My mom recently visited me in San Jose. Within the space of a day, she'd 1) yanked me out from a crosswalk in SF (I didn't think they were stopping the car in time) 2) alerted me to every manner of foodborne outbreaks when my chip touched the Napa Valley winery's artichoke dip, 3) was screaming at me (kill it! it's a brown recluse! or it could be!) when I scooped the small scrawny spider crawling across the kitchen counter onto a napkin to release outdoors.
So it's hard to believe being raised to be afraid of everything that I'm perfectly fine trotting across the world by myself. (I was a rebellious teenager.) I remember some closing comments at BlogHer on safety and security by Jay Rosen. So I bet it's on people's mind: It's OK for Kevin, but can a woman tackle backpack sojo?
So I guess an international travel resume is in order (I stay in hostels, campsites, pensions, abergues, rent rooms in homes, etc so I can be engaged with the local environment -- unless it's on the expense report).
By the way, you'll note it'll be my third time in Thailand. (I like novel, so unusual that I return to a country. First time in Thailand for vacation, 2nd for romance, 3rd it's a calling).
Poets are those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss. - Joseph Campbell
- 1992, Thailand (first time in Phi Phi), Malaysia, and Hong Kong with a group of 20 runners. Lugged more stuff and luggage on that (newbie traveller!!) than in my VW Jetta moving out to Silicon Valley exactly three years go.
- 1993-ish, Japan. Two business (tip: always tack on extra time for pleasure) trips where the Mitsubishi businessmen marvelled how I managed as a woman, alone, sight-seeing. Alone? You? Yourself? I shouldn't have had the sashimi at their corporate cafeteria. Very long train ride next day.
- I'm getting tired, cranky and less humored, go read rest of travel resume. Of course, women can do this!
- Mostly to indicate my hardyness: Countless in-country river trips (private raft & whitewater kayak) across Idaho, Oregon, Utah. Sea-kayak in Maine, New Zealand. Countless backpacking trips, mostly Utah (lived there ten years); Grand Canyon twice. A few tracks in New Zealand. Overnighters plus, etc in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Thailand (trekking in hill tribes). Lots of training on trails for marathons & ultramarathons, often alone, since I began running in 1987. Two cougar encounters.
- Lost track of European trips in late 90s piggybacked on business trips (when I had what some call a real-job). Paris, Cambridge/London, Lisbon (plus 10-day Portugal), Italia (many times; consulted to telco there in 2003), Germany, Prague/Vienna for a week after speaking engagement. Many of these were solo trip extensions. Conference in Acapulco. Conference in Calgary. Travelled all over the U.S., including Boston, NYC, Chicago, L.A. and other big scary cities on my own.
- 1996, Six-week trip to south island, New Zealand. Part time solo, part time with sister living in Dunedin, part time with sis & boyfriend. Kicked off trip with 41-mile Kepler Challenge in New Zealand (there's no rescue out, you must finish this one) and capped on return with Avalon 50 in Catalina Island.
- 1997, Five-week trip with boyfriend-to-be-husband to Costa Rica.
- 1999, Whistler and Vancouver (and I couldn't ski because light walking only; recovering from serious summer raft accident)
- 2001, Are you kidding?
- 2002, Solo week-long trip to Moab including 3-day solo backpack in Canyonlands National Park.
- 2003, Tw0-week trip to Costa Rica, with friends. Solo one-week in San Jose Spanish school.
- 2003, Lived that summer in Oakland, CA and walked at night alone. 'Nuff said.
- 2003, Seven-week trip to Mexico and Guatemala. An acquaintance, retired U.S. Embassy security officer based in Mexico City: You can't travel in Guatemala by yourself?! He emails me the State Department warnings. They're having an election (so, I volunteer as international observer). (Ironically he's only been assaulted in the line of duty out Central America, in L.A.) Solo traveling via bus from Teotihuacan (Mexico City) to Oaxaca to San Cristobal de las Casas into highlands of Guatemala through to Copan, Honduras and back. Including 3 1/2 week homestay in Quetzaltenago. (And I don't speak fluent Spanish; closer to an advanced beginner.)
- 2004, all about Ireland, then Cardiff, London, 2 1/2 weeks with boyfriend.
- 2004, Thailand. Haven't used my passport since tsunami.
Bonus: From Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term Travel:
Travel stopped being about "discovery" of new places about a hundred years ago. Now it's all personal, and more democratic -- that is, it's not about rich men explorers, but average citizens making their worlds a little larger. In a globalized world where we're constantly being reminded of sameness, it's great to get out into the world and report back about how rich and varied human experience can be -- while still being essentially and inspiringly human.
From Anne Foerst, theologian and MIT articificial intelligence/robotics researcher:
Humans have two tendencies. The one tendency is only to be with people who are like-minded and reject everything new and different, but on the other hand, we are a very curious species and we want to know how people from different worlds and beings who are different from us feel.