Sunscreen… shorts … hiking shoes… rain gear… should I bring a purse?
Packing my bags right now: in 48 hours, I will be hiking in the Puerto Rican rainforest and eating the best fried plantains of my life. As I am filling my suitcase, I consider that travel provides women the opportunity to discover their own fortitude while exploring the world around them.
This is not a new phenomenon (can you imagine Amelia Earhart having an “I’m glad to be a woman!” moment while flying over the Atlantic?), but it’s increasingly easy for women to travel because more women are exploring our world. From women business travelers attending meetings abroad to Iron Women running, biking and swimming across the country… wisdom from women travelers is readily accessible. Travel guides for women and women-only travel groups abound to help women feel prepared, safe and part of a community. The Peace Corps has had more women participants than men for the last 20 years, which demonstrates the impact traveling women have on the world.
Travel doesn’t have to mean a vacation to an all-inclusive island resort. Women should be encouraged to discover and explore in concentric circles: their own neighborhood, their city, their state and nation… as well as abroad. Traveling to meet a relative or friend in the next county over is as important to growth and understanding as spending a week in a state park.
Through Strong Women, Strong Girls, mentors have the opportunity to take girls on field trips to explore a part of their community about which they might not be familiar. Every lesson inspires girls to discover worlds unknown to them through the biographies of women who have journeyed into uncharted territory!
In many ways, travel and exploration are not about the destination. What matters is expressing your intentions: what do you want to learn or do while you’re traveling? With whom are you trying to connect? What preparations do you need to make and how do you want to spend your time? What would make this travel experience fun for you?
As we consider the many subjects we address with our mentors and mentees, consider encouraging each other to travel and discuss your own travel experiences. Meet somewhere new to one or both of you. Be a “tourist” in your own city or share photos from past travels.
Happy traveling, Strong Women! Send us a postcard!
Photo from Glamour.com, taken by: Bettman/Corbis