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Finally spring has sprung! As we take the opportunity to refresh body and soul, many gather with friends and family to relish the moment in celebration of Passover or Easter. From burning wheels to hooded presiders, these are our picks for cool Easter traditions around the world.

  1. The Fox – before there was the bunny, there was the Easter Fox. Some Dutch and German cultures have an Easter fox that bring children gifts. Lamb is another significant animal of the holiday representing both innocence and sacrifice…Greeks roast lamb on a spit, and Germans make lamb-shaped cakes.
  2. Burning Wheel – Lügde, located in the Northern Rhine region of Germany, is primarily known for the Osterräderlauf (Easter Wheel Run) where ancient tradition has it that if the wheels roll down the hill as straight as possible, a good harvest is to come that year.
  3. Gunshots & Firework Duel – The Greek islands and villages have a “go big or go home” approach to this holiday. On islands like Samos gunshots can be heard ringing out at the Easter vigil when the priest announces “Christos Anesti”, Christ has risen. Islands like Chios have a firework duel between two large churches to see who has the most impressive display.
  4. Hooded “nazarenos” – In Seville, Spain, these strangely masked penitents join worshippers in a parade and wear habits with long pointed hoods. This amazing spectacle can include anywhere from a few hundred to thousands.
  5. The Candle Cross – in Yerevan, Armenia soliders gather in the main square and march with votive candles in hand. All together, they put the candles on the ground and march off…leaving the shape of a giant cross illuminated by hundreds of candles.

 

Multiracial Group Of Young Friends Enjoying Meal at Home

Whether actual or imagined, I have come to find a very real issue of travel guilt happening among females seeking girl getaways. Between societal pressures and – even moreso – our own self-imposed expectations, we women may experience a variety of guilt that ultimately influences us not to take that girls vacation we’ve been tossing around in our minds.

  1. Work Guilt

As an American living in Southern Europe, I’ve seen an incredible paradox. Friends would comment about the vacation month that I would get, followed by a playful grumble about how it must be nice to never work. In the beginning, I felt a twinge of guilt. It did seem excessive to close up shop that long. But then, I observed a few seasons, and I realized an important truth. Europeans truly “vacate”. They recuperate. They come back from a restful August pleasant and focused. They take every. Single. Day. And they don’t apologize. Sometimes with even the smallest budget, they come up with creative getaways to explore new places and be inspired. I too found that I needed it and came back recharged in all my roles again.

As for the States, one survey suggested that in 2015, 41% of them didn’t take a vacation day at all. Some “staycationed” (a.k.a. worked from home with occasional trips to the local club pool.) Americans took paid vacation in their hands then set it back on the table, saying, “Eh…no thanks. I prefer to work through this one.” But why? Is it that we live in a workaholic culture, a feeling of returning to piles of work? A notion that no one can do it but you, and the company will disintegrate in your absence? Or just that Janelle in the next cubicle has been killing it and you’re both vying for that major promotion, so you want to one-up her? The headline of this article alone hit me in my gut – Americans Waste Record Setting 658 Million Vacation days. What?! Come on ladies, it’s time to take them back.

2. The Significant Other Guilt

I’ve heard it time and time again.

“Oh, I hang with the girls, but I only travel internationally with my husband.”

“We do nights out, but I usually take trips with my boyfriend.”

All relationship dynamics are different, and some women prefer only to travel with their significant other. Cue Britney Spears beat – that’s your prerogative! The men and women that make up our “other half” are wonderful, extraordinary people. That’s why we picked them to walk next to us in life. And, chances are, we really really enjoy traveling with them as well – they’re a great time. However, some women would also like to take girls trips, but feel bad in doing so. A girlfriend getaway is a completely different feeling than traveling with our beloved, as is a solo trip an introspective journey in itself. So why do we feel sometimes that we can’t leave them behind for a few days? Is it a fear of having separate experiences, or that our significant other will feel rejected?

Some words I recently read by Oneika the Traveller resonated with me, “Nuturing other relationships is important…even when you’re married.” Balancing all the people we love and care for in our life can be a challenge when we’re so busy. Having independent experiences is healthy and allows us to miss our mates. Traveling with sisters and friends could even have a positive impact on your relationship. Win, win!

  1. Mama Guilt

I know so many ladies whose children are their world. They are the best mamas I know. But I’ve seen them at times hanging by a thread. Tired, burnt out…especially single mothers who don’t have the opportunity to share the parenting responsibilities at home. Parents need alone time and a little recuperation as well. It’s a full-time job with no breaks or bank holidays. We believe taking a weekend jaunt is the equivalent of a mind and soul power nap – it might be just what you need to come back and give your kids your very best.

