International Women’s Day 2020: Mothers and Daughters

Curated by Carolyn Ray

Our 2020 Theme: Mothers and Daughters

In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, we asked our JourneyWoman community to share their photos of women, mothers, and daughters from around the world and share the stories behind the photos. We’re honoured and humbled by the generosity of our community and inspired by the women in these photos.  Over the next week, we’re sharing their stories every day. As JourneyWomen, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world. #eachforequal

Listen to your heart and travel

Who better to honour during International Women’s Week than the OG Journeywoman Evelyn Hannon, who inspired thousands of women to ‘listen to your heart and travel!’ In a 2012 speech, Evelyn shared some of her story: 

“I’ve been a solo traveller for almost 31 years. It’s hard to believe today, but in 1982 women generally didn’t travel on their own. They explored the world under the protective wing of their father or their husband. My first solo trip took me to Europe. And what did I do there, you ask….. I wandered … all alone … and cried a lot. How I longed for a group of like-minded female travellers to enjoy the exciting sights and sounds with me. 

In the 80s, we had few or no female travel mentors to guide us. We also had no way of communicating with each other on a grand scale or to tell each other what we were feeling. The gatekeepers, those people in charge of travel sections in newspapers and magazines were for the most part men. All the articles they published perpetuated the concept of the man leading all travel expeditions. 

In 1997, I started JourneyWoman.com, a grassroots website movement designed to inspire women to travel safely and well+ to connect women travellers around the world. I began with 100 subscribers receiving my free women’s travel e-newsletter. It was quickly evident how hungry women were for this type of networking. Our readership tripled and quadrupled within the first three years and today, it’s read by thousands of female travellers in close to 200 countries and territories. With broadband Internet service in 1998, women of all ages began buying computers. And that’s when the women’s travel revolution really began. Suddenly women were talking about the kinds of trips THEY wanted. What would make THEM happy? And the travel industry listened.” This year we celebrate 28 years of JourneyWoman, thanks to Evelyn, who we miss dearly!!

Nancy from Arizona

There isn’t anything better than mother-daughter time, and better yet, combining the time on a trip together! My daughter and I have explored numerous cities together, from Paris and New York to Marrakech and Page. We did our research and worked with Said Amraoui at Deep Morocco Tours (deepmoroccotours.com) to plan a magnificent, customized trip, throughout parts of Morocco. My daughter, Katie, and I are pictured in Skoura, in front of a kasbah called Amridil. 

If you visit Arizona (my home state) a drive to Horseshoe Bend is a must. Katie and I are pictured with the horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River behind us. Horseshoe Bend is located near the town of Page, Arizona and is a few miles from Antelope Canyon, and 5 miles from the beginning of Grand Canyon National Park. Our next adventure – planning Katie’s destination wedding in Mexico City! 

Jill from Toronto

“I led a program that including building a storage shed for a women’s organization in Costa Rica and I brought my two and a half year old daughter, Kyela, and my mother along. It was one of the best bonding experiences for us all! Seeing my mother’s strength as she swung a pick-ax to dig holes was so inspiring. And a local mom watched over Kyela while we worked and though she only spoke Spanish, her a Kyela were able to communicate through the common language of smiles and playing. It was so wonderful to see women of all ages and stages embrace each other and come together using their wisdom and strength to help the women of the local community rise up.” 

Carol from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

“I took this photo in Chinchero, Peru, at the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco.  The Center was started by a woman to preserve the traditional textile weaving of Peru, using only natural fabrics and plant-based dyes, and to provide a means of self-support for local women.  The women bring their children to the center every day while they weave and demonstrate for tourists.  This little girl was no longer able to be carried on her mother’s back, so she was sitting on a pile of finished goods.  The child’s mother was happy to let me take her picture with my iPhone, especially after I took one with my Polaroid Snap and gave it to the mother!  I took the photo on a trip called “Peru: Through the Eyes of Women” by Sights and Soul Travel.  Great women-only travel company I’ve travelled with several times.”

Amit from Ubud, Bali

“ The Balinese potong gigi ritual – also known as the tooth-filing ceremony – is an essential rite of passage that must be undertaken before death. Stemming from a belief that all humans are born with negative emotions, the filing of canine teeth is thought to temper unholy inclinations and achieve a greater balance between good and evil. Here, a young Balinese woman checks the results of her tooth filing before a wedding ceremony.” 

Chris from Toronto

“One of my favourite travelling memories is with my group of ladies who I worked with while teaching overseas. We were a diverse group of cultures, ages, and experiences but had a common shared interest in travel and adventure. Our lovely group of four started with a trip to Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Golden Triangle in India. When we travel together, we cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I miss these ladies who have become my sisters in crime.”

