The Kindling Project

Theresa Winters Talks: Starting Over as a Solo Parent - Travel & Vacation Edition

April 13, 2023 Season 2 Episode 27
The Kindling Project
Theresa Winters Talks: Starting Over as a Solo Parent - Travel & Vacation Edition
Show Notes Transcript

Do you like to travel but are a single parent and the idea of planning and organizing feels too overwhelming? Have you considered taking a risk in your personal life but feel too afraid of failure? Look no further!

In this week’s episode, we have the honor of chatting with Theresa Winters, who, at forty years old, went through a divorce and realized she had an opportunity for a new beginning. Theresa explains that she always loved travel and adventure but never thought she would be able to travel all around the world, let alone hit every fifty states with her kids.

As a self-described go-getter, Theresa knew that travel was her calling. She bought a travel agency that, although well established, had to build up the agency from the ground up. Be prepared to feel inspired, encouraged, and excited about travel.

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[00:00:00] Monica: Hi everyone. Welcome to the Kindling Project podcast. I'm Mick and I'm flying solo Today. Mel and Amy are hosting a couple events today. We are in the process of launching our digital workbook. It's a five part series designed for women ready to get serious about showing up for themselves. We've been having crazy fun over here at the Kindling Project. 

[00:00:21] All I have to say is careful what you ask for. We keep asking the universe for all these fun things to happen, and it's delivering like these giant dollops of, okay, here you go. You asked for it, boom. It's landing in our lap. Put on that lip gloss and show up girls. 

[00:00:36] A little scared sometimes and a little nervous. Last night we had our big launch party for this digital workbook and as we were setting up the three of us we looked at each other and we were like is anyone gonna show up? It's those nerves right before an event. We've done all this work we put all this time, but does anyone care and anybody gonna show up? 

[00:00:55] And I just looked at the girls and I said, you know what, girls, no matter what happens tonight, this is our moment. We've done the work. We know our why. We are so driven by the knowledge that there's like an untapped potential with women. So we have to celebrate this moment because if we are looking for others to validate us for people to purchase this or do this or show up, then we're in the wrong game. 

[00:01:19] But still human nature, a little self-doubt that keeps in when you make these big decisions and you jump in. And today, honestly, I'm talking to someone who knows this so well, who knows how life gets really extra spicy when we make big decisions, and we still have to walk over the fear because we know our whys. 

[00:01:40] So I'm really excited for all of you to meet Theresa Winters. Fair Warning for our fire starters, our AKA listeners, she will inspire you to dust off your passport. She's an active mother of two. Theresa never stops thinking what's next. Starting life after over 40, Teresa hit the round running. Solo travel led her to purchase her own travel agency, which led her to the highest mountaintops in Africa, to the oceans of Hawaii, swimming with sharks and even jumping out of airplanes over Dubai. 

[00:02:15] Yes, you heard me. 40 was just the beginning for this fearless mother, entrepreneur life chasing, inspiration wannabe. In addition to solo travel, Theresa and her two children have set a 50 state adventure goal. They have traveled by plane, train, greyhound, road trips, you name it. They've done it. After six years they're on state 34. Wow. And have visited many countries together. Theresa's newfound passion is inspiring and helping other solo parents travel with their kiddos. Theresa's a writer who shares many of her stories on her personal blog, and she's also working on her first book. You absolutely have to check her out on her Instagram, if for nothing else to get inspired and likely super, super jealous. 

[00:02:59] Her photos are amazing, so Hi Theresa, welcome to the show.  

[00:03:03] Theresa: Hello. Thank you.  

[00:03:06] Monica: So glad to have you here. So you and I met over our group in Ignite. And as soon as you and I chatted, I like to instantly, specifically I'm drawn to your sense of curiosity for the world and the people in it. So your story is really inspiring to me for many reasons. 

[00:03:25] So why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about how you are now known as this adrenaline junkie, mama, adventurous gal.  

[00:03:35] Theresa: It really started after I went through a divorce. It's kind of cliche, of course, but it was a new lease on life. And even from a young age, I was very much a go-getter. I grew up in a small town. My mom was a factory worker and my dad was a farmer. And my teachers, I just heard this common comment of "we so don't belong here." you're too big for this town. And whether that inspired me or just planted that little seed, I left my hometown in Michigan to go to college, of course. And then I did my internship in Colorado and I moved to Florida. And so I did get out of town, but I did chase love and ended up back in Michigan. And so that was a beautiful experience for me. We have two beautiful children. Had a beautiful home. I had the opportunity to stay home with the kids, which I was very fortunate to do, but there was still always that go-getter inside of me, and I always just felt something in there that I would hope dig out again one day. And that's what happened when I went through a divorce. I turned 40, went through a divorce and started taking solo trips.  

[00:04:40] Monica: Yeah. Take me back to sort of that moment where you're still in this house with your husband back then, husband and kids, and you just started feeling these little inklings that, this is not the life I'm meant to live. Can you share a little bit, I don't wanna say the feelings of being maybe suffocating as I know a lot of women here use that word, but I don't wanna put words in your mouth. What were you experiencing and feeling during that time?  

[00:05:03] Theresa: I really just saw myself as doing something bigger, if you will, and I think that's really hard for women, mothers to say that being a mother just isn't enough. It's not fulfilling enough. That's very hard to recognize but also verbalize and it wasn't enough. I adored it. Like we look back at pictures of all of us doing things together, the kids and I, and it was a very beautiful time in my life, but I wanted more. I knew I needed more, and it was constantly telling myself, this is the life you picked. Be happy with it. This is good enough for you. And I was really just wearing thin with giving myself that pep talk.  

