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International Women’s Day Is Today (March 8)


The other night on Netflix, I watched Reese Witherspoon in Wild. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you do. It’s the story of Cheryl Strayed, a woman who takes an epic 1,100-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to reset her life after a series of tragic events. The trail wends its way through California, Oregon, and Washington, from Mexico to British Columbia. Her journey along this arduous, remote region starts with hiking boots that are too small and the wrong fuel for her camp stove. It only gets worse.

I was riveted by her story from the very start. She undertook this incredible mentally and physically challenging journey alone. That’s so brave. I’ve never travelled alone and as a woman well along in middle age I don’t know if I ever could.

The closest I’ve ever come to a journey like this is a trip I took with my mother when I was 22 and we drove from Paris to Morocco. After paying for the flight and rental car, we knew we’d be on a shoestring budget but the little spending money we had evaporated when we realized gas was twice as much as we’d expected. Rather than cut our trip short, my mother cheerfully decided we would sleep in our car. At 40, she was much braver than her 22-year-old daughter. (Did I mention she also didn’t know how to drive a stick shift? She figured it out by the time we got to Spain.)

From Paris all the way to Agadir in the south of Morocco, we slept in our car. Once it was dark, we would drive around looking for a place to sleep. It was tricky finding places to park where we wouldn’t be woken by a police officer shining a light into our sleepy faces. Places that worked were abandoned gas stations and housing developments still under construction. Places that didn’t work were the beaches of Gibraltar and the border crossing between Portugal and Spain.

We didn’t spring for a hotel till we got to Agadir, where we found a lovely little hotel that was only $7 a night! There we met two Australian sisters who were also making their way back to Paris. They joined us to split the cost of gas and share the driving. (Did I mention I didn’t know how to drive?) When we slept, they pitched their tent and mum and I slept in the car.

Four women travelling together definitely had their moments, especially when you think two were sisters and two mother and daughter. Mom and I got along quite well but she did become irritable whenever the sisters squabbled. I remember one particularly bitter moment when the eldest shrieked at her younger sister for turning left into oncoming traffic. (Did I mention Australian’s drive on the left-hand side of the road? She was just momentarily confused.)

We came back from that trip completely changed. I discovered so many wonderful things about my mother. She is the bravest woman I know. I already knew that, but I learned she was braver in a million other ways. Maybe I should start planning my own Wild adventure.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change.” Women have more opportunities than any other time in history. It’s a great time to be a woman. Let’s be bold together.

Share your boldest moments with us on Facebook and Twitter using #beboldforchange!

Posted by: Reni