24, Have Heels, Will Travel


FEMINIST FOOTPRINTS

{TRAVEL WITH A FEMINIST EYE}

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Welcome to the inaugural post of Feminist Footprints! As I teased in my introductory post on New Year’s Day, with this new blog I will share past travel adventures, the good, the bad, the ugly, including being hit in the forehead with a glass by a busboy in a chic Paris bar and being chased by wild dogs while horseback riding on a beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico with a six-toed vaquero as my guide!

In the coming months, I will write about my mostly solo travels around 13 countries, as well as bring you interviews with brave women who also travel alone, wander off the path, and embrace their individual person-hood in order to be fully alive in a world that often tells them baby stays in the corner. Along the path, there will also be book reviews on travel, updates on feminist activism, and shout outs to inspiring, women owned businesses in the U.S. and abroad.

And as if that weren’t enough, all of this is in anticipation of me taking my show on the road! In the coming months, there will be new adventures well out of my comfort zone, where I will talk to women around the world about their lives, examine what it means to be a single woman of a certain age out and about in the world compared to my blushing youth, and try to avoid panicking if and when painful abrasions develop after an ill-chosen romp with a very cute guy on a rocky beach in Santorini.

I hope you are as excited as I am to begin this journey. As we set off, remember to pack a good pair of walking shoes and an even better pair of dancing ones! Here we go…

***

1994

“Hey, we’re going to be in Greece in June. We’re seeing who all wants to come out and meet us.”

“Really? I’ve never been out of the country before.”

“You should come.”

“I was thinking about going to an island for vacation, getting my passport.”

“Well, you have a couple of months to think about it, to save up.”

And save up I did. Come June, I was the only one out of our group, the first in my family to not only get a passport but to use it.

I landed in Athens, boarded a terrifyingly small puddle jumper, and 45 minutes later glided onto the tarmac of Santorini’s (Thira’s) one airport. My friend Jen grinning, as they say from ear to ear, scooped me up on her moped and whisked me off to our 3 cot, 12 drachma-a-day room.

After marveling at our room, my first encounter with a shower that also contained a toilet and the cheapness of our accommodations---if I recall correctly, Jen and Allie made a deal with the landlord to act as part time housekeepers for a reduced price---we made dinner plans. Now let me remind you that at this point Jen and Allie had been traveling for four months and were surviving on NYU undergrad finances and dirty jeans. I, on the other hand, was as fresh as the three pairs of new high heels I had purchased for my first foreign trip abroad where the men were known to be hot! Oh yeah, and I’m super vain and a bit of a clothes horse. So not wanting to offend my friends and hostesses, in my heels, mini-skirt and crop top (1994, people), I settled down to my first meal in a foreign country. I think, if I’ve got it right, although I don’t remember the contents, I believe we shared something heated up using Sterno. Sterno. Which means my first meal in Greece, the land of grilled eggplant and seafood, was from a can. A can.

23 years later, I can’t remember if the meal was good, bad, or indifferent. All I know is I ate it and then promptly announced that while I understood my friend’s limited finances and the point they were in in their travels---they had two more months to go---I hadn’t come halfway around the world to eat out of a can. The next night I took myself off to the nearest white and red checked table-clothed taverna and had a delicious meal of ofμουσακάς (moussaka) and xταπόδι-σχάρας (grilled octopus). I then rejoined the intrepid backpackers at what would become our “local” and drank the night away.

As a placating Pisces, it was difficult for me to ask for what I wanted, to risk setting an uncomfortable tone for the rest of my three week trip. But thankfully, my friends are smart, independent, understanding women so instead, they shrugged, said okay, see you later, thereby helping to shape the character of my future travels were I shyly, butterflies firmly in control of my stomach, asked for what I wanted---without apology. Well, sometimes there was apology but I still asked. Like when, during the same trip, I demanded that a gorgeous, booze soaked Irishman, stranded on the island after losing his passport, either put up or shut up. Can you guess which one he chose?

I hope you will come back and find out what happens when you have sex on the beach. And I don’t mean the drink!

Until then, remember: sisters-in-arms, do no harm!

Thanks for stamping your passport!

K.C.

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