I began this blog as a way to start thinking about the life I’ve shared with others in the 60 years I’ve been on this planet as a means to dig deeper into its mysteries which are ofcourse mysteries of the self– a strange creature whose many facets seem always beyond our grasp even-maybe especially-when we are called upon to say authoritatively, this is who I am.
As the old saying goes, an unexamined life isn’t worth living–is it?
So what then, might feminism have to do with my definition of travel?
In a way- it’s a declaration of my sense of who I am, of what I’ve become in this life as person with a certain set of values, beliefs, outlook on a life worth living. That self remains riven, contradictory, full of self doubt and hard to penetrate despite the clarity of a certain political persuasion that draws me to imagine/ work toward a world based on social and economic justice that is the bedrock of my feminism.
So that in my travels, I believe I’m open to the adventure of meeting the other in my self, to the frisson of recognizing the self in an other, recognizing synergies where none existed in the palpable, embodied way they take shape in travel encounters. Distinctions of class, of gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, nationality and age–don’t so much cease to matter as stand revealed for the constructed barriers to human empathy that they are.
To plunge, defying fear, into the unknown of travel as metaphor and reality- for a woman of a certain background and generation such as myself- is undoubtedly kin to a liberal feminism I deride on many counts but which has been and remains important as a method of (Re) claiming female power.
Combined, though, with a commitment to connecting to others beyond the barriers of social caste and class, gender and other hierarchies, to envisioning and dreaming that another world is possible–I think qualifies, at least to me, as the beginnings of a first-draft definition of traveling feminista.
To examine my own orientalist fantasies as a brown woman that I’ve internalized (how can one escape?)–as well as my anti occidental prejudices — whilst turning the native gaze on to landscapes and journeys long forbidden us, especially women of the East– well, that too is part of the mix of my feminist travels