[00:05:44] Monica: Oh, I can still relate to that. I feel the same way. I remember giving up my corporate job to be a stay-at-home mom and volunteering at school, just trying to fill up my time with things to try to bring more meaning and I would just volunteer a lot of times for these little parties. Do you remember that in elementary school where all the kids, Right, for whatever, and I was setting up a Sunday bar for my third grader at the time, and One of the mom volunteers literally yelled at me. "She's you're setting up the bulls incorrectly! It should be stripes, polka dot stripe poka dots." And I thought to myself, "this is what it's come down to?" But to your point, like always feeling guilty, why am I wrestling with these feelings of wanting more? Isn't this enough? Shouldn't it be enough that we are blessed enough to be stay-at-home moms? How many moms would love this opportunity? So I hear you. Those are really hard to wrestle with.  

[00:06:36] Theresa: Yeah. that ultimately seeped into my marriage. There's many reasons of the end of the marriage for sure. But ultimately, if we're not happy within, we begin to place blame. In which, looking back now, I've been divorced, six years. I did place blame and it just was me being unhappy really. That was a big part of it. And so when the marriage was well on its way to divorce, I was just craving something big and I didn't know what that was. And I remember. We were renovating our bathroom and he had moved out. So I'm finishing up renovations on my master bedroom bath. The custom doors were just taking forever, and they kept postponing and kept postponing, and they were thousands of dollars for these doors. And so I called my contractor and I said, you know what? Cancel the doors. I'll get a curtain. I'm gonna take that money. And I booked my first solo trip. And I had no idea what I was doing. It's my first time doing that. I wasn't in the travel industry and I just did it scared, and it was adrenaline. And to your point, like talking about your event last night,  

[00:07:40] Theresa: you do it scared. The nerves, like all of those emotions are what you should feel when something really great is about to happen. You're excited but you're nervous and you're scared and you don't know. Those are beautiful things when you really put them together. And yeah, I booked a trip to Hawaii. I had a place booked for the very first day that I arrived. Nothing in between, not even a hotel and a place booked on another island the day before I flew home. Just to have those kind of like bookends, that's what got me really into travel was the figuring it out and the uncertainty and building myself back up that I do still have that curiosity and that drive and that " just go get 'em" attitude that I'd put aside for so long.  

[00:08:25] Monica: Yeah, but wait, Theresa, back up. Why travel?  

[00:08:28] Theresa: That is still a question people ask me and I don't know that I know that answer. I've always been interested in travel and I had traveled a fair bit even with my husband at the time. But I just wanted more. I just wanted to see more. It's just one of those beautiful things that happened and today, I'm exactly where I'm meant to be. Having the career that I was fit for, the passion of travel is so suiting for me, and I'm not scared of really anything. So I'll go anywhere. Solo or with a group or with my kids. So I don't know that I have a really good answer for that.  

[00:09:04] Monica: That's the inspiration is that just something was in there and you thought, okay I'm gonna go this way because it's pulling me this way. And that's what I call that little nudge, A little tug, that little listening to yourself and you followed it, and here you are today. So tell everyone about what you do in your business and how you landed with this travel agency.  

[00:09:24] Theresa: Sure. So that was just the starting point. And I did multiple other solo trips. Shortly after, I think within seven months, I took four solo trips, Greenland, Puerto Rico, all kinds of fun stuff, and it was very transformational for me. So I quickly realized I have to make money doing this because I'm hooked. Like I'm not gonna stop traveling. I had put careers on hold to raise children. So I reached out to a lady who I knew was selling a travel agency years prior, and fortunately it was still for sale. And so not knowing anything about the industry, but knowing I loved to travel, knowing I'd ran other businesses before, so I thought, well, why not? I'm interested in learning and personal growth. I'm interested in discovering the world, and that's the best way to learn something like this is to get out there and travel. And so I just started slowly, I had to build up that clientele, although I purchased a business, she was retiring and she also reminded me, Theresa, I'm retiring, but most of my clients are also retiring with me, so I don't know how many will convert over to you. So I was essentially buying a name. And some training and the company had been around for over 30 years. So I built a website. I learned as quickly as I could, trial and error, and I just started booking itineraries for families and Honeymooners and Destination Wedding, and the kids got to travel with me, it was just a natural fit. Those are the things that I like because I am into adventure, so I book adventure. I love lovey dovey stuff. I'm a huge cheerleader of love, so I love destination weddings, I love honeymoons and, but then I also love family travel, so those are the things that I gravitate to and adore booking. And my clients can see that passion in me. They love hearing about make sure to go to this restaurant. And make sure to go to this happy hour. And when that one's done, if you walk two blocks down the street, there's another happy hour. Cause I've been to a lot of these places.  

[00:11:22] Monica: That's wild! Did you have a degree in business or is this something that I'm just gonna learn how to do this run a business? 

[00:11:30] Theresa: No. My degree is in communication and broadcasting, so nothing to do with business. But again, I'd had my hands in a couple different companies prior, and I'll get to this later, but  

[00:11:41] Theresa: I had deep belief in myself. I had a good amount of support around me as well, and I think that's so beneficial as women to find those that are gonna support you in anything that you're looking for. Get rid of the naysayers. Who's gonna fan your fire? And that's what I did. So I just had a beautiful network and I thought, well, if all else fails, we'll just revert back to something else. I've always said I was great at waiting tables and I loved doing that as well. If I needed to do that, I would. 

