My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem (co-founder of Ms. Magazine, hell yeah) is a relatively new book (published October 27th, 2015) about Steinem’s experiences as a traveling activist – specifically for women’s rights. Steinem has many beliefs that are vocalized in her book – one being the belief that travel is a positive platform for social change. In addition to that, she certainly believes in equality of the sexes, she is pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and she also puts her faith in Hillary Clinton. She proudly states what her beliefs are, and she is not afraid to tell them to the whole wide world. Regardless of those political beliefs – the overall message I took from the book was that travel is the greatest teacher. It’s a line I’ve heard before, but Steinem’s book allowed that message to take on a whole new meaning (for me, at least). This is especially true for me, because I recently returned from traveling around Europe, and travel has always been something I considered a high priority in my life.
To take this to a more personal level, here is a list of some of the experiences I had on my travels, and some of the lessons I learned. Then I will talk about Steinem’s (since of course, our experiences are very different)
I was lucky enough to spend all of February, March, April and May of 2016 traveling around Europe. I find it very difficult to write about the experience – there’s so much to say that I get intimidated almost, and then it’s like I don’t know what to say at all. So that gives me even more respect for Steinem, her writing style, and the book she created. Since I don’t think my book would be quite as good as hers, here’s a bulleted list about my travels/what I learned…
- If you like to be spontaneous like I tend to – THINGS ARE GOING TO GO WRONG FAST. And that’s okay, I actually think it’s great. You’re going to show up somewhere and not have a place to stay, you’re going to end up in other country’s hospitals, you might have a few stitches and new scars, you’re going to crash a vespa into a wall, you’re going to get lost by yourself without a working cell phone…and that’s only a few examples. My friends and I didn’t plan much through, but truthfully, that taught me some VERY important lessons, and in the end … I regret nothing.
- You’re going to have some of the best/most important conversations of your life if you put yourself out there. I’m not one who used to talk to strangers, but after traveling – it becomes necessary in some situations. I learned that you can learn a lot from strangers – especially strangers who live in other countries. They had a whole new perspective, and ideas that I had never really heard of before. But of course there are times of course that conversations with strangers can go bad – like when one man in Italy tried distracting me by talking in Italian while his friend tried to grab my wallet from my backpack.
- The world is BEAUTIFUL. I never knew how many pretty places there were to see, until I started seeing places like Croatia, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy, Greece, etc. Traveling to these places made my desire to see even MORE places grow exponentially. People ask me if I’d want to go back, and I say, NO! Because now there are too many other places I want to see. Thailand, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Alaska…
What’s different about the information that I can tell you from the information that Steinem could tell you through her book – is that my info. tells you how to change YOUR world. Steinem’s book is about that, too, but also how to change THE world. Which clearly takes the idea of travel being a teacher to a much larger scale.
“We are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” A powerful quote by Gloria Steinem – that shows her passion for Feminism. Steinem used her knowledge/power from traveling to be an activist – specifically about Feminism. Here are some images that show her thoughts/beliefs:
To learn even more about what she has done: watch this video
In this interview by CBS Steinem mentions, “I travel because I still have hope and energy, and I get that from traveling…”if I just read the news, I would feel extremely discouraged, but it’s so important to go out there and be present with all of your senses.”
She talks about how her father taught her that kind, great, men who know how important women are exist. She then moves on to talk about how pay between men and women is still not equal, and violence rates against women are much higher.
Two decades out on the road allowed Steinem to speak out about some of those facts I just mentioned – and truly make a difference. Steinem says herself that today, more people are feminists than ever before. She says that is because more people understand the definition – and then understand that it’s not a bad thing.
To parallel this ‘feminism’ talk, I recently read a statement by Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones, where she said, “we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist.” I find her statement to be extremely thought-provoking, and I think I agree with her. I’m curious what Steinem would say in response to this. Do you agree?
I’ll try not to get too sidetracked. To get back on topic, Steinem truly has an amazing story to tell and I suggest picking up a copy of My Life on the Road. All of this knowledge and power in her life has come from TRAVELING. So as I said before, traveling is not only a terrific platform – but it is also our greatest teacher.
ALL INFORMATION AND IMAGES FROM:
Steinem, Gloria, and Eva Bonné. My Life on the Road. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Lipsitz, Jordana. “11 Ways Arya Stark Of ‘GoT Is A Feminist Hero.” Bustle. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.
Cawley, Kaitlyn. “VIDEOSTOPICS 20 Quotes For When You Feel Like You Just Need To Get Away From It All RELATEDTRENDINGLATEST Get Away 20 Quotes For When You Feel Like You Just Need To Get Away From It All.” Elite-Daily, n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.
“Quotes.” Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.
Rabuse, Desiree. “Gloria Steinem’s Best Quotes, In Celebration of Her Birthday.” STYLEFOX. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.
Pearl, Diana. “8 Times Gloria Steinem Said What Women Were Thinking.”Marie Claire. N.p., 26 June 2014. Web. 21 July 2016.
CBS. “CBS.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 21 July 2016.