, followed by relaxing with a movie–but definitely not anything romantic. It will have to be the biggest blood-bath I can find . . . maybe I’ll watch a Walking Dead marathon instead ;)

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Anyway, if you’d like to join me in a day of self-love, there are a few aromatherapy blends that may help. These recipes are taken from Gabriel Mojay’s book Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, and excellent resource for healing emotions with aromatherapy.

Recipes for Loneliness

If your feeling bitter about your single status, try a blend of bergamot, chamomile, and everlasting essential oils. Bergamot is gently uplifting, German and Roman chamomiles soothe depression, and everlasting frees the spirit.

  • 2 drops bergamot
  • 2 drops chamomile (German or Roman)
  • 2 drops everlasting

Feeling disheartened or apathetic? Try the following blend of rosemary and ginger essential oils, both warming to the body and soul:

  • 4 drops rosemary
  • 1 drop ginger

If you’re truly lonely and forlorn, a blend of marjoram, rosemary, and myrrh can help. Marjoram is a sweet, nurturing oil that can help with feelings of sadness and loss, while sacred myrrh oil can help free the mind from preoccupation with single status.

  • 3 drops marjoram
  • 2 drops rosemary
  • 1 drop myrrh

Recipes for Developing Healthy Relationships

Sometimes, reflecting on relationships and love can make us aware of our personal blocks in this area. An underlying fear of commitment is often a culprit when relationships end, and I’ve realized that my fear of being completely vulnerable has probably prevented the development of a few of my relationships. If you’d like to begin the healing process with either of these issues, aromatherapy can support you.

For fear of commitment, try cardamom, caraway, and rose. Cardamom increases desire for intimacy and caraway for consistency, a good combination in a healthy relationship. And rose has symbolized love throughout time for a good reason; it opens the heart and allows all types of love to blossom.

  • 2 drops caraway
  • 2 drops cardamom
  • 1 drop rose

Healing feelings of distrust and fear of vulnerability can help prepare us for healthy relationships, as well. Lemon is a wonderful oil for developing trust, and palmarosa helps us with feelings of security. Combined with rose, these make a loving, healing blend.

  • 2 drops rose
  • 2 drops palmarosa
  • 1 drop lemon

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Any of these blends can help heal your spirit this Valentine’s Day. Mix the blends in bath salts or a carrier oil for a revitalizing soak (don’t add the drops directly to the bath water), or diffuse the blends throughout your home. Remember, never apply the oils directly to your skin. If you’d like to try a bit of acupressure or self-massage with these blends, make sure to mix them with a carrier oil first. Jojoba and fractionated coconut oils are great carriers, but even olive oil can work in a pinch. A good ratio is about 15 drops of essential oils per 1 Tbs of carrier oil.

Happy Valentine’s Day, single folks! Enjoy your day of self-love and pampering. And when a new someone special enters your life, check back–I’m sure I’ll be posting about love potions and aphrodisiacs soon. ♥

Rose

Rose (Photo credit: Oberau-Online)

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As I discussed in Travel Buddies Part 1, traveling with a buddy can be a wonderful way to travel. But you really need to have the right travel partner. Your travel partner is someone you will be spending a lot of time with, as well as enduring many unnaturally stressful events with, all potentially exacerbated by culture shock and new environments. The person you are with during your travels will greatly influence your trip for better or worse, so it’s important to end up with the right travel buddy for you. A bit of awareness, about both yourself and your potential travel partner, will go a long way toward making your trip (and your relationship) a success.

To help you decide if you and your potential travel buddy are good match, I’ve created a list of my top 10 areas for both of you to consider. I highly recommend that you examine each of these areas before jumping into any new travel relationship.

1. Comfort Level

What’s your comfort level? Do you prefer luxury, or do you like to rough it? Or are you somewhere in the middle? For me, location, cleanliness, and safety are my comfort priorities. I like to spend as little as possible without sacrificing these basic needs. Still, I’m more than willing to splurge on a bit of luxury now and then. I like to discuss this with potential travel buddies early on in the planning process. If a luxury splurge is on the menu, I find it’s best for both parties to agree to it in advance.