[00:12:12] Monica: Oh, I like your plan B, but I'm glad you don't have to use it. So let's talk about this a little bit. That's interesting. So I think about all the places you've been, girl, seriously, like you just mentioned some, but the list is so long now, and I'm curious like, first of all, finish the sentence for me. I will never travel without my...? 

[00:12:36] Theresa: Oh man, that's a really good one. Chapstick is so boring, but that's what comes to mind.  

[00:12:43] Monica: That's actually a pretty good one. I like that answer.  

[00:12:45] Theresa: Uh, I don't know. That's a tough one. I will tell you that I am queen of carryon. I do not check a bag. I have just learned that when I traveled by myself, having all that extra luggage, for example, I was in Malta. And when the taxi brought me to my hotel, you have to walk upstairs and that's how a lot of these destinations are. So this poor taxi driver had to carry my huge carry on upstairs. And I just learned, you know what? There's nothing that I can't fit in a carryon in a bag that will fit in the seat in front of me. 

[00:13:19] Monica: Yeah, that's why I love some of your blogs posts because you really give everyone some great tips on how to pack and what to pack and still look adorable and still look the part. So everyone, I'm gonna include up that all in the show notes, but everyone really needs to go read your blog post. You have awesome tips on that stuff outta all the spots you've traveled, you may not be able to answer this, but do you have a favorite spot? 

[00:13:43] Theresa: I've had to narrow it cause I get that question a lot. Hawaii is still one of my absolute favorite places and that's amazing that it's right here in the us so Hawaii. Sicily is fantastic. I did like a small road trip through Sicily with a friend from Germany and that was remarkable. I would love to go back. Super lovely. Greenland is one of my favorites as well, and it's 81% ice covered, so most people are like, absolutely not. I never wanna go there. And I've not been able to create that itinerary for anybody cause nobody wants to go. But it was dog sledding and boating through the glaciers and like getting in your snow gear every single day to walk into town, to the little cafe to pay $20 for seven minutes of internet. And it was just so Crazy, like getting around you either had to have a snowmobile or take a boat, but the ice was frozen so you couldn't take a boat. It was really remote and remarkable. So I like those places. That's the hard thing for me is I like to go research, if you will, for my clients. These places that I know are hot selling locations like Rome and Florence and Venice. That was a trip I did just for research. I wasn't on my radar. But for me, I like places that nobody else wants to go to, so I have to find that happy medium. Going back to some of the trips that I took, I have a running list and since 2016 today I've taken over 70 trips, and so I've been very blessed. People are probably like, how do you do that with children? Well, I am 50% mom, 50% single lady. So I am a week on and week off. And in some of those trips, my kids are with me as well. I take my parents with my kids. We do multi-generational trips. So it's not that I'm always by myself. But yeah I've covered a lot of ground, but I still have so much to see. 

[00:15:32] Monica: Any good tips for jet lag? I think that's also a big one, right? When you're going across the world?  

[00:15:38] Theresa: It's typically for me, it's just when I come back home. And I've really only struggled with it once, and that was coming back from Africa. I was wide awake in the middle of the night, but it's so worth it. I just flew back from Patagonia and that was a 29 hour travel day, but it didn't feel like it, and I was grinning from ear to ear, traveling back, so it didn't matter. I would've traveled a full another day. It was that great.  

[00:16:01] Monica: I read somewhere and help me, the pronunciation here, Masai Village, is that correct? 

[00:16:08] Theresa: Yeah. Masai Village. This is a very fun story. I was on a date with a gentleman and he was going to climb Kilimanjaro and I was honestly, well, where's Kilimanjaro? And he told me and I was like, well, I'm free. So I met him in Africa. He was there before. So here I barely knew this guy. We had to share a tent. But I was with all these other amazing people still today that are some of my friends from all over the world. And so after climbing Kilimanjaro, I did a three day safari, and that was, we got to go to the Masai Village and just see how they live from the land and in these huts that they have to rebuild every five months because they're weathered and they're starting to fall apart. And we would go in them and duck our heads and they're cooking on a little pot. It was beautiful. It was colorful. The clothing that they wear, and We got to see the school where the children go. We really got to see what it was like to be in their culture and in this just beautiful rolling setting of greens. 

[00:17:10] Monica: What have you learned the most about the people and the different regions? Surely it's not just about the travel and seeing the beautiful places, but the people. It's gotta be so rich in the culture that I'm sure taught you great lessons.  

[00:17:23] Theresa: Many, even about our culture, I feel like where I go most of these cultures, so when I was in Greenland, I had dinner with the Greenland lady and her four year old son was there and he was working on his fourth language. And it makes me feel just how like lazy we are and maybe righteous, so to speak, that we just wanna learn our language and that's it. I'm always the one in the room when I'm with a group that only knows one language. Most people that I meet in other countries know multiple languages. It's a beautiful reminder that we're all just trying to live our best lives. And it's beautiful to see them with their families and the smiles on their faces, regardless of where they are in their lives, like especially Africa, it's very poor. But people are just grinning ear to ear. Living with the little that they have. So if anything, it really turned the mirror back on me and the country that I'm from. 

[00:18:19] Monica: And do you feel like you've simplified in so many ways, maybe with material things and maybe amplified in other things, like being more open to learning things, just filling your brain with maybe a different language?  

