A Q&A with WanderTours participant, Nancy Blanton
Q. You and your sisters (and cousin) make it a point to travel together each year, what is it that you enjoy most about your girlfriend getaways?
A. It is so relaxing and fun to spend time with my sisters — and cousin whom we have made an honorary sister. Traveling with people you have known your whole life is so comfortable because you know each other so well, and in our case we all like the same things and are happy to join in when one of us wants to do something special. We know each other’s histories and the things that make us laugh. Our sister trips also must accommodate the time and space for our coffee mornings and jammie nights. These are times when we get together, before all the hair and makeup is done and after the day’s adventure, and really catch up on the laughing! It’s the best medicine in the world.
Q. Usually when you all travel, you’re on your own. What appealed to you about joining the Santa Fe tour with WanderTours?
A. I have known Beth Whitman for several years and had read her book Wanderlust and Lipstick: For Women Traveling Solo. I had been interested in traveling on one of her tours for a while but the sisters were not ready for a far-east adventure. When I learned she was doing the Santa Fe tour, I knew it could be a great option for us. I sent the link to my sisters and everyone was immediately onboard! When Beth learned about our coffee mornings and jammie nights, she went into high gear and found us the perfect adjacent rooms in the hotel, one being a suite with a sitting room. We had a blast — I wonder if we disturbed our neighbors!
Q. What did you enjoy most about joining the Santa Fe Culinary tour?
A. The perfect sister trip combines good food with wonderful shopping and interesting history, plus chocolate. When I found out the Santa Fe tour included visits to specialty chocolate shops every day, it was a no-brainer for me. It was as if Beth had custom-designed the tour just for us. But it was even better than we expected, because we learned so much about food and cooking, and even the history of all of that; we were fully engaged the whole time. Even for someone like me who rarely cooks, it was great fun. I loved the cooking school where we learned to make tamales. It was so different than anything we had done before, it added some adventure to the trip. And I felt honored by the attention we received from the chefs who addressed our tour group. On the last night we were treated to a special dinner in the home of a renowned chef of Southwestern cuisine. I thought Beth had really gone above and beyond to make sure our experience was unique and memorable.
Q. What were your impressions of Santa Fe?
A. On a previous sister trip we had visited Sedona, AZ, and loved it, so we knew we wanted to return to the Southwest. The architecture of Santa Fe is so picturesque as there is something amazing to look at in every direction, and the sunsets are remarkable. But honestly, for anyone who likes to shop, especially for jewelry, Santa Fe knocks your socks off. There were so many beautiful things to look at from jewelry to artwork to pottery, leatherworks and clothing, we were completely immersed and entertained. We also felt warmly welcomed by the shopkeepers and restaurants we visited.
Q. Did you appreciate not having to make any of the planning decisions yourselves?
A. For our annual sister trips, I am usually the one who plans the location, prepares the itinerary, makes the reservations and in most cases does all the driving once we get there. I do not mind doing it, and in fact enjoy the planning (dreaming) part especially, but I usually have at least one melt-down per trip when something goes wrong or I get us lost somewhere. This trip really demonstrated for me the value of letting a real professional handle the logistics, because it let me relax and enjoy my surroundings, and have more opportunity to just be with my sisters without worrying about managing everything. But more than logistics, Beth designed a fully-rounded experience for us, and used her contacts to bring us up close and personal with interesting people doing creative and unusual things that I never could have arranged or even known about myself. We had a very rich and educational experience because of that.
Q. Do you think the Santa Fe tour would be a good trip for other sisters, mother/daughters or girlfriends?
A. I know my sisters and I enjoyed the Santa Fe tour, and will definitely plan another tour like it in the future. Seeing and doing things together allows us to create new shared experiences that connect us back to each other, even though we may have been apart for a long time. We get to learn about something new, engage with other women, and at the end of the day we get to compare perspectives on things, and sometimes that leads to the silliness and laughter we had together when we were kids. What can be better than that?
Thanks for the memories!
Nancy and her sisters and cousin traveled on the WanderTours Santa Fe Culinary tour in 2013. She is also a published author and her book Sharavogue can be found on Amazon.
Although our 2014 Santa Fe Culinary Tour is sold out, there is still space available on our Seattle Culinary Tour and our New Orleans Culinary Tour. Give us a call (206-317-1860) or Contact Us via email and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have!