Our contributing columnists are women who have pushed beyond what they ever thought possible or even probable. Sometimes they do what may seem impossible.
Like all of us, they have certainly felt fear, but by confronting this demoralizing demon have expanded their options and grown wise.
They are different nationalities, and ages with varied experience.
All have compelling stories to tell.
I'm excited to share them with you.
Elaine is an adventurer who believes travel is our best teacher. She is a solo trekker who eats, sleeps, and socializes where locals do.
Elaine began her life of travel at nineteen, when she took a break from university to spend a year in London and Paris. She took a hiatus from travel when raising a family but still desired to explore other cultures. Eventually she ended up living in the Caribbean. Then, she explored Tibet, Mongolia and Nepal where she has hiked the high Himalayas.
She has taught English to young children in China and climbed Mount Fuji in Japan.
Some of her favorite countries are Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma, where she has led tours.
Elaine is Canadian by birth but a citizen of the world. She believes the best place to be is in "the present," writing "Excitement and adventure are all around us - no matter where we are."
Below some travel photos from Elaine Lalonde
Sheila is a native of the United Kingdom, and uses England as a base for her European adventures. Last year she traveled solo to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. She also spent three months living alone in Spain, where she says she " met some amazing people and learned a lot about myself. "
Closer to home she uses local ferries to island hop off the West coast of Scotland.
Sheila studied ballet , dances salsa and bachata now, and is thinking about taking up Tango.
Always active, she played netball for her county, has done sport parachuting, and swims, practices yoga and cycles - though not all at the same time!
She is also a Buddhist who says she has learned from modern Buddhist teachings and meditation " that my happiness depends on me , not the perfect partner or career, the biggest car or a beautiful house."
She observes: "It’s how I react to a situation ... not the situation itself that matters most. ..even if I have wanted to nip a few people from time to time.."
She adds " Being alone is vital to my spirit. I need to be independent, to deal with challenges as they arise and feel achievement when successfully navigated. This empowers me..."
Jane is what the Scottish call s " a highlander" from the Black isle, a peninsula on the east coast of Scotland. Now that her children have grown she says she is finding her "travel wings." Jane works as a home support worker in her local community and says " Everything happens for a reason-good or bad. We will get through it no matter what."
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Any woman with a sense of global history or even her own, knows that women have often been referred to as "the other half." Truth be told, the role of women in the world has been undervalued and overshadowed, though we have made stunning contributions to our societies.
In her book " Bad Girls Throughout History : 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World," Author Ann Shen sketches of an amazing array of female energy through generations. These include activist and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, Nobel Prize winning Scientist Marie Curie, and Joan Jett, godmother of punk music.
Shen says these women were " bad" in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for all all who followed.
Yet too often we must fight to simply be heard. In the process we can be categorized and demonized .
A lone woman- whether she is flying solo by choice or circumstance-is still a bit of an enigma,
it's time to change this, and to share and celebrate our beauty, wisdom, power and potential.