November 2, 2017 Blog

I recently had the opportunity to cruise on the Rhine River with AmaWaterways in August of 2017. This being my first River cruise, I expected it to be amazing and it was, but not in the way I had imagined. Allow me to explain. I anticipated a beautiful ship with exquisite décor and impeccable service. I got this and an incredibly friendly and down to earth staff. The members of the AmaPrima were not only professional, but learned my name, my food and drink preferences, and took time to greet me every time I walked into the lounge, left the ship, or returned from a day of sightseeing. “Welcome home,” they said. And indeed, it was home.

 

I believed the food and wine would be delicious, varied, and plentiful. I experienced that and the joy of inspiring conversation with the fellow travelers in my group. Each meal afforded me the opportunity to get to know the members in my group better. Dinner, however, was the real gem. As the cruise progressed, I learned a little more about each person and in turn shared a bit more about myself. I took note of things we had in common and ways in which we were different. The commonality that brought us all together was our passion for travel and our all belonging to the same host agency, Gifted Travel Network (GTN) as travel entrepreneurs and business owners. Together we were on a Group Business Mastermind Program led by Vanessa McGovern of GTN. That broad commonality allowed us to delve deeper in conversation showing our vulnerabilities in our businesses and offering advice from our strengths to help each other in the success of our respective companies. The open and abundant mindset among the group members enabled bonding that cannot occur in a one or two-day conference. For it felt that only on night three or four did we get past the basic personal knowledge and begin to build the trust required to share our vulnerabilities and struggles.

I imagined seeing beautiful historic European towns and landscapes and having plenty of exciting choices for my daily shore excursions. I received this and the lovely benefit of one on one dialogue that you can only get when walking in a small group of three or four. Each small group I became a part of had its own dynamic and offered its own learning experience. Whether it was lunch in Strasbourg, a hike through a vineyard in Rudesheim, or exploring a local wine festival, I learned something new about my fellow travelers and gained a piece of information that would be useful to me in my own entrepreneurial journey. We were all in different stages of our entrepreneurship and as expected, newbies learned from seasoned business owners. However, newbies also brought different perspectives and fresh ideas to the table and opened up new insight for those who had their businesses longer. These interactions occurred informally within the small groups and also during our planned interactions at the chef’s table dinner, the AmaWaterways business briefing, and during our beer tasting headed by Irwin Shires of Craft Beer Journeys.

     

I must admit I was a little uncertain about the type of on board entertainment since this particular cruise did have a majority of older people on board. The entertainment did lend itself towards this age demographic, but our group created our own entertainment in the lounge on many nights with our own music and dancing. This only happens and is a benefit of a large group of like-minded people coming together. Eight or nine of us probably would not have felt confident taking over the lounge, but 20+ is a completely different story. There is security and karaoke in numbers. I felt like those in the group that were a little shy or unsure of letting go really came out of their shell, enjoying the moment and having a blast. And later, it turned out that those “let loose” moments triggered or stimulated creativity and eliminated mental blocks, thus opening the way for inspiration to pour through in our travel businesses. The positive energy generated from the group dynamic and interaction inspired each individual giving them what he or she needed to move forward in the entrepreneurial journey. This is exactly the purpose of a Mastermind and a brilliant benefit of Group Travel.

 

As you can see, I expected quite a bit from my River Cruise experience. I got what I expected and so much more. The universe really does give you what you ask for or better. What are you asking for? Are you ready to try a River Cruise or Group Travel? Go on and ask for what you want!

By Benefsheh Verell