Group Travel Chat: Diana Edelman of Save Elephant Foundation

Diana Edelman might just have the best job ever. Working for the Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand , she lives and attends t Asian elephants. A former volunteer at Elephant Nature Park, the visiting spot for Save Elephant Foundation, Diana knows what it’s like to to work in groups and now sees plenty of travelers visit or volunteer at the park.

Though she is known for her solo travels, which she writes about on her blog D Travels Round, Diana has traveled with friends and new acquaintances in the past. In an interview she talks about the destinations she thinks would be good for traveling groups and recommends spending some time apart when traveling with others.

Tell us about one of your best group travel experiences

Since I normally travel solo and then randomly meet people, and my family is thousands of miles away, I’d have to dig REALLY deep to think about a holiday I actually planned with someone else. So … let’s go with one I took in Croatia in 2010.

I met two really awesome travelers in Bosnia and we decided to meet up again in Croatia and rent an apartment on a small island off the coast of Split. For four days, we truly relaxed and got to know each other. Fortunately, the three of us got on really well. By day, we’d lounge on the rocky coast of Solta, or spend time with the owner of the apartment – she even took us fishing one day – and at night, we’d take the short walk to the little port and enjoy delicious food and homemade wine before retreating back to our huge patio at night for late night drinks and long conversations.

Where is your ideal group travel destination and why?

That’s a tough one. I think it really depends on what people like to do. For some, it would be going to a special event, like La Tomatina in Spain or St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. For others, it could be something like volunteering at Elephant Nature Park. My ideal destination for a group of my friends to travel to would be somewhere relaxing with stunning scenery and time to unwind.

What is one tip you have to give for traveling with other people?

Don’t spend every single minute together. Take time for yourself. Just because you are traveling with others doesn’t mean you have to be with each other all the time. Down time, alone time, privacy, is key for sanity. And, travel can be stressful and bring out the best/worst in people. Sometimes you just need a break, even if it means just heading out of the hostel or hotel for a quick walk.

Who is a random person you’d like to go on a trip with? Why, where, and what would you do? Famous, real, dead or alive, it can be absolutely anyone.

There are plenty of friends I adore and would love to travel with, but schedules don’t work, budgets don’t work, etc. Right now, my current obsession is either the islands in Thailand or Luang Prabang, Laos. Other than that, I’ve never given it too much though. Maybe someone like Ellen DeGeneres because she’s pretty hilarious.

What is one annoyance you have with traveling with other people?

Differing ideas of what makes the trip special. Personally, I’m not all about going to the museums, the castles, the cathedrals … I prefer to dig deeper into culture and life of a city and see what makes it breathe. Getting people to agree on what to do … the group mentality … doesn’t always work for me unless I’m with seriously like-minded people.

Thanks for talking with us, D!

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