I was asked to contribute to this series on AOL Travel for the U.N. declared International Day of the Girl. Its mission is “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”
AOL Travel asked five women to write a letter to their former selves that highlights how our education has affected our travels and vice versa. You don’t have to travel far from my privileged West Coast life to learn that my childhood — hell, my adulthood — was — is — full of exceptional opportunities that not all girls and women have access to. People still say women shouldn’t travel solo, a message that’s all too easy to accept.
Screw that. Here’s to girls who grow into a life of adventure.
Here’s the thing: You’re going to drive a borrowed car into a ditch in a cornfield outside Altamira, Spain.
You are not going to get hurt, though you are going to feel like an idiot when you realize what you have done. You will have to go get help, which means you’ll walk into a tiny country bar where there are two big farmers in blue overalls having an afternoon break. You are going to explain to them, in your halting Spanish, that you can’t get your car out of a ditch in a nearby cornfield and ask them if they could come give you a hand. You just need a little . . . push.
Sidebar: Terry Ward, also featured in this set, was the editor for the first travel story I published — a thing on how to eat cake (really) for World Hum.