Q. How did you find out about the She’s Wanderful Travel Network? What made you want to apply for your blogging program? What has that experience been like so far?
A. I read about She’s Wanderful and it’s founder, Beth Santos, on the Wellesley College’s “Where are they now?” Alumnae spotlight. I appreciated her honesty in talking about how she didn’t have a rigid life plan right after graduation, as many Wellesley alums feel pressured to have, but she still traveled.
She even waited tables so that she could make ends meet and do what she loved, which ultimately ended up being creating the travel network. Wanderful is an extension of the Wellesley network: it’s a safe place for driven, independent women to come together and empower one another to grow their comfort zones in terms of travel.
Wanderful exists because in the year 2015, women are still asking one another if they are scared to travel alone. Would a man ask another man that if they are scared to travel alone?
I wanted to apply to the blogging program because Nicaragua has allowed me so much time to grow as a writer. I’m privileged to speak Spanish fluently and to integrate in that way, but my experience is still gendered and queered. When I walk down the street, I have to think about whether I want to put headphones in so that I will primarily get less catcalls-music is a second priority. When taxi drivers ask me if I have a boyfriend, I have to think twice about wondering how they’d react if I told them that I’m gay.
Being queer made me nervous to come to Nicaragua. I had people tell me that I’d have to grow my hair out so that I’d appear less masculine, or that I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone I was gay. My love of travel made me want to join the Peace Corps anyway. It hasn’t been 100% perfect experience, but life is a roller coaster wherever you are. I joined the cohort to encourage more queer people to live and work abroad, because there is still a sense of fear among various queer communities, which is very well founded, but that shouldn’t prevent us from traveling.
I love being a part of the blogging cohort, because I’ve learned so much about writing and social media. I’ve learned about making cross cultural human connections in the Peace Corps and I’ve applied these lessons to my work in the cohort.
Every month, I skype with my cohort and share ideas with them. Again, it reminds me of my time at Wellesley, where I learned so much from driven, independent women who want to make a difference in the world. That’s why I blog for a Women’s Travel Network.