[00:18:31] Theresa: Very much it really just goes back to where do we wanna spend our money and where do we wanna spend our time? And for me, that's travel and creating experiences for my children. Years ago we've started for Christmas, they don't get, I mean, they'll get stockings, but they don't get a mass amount of Christmas gifts under the tree anymore. They get to pick a destination. So we've done Disney cruise. We were in Aruba last year. just this past year we did Hawaii, Aruba the year before. So we are choosing to spend our money in different ways for sure. I don't buy big fancy handbags anymore. At all. And yes, I'm investing in myself and learning, spending more time writing, or I pick away at another language and life gets in the way cuz it's never a priority, unfortunately, but it's always on my bucket list. I have a written out bucket list from learning a new karaoke song to writing a book, to seeing this country with my kids to going to a Super Bowl with my son, and Spanish is on there.  

[00:19:32] Monica: Yeah, I can agree. But you know, having that bucket list is important anyway, just to have something to work towards. I love that. So I was doing a little bit of research for our interview here, and you told the story, I'm not sure where, if I heard you on a podcast or interview or I read this and all I heard was, Columbia, Miami, Spanish, he's talking some business. And all I could think was like, oh my God, Theresa was in the middle of a Narcos episode. 

[00:19:58] Theresa: Yeah. So this will be one of the stories in my book. And, I try not to give too much away, but that's exactly what it was. I love sitting at the corner of a bar where the, like the corner is, where it's a perfect position for someone to sit there at an angle and have a conversation with me. And so this was in Aruba and I had a glass of champagne and I was waiting for my food to go. I was just gonna go into my room. Of course, someone sat down and we struck up a conversation and. Long story short, I ended up eating my dinner there and had many glasses of champagne. And he was from Columbia and his business partner from Miami rolled in. And so before we parted ways, they asked me to join them for dinner the following night. They had a business meeting in the steakhouse, and I of course, Accepted because this is exactly the stuff I crave and I live for the unexpected story, so to speak. And so yeah, I joined them the next day and I was the only woman at the table. I was the only one that didn't speak fluent Spanish, and I will just leave it at this, that when I did watch Ozark and Narcos, I was like, oh my God. 

[00:21:06] Monica: Yeah. 

[00:21:06] Theresa: I can't believe I'm that.  

[00:21:07] Monica: I bet! 

[00:21:07] Theresa: And I'm not gonna say anymore, but there was definitely some heated, stressful moments at that table where- 

[00:21:13] Monica: yeah, as you're like cutting up your food, you're like, omg. Yeah, maybe this is another reason why you should do the foreign language to put it the top of your list. 

[00:21:24] Theresa: Yes. Well, that's what got me in trouble is I was just being like a smart ass. And I said, Yono say, which means I don't know. And so someone looked at me and they were like, well, she's called me out to be a spy. And I was like oh my goodness.  

[00:21:39] Monica: Were you being patted down? I promise I'm not, I'm here for the Veno. Let's transition here to part of your other business. It's really, you focus on single parents. You really wanna encourage single parents to, hey, explore with your kids, and you have your personal goal with your children, which is amazing. 34 states. That is so cool. So what's next on the calendar for you, by the way, with your kiddos? 

[00:22:02] Theresa: For the kids and I, we don't have anything this summer. This is the hard part. Summers are short. You're in Michigan. I'm in Michigan. We know how short our summers are. And so trying not to have them so busy is hard. They have a beautiful lake home with their father that they go up to a lot in the summer and they adore it there, and it is perfection there. So we don't really have anything scheduled right now. I will say that when we do these trips, I cluster them. So it's very strategic, it's very mapped out. So I have one of those bend there, scratch that maps on our wall. So after we go to a state, they scratch it off and the states that are left are very much clustered. Out east, we still have to do Maine in all those surrounding states. That was a trip that was meant to be last summer with my parents and it had to get rescheduled. So we might check one off this summer, just like a spontaneous, fly them out to Vegas. They haven't been to Nevada yet. That's super quick and easy. But it's not that we don't have trips planned. We do have a solo parent group trip planned for August. I'm taking solo parents with their children to Costa Rica. So that's what I've really morphed this into. I thought, I hear mainly women say, oh, I wish I was brave enough. I don't know where to start with my oh, I could never. So I started promoting it as like a solo parent family trip. Hey, we're gonna go join the kids and I. We'll meet you there. We're gonna plan everything for you. It's a great opportunity to learn the ropes on how to travel with your children. And it's been such a hit that now we're gonna do that annually. So this year in August, we're taking single parents and their kids to Costa Rica with us.  

[00:23:43] Monica: I was actually talking about you last night, our event. I'm glad to share with you though we had a huge, very exciting and very successful event and lots of people showed up. So I'm happy to report that, but some of the women, there were single parents and I'm like, oh, you have to check out this podcast I'm gonna record because Theresa is gonna inspire you. Cause that topic came up like solo travel, like what do we do? I'm like, oh, I've got the girl for you. She will hook you up. So I'm so excited. Tell me something- what is the one piece of advice you would tell solo parents who are maybe some moms out there feeling like, oh boy. I want to, but I'm scared and maybe I can't afford Costa Rica. So tell me what to do.  