  1. Me Guilt

We ladies can be awfully hard on ourselves. I shouldn’t spend the money. I shouldn’t go somewhere so extravagant. I need to focus. The best part of all is that a trip can renew us and makes us more focused, more creative, more ready to tackle the world, and better able to show up in our work, relationships and families as they need us. It’s about time you take that girls trip!

Amidst all the dreaming and scheming surrounding a wedding, couples surprisingly neglect one important thing: the honeymoon. Why is it so often put on the back burner? Whether it be budgetary or just lack of time for planning, spouses-to-be often put all the emphasis on the day of instead of their own getaway the day (or days) after. Whenever and wherever, the honeymoon is a wonderful way to de-stress after the wedding buzz and start your new journey in life together. Here’s our honeymoon planning tips to help it go off without a hitch.

1) Don’t leave it ‘til the last minute. We know, easier said than done. With all of the things to do – dress, venue, guest list – the honeymoon just doesn’t feel like a priority. However, you won’t realize how badly you crave that special getaway with your new spouse until the time is upon you. Planning ahead helps ease the stress, can be more affordable, and is a fun thing to share just between you two.

2) Get help. While you and your hubby-to-be want to dream and plan it, a professional travel planner can listen to your vision and create a trip with things you didn’t even know existed. Plus, there are perks such as free upgrades and little-known places that your travel expert can offer. By allowing a planner to handle time-consuming details, you’re free to focus your time and energy on the big day.

3)  Skip the morning after departure. While it may sound romantic to be whisked off the day-after, you will likely be exhausted, disorganized, and may want to take a few days to savor the moment with close friends and family. We don’t suggest delaying it significantly as the honeymoon has its very special place in your nuptial celebration. Just don’t feel the pressure to run out the next day.

4) Create a reasonable itinerary. Whether you’re taking a safari in the jungle or unplugging on a remote beach, ultimately, you want to relax and enjoy one another.  Don’t fall into the trap of trying to see everything – hopping locations day to day will be tiring and can dampen your honeymoon. What might seem like a great idea leads to constant repacking, check-outs, and waiting at ports or airports. Try to stay at least 2-3 nights in each place.

5) Decide what counts. Pick a place, vibe, and budget that suits you…don’t just jump on the first cheap travel deal you see or take someone else’s honeymoon. Chances are it might not live up to your expectations. You and your partner are like no other, so plan a trip that uniquely suits you. Think about what kind of adventure, or retreat, would be best for you both. After all, this is your first journey of many.

New Year's Resolution

After popping countless hors d’oeuvres, clinking glasses, and belting out Auld Lang Syne off key (or was that just me?)…it’s time to ponder what we hope to achieve in the year ahead. Here’s why we believe traveling more should be your New Year’s resolution.

  1. Because you deserve it after 2016.

From a tumultuous election and global political turbulence, to losing many of our beloved artists and public figures – it seems we all could use a fresh start after last year. What better way to shake it off than pack up and gain fresh perspective from a bit of jet-setting?

  1. Nothing inspires change like travel.

Live a happier life. Meet new people. Challenge your comfort zones. We find that travel can be the answer to many other popular New Year’s resolutions that people set each year. It can make us happier, wiser, more cultured, and more tolerant. If you’re looking to really make some positive changes this year, traveling just might be your way to do it.

  1. Because it’s easier than ever.

Unfortunately, traveling is also a commonly broken New Year’s resolution. When it comes down to the headaches of planning or budgeting, people often let this one slip. However, many apps, websites and travel planners make this part easier than ever to book affordably. Travel bloggers are constantly introducing us to new and fun experiences. Airlines continue to add new hubs and airports, and it seems the travel industry is increasingly more connected.

  1. It’s a fun one.

I enjoy dieting on tasteless foods and killing myself at the gym, said no one, ever. Alright, jokes aside, working on your body and striving to be healthy is a great resolution as well. But luckily “no pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to travel. Traveling allows us to encounter new cultures, try new foods, and embark on new adventures. From camping in Dubai’s desert to dog-sledding through Iceland’s terrain, there’s an experience for everyone in 2017.

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Seeking travel inspiration, or other destinations? We offer trips all over the globe.

Contact us anytime and let’s build your trip together!

+30 211 406 3120

info@shefari.com

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