Travel Learning: Lesson 6 of 10

It didn't take long for Katharine and I to be engulfed in an interesting conversation, high above San Miguel de Allende in their rooftop space.

Lesson 6 of 10: girlfriend talks are a need, not a want.

I didn’t appreciate the number of different people I talked with on a given day until we were on the road. I love conversing with all kinds of people. I miss learning about the lives of work colleagues, customers, friends, neighbors, women at the hairdressers, and cashiers at the grocery store. In Zacatecas, I quickly sank into a meaningful conversation about life choices with Anna at the hairdresser’s place and realized just how much I missed that kind of talk. We’re still connected online and our conversation has continued. Sadly, not much of this is happening these days.

All I have is Keith, unless we happen to meet other English-speaking folks or I learn a whole lot more Spanish. Keith has many, many traits I love but “talker” isn’t among them. Chatting with him is a far cry from talking with a girlfriend. I submit these true-life conversations as proof.

Dialogue with Keith:

Jalene: The essence of what I said was, “I feel like I’m obsessively thinking about the future, like what I’ll do for work after our 2-year trip.” In real life, Keith reminded me that it took me about ten sentences to say this and, I learned later, that I lost him somewhere along the way in my monologue.

Keith: Hmmmmm…

The end.

Conversation with my girlfriend Sandra:

Jalene: same as above

Sandra: This I know about you.

An impassioned conversation (back and forth!) ensued.

Keith and I have had a few good conversations about this and, of course, he isn’t doing anything wrong. However, I’ve learned substantially more about how we go about sharing thoughts and feelings. On a superficial level I knew this, but on this trip, it has sunk in deeper.

I fully appreciate that the kind of conversations I have with my girlfriends aren’t a want; they're a need. Once in a while, I need to be submerged in, as my friend Sandra calls it, girl-talk. Honestly, talking online doesn’t come close to the real thing. I miss them.

I’m grateful to have several fascinating, kick-ass girlfriends who are willing to call me on my shit and dive deep with me into meaning-of-life kinds of discussions. You know who you are and I love you! As I write about how much I miss you, this post has taken an unexpected twist.

Frankly, after Keith proofed my writing, he pointed out some “facts” from my memory that were wrong. We talked. I made changes based on both of our memories, and we agreed that although we have a different way of sharing our thoughts and feelings, we both want to have deeper conversations.

How about this for a new perspective and a new title? “Soul-filled Talks are a Need not a Want”

In the spirit of learning,


P.S. Who knew that traveling would provoke this kind of learning!

P.P.S. - Keith here:  I think that Jalene sure has a great husband. How many others would allow her to use them as an example like this? My thought is that most would find this embarrassing (I do, to be honest), but Jalene is trying to make a point here about her needs. I’m glad she knows that my not being a stellar conversationalist is not a fault, just part of the way I am. Now, if only we could have these conversations in the garage about things such as transmission issues or tire selection…

Talk with a Friend

My friend Sandra and I snapped a photo after having one of our solve-the-problems-of-the-world conversations.

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Get out of your head by talking with a friend. Speaking your thoughts aloud brings them out of your inner world and into the outer world. Dialogue helps solidify random thoughts into coherent ideas, allowing you to suss out the ideas you want to hold onto for further development and to let go of the ideas that, upon closer examination, don’t feel right for you right now.

Concepts that seem fully formed in your mind may come out of your mouth sounding half-formed. That’s okay. Speaking aloud allows you to think of the idea from different perspectives, problem-solve, analyze, and to get a feel for whether or not you can see yourself doing it in the real world. Keeping ideas locked in the imaginary safety of your mind will eventually suffocate them and you. Letting the ideas out will give them an opportunity to flourish if they’re ready to grow, or to vaporize if it’s not their time.

A friend can listen only or you can ask her to pose questions and share feedback. Either way, you’ll gain a firmer grasp on your dreams, desires, goals, challenges, and inspirations. 


Share one of your wild and wonderful ideas with a friend. This could be via email, mail, telephone, or in person. Sometimes an idea feels too unformed and vulnerable to share, and that’s okay. Share the ideas you feel slightly uncomfortable sharing (new experiences are always a bit awkward), but know the words will come streaming out once you get started. I find the idea in my mind often makes more sense and is more fully formed than the idea that comes out of my mouth. That’s the purpose of this process. Speaking the idea aloud is the first step in bringing the idea from the ideal scenario in your mind to the reality of the outside world.