Photography Credits: Jacki Steinkamp and Lydia Roberts

Paula from BC, Canada

“My husband and I run a not for profit organization in Uganda that helps rural villages have access to clean water. When we go to new areas to see the source of the water we are surrounded by women and children collecting water, always in yellow jerry cans, balanced just so on their heads, and their babies counterbalanced on their hips or backs. In many cases these women have walked very far to reach this water source. The walk there is filled with laugher and conversation. The walk home is laboured with jerry cans weighing around 40 pounds. I have often witnessed the amazing skill of these women able to walk, baby suckling, water steady on their heads and still laughing. The women of Northern Uganda that I have had the privilege to meet astound me constantly with their stamina and perseverance, having to walk many kilometers to get water, hoe the fields, mother their children, run their homes and bare children with little to nothing. They have so little and life, from my perspective, seems so much harsher, and yet they have the thing we in the first world strive the most for – being content. Happiness is fleeting, but contentment is day in and day out.”

Fiona from California

Telling the story of how traditions can be forcibly divested but life and culture stays quite constant, our charming mother and daughter here live within the hill-top town of Mindat in Chin State in Myanmar, home to the famous “tattooed lady” tribes of this ancient people. In a practice started in the sixteenth century, when the marauding mongols would claim beautiful local Burmese women to be wives or concubines as they invaded this rich new country. To defend against this, the ladies would tattoo their own faces – so honour ing the men of their tribes and also protecting their own safety. It was soon taken as a very positive sign of beauty and courage – and all the women followed suit, demonstrating their steel and substance. This remained until the military government of 1962 who outlawed the practice as “unhealthy and primitive”. Of course, no-one listened until the regime threatened to imprison women who tattooed their faces and so the practice has now mostly stopped. Proudly playing her nose flute, Mum here has been a major advocate for the local Chin culture centre over many years – and her daughter, one of 12 children, feeds and cares for the children at the local school. Their sunny and humourous natures were unmistakably that of kin – and those smiles bear the bonds of family that have never changed for these hardy but happy tribespeople.

Fiona from California

A big day in any Burmese family is when one of your young children are preparing to enter a monastery for the finest education available – it is a great honour and also a huge benefit to the family who are often from poorer rural villages. Here, Mum is organizing the preparations and one of her five daughters is making clothes for all the family to be ready for the “procession” where the Novice dresses as a king or queen ready to dedicate themselves to a holy lifestyle. The child is usually between 4 and 10 and commits to stay in the monastery until 18 when they are free to leave or continue a holy calling. This is a celebration that the whole village celebrates for two days …. and another unique feature of life in Myanmar.

Vanessa from Ontario, Canada

Her name is Anna and her shop, tucked behind one of the main streets which line the square, is a proper studio, filled with nooks and crannies and without much thought to emulating the pretty, tourist-focused kiosks in the city center. We brought home two hand-painted espresso cups from her studio and they’re among my most treasured possessions. 

Libby from Toronto, Canada

“When I think about the times that Bailey and I have gone travelling together it warms my heart and almost brings tears to my eyes. Travelling to foreign countries with her allowed us to move into a space where we were no longer just mom and daughter.

We were warriors of new language, new food and new smells and sights. We were roommates and even bedmates at times. There was very little separation. It’s a cool line to cross over with your daughter. They must see you for who you are and you must see them.  

One of the things we share in common is the love of spirituality and the journey to be the best versions of ourselves. It was a shoo-in when we were offered to spend a half-day with a monk who had tea with us and shared his vision of the world and how to reach peace in our souls. We learned to meditate sitting beside each other and we learned walking meditation. For me, the most wonderful part was the feeling of trust between us when the trip was over.  

Trust that we were each allowed to be ourselves. Trust that eventually when we did get irritated with each other after travelling for 16 days together, that it didn’t mean we didn’t love each other or even not like each other. It just is part and parcel of travelling with people and being together 24/7.” 

Paula from BC, Canada

Paula from Squamish, says: “Lily – a tall, lean Ugandan woman who lives in Northern Uganda is one of the pillars in this community of Adakingo. She is one of the only women here that can read and speak English fluently, she is the advocate for those who cannot. Her kindness is beyond belief. I have known her for 11 years now and each time we see each other she lists the people that she knows that need something, those who are sick, children that should go to the hospital but have no means, she comes with me to the market to help me buy clothing for each and every person, who she knows by name and seems to know each persons size by heart. She is a single mother who works tirelessly for her own children and yet always has enough to share with those around her. On the day that I took this photograph we had just been discussing the goings on in the village, and the main topic that day had been the lack of rain, which was causing their crops to fail – no crops to sell has a ripple effect of no school fees, no school, and much worse, no food. Where ever Lily and I go are always a throng of people around us. We are like the pied pipers of Adakingo. Suddenly the heavens opened up and we were in a flash flood. Lily without thinking rushed everyone into her home, she is one of the only people around that has a metal roof. We all huddled in and hunkered down to wait out the storm. Rivers of water were flowing past the house but we were all in side and safe. We sat like this for ages it seems but everyone was laughing, joyous even at the rain and that we were safe and dry in Lily’s house.

Carolyn Ray

Carolyn is the CEO + Publisher of JourneyWoman. A Canadian raised in South Florida, Carolyn loves historic destinations and always has her backpack ready to go. She has lived in Europe and travelled extensively in Spain, Colombia, Brazil, Morocco, Nicaragua and Thailand.

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