I recently had the opportunity to speak with Gloria Coppola, a wellness educator, entrepreneur, and spiritual solo traveler. In today’s guest post, she shares how her work influences her travel style. Read below for the full scoop!
Hi Gloria! Why don’t you introduce yourself + tell us where you call home. What type of work/endeavors are you involved with?
Hello, I’ve been involved in the health and wellness field as an entrepreneur for 30 yrs.
As a single mom, I left a great paying corporate job to become a massage therapist. I took a leap from financial stability (or what appeared to be) to have time and freedom to be with my kids doing something that would serve the community …something I felt passion for in life.
I’ve been the owner of a holistic health center, massage school and health food store. Being an eternal student, I love to travel and learn from different cultures and the ancient wisdom of life.
I’ve loved holding retreats and being part of them in various parts of the world.
Today, I’m a lifestyle and wellness entrepreneur. I health coach and network with people all over the world helping them find a better way in life.
There are many things I’ve been fortunate to contribute to in life, including starting a fundraising non profit for my massage colleagues after Hurricane Sandy.
I’m a published author of 3 books. One on the ancient healing wisdom of hawaiian lomilomi, a second book I co-created with my granddaughter, and I recently published a Getting Started to a Healthier Lifestyle Guide.
When did you go on your first solo trip and where was the destination?
My first solo trip was to the island of St Lucia when I was in my early 30’s. I have to admit, I was scared to go out of the country alone. I love the tropics and exotic places in the world so I chose St Lucia because of the wonderful all inclusive spa retreat that I so needed to relieve my stress.
Where would you say has been your favorite destination and why?
Not an easy one to pick because each place I have traveled to offered something different.
Egypt’s mystery and sacredness intrigues me.
Hawaii fulfilled a childhood dream to live the life of aloha for 7 years.
Peru was magical and mystical but also deeply healing and heart opening on a missionary trip.
Italy brought me home to my roots and going to cooking school in Tuscany was delectable.
Exploring Greece alone was interesting and stretched me beyond a comfort zone with a language I didn’t understand and a ‘perception’ of the life there and knowing absolutely no one there.
Did you receive any words of caution before taking a trip? Was there someone who totally supported your decision?
My sisters are always ‘warning’ me of dangers. Whether it be weather or upheaval in countries. I try not to listen and have learned a long time ago the ‘news’ is someones’ news, but it is not my experience. My daughter always says GO MOM, have FUN!
Now that you are a seasoned solo-traveler, what piece of advice would you give to other women wanting to take a solo trip?
Start by going to a place where you speak the language. Do something you will enjoy. Open to the possibilities and have FUN. The world is a beautiful playground and there are so many wonderful people waiting to meet you. You may want to travel solo aka within a retreat group and take that as a first step.
Remember if you travel to any places where there is shopping you can buy anything you need so travel lightly. You will NOT want to lug around big suitcases. Have fun buying a new outfit or 2.
What differences have you noticed since taking your first solo trip compared to present day?
It’s more accepted for women to travel solo now. It’s been almost 30 years since my first trek. I see woman all the time going it alone. There are many women’s retreats now too, with fabulous destinations having awesome adventures.
Which 3 items can you NOT travel without?
I love pictures so I definitely need my camera or cell phone.
Personal hygiene/first aid kit
Clothes that pack lightly. Roll them up small, don’t need ironing . Mix and match
How do you incorporate your holistic lifestyle into your travels? Does this affect where you travel to, what you eat, activities you participate in?
My holistic lifestyle is ME. I can find great fruits, veggies etc., anywhere . Even in peru I enjoyed a variety of new foods that suited my lifestyle. Nature is a wonderful place to live fully and that is everywhere. I love to go to places where I can enjoy the natural beauty of our creator and the man made architecture and creativity.
Share a time when you felt totally out of your element- possibly overwhelmed with new sounds, smells, cultural differences, etc. This could be a positive or not so positive experience…
I would have to say that was when I arrived in Peru. It was a bit overwhelming, confusing, rushed.
Obviously I did not speak the language. I was looking for my group. Everyone was scattering hecticly to find their luggage so it would’t be stolen. There was upheaval in Lima at the time so military where everywhere. The smells were definitely different and mostly body odor was significantly the fragrance at the airport.
I took a deep breath and said you’re not in Kansas anymore. Was my anxiety a result of fear or just from being in a different culture? I looked around, moved a bit slower and realized it was a different operating system .
We obviously had to be cautious as mini military breakouts were happening daily. Our small group was advised to stay close, be quiet, hold the energy and everything will pass. It helped me open up to a new perception.
You can connect with Gloria on her website and other social media below!
Visit her website: www.GloriaCoppola.com