[00:24:28] Theresa: I would say start small, wherever you are in your state. The main thing is knowing your children's interests. If your kids are happy, you're gonna be happy. It's just gonna work out better, right? So if your kids are teenagers or little kids, girls, boys, a mix, you really just have to hone in on what is gonna benefit you as the parent because your children are active and seeing something that interests them. I tell parents you don't have to get on an airplane, get in your car. I'll use Michigan as a reference drive to one of the beaches. We've got endless beaches. Or go to a city such as Detroit or Grand Rapids. There's tons to do for families. Go overnight, go for a day, and just build that confidence within yourself. We've mastered the road trip and it can be quite exhausting as a single mother. I mean, we drive a lot. our longest road trip we hit six states and came back up through Canada. So it was a long road trip. But we've mastered having our cooler and we take the cooler out when we get to a hotel and put it on a luggage cart and roll it in and drain the ice in the bathtub and then fill it up with the ice machine and restock it. We've learned games to do on the road, games within the vehicle. We've stocked the vehicle with pillows and all kinds of stuff to make it really comfortable and cozy and cute, like my daughter likes it and real homey, but it's just really focusing on what your kids are going to enjoy. 

[00:25:54] Monica: Yeah, and that's what I actually really admire about you is that you've done some really good tips like you've done that you know what to do. You cut a lot of corners. You help everyone consolidating oh, this is manageable, this is doable. And when you present those things, I think it just helps women okay, I don't have to think about everything. Theresa already thought about everything and it's handing it to me in a beautiful package. So that's like amazing value you add to your clients.  

[00:26:19] Yeah. And here's what I tell some people. Even if you're not my, if we're not gonna work together well as a client agent relationship, that's completely fine. 

[00:26:29] I'll still hop on the phone with you and give you all kinds of tips and advice. It's not about just income for me, it's about getting people out there, getting people curious about our world and creating these experiences for the. Have an unquenchable thirst about our world. I just really love inspiring other people to get out there and do it. 

[00:26:48] That's awesome. Yeah, when I'm a huge traveler too. We we love traveling with the kiddos. My, my husband, I still remember many times he'd be like, why are we spending all this time and money when they're younger? I'm like, because if we don't plant the seeds now, how will  

[00:27:00] they know that the  

[00:27:01] world's so much bigger than the four walls? 

[00:27:03] So I need to plant those seeds of adventure and curiosity, right? But I always tell parents because I'm like, you always have proponent, go do all those things. Just pack an enormous amount of patience in your luggage. It's the first thing you pack because when you know with kids and now teenagers no different. 

[00:27:19] They're rolling their. They'd rather be with friends, but I'm like, Nope, we are doing this. And just breathe through it and they end up having a great time.  

[00:27:28] It's, that's very real. The, when I take these trips with my kids, it is super stressful. It is almost more stressful than it is enjoyable at times. 

[00:27:38] The last trip that we did, we were down like in the Kentucky area and it rained a lot. And I even have a blog post on. The way to get your kids to not bounce off the walls is to remove the walls. Well, we were in walls a lot cause of the rain, and so it was very testing and very trying, but we all learned from each other and we just had to give each other grace. 

[00:27:57] And tech was used a lot more than we would've liked. But you know, you've gotta understand like it's gonna be testing, it's gonna be trying, but it's so worth it. And I wanna get back to planting the seeds with our children. That's very crucial. But also we don't know what our future holds. We don't know if we're gonna be traveling in five years with our kids. 

[00:28:19] We don't know if we're gonna retire. We don't know if we're gonna have a job we don't like. If you've got the opportunity and the time and the, the way to do it. I was in, I was hiking Patagonia like a, it was insane. A 16 mile trucking day. Uphill over boulders and I saw parents with kids on their backs and I was like, God bless you. 

[00:28:39] I mean, I can't do that, but like I applauded them like for just, they're not waiting till their kids get older to do the things that they wanted to do. They wanted to go do this seven day track and they're doing it with the baby  

[00:28:50] on the back. Can we talk a little bit about your Instagram account? 

[00:28:53] So here are some hashtags. You ready? You know them, you're right. 'em tomorrow, may never. Book that flight. What are you waiting for? Sort of what you're just saying. Right. So your photos, first of all. Wow. Like adventure. I see places that I can't pronounce. There's a lot of drinks involved, A lot of, I see a lot of espresso, martinis, tequila, delicious food, and you always look amazing. 

[00:29:18] So my first question is I think, are you just like genetically. Or tell me that in the in betweens there's an enormous amount of discipline and work, because you look amazing in all the  

[00:29:30] Theresa: photos. Oh, thank you. I think when you have a sunki glow, it definitely does help. I am not a selfie girl. I've had to learn, I used to work with a branding specialist and I would say, I wanna, I want to post more about the destination, not. 

[00:29:47] But I'm noticing the pictures with me and I are getting more interactions, more likes, and she's you have to put pictures of you. So I am not the girl that takes 20 different photos. If I don't get one within the first three pictures. I don't take it. I don't do it. I love taking photos. I was the girl in school that I had the camera. 

[00:30:05] I took the film in to the one hour developing. I wrote on the back what we were doing, and it went in a photo album. I was that girl and I'm still that girl today. I even print pictures today and go to albums in my house. My kids get to flip through that, so that's lent itself well because what I do for a living is very photo heavy. 

[00:30:23] My kids get annoyed sometimes with me taking pictures, but I remind them when I post a picture of this Destin. Mommy probably gets a job from it and we get to continue traveling. So it's been a beautiful marriage with those two things. Photos and travel. People wanna see where you are and then they get inspired. 

