Author’s Note: Recently, I have been repeatedly forwarded and tagged in an article from the Huffington Post entitled Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels by Adi Zaradias. The article has an interesting perspective on women travelers, and while I do see the irony in her words, I feel compelled to respectfully disagree. I feel I owe it to both myself, and all the wonderful and inspiring women I have met while traveling to write a response.
This is dedicated to all of these women—some who have traveled, some who are still traveling, some who save all of their pennies to support their love for travel, and some who stay home but continue to love and support those of us out on the road. I also owe the original author a debt of gratitude—her words got me so worked up that I got over my fear of public “blogging” to write this response!
Love a girl who travels: She is learning how to be beautiful in her own skin and accept who she is.
She can get ready to go in under 30 minutes, either with unkempt hair or dressed to the nines. She can get dirty; she has stayed in villages and homestays with no showers or electricity, and has partied on rooftops at five-star hotels in Bangkok.
She doesn’t need to wear make-up—or maybe there just wasn’t any time to put it on—but sometimes she likes to because it makes her feel good. She is radiant and loves being outdoors, with or without sun-kissed skin. Perhaps she has scars from bug bites or falling off her scooter, but she is proud of them and wears them like badges of courage.
She has traded in her corporate attire for shorts, hoodies and flip flops; her wardrobe may not be extensive, but she makes it work because she realizes that it’s not the clothes that make the woman. Her best accessories are her personality, her attitude and her sense of adventure—no expensive jewelry can outshine that. She is culture-rich, takes value in the little things and has a tremendous amount of compassion.
Love a girl who travels: She has stepped out of her comfort zone and is learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
She has a different calling than others—not better or worse— just different. She has learned to deal with her fear of bugs, snakes, rabid dogs, and rats. She may still scream, but she can handle it. She loves adventure, loves new things and new places. She is ambitious and challenges life. She is truly low maintenance and can carry her own luggage. She has seen remarkable things and wants to see more. She has hilarious stories of misfortune and can tell them with a twinkle in her eye. She has been knocked down both literally and figuratively, but always manages to get herself back up.
Love a girl who travels: she is intelligent and resourceful.
She hasn’t “thrown away” her college degree, because all of her decisions in her life have led her to exactly this point. She may not have a corporate job and she hates when people ask her when she is going to get back to “normal” or the “real world.”
She is creative and resourceful. She will find a way to network, create opportunities and make money to keep her going. She is getting an education she couldn’t get in school, and is following her passion. She loves to share stories, insights or shampoo, just don’t mess with her iPod because it has been with her every day providing a soundtrack for her memories.
Love a girl who travels: She has fears. She has worries. She is out forging her own path in the world, and is afraid, in some way, every day.
She hasn’t turned her back on society or her responsibilities. She has freed herself of certain pressures by making sacrifices in other ways. She has no regrets about this. She is afraid but she refuses to let the fear control her, and instead faces it head on. She is strong but is also in touch with her vulnerability. She has moments when she is envious of those who have chosen a different path, but she also keeps faith that things will work out the way they’re supposed to.
Love a girl who travels: She knows the value of relationships and of connections.
If she sits next to a stranger, they’ll be sharing a meal in no time. She also knows that most travel friendships have an expiration date, and so she lives in the moment. She is appreciative of time together. She is grateful for her life and all that she has seen. She is an excellent conversationalist. She is always willing to either offer advice based on her experiences, or to take yours. She is both resilient and inspirational to others.
She is learning a little bit about herself every day.
She also knows the value of her relationships at home. She misses those people every day which makes the time she can spend with them so very special. She relishes her Skype and FaceTime with her loved ones, and she knows how to use technology and imagination to remain in the hearts and minds of those she hasn’t seen in ages.
Love a girl who travels: She is fiercely independent—almost to a fault.
She may have trouble asking for your help, but if you ask for her help, you won’t be disappointed. She knows a genuine offer when she hears it. She is impressed by actions, not by words. She can be stubborn, but once you’re in, you’re in for life.
Love a girl who travels.
Love a girl who has traveled.
Love a girl who wants to travel.
No matter how beautiful the sunsets, how amazing the food, how fascinating the culture or traditions, she knows that the most important things are the memories she has made, and the people she has met along the way.
Love this girl and you will never want to let her go. She may be a bit tough to keep up with at first, but trust me it’s worth it. She hasn’t given up and neither should you.
Love a girl who travels—even if you don’t understand her—because she is following her own path.
Love this girl whether she is your friend, sister, daughter, aunt or love interest.
Love this girl, but don’t ever ask her when she’s getting back to her “normal” life. She has created her own “normal,” and that alone is a truly beautiful thing.
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Relephant: Be a Girl with a Soul. ~ Jenee Gregor
Editorial Assistant: Brandy Mansfield/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives; courtesy of author
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