Hear Us Roar
June 2023 Issue
Pictured Above (left to right): Jordan, Sara, Emily
Photos courtesy of Jordan Plair & Emily Webb
This is a story of three best friends.
Meet Emily Webb: Born and bred in Beaufort, S.C., Emily is the local “Baby Settler.” She works as a Registered Nurse and Lactation Consultant for Baby Settler Consulting, helping new parents in their homes along with providing in-patient lactation consulting at Coastal Carolina Hospital. She enjoys all things coastal and is happiest on a dock, boat, or beach.
Meet Jordan Plair: Born and bred in Beaufort, S.C., Jordan is a music teacher at Riverview Charter School, vocalist, and mother of two. Jordan is also the owner of Bake Mama Bake and enjoys learning new skills and baking incredible desserts for friends and family.
Meet Sara Couto: Mother of two and military spouse to Jorge. Sarah and her family were stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, in August 2021 and are still there.
Jordan: Tell us, how the three of you met?
Emily and Sara met long before I came along! Our friend Annalise invited me to join a group of ladies for brunch in early 2020. We hit it off right away and soon found ourselves bonding over FaceTime during quarantine. The best thing about being friends with these ladies is being able to just be around each other and enjoy the company—no expectations. Annalise wasn’t able to join us on this trip, but we are looking forward to a time we can all four be together again!
What’s the biggest surprise you’ve ever experienced?
Last spring Sara surprised us showing up out of the blue in Beaufort. We had no clue. Her husband was going to be on assignment a few months, so Sara decided to try to catch the military flight from Iwakuni back to the U.S. that is only offered once a month. It required packing up the kids before dawn to get to the airport only to wait and hope there would be space available. She didn’t tell anybody she was coming! Jordan and I had planned to meet another friend for drinks. At the last minute she changed the meeting place, and we were confused. Little did we know Sara was waiting for us there. We were sitting on the patio having a drink when all of a sudden she appeared! We were actually speechless. It was the wildest surprise! She flew all the way from Japan and back alone with her two- and four-year-old. She’s so brave!
Three friends and an adventure of a lifetime:
Emily and Jordan recently traveled to Japan—a 26 hour journey—last April to visit Sara, her husband and two children. They even were smart enough to plan it so they both had a few days with Sara on their own and several altogether, which meant they travelled separately since their flights were on different days. One went early, while the other one stayed later. Sara took them on a whirlwind adventure, traveling all across Japan, soaking in fabulous fare (which Jordan says is so affordable), festivals, hiking, sight-seeing and lots of train rides.
We understand travelling to Japan was quite a feat for you, Jordan, something you had never done, especially alone. After conquering your fears (including an unexpected overnight stay in the LA airport) what tips do you have for women planning to travel alone?
My first suggestion is to always know where you are going and how to get there. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at maps of all of the airports and train stations while preparing my trip there and back. I shared my location with all of my friends and made sure I had an international phone plan. I felt safe travelling in Japan—everything was organized, everyone was kind and helpful. It also helped knowing my best friends were on the other side waiting for me.
Jordan, obviously you love dessert (since you own a baking business), what did you love about the fare in Japan? How do their sweets compare?
All of the food was delicious! There are so many flavor combinations I don’t get to enjoy in the U.S. Surprisingly, we didn’t try many desserts. One of my favorite experiences was getting to make Sara’s favorite Bake Mama Bake dessert, a fruit pizza, to share with her neighborhood friends.
Often we just dream of visiting our friends in faraway places. What inspired you to make it happen?
Emily: It was less about the place I was going, and more about the fact I just had to find a way to be with my very best friend after almost two years away. I also have a special relationship with her children, and I wanted so badly to spend some quality time with them again. To go from seeing each other every day and being like family, to living across the world from each other has been tough! The adventure we were able to share was a bonus—an opportunity I knew I had to take advantage of once COVID restrictions were lifted.
While in Japan, what are some of things you did to make lasting memories of such a once-in-a-lifetime adventure?
Emily: Honestly, Japan was never on my bucket list. Had Sara not been there I probably would have never chosen it! I would have missed out, though, because the culture is incredible. The people are so kind, polite, and they show they have the greater good in mind at all times. Experiencing the culture made this trip extra memorable. It was fun to experience everyday life with Sara and take the kids to their Japanese school. We visited local bars and restaurants—even a heavy metal bar! We also went to thrift stores and toured temples. We even stayed in a capsule hotel, where the room was only large enough to lay down or sit up! We bathed with strangers from all over the world in a type of traditional Japanese hot spring bath where clothing/bathing suits were forbidden, walked through ancient temples with cherry blossom petals falling like rain, ate all sorts of mysterious snacks from numerous Japanese 7/11s, and stayed out until 4 a.m. at a Japanese karaoke bar. Also, I will never forget the experience of Japanese toilets; it left me wondering why the U.S. hasn’t adopted bidets.
We hear you hit Tokyo Disneyland. How does it compare to Florida’s Disney World?
Jordan: We started our day at Tokyo Disney Sea, which is different from any of the parks at Disney World. We rode Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones right away. The snacks in the parks were different, too. We took it upon ourselves to try all of the popcorn flavors: shrimp; berries and cream; white chocolate matcha; milk chocolate; cheese; and caramel.
Emily: First thing I noticed was Disney is much more affordable there. Like most things everywhere in Japan, crowds moved seamlessly, and the park is organized, clean, and convenient. The Japanese have a way of keeping spaces clean and processes efficient like nothing I have ever seen. While you would not normally consider Disney relaxing, it truly felt that way in Japan. There was the familiarity of a Disney Park while still realizing you were very much in Japan. It was a memorable and special way to spend our last day all together.
What are your biggest takeaway from the trip?
Emily: It left me with a thirst for more travel and adventure with my friends. Immersing as much as you can into new cultures, especially sharing that with your best friends, has a way of shifting your perspective on things. I actually miss the culture and way of being there now that I’m home, and of course, I miss Sara and her family the most. Having been apart for so long and knowing it would be another year and a half until we meet again, I really cherished every moment.
For years you’ve enjoyed girls’ getaways (maybe just not as far as your most recent one). Why do you think planning trips with your girlfriends is important? Why should we plan more trips with just the girls?
Emily: Being someplace away from work and other life responsibilities gives us all a more carefree vibe. I love getting to do things with my favorite people I wouldn’t normally be able to do, like waking up slowly and sitting with a cup of coffee. Having the leisure to do whatever we want all day and ending the day chatting or laughing until our eyes get heavy is a special experience that is different vastly from the day-to-day.
Jordan: Friendships between women are so important. You need a cheerleader in your life on the hard days AND the good days. Being able to escape to the mountains, the beach, or even another country is so special. Being so busy with life, it is hard to find the time to truly connect. Trips with girlfriends help remind us of the connection and support we have in our small circle.
What are you currently Roaring about?
Jordan: Do the hard things: Book the trip; try the food; learn some of the language; read the new book; take the new job! Life is unfolding right in front of us, and we can do the hard things!
Emily: Close female friendships are something special, as is travel. Travelling and having adventures with your friends is something I encourage everyone to prioritize, if possible, even if you are an anxious homebody like my pal Jordan (probably especially so). Sometimes it’s uncomfortable (like walking around soaking wet all day) or a bit stressful (flight delays or navigating the Japanese railway system) but those parts really aren’t what is memorable. Spending time with Sara and Jordan will 100 percent be on my list of top life experiences forever. This trip was priceless; it made all the uncomfortable moments and stresses beyond worth it.