For all you Australia Divas, listen in on Wednesday morning to 702 ABC Radio, Sydney. I’ll be talking about FLY SOLO and TangoDiva.com and how important it is for women to go out and explore the world.
I lived in Australia for five years and I absolutely loved it. It was in Australia that I got the travel bug while modeling and working for a game show called Blind Date. I traveled throughout Australia with the winning contestants. My job was to write the segment re-caps and direct the filming of the winning "couples." I spent a lot of time alone, because it was supposed to be a "romantic" weekend for the winners, so it was during this time, I learned to travel alone and ask others for advice about where I should go and what I should do solo.
My weekends went like this: On Thursday night, I would arrive at Channel 10, where Blind Date was filmed. There I would meet with the producers and check out the bios of the contestants. The show would film and I would wait in the greenroom with all the contestants. One girl and three boys or vice versa. They would ask silly questions and then the one contestant would choose her/his blind date for that weekend. Then, the host would announce their winning weekend holiday. It was usually a fabulous 5-star beach resort in the Great Barrier Reef. Then, I would meet with the winners in the greenroom and let them know I would be picking them up the next morning at the crack of dawn.
On Friday morning, the limo would pick me up first (usually at around 4:00 am) and I would have all the tickets and booking information for the winners. We’d fly off to the destination, when we arrived a limo driver with a “Blind Date” sign would pick us up. Everyone watched the show, so the arrival scenes could be pretty hectic with people coming up and talking about the show and wanting to meet the winning contestants.
I’d organize activities for the winners to do all weekend. From parasailing to scuba diving, there was nothing we did not do. The film crew would show up on Saturday mornings and we would spend the mornings taping re-cap segment scenes. My job – besides staying out of the winners’ way and making sure no one got too drunk or arrested – was to find dirt about each of the contestants. Then, the host could use it on the show when they returned. It was pretty basic stuff, like the guy left his room and hooked up with another girl or the girl had really bad breath and they guy did not want to kiss her.
So, while they winners were frolicking in the blue waters of the Reef, I would chat with the locals and find out about places and activities I could and do without others. It was during this time that I became very comfortable with spending time at beautiful, romantic locations by myself. And, I really did honor and enjoy my time alone because it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with myself. My life back in Melbourne was crazy, I was in university full-time, modeling a lot, a fashion editor for a radio station, and working for the game show from Thursday to Sunday night.
Sometimes I miss those really crazy days of jetting off every weekend to an exotic location where I am treated like a princess while getting paid (crazy, right?). But then, I really can’t complain about my life now! I love sharing travel advice and acting as a voice for women travel. It brings me great joy to know that I am helping shape the positive changes that are taking place in women and solo travel.