The finale post in Stylewhack’s Empowered Women Series, where we bring stories of everyday women who have imbibed the meaning of ’empowered’ in their own personal way. Today we bring you the story of Anju Jayaram, who talks about her life on being a globe traveller.
I was lying alone on the sand at a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico on a sunny day and watching the waves break against the shore while the sun lulled me to a mellow state with my backpack next to me. I don’t have enough words to explain how freeing that feeling was of being outdoors on my own without pretending to wait for someone or going someplace. This is definitely a defining moment from my travels as the idea of a woman just being out by herself in a restaurant, beach and movies or just outdoors loitering is quite alien in the culture I come from.
I have often been flummoxed when people around me find it a big deal when I mention that I saw a movie alone or ate at a restaurant alone or travelled alone. To me it feels normal and part of being an adult but usually an unaccompanied woman is lonely, without friends or worse anybody’s game. Most of my recent travels to other countries have been as a family or with friends but I have had some trips when I travelled alone. Traveling alone as a woman does not mean one is lonely or that one does not have friends neither is traveling solo the holy grail it is made out to be.
Women travellers are also mothers and traveling with a young child has been quite an experience for me, the reactions from various people in the countries we have been to, has always been welcoming. We have posed for umpteen photos with strangers in China, have always managed to get special service at restaurants as my kid managed to charm waitresses and sometimes cooks. Have had staff at hotels give us small gifts for the kid and many interesting conversations with locals. We have had some small scares on the road too like being stuck on the road with four consecutive flat tires in Kenya, being pulled aside by the authorities at the airport because the kid was running a slight temperature, falling sick in China even after ensuring that he ate only hygienic food. Our positive experiences outweigh any small bumps we might have on the road. I would quite wholeheartedly recommend that families with young children travel beyond theme parks, you never know what adventures you might run into.
The second phase of my journey came in when I started writing my experiences from travel in my blog www.travelingnoodles.com two years ago, which opened more doors for me than I could count! From a brand manager in a pharmaceutical company to a writer/blogger definitely did not happen overnight but the journey continues to be an exciting one. Starting my blog also led me to my current role as Partner at www.womensweb.in (India’s largest community/ ezine of women writers and authors) a role that brings me great satisfaction and a passion to create an impact.
Travel has definitely broadened the lens through which I view the world. We currently reside in India and we have settled as much as dust settles in a place, waiting for the next wind to take us to new places. I reinvent myself every time and that allows me to learn and explore and this is something that travel and meeting people from various cultures has empowered me to do.
|Anju Jayaram is getting ready for her next journey with two bags and a baby! You can follow her travel stories here www.travelingnoodles.com