[00:30:43] So I like to post all of that stuff. That I've never done. Like you mentioned tequila. I used to hate tequila, but now I go to Mexico so much, I have to like tequila. I hear you  

[00:30:53] Monica: about the selfies. I think just our generation, we did not grow up saying, look at me. So it's really uncomfortable and Mel and Amy and I we're the same way. 

[00:31:01] We're like, Oh, we've gotta put ourselves out there. People actually wanna get to know us. So I love seeing your photos. I'm like, oh, there she is. And look where she's going now, because it makes me feel connected to you. And I don't think of it as, oh, she's showing up. So I hear you. But it is uncomfortable, isn't it, to get over that hump. 

[00:31:17] Yeah.  

[00:31:17] Theresa: Well, and I just don't wanna, I just don't wanna be wasting my time trying to get the perfect selfie. Right. And we're very critical of ourself. And I make the joke too, when I do videos on some of my, That if I'm doing a video, you've caught me on a good day because I'm actually outta my sweatpants and my hair is done. 

[00:31:37] So I might try to do two or three videos, throw on a scarf like it's a different day, but now I'm doing multiple videos or photos because I got ready that  

[00:31:46] Monica: day. I wanna talk to you a little bit about fear because you are doing some crazy things, girl, you're like swimming with sharks, jumping off planes and Dubai. 

[00:31:55] You're really putting yourself out there. Have you always been this fearless or is this something that you've learned?  

[00:32:01] Theresa: I think I've been pretty fearless my whole life for sure. But just recently, definitely more so the whole jumping out of an airplane, swimming with sharks, like I've been legit terrified of sharks my entire life. 

[00:32:16] To the point when I was a kid, I would jump in a pool and jump right back out. Cause I thought there were sharks. I hate swimming in a lake still today. Like anything touching my body freaks me out. So that's what got me to swim with sharks. I thought, you know what? They terrify me. Let's do it. And what was even more beautiful about that is my 14 year old daughter did it with me. 

[00:32:35] It was terrifying. It was. Terrifying. Like some of the pictures that are posted are beautiful Pitches of us in the water are sharks, but there are definitely photos of our faces where my daughter's face was ghost white, but we did it and then it became beautiful. It's getting out of our comfort zone, but more importantly, I watched the aftershock on Netflix. 

[00:32:56] It's about the earthquake that happened in a Nepal, and a guy quoted that moment, gives me energy, and I loved that because energy. Can be drained from us or it can be given to us. And I'm realizing more and more in life what gives me energy. And it's those things that are giving me energy and making me feel younger and younger as I'm getting, I just turned 46 and so these things that I'm doing, although they scare me, they're giving me the energy that just is getting me more and more addictive. 

[00:33:30] What next? What next? And I'm literally today saying, what next? Now, I drove the race car. Ferrari in Vegas that I've always wanted to do. Last year I jumped out of an airplane in Dubai. I just swam with the sharks and now I'm like craving something again. That's that terrifying.  

[00:33:50] Monica: That's incredible. I love that. 

[00:33:51] And learning how to do that. I love that. How you're flipping the. The conversation of fear holding you back to you're saying no, it's actually  

[00:33:58] Theresa: feeds me energy and I gravitate towards it. Well, and that's what we need to do, right? We use the word energy so much, and we need energy. We need energy. We don't have energy. 

[00:34:08] But really put thought into what that means to you. What gives you energy every single day? Is it a person? Who do you need to talk to today that gives you energy?  

[00:34:16] Monica: So for you it's really figuring out your next adventure that is that energizes you. You mentioned early naysayers and I imagine in your world where you the decisions you've made, not only your divorce, but also the fact that you do put yourself in very risky situations. 

[00:34:32] You're jumping out of plane. Do you feel like there's a little shatter in back of you or around you with people saying, why would you do that? Why would you put your life in danger when you have children? Why, how? Why would you get divorced when you, what do you  

[00:34:46] Theresa: do with that? It's always gonna be there. 

[00:34:48] I think it's always been there my entire life anyways, and again, I've just learned to, the unfortunate part is some of my biggest naysayers are closest friends and family. What I've learned from that is we don't need to. Push those people out of our lives necessarily. We just know where they belong. Now they're not that supporting role in our life. 

[00:35:10] Again, I talked about that earlier. Find those who are gonna support you and lift you up and disregard certain people that are naysayers in certain situations. Again, it's not writing them completely outta your life, but there's always gonna be naysay. They just don't bother me anymore. I think I'm in such a beautiful place in my life right now. 

[00:35:29] It really is a pinch me life, and I work really hard thinking, how can I keep this, how can I keep this? Because I love where I'm at. So those naysayers don't sting me that much anymore. Where they did when I was younger. Being in your forties is a beautiful thing. Some of those things just roll off your back. 

[00:35:48] And so when Covid hit the travel industry, obviously very hard and it shook me and I was offered a full-time position here locally and I took it right away because it was income. As a single mother, I needed something coming in. I quickly was reminded that working in an office, having a. And all of those things that come with it. 

[00:36:07] Needing permission to take a half a day off of work when I'm typically working wherever I want to. Seven days in a row. It was draining me. It wasn't feeding me, it was bringing me down. And I was noticing that pretty hard. So I reached out to a good friend of mine that I've known almost my entire life, and he owns multiple businesses and we were chatting business and he asked me one super pivotal question and I'll never forget it, and he. 

