All posts filed under: travel

India, Thank You for Re-energizing Me!

In front of me stands a woman in a blue saree. She is sharing her experiences as a female farmer in rural Tamil Nadu, India. We have gathered under a couple of trees to shield ourselves from the broiling sun and while we are talking, the cows standing in the yard are dipping their whole heads while drinking water from a bucket, trying to cool down in the summer heat. As the woman in the blue saree tells me how old she was when she got married, I can only stare at her in disbelief. Of course I knew that child marriage exists in India, but this is the first time I’ve actually met a woman who got married when she was only thirteen years old. Although it has been prohibited in India since 2006, child marriage is still practiced regularly and India has the highest number of child brides in the world. According to Girls Not Brides, in 2016, 47% of all girls under 18 years old were already married. As I try to regain my composure and wrap …

How I Fell in Love with the Women of Iran

When I landed back home, I was bombarded with questions from curious friends: What was it like to cover up all the time? Did I feel restricted in any way? Could I go shopping on my own? Was I free to walk in the streets without my husband? Was I even allowed to talk to men? I went to Iran for my honeymoon – and ended up falling in love with the women. Those bombarding me with questions were my friends, young, highly educated Swedish women, and this reminded me of how little most Europeans know about Iran and everyday life there – I was certainly no exception. But when boarding the plane to Tehran, little did I know what a mark the trip would make in me. An all-girls guide to – Tehran? Almost ten years ago I found an unusual travel guide in a Parisian bookshop – a city guide to Tehran, written for young women by French-Iranian journalist Delphine Minoui. Far from your ordinary Lonely Planet, the guide is like an informal …

Climbing Bravely Above Expectations

We were above the clouds, pushing through the most technical part of the climb (appropriately named Disappointment Cleaver) up Washington’s Mt. Rainier. The rope running out from my own harness was linked to one in front and one behind. Together, my rope team of three scrambled through rock and ice. In front of me was my guide, Pasang Sherpa, who moved with the ease of being at home in the mountains. I did my best to emulate her effortless movements up through feet of fresh snow, following her lead as professional climber and mountaineering guide. P asang is Sherpa, a particular people group of the Himalayas of Nepal so well known for their climbing abilities that people often associate the word “Sherpa” with a porter who carries gear up peaks for foreign climbers. But not all Sherpa people are climbers. Rather, for many Sherpa women, the expectation is not to live up to the same expectation as for Sherpa men to be incredible high altitude climbers. In Pasang’s Sherpa community, like much of Nepal where …