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May 2020  

Inspiration from AdventureWomen Ambassadors

Dear Adventure Women,

As we continue to navigate the unknown and experience the outside from inside our living rooms, we wanted to share some inspiration from three of our AdventureWomen Ambassadors: Katie Gallagher, Leigh Zimmerman and Rodica Woodbury.

We’ve been delighted by how many of you have sent selfies using your AdventureWomen Buff® as a mask! Please continue to send these to us, and we might feature them in a future newsletter.  Thank you for staying in touch and sharing your adventures with us. It’s clear that we all miss traveling and can’t wait to get back to it.

In this photo, I'm hot, tired, and sweaty; we had just finished climbing Huayna Picchu, the tall, prominent mountain in the background of most photos of Machu Picchu.  I was ready to sit back on the return train ride and bask in the accomplishment of what we had just accomplished and anticipate a nice, rejuvenating shower at the hotel.

But, as luck would have it, one of my favorite bits of AdventureWomen trip magic happened on that return train ride: a chance to interact with the local people and culture in a way that was completely spontaneous and unanticipated.  We were enjoying a fashion and culture show in our first-class cabin that included someone dressed in animal costume for the Saqra, a traditional dance of the highlands of the Cusco region in Peru, when the figure suddenly pulled me out of my seat and started to dance with me in the aisle!

Reminiscing about my travels and looking at pictures of past trips is a great way for me to set aside some of the worry, anxiety, and uncertainty that we're all facing right now.  Some of the other things that I'm doing to try to keep myself steady are reading, journaling, taking long walks with my dog, tending the flower beds in my backyard, and hula hooping (trust me on this one, it's so much fun and SO much easier with a weighted hoop!).

But I'm also spending more than the usual amount of time watching Netflix and taking naps more frequently—it's ok to acknowledge that this pandemic is something that we've never encountered before, and it's HARD.  It's stressful to be worried about an invisible foe for this long, and I keep reminding myself that the most important thing right now is my health.  I don't need to come out of quarantine with washboard abs or a completely organized house, but I do need to listen to my body and take care of her needs:  keep moving, feed her healthy food, and rest when she's tired.  And when I start to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what we're dealing with, I stop and remind myself that I'm an Adventure Woman and I can do hard things: I climbed Huayna Picchu!

Katie Gallagher, Peru

My favorite AdventureWomen trip so far has to be the Everest Base Camp trek in 2019. What an epic experience! I found parts of myself I didn't know I was missing during that 12-day trek. From our amazing guides, to the incredible people of Nepal, to the beauty of the mountains.... it was unforgettable. When I arrived at Everest Base Camp I felt like I had achieved something beyond my wildest dreams. To stand at 17,600 feet at a place I had grown up seeing and reading about in books and magazines, where so many brave men and women departed from and never returned, was life changing. It took 8 days, 5 amazing guides, 4 yaks, 3 porters, and my inspirational and beautiful strong Adventure Women to get me to that spot, and I will be forever grateful.

That trip was exactly one year ago. Today so many things are different in the world and it seems like so long ago that I stood at Base Camp. I keep myself sane through exercising and decided when the stay-at-home order went into effect here in Austin, TX, on March 24th that I would run a 5k a day till it ended. So far my streak is going great. I had to cancel some trips I was really looking forward to making, which is disheartening. But I know that the mountains aren't going anywhere, and even when I am stuck in my house there is no limit on the adventures I can dream about. I know that when things go back to whatever the new "normal" may be that the world will still be there waiting for me, and that AdventureWomen will be there to take me.

Leigh Zimmerman, Nepal

It was March 2018, and AdventureWomen’s first trip to Morocco—my new favorite place in the world for so many reasons. We visited our first women’s cooperative in the town of Sefrou, famous for its cherry trees. Amina, the head of the co-op, warmly welcomed us with her huge smile and happy energy. Inside this busy microcosm of life and livelihood, ladies were working brilliantly colored silk threads into buttons shaped like cherry blossoms to be incorporated into the traditional djellaba, the ankle-length flowing outer garment worn ubiquitously throughout Morocco. We each sat with one of the ladies and tried our hand at this timeless craft. For me, the memory was not only of the craft or the convivial community, but also of the understanding that Morocco itself is a world where many things are handmade—the markets are a flurry of thousands of hands weaving, carving, hammering, chopping, stitching their way through the day, for wages or simply for the art of it.

During these days of “stay at home,” I’ve come to appreciate having the time to review and edit photos from far away and relive these moments. These trying days have led us to create our own co-ops, where we count on our local friends, family, and neighbors for sharing meaningful communication, humor, errands, or a glass of wine six feet apart on a neighbor’s porch step. Ultimately our lives are woven with the threads of community, whether in vast cities, suburbs, small towns, or rural areas in Morocco or at home. Whether in a small room where buttons and friendships are beautifully crafted or across our backyard fences, it’s the daily ritual of “cooperative” that binds us together. I hope, more than anything, that resuming our lives doesn’t mean going back to everything we did before in our frenzied independent orbits; but instead that “being in this together” is ultimately what connects us and keeps us human.

Rodica Woodbury, Morocco

This was my first AdventureWomen trip and it was fabulous! There was so much packed into each day - educational, cultural, historical, anthropological - that I came away feeling that I acquired a unique appreciation for all Peru has to offer. I would definitely recommend this journey to my friends.

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