[00:36:33] Because, let me sit back. I wanted to leave this job and everyone said, Tracy you can't, nobody's booking travel. We're in the midst of Covid. You've got two children. And I knew all this. I knew all this. He said one thing to me. He said, do you believe in yourself? And my answer was an easy yes. And I went into that office the following Monday, and I gave them a month's. 

[00:36:53] But I felt so light when I left that building knowing that I don't have to do this anymore. I am at a point in my life where every decision I make is for my peace and my mind, and getting me where I wanna be and not working for somebody else is not where I want to be. So I'm writing my own rules and I inspire others to follow. 

[00:37:14] I love the compliment when someone. Because of you. I did this because of you. I had the courage to do that. I feel like if we're not inspiring people, then what are we here for? Girl,  

[00:37:27] Monica: you're talking my language. Yes. I love it. I love it. I think that's so great. I think o one of the things that you said at some point is like, you don't have to understand me, but you have to respect. 

[00:37:37] And I love when I read that you said that because I'm like, yeah, that's it. It's like the naysayers are always going to be there and sometimes they're there to protect you. They just love you so much. They don't wanna see you get hurt. I always think of it your egos the same way. Everyone's oh, your egos know you're amigo. 

[00:37:52] Which I say that all the time too, but it's the same like when things like imposter syndrome or fear comes. It's not always a bad thing, it's just someone inside of you just trying to protect you. Cuz if you don't do it, it's safer, then nothing will happen. But to your point, then you're not really fully living. 

[00:38:10] And what I love what you're saying is like the desire to believe in myself is so much more important than what anybody else is saying. And that happens. And if I align myself with my true passion, everything lines up beautifully. Everything works itself out, and that's what we try to do at the Killian Project. 

[00:38:26] By inspiring these women,  

[00:38:27] Theresa: start doing those things again that make you happy. When you are truly, deeply happy in taking care of your own wellbeing, it pours out into those around you. You know that, that quote that I said you don't have to understand me, but support me like. That was to my family when I first started doing solo trips. 

[00:38:46] They didn't understand it. Why would you rather be alone on a holiday than with family? And being alone doesn't mean you're physically alone. You can be surrounded by 10 people and still feel alone. And so I had to explain this to my mother and some close people to me. You do not have to understand where I am right now in my journey. 

[00:39:09] Just support me and encourage me. And from then on they did. I didn't have any pushback. They still maybe cringe at the things that I do, but they know me now. They're kinda like, well, that's our  

[00:39:20] Monica: girl. So I wanna play a little game with you. Okay? This is like a rapid fire game. I'm gonna give you one word and you say the first thing that comes to your. 

[00:39:27] Okay. You don't have to stick to one word answer, but just whatever comes to your mind, okay? Divorce rocks. Lucky in love, single. Happy dating, stressful friendship.  

[00:39:39] Theresa: Necessary. Mama bear  

[00:39:42] Monica: food.  

[00:39:43] Theresa: Ooh, craving love. Goals. Lovely. Good job. You. Wow, that was tough. I play that with my kids, but it's more like foot and ball, sun and shine. 

[00:39:57] Those were  

[00:39:57] Monica: pretty tough. Okay, so what's next? You said you asked yourself this question. I know you're working on a book. Oh. You've gotta tell everyone this karaoke thing you're working on. I think this  

[00:40:06] Theresa: is the best. I am seeking out voice lessons and I've interviewed a couple teacher. And it's simply just to master one or two karaoke songs, just to have the confidence to get up on that stage and rock it out instead of cringing. 

[00:40:23] I don't wanna be a singer, but I do wanna feel that rush of, I did really good up on that stage and have the crowd singing along with me. So again, it's just one of those silly little things to have on my bucket. But it's gonna scare me. It's gonna challenge me, and it's quirky, and I'm really excited about. 

[00:40:42] Monica: Oh, that's so fun. I cannot wait. And just please invite me to the bar when you're ready, so I can be there. And tell me about this writing. Tell me a little bit about  

[00:40:50] Theresa: that. So this has been something I've thought about for years. I enjoy writing a lot. It's extremely therapeutic. I wrote a lot throughout my divorce and the beginning of travel, and then life gets busy. 

[00:41:03] It's put on hold. But over my past six years of being single and traveling, the stories are just too good to. Be on paper. They're really good. They're entertaining, sad, they're like, oh my gosh, I can't believe you survived that. Some of the stories are multi-part stories. For example, one started in Puerto Rico, but then wrapped up in Pana when I met this person again. 

[00:41:30] So a lot of it has to do with dating and colliding with travel and what that looks like. And my goal with the book is really just to have some humor for sure. But to inspire women to give them some knowledge within the travel world and like just pique their interests, but also challenge them to go out and do some of these things that they thought maybe would be possible. 

[00:41:53] So it's got a whole kind of beautiful, intertwined mission within it. But I just really want it to be lighthearted and inspiring and a lot of humor in it for sure. Oh, I can't wait  

[00:42:07] Monica: to read it. It's gonna be great. What about like some inspiring takeaways for our people here?  

[00:42:13] Theresa: Again, I'll just go back to surrounding yourself with those that are gonna lift you up and get you closer to the goals that you see, you wanna achieve. 

[00:42:22] We have enough in our lives bringing us down. I think that just happens naturally and time goes by so quickly. Like I'm 46 years old and I just feel like I have so much still left to do in this life, and I pick and choose where I spend my time with people. And so it's being really selective with that. 

