by Stephanie Elizondo Griest
This is one of the best adventure travel books I've ever read.
Simply chronicling a travelogue of of over 100 cities you’ve been
to could make for a very boring book. Fortunately, this is not one of
those. Ms. Griest has written an amazingly inspiring and passionate work
The book’s theme is set passionately in the Preface where the author states, “No matter where I am—downtown Manhattan or the Mongolian steppe—it is inevitable in the eyes of another woman that I find a similar spark or sense of wonderment. Afterward, I can only describe the place as one where every woman should go.”
Her Ten Tips for Wandering Women are worth the price of the book alone, and should be posted on the bathroom mirror of any woman planning a trip outside the US, especially to developing countries. [Read excerpts in our Health and Safety pages].
Approached by Travelers Tales to put down onto paper her travel adventures, Ms. Griest conducted nearly one hundred interviews of shared remembrances with girlfriends to produce this book. She writes, “Within its
covers, you’ll discover places where women made history, where we battled for our rights to rule, to speak, to vote, to be free. You’ll find places of inspiration and enlightenment…and places of purification… In short, this book documents places where being a woman is affirmed and confirmed; where you will be energized and impassioned.”
No book critic could have said it better.
The best way to review this book is to peer into its Sections.
Section I – Powerful Women And Their Places In History. As much history as travel, this section celebrates famous women of the antiquities and of the not-so-distant time. You’ll travel to religious sites honoring the Virgin Mary; visit the Egypt of the only woman pharaoh, Hatshepsut; learn of the Greek home of Sappho, “the poetess and lyricist, and modern-day icon for feminists the world over;” tour the Welsh island home of the goddess of love, Saint Dwynwen; and spend time in the medieval town where Joan of Arc was killed. Other famous women remembered and their homes visited are: the female Irish pirate, Grace O’Malley; the Salem Witches; Catherine the Great; Frida Kahlo; the “Lady Ghosts” of Savannah, Georgia; and Argentina’s own, Evita. For good measure the author throws in travels and tales of: the birth of the Women’s Rights Movement in upstate New York; the National Shrines to Women in Washington, DC; and internationally known women writers. There’s even a homage to the lost Women’s bookstores in the US.
For me, this was the most moving section of her book.
I like to look at the rest of the book through it’s aptly named Sections. This is truly Travel with a Purpose.
Section II – Places Of Adventure covers everything from Antarctica to Alaska.
Section III – Places Of Purification And Beautification takes you to, among other places, Holistic Spas and women-friendly nudist resorts.
Section IV – Places Of Indulgence whisks you to world-famous wine capitals, chocolate factories and ice cream parlors. Oh, and don’t neglect trips to London, Rome and Paris to visit the world’s sexiest lingerie shops.
Section V – Places Of Celebration And Womanly Affirmation invites you to study Belly Dancing in Austin, Texas, Rumba in Cuba and Tango in Buenos Aires.
Section VI takes you to Places Of Struggle And Renewal.
Section VII provides a tour to Places Of Inspiration And Enlightenment.
And Sections VIII and IX cover Just-Go-There Places and Best All ‘Round Places.
To sum up: this is the perfect “sit by the fire and plan your
next adventure” book, and at the same time manages to provide enough
detail to get you motivated to follow in Ms. Griest’s enthusiastic