Our Facebook group, Worthy Women & Divorce, was created to be a support group for women going through and overcoming divorce. It is a place you could come to vent, ask advice, and share the pitfalls and accomplishments along the way. It has blossomed into so much more over its one year of existence, gathering in over 9,000 members who have become a family that supports, loves, and advises one another daily.
We now have members who are also divorce coaches, therapists, lawyers, and more, who have themselves experienced divorce and are now working to help moderate and advise our wonderful women along the way.
We love and encourage the women who find friendships and support within the group. That is why when Stefanie Ungphakorn and Andrea Burke posted a photo of the two of them in Tahiti along with the below message, we couldn’t be more ecstatic!
“This is why I LOVE this group! A few months back, Stefanie Ungphakorn reached out and asked if anyone was interested in traveling with her on a vacation to Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moor’ea. I jumped on it! We are here, and having the time of our lives!!! Thanks Stef for including me. I’ve made a lifelong friend, and now have a new travel buddy. ?”
We want to know more about these wonderful women who have sparked a lifelong friendship…
Q: How long have you been a member of Worthy Women & Divorce?
Stefanie: I’ve been a member for over a year after my divorce in mid-2018 and my ex-husband’s suicide in January 2019.
Andrea: I somehow stumbled upon this group in September 2018. Within an 8 week period, I had experienced the death of my mother, the breakup with my fiancé, and the death of my beloved dog. I needed to vent. I needed advice. I needed to heal. And I found it all, with the help of these ladies.
Q: What prompted you to want to take this trip to Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moor’ea?
Stefanie: My ex-husband did not like to travel. In 23 years of marriage, we only took 1 trip together. I had other travel opportunities with my family and in my career. After my divorce, travel was top on my list of major changes I wanted to address. I met and became friends with a woman in my yoga class who is a world traveler and asked if she would let me know when her next international trip was going to happen. She let me know about this trip. Of course, there was no way I could pass up an opportunity to travel to paradise, so I jumped on it. There were a total of 6 of us traveling together. I only knew my yoga friend, Sue. Andrea knew no one. We had a couple of brief conversations about travel compatibility and logistics, but met for the first time in LAX on the first day of our trip. Andrea is from Florida and I’m in Colorado.
Andrea: I thought to myself “what a fabulous opportunity!” Nobody I knew had the desire, or the means to make a trip like this. I did. I had longed to travel, and the South Pacific was on my bucket list. So I decided to step outside my comfort zone, and reach out to Stefanie. You only live once!
Q: To Stefanie, what made you reach out to our wonderful women in our group to join?
To get the travel deal, it was double occupancy, so I needed a travel buddy. I asked all of my friends and family and no one could go. So I posted in Worthy Women and Divorce Facebook group. I had great interactions with all of the women there and hoped I would find someone amazing. And I did! Andrea was the perfect travel buddy.
Q: To Andrea, how was it meeting Stefanie and going on the adventure of a lifetime?
Stef and I had chatted briefly on the phone (basically just making travel arrangements) and via text. I think subconsciously I kept our contact brief because I wanted to get to know her in person. Waiting would give me something to talk about on the trip. And getting to know someone is always better in person. We met up at LAX. She texted me a picture of herself so I’d know who she was in the crowd. She had this funky, bright backpack on and I knew right then, “This girl screams fun!” And I was right.
Q: How did you find the trip and connecting with your travel buddy along the way?
Stefanie: Our personalities meshed very well and we had a fantastic time together and with the larger group. We had lots of waiting, relaxation time, and social time to get to know each other and share about our lives.
People were surprised when I told them I was traveling internationally with a perfect stranger, but for me, that added to the adventure. At worst, I just had to endure sleeping with an incompatible travel companion for 7 nights. At best, I found my next travel buddy. I can say with full confidence I found a great travel buddy in Andrea!
Andrea: Stef and I had chatted briefly on the phone (basically just making travel arrangements) and via text. I think subconsciously I kept our contact brief because I wanted to get to know her in person. Waiting would give me something to talk about on the trip. And getting to know someone is always better in person. We met up at LAX. She texted me a picture of herself so I’d know who she was in the crowd. She had this funky, bright backpack on and I knew right then, “This girl screams fun!” And I was right.
