Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Callie's First BSB Cruise

I'm pumped to have one of my good friends, Callie, be a guest blogger and share her experiences coming off the last trip as a first time cruiser. I really wanted Callie to share her story because I think it's so relatable. I hear from so many of you in her exact same situation - wanting to go on the cruise but no one to go with. So I hope her story can inspire some of you for next time that it is not only possible to travel solo, but well worth it and totally doable! Callie is a Brian girl from Kansas City, MO. She's super sweet and she'd love to meet more BSB fans so feel free to follow her on twitter @calliewoodland or on Facebook. She'll also be doing a special follow-up post on her scavenger hunt prize with Howie.

I’ve been a Backstreet Boys fan forever. Or, at least it feels that long. I’ve always been amazed to “just be breathing the same air” as a Backstreet Boy, I about died at the This Is Us tour when AJ brushed my hand and it was a full on dream come true when I met them in 2011. I’ve always wanted to go on a Backstreet Boys cruise, what megafan wouldn’t? But, scheduling, money, the fact that no one else I knew was as nuts about the BSB as I was therefore I didn’t have anyone to go with-all held me back. This past March, I happened to stumble upon Laura’s blog. Reading through past entries and living the cruise vicariously through Laura I realized that I had to make this happen. I had to go. I emailed Laura with some questions, and she emailed me right back. She was extremely friendly, easy to talk to and she urged me to go if it was at all possible for me. A few days later I received another email from Laura. Another BSB fan she knew, Kristie, was considering going but also didn’t have a roommate. Laura asked if it was okay to give Kristie my info, Laura thought that we both possibly needed this extra little push to go. Sure enough, within just a few days of Kristie and I talking we had a stateroom booked together.

Now I can’t say that I wasn’t a bit anxious about going and not knowing anyone. In fact, for my level-headed and extremely protective husband, going on a cruise out of the country with someone I had never met was about one of the most insane things a person could do. But, this was something that I really wanted to do and since I knew the Backstreet Boys would be on the ship I knew I would have a good time.

Here is the thing. Although I knew not a single person going on the cruise (not even my roommate) when I booked the trip, I can honestly say that I was never without a group of friends for a moment on the cruise. For starters, I met lots of people on social media sites. Through BSB Cruise and general Backstreet Boys Facebook groups I began to converse with and make friends with people from all over the world right from my home. I even met some people from my hometown of Kansas City who were going on the cruise. Some of those people and I became really great friends before the trip-meeting up with our kids for playdates where we could talk about the trip, hours at night through Facebook chat planning our theme night outfits and what boy we most wanted to meet.

Callie, Nikki and Ashley hanging out before Halloween Night
Once in Florida I found it easy to make friends as well! The night before the cruise Brian’s wife Leighanne had a Wylee Party promoting/selling her fashion line. Since Brian is my favorite Backstreet Boy, there was no question I was going to be attending this event (which also just happened to be on my birthday), even though my roommate (who was a huge Nick girl) was going to be attending the Nick event. After getting ready at our Miami hotel I took a taxi to the venue the event was being held. There I met fan after fan who was friendly and ready to talk. You have to remember that in this type of setting and on the cruise-everyone has an instant connection. Every single person is there because they are a huge Backstreet Boys fan. That automatically gives you something you have in common, something to start a conversation with. After meeting new people, browsing and taking a selfie and picture with Brian I headed back outside. Some girls I had been chatting with inside were outside waiting for a cab to grab something to eat, and invited me to join them. So, I did! I had a great birthday dinner with my new friends at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

Once aboard the cruise ship I continuously met knew people. Many were friends of my roommate Kristie’s. Some were people I stood in line next to for hours holding my spot for a show. All were so friendly. If you have ever considered going on the cruise, but didn’t because you didn’t know anyone or didn’t have a roommate-don’t let that hold you back. Put yourself out there. Step outside your comfort zone a bit. Consider the roommate match program; I’ve heard great things about it. Take the time to get to know people through social media before leaving. Start conversations with total strangers (possibly to become new friends) while waiting. Going on this cruise was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had the time of my life. Much of that was due to the new friends that I made along the way.