2. Budget

Related to comfort level, budget issues are perhaps the biggest challenge travel partners encounter. To start with, it’s just not possible for some people to pay for certain comfort/convenience levels, no matter how much they would like to upgrade their travel styles. No amount of negotiation is going to make more money appear. On the other hand, many travelers seem to believe that traveling is some sort of a budget game–their goal is to do as much as possible for the least amount of money possible, and if you’re not interested in playing this game, this style of travel will drive you insane. (I would much rather pay $10 for a taxi than walk for an hour in 100 degree weather . . . not everyone agrees!)

Working out budget issues ahead of time is key–you both need to know not only your total budget, but also your budgetary priorities. You don’t want to feel like you have to miss out on an experience because your partner doesn’t want to pay for it. And if one partner wants to spend more on accommodation and other more on experiences, there might be uncomfortable conflicts if agreements aren’t worked out in advance.

3. Goals

Why are you taking this trip? Do you want to do a lot of sightseeing? If so, what type? Do you want to focus on learning something, such as a language, how to make local cuisine, or more about the history of the country you’re visiting? Or are you more interested in nature, ecotourism, or adding more animal sightings to your life list? Some people want to do as much as possible in a well-planned, action-packed trip, while others will be more interested in relaxing on a beach and enjoying cocktails and spa treatments. Or for some, travel is part of their spiritual practice, and travel priorities may involve deepening a practice through retreat. If you’re anything like me, you are open to a combination of these activities. Clarifying how much time you’d like to spend on each goal, and how much both of you are willing to compromise on these activities is key!

Conflicting travel goals is one of the most important areas to reflect on ahead of time, and probably the number 2 area (after budget) for distress between travel partners. One person wants to go, go, go and make the most of the travel destination, while the other needs time to not do anything but relaxing and soak up the vibes of the place. This doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, so long as both partners are willing to compromise. Set aside part of the trip for active tourism and part for relaxation, and stick to the plan.

4. Food

How often do you like/need to eat, and how much? Do you prefer street food, or do you live for high-end dining experiences in different countries?  Do you count on splitting meals for the sake of your budget or for tasting a variety of dishes? Or do you like to order what you want and know it’s all yours? What about dietary needs? If you’re vegetarian and your buddy wants to eat every animal the country offers, you need to know ahead of time if this is something you’re okay with. Try to eat out a few times with your travel buddy before the trip begins–then multiply that meal times 20. Can you handle it?

5. Activity/Fitness Levels

You need to be honest about your activity levels before committing to a trip with any travel partner. Most travel involves a lot of walking at the most basic level, and sometimes simply mismatched walking speeds can drive travel partners crazy. And this isn’t even touching on differences in hiking styles or interests in extreme sports. Checking in with how active you’d both like to be before the trip begins is another helpful aspect of a healthy travel partnership.

6. Planning and Organization

This can be another make it or break it area to question. Many travelers like to leave themselves with maximum flexibility and see what the trip brings. Amazing experiences are allowed to sneak into your trip when there is extra room for them, and a bit of flexibility can lead to some great last-minute deals. However, too little planning can leave you stranded and needing to spend even more money, or can make you miss out on important experiences because of timing, crowds, or other unforeseen circumstances. If you’re the free spirit, your parter’s need to plan ahead may drive you crazy. But if you’re the planner, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the burden of the travel workload on your shoulders. In reality, a combination of these preferences can work well, provided that both people enter the relationship with open eyes.

7. Photography

It might seem a bit strange to see “photography” as its own section here, but I swear, picture-taking can be a huge issue when you travel with other people! People who like to take pictures often really like to take pictures. If you are on a hike together, be prepared to stop and wait and stop and wait and stop and wait while your buddy gets the perfect shot. Ideally, both of you will have the same photographic needs, but if not, the one who takes less pictures needs to prepare to be patient, and the photographer might want to have some awareness of the other person’s time expenditures.