[00:42:45] But I just encourage people to, you have to do it scared, whatever that is, do it scared and you are just gonna be empowered and hopefully shocked and inspired by your own self that you will intern inspire  

[00:43:02] Monica: somebody else. Yeah. I read something one of your blogs. You were talking about your climb and you wrote, and I'm paraphrasing some of it here, but literal. 

[00:43:13] So sore muscles, altitude sickness, blisters jack knees, critically low oxygen levels. Yeah, it was the real deal. Two days of coming down a mountain is a topic no one warned us about. It was torture. I'll leave it. At that summer day, went head to head with my mental game. I wanted to quit. I wanted to fake altitude sickness. 

[00:43:32] I was in a straight up pissy mood when we started the climb. I was also very sad about this the entire week. I was pumped for this moment. I could not wait to. Manjaro, but that morning at 12:30 AM New Year's Eve, I had a massive headache. I hadn't slept since the night before. I was bitter cold and I hated all the 20 something year olds around me that were yelling Happy New Year and whistling nonstop. 

[00:43:52] I hated them. I struggled to push past this mood for hours and it's just something I can't put words into, but eventually my mental game took over and I climbed  

[00:44:02] Theresa: the mountain. Man, that brought up emotions in me. Hearing you read that, like it put me right back in there. Because, yeah, and li like I, I mentally checked out for probably, I think about four hours on that mountain. 

[00:44:15] I had l Lauren Dayle playing on repeat. I don't know how many times. But I remember coming to when the sun was rising and remembering oh, I'm on a mountain. It was just that I was watching the feet in front of me with my headlamp on my head. I just put one foot in front of the other, and I think so many times that's what we are doing in life. 

[00:44:35] We're just putting one foot in front of another. And it's gonna pass us by. Like we have to look up, we have to see the sunrise. We have to take in all the beauty amongst the struggle. We can't just live we, or sorry. Yeah. We can't just just exist, right? We have to thrive. We have to live. We have to really take hold of what that means for us. 

[00:44:57] But the point  

[00:44:58] Monica: is, you're climbing the mountains, you're doing it one step at a time. Maybe you're doing it. And that's why I'm so proud of. Because even when it gets hard, when you get upset, when you put get down, when you beat yourself up, when people annoy you around you, whatever the point is, you keep going. 

[00:45:12] And that is what is so inspiring about you. So thank you for doing that. Why don't you plug in a little bit right now, your business and your handles.  

[00:45:20] Theresa: Sure. So my company name is Faraway Places Travel. I am all over social media, so you can find me on Facebook or Instagram. My personal Instagram is keeping up with Teresa, which is very fitting and it's got a lot more of my life, obviously, so I'm very proud of those page. 

[00:45:37] At Single Mother Adventures on Instagram as well, and that's just the kids and I traveling. But yeah, I mean, I'm really hard to find. You can Google me, I'm everywhere. My kids remind me that when they pull me up in class mom, we Googled you today. Reach out again if it's wanting complete assistance with me, or just picking my brain and inspiration. 

[00:45:57] I love meeting new people. I literally have friends from across the entire. Because I've benefited and I've actually taken advantage, I'll say that I've taken advantage of some of the different apps. In order to connect with people before I do travel, so I have tips on that as well. How to be smart, but how to find a local tour guide before you even arrive. 

[00:46:18] That's great stuff. I really  

[00:46:19] Monica: appreciate all that. So my final question to you is, what would you say to the little girl inside of you, knowing what you know now? I would  

[00:46:27] Theresa: say to know that your light is shining brighter than you can even imagine. People are watching you and they're inspired by you. Even when you give yourself a hard time in wondering what you're doing, like you're doing the right thing and keep going because you're a light in somebody else's life. 

[00:46:45] Monica: That's beautiful. That's so true. By the way, thank you for sharing that. And finally, we always sign off our show by giving a shout out. So anyone you want this week who maybe has inspired you or opened the door, it was kind to you. Anything that you, anyone, anything that you wanna. Give a big shout out  

[00:47:02] Theresa: too, I'll give a big shout out to my girlfriend, Jess. 

[00:47:05] We had lunch. We had lunch yesterday. It was a nice three hour lunch. She was my college girlfriend and we're both super busy moms living on opposite sides of the state, so getting together is very, only a couple times a year. So she took time out of her day yesterday and she's just always a source of inspiration for me. 

[00:47:23] And she's a friend where I. If I have a question, she doesn't just give me the answer I want to hear. She's the friend that tells me exactly what I need to hear because she knows me. She knows me at my worst. She knows me at my best. So this shout out is to you, Jess.  

[00:47:43] Monica: That's beautiful. I hope to meet Jess sometimes. 

[00:47:46] She sounds amazing. We all need justice in our world, that's for sure. For me, I'm gonna shout out all the women that showed up for us last night. I mean, there are many, but Amy, Tammy, Debbie, Michelle, Karen and Linda, Ashley, Kristen, Sam, melody, Kaylin, Amy, Riley, Kim, Sarah, and there's so many more, but we had a women, 50 women in this room show up and just clap it out for us. 

[00:48:06] And it was so cool and inspiring and. Thank you to the ladies for showing up last night for us. I really appreciate it and thank you to you, Teresa, for your time this morning and for all your info. I appreciate you so much and I'm so glad we're friends. 

[00:48:20] Bye everyone.  

[00:48:21] Theresa: Bye guys.