Not all those who wander are lost
Like a much needed morning coffee, a diverse group of women managed to percolate my imagination, awaken a curiosity I’ve allowed to become stagnant, and brew a new sense of purpose. Leading up to International Women’s Day (May 8th, 2020) this panel of trailblazers shared stories of trials, hope, and following their truths, all with a shared theme of travel. The Travel Corporation out did themselves with the first #TTCIWD talks and panel session. From Left to right: Sarain Fox, Amy Vitale, Patricia Schultz, Nadine Sykora and Roxanne Joyal
With such a dynamic group of women I was having a hard time coming up with the words that would do this panel justice, how can I possibly convey the raw emotion that the discussions and topics stirred inside me.
I had an arsenal of antidotes to share like “Our knees have expiration dates; do the difficult places first.” ~ Patricia Schultz . But then my husband had to go and ask something a little more specific “who did I relate to the most?” I was left with my mouth agape without a concrete answer.
Patricia Schultz New York Times best selling author of ‘1000 Places to See Before You Die’ and Trafalgar Global Brand Ambassador has my dream job, she has created the ultimate to do list. And if you know me, I thrive off of these.
With the advent of the World Wide Web and my first attempt at a travel blog ‘The Frisky Roamer’, I was finally able to share my passion for writing and travel (with a very small audience and more importantly limited coding abilities...the publication did not survive a year). A new era of sharing had begun and I saw some parallels when Nadine Sykora took the stage. Nadine was the first global ambassador for Contiki. She is a pioneer in content creation on YouTube and one of the OG travel influencers. The fact that neither women gave in or up, despite not really knowing where this path was taking them is the largest takeaway from their journey.
Did I recognize the emotional plea for us to be aware of our privilege when we travel? The passionate Indigenous activist, content creator and “People Ambassador” for the TreadRight Foundation, Sarain Fox delivered an energetic tale of her personal struggles as an indigenous women who travels. Reminding us to say “hello” when we arrive to new lands and to be conscious of the mark you will leave. I’ve taken the pledge with Sarain to travel in a way that matters, we all should.
The world renowned image of Sudan, the Northern White Rhino, the last of his kind being comforted by one of his caretakers as he passed, I instantly recognized. The women behind the lens, I am only now knowing her name, Amy Vitale a self confessed “shy” girl has given a strong memorable voice to a plight bigger than all of us. The idea that we are all looking up at the same moon, and our similarities are much greater than our differences touched my heart.
Hearing these women, watching them on stage I was feeling like it was actually hard to relate to their grand successes and the unmovable impact they have had on the world. When I arrived home and started to share these stories I came to enthusiastically recall how one of the founders and CEO Roxanne Joyal of Me to We helped build this Canadian Made social enterprise. I was interrupted quickly as my husband went on to tell me that his brother in elementary school helped put together the original fund raiser made out of Bristol board (Save the Children). At this moment Roxanne wasn’t just a successful CEO and women’s advocate but someone who was raised “just around the corner”. Her story was not only of the great ideas, but that the ideas can come from the girl next door who dreams big enough and has the perseverance to jump the hurdles thrown in front of her.
I recognized bits and pieces of myself in all of these women, the path they decided to take was based on their shared love of travel and the connection it provides. They did not silence that little voice that encouraged them to wander and dream , they did not bend to social constructs that tell women how hey should behave and what routes they should follow. They listened to a truth inside them. One that delivered them down a path less traveled with obstacles and set backs and a lot of unknowns but as they all shared when looking back down this path every experience, no matter how insignificant it seemed at the time was building a sturdy base for what was to come.
These very successful women have paved paths of hope, equality and sustainability across the globe, it was inspiring to hear them share their journeys and I am so ready to keep sharing mine.
Even the smallest touch creates a dent, an impact not noticed does not mean it was not felt. I have been reinvigorated to follow my path with travel and hosting. Thank you T.T.C for reminding me within my own business (Inn) to be driven by service.
A HUGE thank you to Sarah for bringing me as her plus one. My travel buddy for life, she is one of a kind and if you are not following her story get on that!!