Portrait of Women Friends in AutumnPortrait of Women Friends in AutumnI’m involved with a wonderful group of women who are either in their 50s or beyond, and we meet regularly to talk about any number of issues. Together, we share about the many humorous, freeing, challenging, and even painful parts of this phase of life, and we learn so much from the experiences that each of us bring to this group. One of the more common topics that we discuss relate to the things we’ve put on our ‘bucket lists’ over time. Some women have already ticked some of them off by reaching beyond their comfort zones and travelled either with partners, friends, or on their own to exciting places in the world. In fact, one of our members is currently on her own adventure for a few months in Ireland – somewhere she’s wanted to go for some time, and from what she’s writing back to us, it seems as though she’s taking advantage of every possible opportunity that this experience is offering her.

For many people, not just women, at this time in our lives, we often find that we have a lot more freedom to think about ourselves than we did when we were students at university, involved in relationships and raising children, and working in whatever capacity that we were such that we had virtually no time to ourselves other than on weekday evenings from 9pm-11pm after the kids went to bed. On weekends, many of us were glorified cab drivers for our kids and their friends, and were expected to be on call at all hours of day or night; and our weekend schedule was often dictated by what our kids wanted to do. Strangely though, now that the kids have left the nest, and we now have time to consider what we might want to do (other than the regular responsibilities of our lives), it’s not always easy to that figure out. Where did all my great ideas go that I used to calm me when I was drowning in kids, piles of dirty laundry, half-eaten pizza resting in scrunched boxes that were smelling up the fridge, and with restless dogs to walk? Hmm…

One of our members, Lori Smithers-Ruiz, introduced us to her relatively new business that I wanted to feature on my blog, and not only because she’s such a gracious and inspiring woman, but because her business idea is fabulous, and it’s geared to women who’re seeking a wonderful adventure at this exciting time in our lives. Her business is called “The Heart in Provence” (www.heartinprovence.com), and her custom trips are organized for up to 6 women around 3 nights in Paris and 7 nights in Aix-en-Provence. She’s lived in Aix for almost 8 years herself, is fully bilingual, and can design trips that are quite different from the ones you may be familiar with, primarily because she has experienced the ‘out of the way’ spots that the French, themselves, go to; traditional tour companies and most visitors usually miss these authentic spots. Groups leave monthly to experience the real Paris & Provence in comfort, style and authenticity.

This is just one idea, but a great one so you may want to look into it by perusing her website. There are other wonderful tour companies whose target population are women, and especially midlife women who have the time, and possibly the financial resources to begin ticking off some of the items on their bucket lists.

Bon voyage!