POSTCARDS & PEARLS
Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road
CELEBRATE THE JOURNEY OF JOY, DISCOVERY, AND PERSONAL EVOLUTION
Traveling solo does not necessarily mean alone. The absence of other people often suggests regretful isolation. Solo, by contrast, is a willful decision to be the architect of our own experience. On the road, that might mean being completely on our own, hiring a guide, joining a group of people we’ve never met before, or carving out solo time while traveling with family or friends. Off the road, it could mean visiting a museum or attending a play or workshop in our own company.
The gift of solo moments is that they are wholly ours. On or off the road, solo moments connect us inward to ourselves with heightened clarity and insight. They also direct our energies out into the world, magnetizing us to new people and experiences we may not have encountered under any other circumstance. Whether the journeys you take are from Wisconsin to Sri Lanka or from I can’t to I can, I hope that the postcards in this book enliven the possibilities within your imagination while the pearls embolden your life at home in new and challenging ways.
Gina Greenlee, Author
LIVING YOUR DREAM LIFE
Gina Greenlee was interviewed for the publication, Women on Writing (WOW). The content from the interview is one of the clearest descriptions of the book's true purpose and Gina's intent: travel is a metaphor for living the best life you can imagine. And the postcards and pearls in this book help readers cultivate a daily practice for doing just that.
The following are excerpts from the interview...
WOW: Imagine yourself traveling to far-off countries, walking through landmarks you’ve only read about in history books and seeing sights that previously had only existed in your imagination. Now, imagine getting paid for it. That’s exactly what Gina Greenlee, author of Postcards and Pearls did. Here, Gina shares how she summoned the courage to achieve the life she’d always dreamt of, how you can do that, and more.
Gina: In 2000, I took a solo trip around the world and wrote about it for a newspaper’s website in a weekly column called Journey with Gina. During those five months, women from across the United States emailed me, not to ask about my geographic journey, but my existential one. Specifically, they wanted to know, “How do you find the courage to travel on your own? How do you keep from getting lonely? Don’t you feel self-conscious eating out alone?” After the first 30 emails like these I thought, “There’s a book here.” The moment I had that epiphany, I knew that Postcards and Pearls was not, at its core, a travel book. Rather, I would use solo travel—the context from which the epiphany sprang—as a metaphor for how women could cultivate, nurture, and delight in being in a relationship with themselves.
Gina: When I first conceived of Postcards and Pearls the plan was to use stories only from my travels. However, over the years, as I began to talk to women about the book’s core theme, it became clear that if I only used my stories then my message would not be as universal as I intended. I wanted the broadest spectrum of women readers possible to see themselves in these experiences and feel that the lessons born from them had relevance to their lives.
So, I put out a call for stories to various networks I belong to in the form of a six-question, open-ended survey. The answers to the questions organically told each woman’s story. I included the stories that met my criteria: each had to contain a believable, relatable lesson; the lesson had to be one that could apply off the road because the “pearls” are not travel lessons but life lessons; and the story had to show how the traveler stretched beyond her comfort zone. Also, I wanted to include as much variety as possible—in geography, the life experiences of the women, and the type of solo journeys taken. Finally, I wanted the book to be entertaining, so I also chose stories that were just plain fun.
Gina: I want readers to walk away from Postcards and Pearls and believe they can do something they’ve always dreamed about, that they have what it takes to live their best lives, however they define that.
WOW: You said before you even went on the cruise, you made a pact with yourself. Can you explain “The Pact” more? How did this plan really take off in your life?
Gina: The “London Life Expansion Pact” was my written commitment to myself to live more authentically, and my most direct, conscious effort to apply in earnest the laws of attraction.
Until I made that pact with myself in 1998, I had always come home from vacation depressed. I would have this great time in some fabulous locale only to return to a job that sucked me dry doing work I didn’t believe in, even though it paid well. At almost 40 years old, I felt I’d had enough of that. I asked myself, “If I could create these wonderful vacations for myself, why couldn’t I use the same resources—imagination, commitment, planning, intuition, and money—to create the life I really wanted?” It was a real shift in perspective for me. My challenge was that I didn’t exactly know how to do it. But I believed that by putting the commitment out into the world boldly, in writing, and then keeping that commitment foremost in my mind by literally reading it aloud every day, twice a day to myself, that I would attract the people, information, and other resources that would lead me to a more authentic life.
The next year, I was hired by a newspaper as the director of strategic planning (after 13 years in a healthcare career) and that inside track led to freelance writing gigs with the paper while drawing a full-time salary. That was the same year I decided to travel around the world. Because I already had a writing relationship with the paper, it seemed natural to pitch the Journey with Gina column to them, which I did. And so, one short year after creating my Pact, I had significantly changed my life as I had dreamed.
It Was A Great Way To Start My Day
"When I first began reading this book I wanted to devour it all at once. It brought me back to an exciting time in my life when I traveled and often by myself. I will be renewing my passport very soon! I decided to slow down and read a page everyday so I could really be in this special place with Gina and the woman in this book. It was a great way to start my day, and I loved how the Author put her words of wisdom at the end of each page. One of my favorites; "We often mistake letting go for giving up. Knowing the difference between the two can make all the difference in the end."
Get your wanderlust on, not just for travel, but LIFE! Great book!"