Posted by Pinky

Ah, the trip that started it all. (See Jennie’s post, “Winter in Spain with the Girls” linked here)

Those 12 days (yes, just like Christmas) brought many gifts indeed. A deeper connection among the six women traveling together, the resolve to go on more adventures with our own families, that liberating feeling knowing that the world won’t fall apart when we’re away for a few days. Heck, that trip even inspired the idea for this blog (though it was the furthest thing from our minds at the time).

Suddenly, we ladies weren’t just neighbours or co-parents in our kids’ schools anymore. We had become true pals. Together in Spain, we had become Titas!

Thankfully, our families were, uhm, not against it. As Jennie mentioned in her post, they pretty much doubted that anything was ever going to come of that initial discussion over drinks (does the term usapang lasing ring a bell?!). But it was their eventual blessing (resignation? hahaha) that made all the difference as it allowed us moms to relax and really enjoy the 10 full days that we had in Spain.

So here we have six strong women traveling together with a lot of ground to cover within a short span of time – without a full-time guide or tour bus. Some would say this trip could have easily gone the other way. Which would not have been good. And you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog right now if that were the case.

Busy snapping away taking shots of the fountain in front of the Cathedral in Seville – all except Jennie

How these Titas rocked Spain?

* It helped that we shared many common interests. Food, wine, art, history, shopping, wine (oh, did I mention that already?!). Each one in varying degrees among the six of us, but these interests basically bonded us together.

* With most of the cities we chose to visit, at least one of us had been there before. So we weren’t exactly treading blindly.

* At least two people in the group were crazy happy to work together to research, monitor, and sort out the flights, hotels, trains, local transport, etc. God is in the detail, as they say.

* Coming up with an itinerary and initial budget early on in the planning process was crucial because it allowed everyone to not only see where we were going and suggest changes, it also allowed us to plan and prepare our finances.

* All Titas responded quickly to emails and text messages, so decisions were made fast with regard to bookings for transport, accommodations, sights. Again, crucial if you want to get the best deals.

* Travel during the low season. Aside from getting cheaper rates, the beauty of going away this time of year is there being less crowds, you get to appreciate the character of each destination so much more.

* Perhaps one possible downside could be the need to pack warm (heavy) clothing, thereby limiting the space in your luggage for additional items in case you plan to go all-out on your shopping. On the other hand, the sometimes unavoidable “extras” who somehow find their way into your photos will look better as people generally look more put-together when dressed in warmer clothing.

* Keeping an open mind. The tightest of plans can still change and surprises can (and did) occur while there. What to do? Just chill and see where the wind takes you. Like we did. (Really. No one panicked. Well…maybe I did… cry a little…deep inside…when we missed our train?!!!)

So the process of rocking Spain actually began even before we left home – through quite a bit of planning and preparation. Was all that really necessary in order for us to have a good time? Based on our group’s size, interests, budget, and length of travel, I would say yes, a huge chunk of it had to be done in order to keep our short holiday as stress-free and smooth sailing as possible. So that when we got to our destination, we could focus our energies more on having a great time.

And I cannot overemphasise to moms the importance of having on board with your plan your husband, kids, and the village that helps keep your act together. And really, they’re going to benefit from it anyway.

After all, “happy wife, happy life”!