This week is a double whammy because 1. I went on an all-girls holiday, and 2. I went to Portugal. These are two things I’ve never experienced before. 7 of us, who were good friends in sixth form, stayed in a villa a car’s journey away from Lisbon. It was all booked months ago while I was in my final year of uni, desperate for some fun and relaxation. To be honest, I was dreading this holiday a bit before going. This is because I have had a couple of bad experiences with groups of girls, having attended an all-girls high school for 3 years (my least favourite three years). So because of that, I was expecting some drama and tense moments. I’m glad to say that it was the complete opposite ! It ended up being a wonderful week with a great bunch of girls. We chatted, giggled and had some ‘deep talks’ – a classic girls’ holiday combo. That’s not to say it wasn’t without its low moments (some of us were going through some personal stuff and needed some alone time), but we all worked through it and everyone was supportive. We all enjoyed it so much that we actually decided to make it a yearly thing !
So here is a small list I’ve compiled, highlighting exactly why girls’ holidays are the best:
1. You realise you all think the same. I lost count of how many times someone mentioned something which made go ‘oh my gosh, same!’ (in a high-pitched annoying voice, may I add). Most thoughts I had, someone would voice them. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who are on the same level as you. This meant we had so much to talk about that I didn’t get to finish the book I brought on holiday with me ! (It was Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie, I finished it yesterday and it was brilliant. Deeply recommended.)
2. No one cares how you look. The best part about having a private pool with our villa (at a really affordable price because there were so many of us!), was that it didn’t matter how you looked in your swimming costume/bikini. No one cared – we were all just friends having fun by a pool. I stopped worrying about tummy rolls, jiggly thighs or stray hairs. It really made me embrace my curves, and I think my confidence led to them nicknaming me ‘Marilyn Patra’ (A Marilyn Monroe/Cleopatra combo because I’m curvy and half Egyptian … I didn’t get it at first either).
3. So organised. Everything was beautifully planned, from boarding the plane to yummy cooked dinners every night. We decided on our activities for the next day every evening, which I loved because I am a ‘plan gal’. And the best part was that I didn’t have to take charge, as I usually do, because a couple of the girls were way more on it than I was, which meant I got to relax while fun plans were being made. I realise this makes it sound like a very ‘controlled fun’ sort of holiday, but it was actually pretty chilled… I swear.
4. You realise they’re there for you. Because these were school friends, I hadn’t seen much of them over the past few years at university. This holiday was the perfect reminder that they are actually still there, even if we only talk as little as once a year ! I feel like I got 6 friends back in my life. And the best part about old friends is looking back on memories from years ago.
5. You realise that you are all going through the same thing. Leaving university and entering the real world is a massive step. Talking to friends who are going through the same terrifying things is strangely comforting – because it doesn’t get any less terrifying, it’s just nice knowing that life screws everyone, not just you. I was also really surprised to hear that their university experiences weren’t as amazing as they looked on social media. Some of them had been through some of their hardest years, and it just shows that no one’s life is without its struggles.
6. Herd mentality. This one is great if you love getting close to people… which I don’t, but it is kinda sweet anyway. I noticed that when one person did something, everyone tended to get the same idea and eventually do the same. For example, one person wanted an anklet… 5 minutes later, we had all just purchased the exact same anklet. This also happened with feelings. One person gets sad… In the next couple of days, someone else will have caught the blues. It’s just how it is, you can’t let it annoy you, because most likely you did it too.
Overall, I am very proud of myself for surviving a girls’ week ! I never thought of myself as a girls’ girl – I thought I got along better with guys – but I think it’s really nice to have some great girl friends in my life. Especially now, when I need some emotional support. Girls just get it sometimes – it’s some sort of sister code.
P.S. Portugal is a beautiful country with some really friendly people. I will definitely go back as soon as I can to see more of it ! Here are some pics I took: