Being a woman is a form of art; we often must grapple with issues – biological, social, personal and professional – that men never have to worry about. Never is this more true than while traveling. When on the road myself, I often found myself hunched over computers in hostels, furtively googling specific information on what other women had thought about the safety of a certain place, what hygienic facilities were available, or commiserating with others in a pharmacy about the lack of tampax.
A travel aficionado herself, Kelly Lewis had similar experiences and realised that despite the number of travel series there were on the market, there were none written exclusively for women. And so, in 2011, Go! Girl Guides was born. Armed with gutsiness and a webpage, Lewis amassed a group of feisty travel writers to chronicle their experiences and explore the world from a distinctly female perspective.
The writers at Go! Girl Guides write about traveling as a woman with unflinching honesty. As well as reviews of where to go, what to see and where to eat, they offer the insider knowledge for women that is so often lacking in traditional guidebooks. This ranges from the small (how often to shave, how to tackle UTIs and yeast infections) to the more taboo (the gender politics of different regions, where it is legal to get abortions, what to do in the case of sexual assault, the biggest regrets women have from their adventures).
Go! Girl Guides’ mission is to empower women to travel by removing the stigma attached to solo female travel, offering sensible advice on what is feasible and what is not. The empowerment of girls and women depends as much as on our ability to encourage each other as it does individual action.
As an avid traveller myself, I have found the Go! Girl Guides community to be full of warmth, candour, wit and inspiration. Too often, as women, we are made to believe that the issues we struggle with – our bodies or our psychology – are embarrassing and to be silently dealt with. Isolation makes any experience harder, and what Go! Girl Guides does is offers a ready community to dispel this, often feeling like an older sister passing on hard-earned wisdom.