The other issue with photography relates to taking pictures of each other. In the age of Facebook, great travel photos can be a must. And you want to prove you were actually at the location, right? If you are the photographer and constantly taking pictures of landscapes, of your friend, and of landscapes that your friend happens to be in, you’ll probably be pretty disappointed when you go through your photos and count one . . . two . . . only three photos of yourself!? Of course, you also don’t want to have your travel buddy constantly interrupting you to take his or her photo again and again until the shot is profile-worthy. I’ve been on both sides of this coin, and neither one is fun. Try to be fair.

8. Competitiveness vs. Cooperation

This is an area I never would have thought would be an issue before I experienced it myself. I’m a natural cooperator, and I find that this is one area where I really need my partner to be on the same page. For example, if I get first choice bed at one location, my partner gets first choice the next time. If my partner has the window seat on one bus ride, I get it the next time. It still shocks me, but not everyone thinks this way. I’ve had travel partners who would rush ahead of me into every hotel room in order to grab the prime bed, would naturally end up stepping onto every bus ahead of me and therefore with the window seat. This area relates to choices, too. One person chooses the restaurant the first night, the other chooses where to eat next time. At the least, a discussion takes place. If you’re both naturally competitive and like to make a game out of getting what you want, then the trip might work out. If only one person is the taker, however, the trip is destined for disaster. I believe cooperation is key and simply can’t travel with people who have no interest in fairness. The important thing is that I know this about myself, so I can clarify this issue with partners before conflicts arise.

9. Togetherness vs. Solo Time

If you set off to travel with a partner, do you expect to do everything together, compromising and communicating as necessary in order to make sure both of you have a positive, joint experience? Or do you have travel priorities that go beyond what your partner can accommodate? Are you willing to spend a day (or more) doing different activities, or would this symbolize a breakdown in the relationship to you? This is a hugely important area to consider before taking off with a partner. In my experience, communication is key. If you know you need alone time, communicate this openly and honestly to your travel partner. Let your partner know that you  simply want time to yourself.  And if you prefer doing everything together, it’s important to accept that your partner might not feel the same, and that it has nothing to do with you personally. If you feel like you would be lost if your partner takes off without you, this is something to discuss before you ever take off together. Again, communication is key here!

10. A Sense of Humor

You could have the perfectly meshed partner in all of the above areas–you have the same budget, eat the same food, and both want to do the same activities. But if you can’t laugh together, what’s the point? This is soooo key. Laughter is the magic ingredient for any successful trip. No matter how difficult the situation, or even the day, if you can go back to your hotel room, open a bottle of wine (of course), and laugh at life and each other and yourselves, then all is right with your travel world.

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When reflecting on all of these areas, perhaps the most important thing is to know how important each category is for you, and how much you can compromise. Maybe the food category won’t make a big impact on your ability to enjoy the trip, but you need to know that your partner wants to spend the entire time together. Or, maybe you’re a complete foodie and having someone to split fancy meals with is a must. The important thing is to be aware of where you’re willing and able to compromise, and where you simply can’t. It’s okay if you have travel deal breakers, just acknowledge and accept them.

It’s also important to talk to your partner openly and honestly about these topics. What are your partners’ priorities? What can they compromise on, and what are their deal breakers? You both need to know what you’re getting into. And it’s important not to force a partnership that has too many differences and red flags from the beginning. If there are serious differences in your travel styles, you might both be better off doing solo trips than forcing something that just doesn’t want to happen.

Again, in all cases, communication is key. Add a bit of flexibility, acceptance, and cooperation to the mix, and you’ll find yourself reaping the rewards of partner travel. Enjoy your travel buddies!

I’d love to hear from all of you about your experiences with travel buddies. Have you had a good one, or one that broke a friendship? Please share!

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