Dear girls of the world: it’s your adventure, too!
Dear girls of the world,
Please, share my motto with me. Climb mountains with me, come hiking with me, dive into the ocean, surf the waves, and fly in the sky with me. I want you to know that every adventure out there is for you too and you don’t need any help to make it happen.
Stereotypes hint to us that adrenaline pumping adventure activities aren’t necessarily for girls. There is a notion within society that these types of undertakings are too difficult for girls and if we want to experience them we need extra help. Somewhere out there, there is an idea that traveling is too dangerous for girls alone, that we don’t have enough physical strength to take on a mountain. Imagine a female dive master. How could we ever help a diver in need?
I always knew I was going to live an alternative lifestyle. The idea of being held back to live my societal role to this day makes my head spin with confusion. I am 28, I have already disappointed my extended family with my lifestyle; I am not married nor do I own a place to live. I spend my money on flight tickets not glassware, on mountain summits, not baby clothes. There is no corporate ladder for me to climb and you won’t catch me in business attire waiting for the subway downtown. Some wonder why I am wasting my life. They fear for my future but without these journeys, I would fear for my own future.
I like to push things to the limit and I don’t like to be told ‘you can’t’. What do you mean I can’t? Let me show you.
The idea that it is not safe for girls to travel alone. The day to day questions I receive; “You’re traveling alone? Who takes care of you?” “What if someone attacks you and robs you?” “What about rapists?” Well what about that all? While I appreciate the concern, and sure, I might be smaller than average and a girl, but this doesn’t change the way I think. I do what any person would do. I think about where I am going and I try not to put myself in compromising situations. I firmly believe that there is beauty in every destination and throughout every journey. I also recognize that every journey has risk, but I don’t believe these risks are bigger for me than the next person. I embrace my independence. I have confidence in myself. I will make the right decisions and create friendships and relationships along the way. I have faith in what I am doing and the life I am trying to create for myself. Why not travel? Why not trust in your ability to make thoughtful decisions; these decisions are after all, for you.
Then there comes adventure. Not only am I tackling this world alone, I am doing it in the grandest way possible. I am climbing the highest summits I can, diving as deep as possible, and doing so as a strong and independent female. I have yet to figure out why, when I talk about my recent adventures, people are surprised that a girl like me could climb to 6000 meters or hike for days on end. I always get asked if someone carried some of my things for me, or if I had a guide to set up camp, constantly pushing the idea that I required help. Nonsense. I make it a point to do things on my own, for then the rewards reaped are as a result of my efforts and no one else’s. I strongly believe that every individual, no matter what age, sex, weight, size or shape, deserves our respect. When anyone climbs a mountain, regardless of gender, an extreme amount of effort is required to reach summit and every person experiences that satisfactory high after completion. Everyone is entitled to enjoy this feeling. What I hate to see, is when girls who dream of reaching summit are not given the opportunity to do so because society has determined it is too difficult or dangerous for girls. What I wish, is for people to stop reacting with shock when I explain to them what I do. I am fine. I am confident. I manage my own life. Do they not know how many fabulous female adventurers there are out there? Ok maybe they don’t, but hopefully one day they will.
A post shared by ?Kimberly Erin? (@walkaboottravel) on
How about surfing, is that for boys too? I hope not because I learned to surf with a group of men, and there was nothing in the ocean that gave me more fear than the next person. In fact the ocean and I get along well, and who do you think hit the big waves first? This girl.
When I was scuba diving, I had a female dive-master, another inspiring woman embracing adventure. She had been diving all over the world. She took me, hand in hand, to swim with bull sharks, some of the most dangerous sharks in the world. She loved them. She showed no signs of discomfort and by doing so inspired confidence in myself as a diver. Encouraged by this woman of travel and adventure, not once was I ever afraid that she did not have the ability to lead me or any of us amateur divers.
What I am trying to evoke in this letter to you, girls of the world, is that this idea of travel and adventure is a journey for everyone, equally. There is no reason you can’t be the first one to try that bungee jump and there is no reason you cannot learn to paraglide as fast as the next person. As long as you put in the effort to climb the mountain, its summit will come. As long as you prepare for your hike the trail will continue on. Adventure is not limited by gender or dictated by society, it is determined by you, your wants and your needs.
I was so lucky to be born to parents who do their best to understand my goals, hopes and dreams. To people who provide support and who react with the same ‘Oh really?” when someone questions my lifestyle, and follow it by an educational conversation about women in adventure.
Dear girls of the world, I want to provide this type of support for you, I want to help you start the conversation, and to be an example of a strong women in travel as my dive-master was for me. I can’t and I won’t sit and be told what type of life I am meant to live. What type of activities I should and should not do. I especially will not be told where and how to travel.
Dear girls of the world, the adventure is for you, too.
If you have a chance, what will you say to girls all over the world?
This post is a part of the Trisha’s Ambassadorship for Girl Rising – is a global campaign for girls’ education and empowerment.
Girl Rising uses the power of storytelling to share the simple truth that educating girls can transform societies. Our mission is to change the way the world values the girl and ensure that girls’ education is part of the mainstream conversation.
Interested to write for this series? E-mail [email protected] with subject “Dear Girls of the World Series”