Thursday, July 26, 2012

Every woman should travel

I've been thinking about travel a lot lately.
Of waking up every morning and creating your own agenda.
Of sliding into that train seat excited to stare out at a new countryside for hours.
Of carrying everything you need, from underwear to your journal, around in a backpack.
Of the rainbows you see in the mist as the sun rises and burns away the clouds on Machu Picchu.
Of those glasses of Moroccan mint tea served with two sugar cubes.
Of having to take multiple showers a night because you can't afford an air conditioned hotel room in 120 degree heat in India.
Of peeing on the side of the road in the African bush on an 11 hour bus ride.
How even the days when you're in bed (or on a bus!) with food poisoning somehow are better than many of the gray days we let pass without looking at them with the childlike wonder they deserve. 

When Cate and I traveled, I never really considered the fact that it was 2 women that were traveling 'alone'.
Call it youth or foolishness, but I think I'll call that the ultimate form of feminism that my parents raised me with, to never even consider that you can't do something just because you're a woman.  And for that I'm grateful.

I liked this article.  And I agree, every woman should travel.  But every person should.
Is this really still true?
"A woman traveling alone threatens tradition and propriety. And because women often doubt themselves, we stay toward safe harbors and soft landings, hiding behind the needs and wants of others."
If so, we need to sail out of harbors and come out from hiding, because there's a whole world out there.

I never considered feeling unsafe because I was a woman. 
I did feel disrespected, dismissed, and got groped because I was a woman traveling in countries that made me glad I was a woman in America.
But I never felt unsafe.
I felt lucky.

"If you are lucky, you stop seeing the world as a series of things you do not have — a boyfriend, a baby, an adorable terrier – and you start noticing the things you do have. A healthy bank account, unburdened by mortgages or school loans. No romantic ties. Loving parents who wanted nothing but happiness for me. Years to burn. That kind of freedom is like a command from the universe to get off your ass and do something amazing." -Sarah Hepola

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