is one of Journeywoman’s favorite columnists. He publishes
his extraordinary travel articles at worldhum.com. Tom and I met
face-to-face once when he interviewed me in Toronto. I think his
point of view will make you smile...
has slight travel advantage...
a recent visit to Toronto I discovered one of the advantages
of traveling as a woman. It was something that had always
intrigued me. I had long assumed that, as a man, I held
a slight advantage in travel. I could go to bars alone,
and not worry about striking up conversations with strangers.
I could wander through the more interesting and disreputable
neighbourhoods at night. I could dry my hair faster. I could
take less luggage.
any of this has held women back. Freya Stark, who died several
years ago at the age of 100, penetrated the Arab world as
few travelers -- male or female-- ever had. But her modern-day
successor, Mary Morris, seems to me too preoccupied with
herself, so that her subject too often becomes not the place
she is visiting but the phenomenon (read: problem) of travelling
as a woman. Her writing gives me yet another reason to be
grateful for my maleness: I can forget about self and focus
on the people.
has slight travel advantage...
in Toronto I found a reason to reconsider my position. It
was during a dinner with Evelyn Hannon, editor of Journeywoman.
I was halfway through my sauerkraut when Evelyn started
to tell of a recent visit to Hong Kong. Didnt care
for it, I said, swallowing a bit of sausage. Too impersonal.
Well, she said, shed always had a very different experience
there. Always enjoyed it immensely.
of her visits, she had had a guide -- a young Chinese professional
woman. She described her uniform: short tight skirt, dark
jacket, leather briefcase, cellular phone. I remembered
the look well. These women had seemed to me unapproachable.
had started out showing her the sights, until Evelyn delicately
hinted that she was more interested in the people. This
was enough to part the curtain.
is gaining ground...
the woman was telling Evelyn all about her life: her job,
her family, her boyfriend, their problems. (My eyes widened
with envy. No tour guide had ever come to me for romantic
counsel.) Evelyn was getting better insight into the culture
of Hong Kong than a weeks worth of temples would have
given her. She went to a bookstore and bought her new friend
a copy of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.
Evelyn left, the new friend invited her to her home, to
meet her family and her boyfriend. They sat together in
the small living room, drinking tea and looking through
the family album.
As I headed back to
my hotel, I ruminated on the potency of the female bond.
The fact that both these people were women turned what is
traditionally the most artificial of relationships -- guide
and tourist -- into a genuine friendship.
saw that my envy was mixed with regret because I knew that
no man could ever hope to achieve so much in so short a
time: certainly not with another man (lifelong male friends
are often less open) and not with a woman -- short of a
romantic attachment. As travelers we men are -- socially
at least -- relegated to the back room where we try desperately
to coax pearls of wisdom out of the mouths of barflies.
article written by travel editor Tom Swick was based on
a trip that I took to Hong Kong. At that time my guide,
Anne was single and in her late twenties. She taught me
so much about Hong Kong culture. I remain grateful for her
openess and ability to share her knowledge. A year after
I met Anne I received, in the mail, a photo of her and her
boyfriend and a note telling me that they were making wedding
plans. Its fun for me to think that maybe the book
that I bought for them that day in Hong Kong helped them
to make their decision.
do it differently...
travel differently than men. Whether they choose a hot pink
nail buff, a fake wedding ring or the proverbial baggy dress
while trekking in Nepal, life on the road for women is simply
a different trip.
(Debra Cummings, Travel Editor, Calgary Herald)
been travelling with my kids since the youngest was three
months old. When she fussed, I went into a larger than life
dancing routine to distract her. Often, this made fellow
travellers laugh and sympathize instead of trying to get
as far away as possible from an upset mother and child.
(Kathy Kaster, Vice President, The Parent Channel)
know that in Southeast Asia, signs are posted at religious
landmarks asking women not to enter if theyre menstruating?
(Stephanie, a Canadian)