Past weekend I participated in a very cool event in New York – third annual Women’s Travel Fest. It was attended by some 250-300 badass women, interested in traveling the globe and kicking it. The line up of speakers was amazing, and it was a great opportunity to mingle and network with like-minded free-spirited ladies.
Here’re some snippets of wisdoms which I got for myself from the WTFest.
ON ADVENTURE TRAVELING
When you hear of adventure traveling, what image comes to your mind? An young backpacker dude? Apparently, an average adventure traveler is a 47-year old female! Hell yeah! Because they’re all about traveling authentically.
Whatever you’re doing, girl, keep these 4Fs in mind and focus: Femininity, Fun, Fearlessness and Force.
ON MASTERING “MALE” FIELDS
One of the most inspiring and powerful stories of the Fest – Annie Griffith. She was National Geographic’s first female photographer! For many years she traveled on assignments, secretly taking two of her young children along (as a single mom). She decided, that since her male colleagues were not asked about going with kids, why should she? And just chose not to mention it. What mattered, was her being an outstanding photographer!
ON BUSINESS/ SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Coming up with a business idea, please don’t start another T-shirt company. Solve a real problem. To find one, answer these two questions: 1) What sucks in my world? 2) Does it suck for a lot of people?
Oh, and conscious capitalism (ooo smart word) is the future! Not non-profits, not philanthropy. These are not stimulating enough.
ON SAFETY DURING TRAVELING
There was a whole panel discussion about it, and of course there’re no certain tricks and answers, but here are two ideas I liked. When in doubt/ crises during a trip – look for a nearby woman. I really do that!
Also, when you’re afraid of something, stop and think: will this fear expand my boundaries or is this a true gut feeling to run for the hills?
You’re the the average of the 5 closest friends you keep.
Amazing! Simple and…true. Who are my closest friends? Are they strong, powerful, driven personalities?
This was the most powerful talk of the whole Fest, delivered by the charismatic Miki Agrawal, founder of the period-proof underwear company Thinx.
Never before did I think that menstruation is such a big and important world issue! It’s a private ‘thing’ which we never talk about. Have you thought, for example, what girls in Africa are using? Leaves, dirt, old rugs… In many cultures bleeding girls are considered ‘impure’. Millions of girls around the world stay at home during their “week of shame”, skipping school. It leads to girls falling behind in the studies, and a lot of time that leads to dropping out completely. And that’s a huge huge factor in the world poverty. What? I never connected these two things! Menstruation is a huge cause for world poverty?!
There’s so much shame and taboo around it. An example of a terrible cultural practice: Nepali chaupadi pratha. Girls have to live in cow sheds during menstruation, because otherwise that may make other male family members sick and they may die soon. Also, apparently, last year’s devastating Nepali earthquake was blamed on evil women and menstruation!
This talk really empowered me to be a stand for girls and women’s role in the world.
This is an awesome vid on this issue made by Miki Agrawal:
ON VIDEO STORYTELLING
Oh boy, that’s almost disturbing how short our attention span is becoming! So keep your travel episodes super short, really down to 1-3 minutes (especially if you’re just starting out)! When editing, allow about 3 seconds per shot (however shoot 10+ seconds of footage).
ON KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE
Whether you’re blogging or producing travel series, it’s not about you, it’s aaall about the audience. And apparently, knowing basic demographics of your audience is no bueno enough any more. Is has to be crazy detailed. Listening to other people’s audience descriptions, I came up with mine for my blog.
Meet my typical blog reader:) Her name is Lisa. She is 24-30 years old. She is not married, has no kids. With or without a boyfriend. She lives in a biggish city. She is educated, studied humanities/ social sciences. She is into the community service and loves nature.
ON TRAVEL WRITING: THE IDEA
This is a simple advice and honestly could be annoying sometimes, but as you travel and plan your writing, make sure to take travel notes! Because memories and details fade.
ON TRAVEL WRITING: THE STORY
The most two important sentences in the entire article/ blog entry are the lede and the kicker. The lede – the first sentence – should be short (8-10 words) and teasing. The kicker – the last sentence – should be capturing the emotional note of the piece, re-echoes the lede, could be playful/ humorous/ question/ ‘super quote’.
ON DOING COOL SH*T
‘Do Cool Sh*t’ is the name of the book of Miki Agrawal – my next read for sure. I also felt that was a slogan of the whole weekend. Do COOL things, travel, explore, face your fears, write your stories, make films. And also… just DO it! Thinking of starting a blog? Do it! Want to shoot videos but don’t have good equipment? Start filming with a simple point-and-shoot. You won’t be perfect as you start, and in fact you won’t be perfect as you finish. So what’s the difference, besides that you can actually have fun and end up creating something great out of your life?:)