Q: What do you believe you’ve gained from this adventure that you can take with you?
Stefanie: I definitely gained a sense of adventure traveling with someone I did not know. I’ve been really trying to practice “no expectations”. So I accepted whatever came and whatever happened.
We had cloudy and rainy days, nothing I could do about it, so I enjoyed the cooler weather and the change of light on the water and on the land. And while some of our dining experiences weren’t fantastic, now we know not to order that particular dish again. Two of our resorts were “meh”, but we had a clean place to sleep and shower.
For me, I was excited to see my “no expectations practice” at play. I learned a lot about myself on this trip.
Q: Can you tell us some details about your trip ( any funny moments, or reflective ones along the way?).
Andrea: We met up with the others who’d be traveling with us. Aside from me, it was like Six Degrees of Separation – Stefanie knew Denver Sue from yoga. Denver Sue knew Texas Mark from previous travels. Denver Sue knew Ohio Sue from childhood. And Ohio Sue brought along her friend Cindy. So everyone knew someone, except me. And from the first drink at the airport bar, we all meshed! It was like an old group of college friends traveling together. Everyone got along. Everyone was engaging and welcoming. Everyone was fun. Aside from accommodations, we flew by the seat of our pants. One person would suggest we do this, and you could go, or not. We all pretty much stuck together on our adventures – and had a blast! Great group suggestions for activities for each day. Everyone had input. Four of us decided to tour the Bora Bora perimeter on Mo-Peds, and Stef, bless her heart, had a bee fly right into her face. She got stung! But fortunately, it hit right above her lip. The swelling looked like lip injections. So from that point on, she was nick-named ‘The Real Housewive of Bora Bora!?? Stefanie was fun, spunky, adventurous. She surprised me, with everything she’s been through, that she could be so upbeat and positive. We had some great talks. Stef won’t be single long. She has so much to offer, and some man will realize that. She has an amazing aura about her. Hopefully, it’s contagious!
Q: Can we ask how you went about sponsoring this trip?
Stefanie: I took out some money for a travel fund when I refinanced my house as a condition of my divorce decree, but selling my rings would have been a great option, too!
Andrea: I am retired, and with the stock market on a run, I was able to take some gains out, and pay for the trip.
Q: Have you thought of selling your ring after your divorce?
Stefanie: Yes, but now that he is dead, I want to keep the ring for sentimental reasons.
Andrea: We were only engaged. Since I was the one who ended it, I knew the proper thing to do was to return the ring to him. So that’s what I did.
Q: Any joint closing words to share with our beautiful community?
Stefanie: Ladies, the end of a relationship, no matter how painful, traumatic, and tragic it may be, is not the end of YOU. Please find the professional and social support of therapists, friends, and family to heal. I am no one special. I do not possess any special powers. But I did make my healing a priority. I have been seeing a therapist once a week for several years and even though I’m on the other side, there are always ways to better understand yourself, especially in relationships so you don’t repeat the same patterns again.
This time is about YOU now. You have nothing holding you back but old patterns, thoughts, and behaviors. Forging a new life is scary as hell, but I know each of you has the strength deep down…otherwise you wouldn’t be part of this group.
I know and recognize my financial privilege and that not everyone can travel to exotic places, but get resourceful if travel is a passion of yours. Our next trip will be to the Maldives and Tibet. It would be great to see a travel group from Worthy Women and Divorce travel together!
Andrea: Life is short. Don’t let your situation define you. It may seem hard as hell in the moment, but trust me, it does get better. Eighteen months ago I was drowning. I could barely get out of bed due to the heartache. Each day got a little bit better. Talk, scream, cry, journal – get it out. And once you get to feeling better, work on you. I realize there are things I did that contributed to the breakup. I worked on myself. And eventually, put myself out there for dating. It took 62 blind dates to finally find one I could see a future with. Step outside of your box. Do things you’ve only dreamed of. Take a chance. Be open to new things, experiences, and new friends. We’ve only got so much time here on earth. Make the best of it because time is one thing you can never get back.
We wish these two women, as well as all the women of our incredible group, a lifelong friendship, of support, laughter, travel, and love.
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