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An American Feminist in Venice...


Everyone knows that, when travelling, a woman must be extra vigilant in terms of safety and security.

Marie Carter is a savvy Journeywoman who hails from Long Beach, California, USA. In this article she demonstrates with humour how, as a solo traveler, she got herself out of a potential scary travel experience in Venice, Italy.


Are all American feminists like you?

I was traveling alone in Venice, Italy and utterly romanced by the beauty of the city - its art, palaces, people, food and waterways. The one thing I really wanted to do that I had not done before I left was ride the gondola. The best time to ride was at sunset and immediately thereafter when the city lit up with the warm light of an old masterpiece in ancient oil.

I had seen couples in the gondolas at night, and families during the day. I had seen men traveling the water alone guiding the boats as gondoliers. I had not seen a woman riding alone – either as master of the boat or as passenger.

I approached a gondolier, negotiated a price and both somewhat surprised, we pushed off into the golden light. It sank into the palaces around the town square. The houses kissed the edges of the canals and the light reflected back against their warm red hues like courtship. Yes, it was worth it to have overcome my fear of being “the only woman” to have asked the gondolier to take me on the ride.

I was high on the adventure, when I suddenly realized we were not in well-lit canals anymore. The gondolier had steered us to a side canal.

He asked, “You are American, no?” I said “Yes.” All romance in the night vanished.

He said, “You like Italian men?” I said, “No reason not to – not yet anyway.”

Silence. He stopped the boat. Suddenly I stood up and asked if he could teach me how to steer the boat. He was surprised, but yes, he would teach me. I stumbled next to him at the prow. He reached around me and showed me how to steer. I grasped the long oar. It was hard to push, and I didn't know where I was, or how to get back to the main canal.

He said low under his breath, “Do you like me?”

I said, without turning around, “Well...I am an American feminist.”

He said, “Feminista?”

I was shaking but speak even if your voice shakes, Gloria Steinem says, and so I did, “Yes, and I know karate. I am almost a black belt.” I handed back the oar, and stumbled back to sit, saying over my shoulder, “If you don't steer this back to the main canal, I will tip it over, swim to shore, call the police and have you arrested. That's what American feminists do."

He said, “Are you sure? I am a very nice man.”

I said, “Of course, I'm sure. I'm an American feminist. That's what we do.”

Slowly he turned the boat from the noorish dark canal lit by the crescent moon, back to the golden light of the busy thoroughfare.

Before I left, he asked, “Are all American feminists like you?”

I said, “Oh yes, definitely.”


Women's words on courage...

My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry;
to get my work done and try to love somebody
and have the courage to accept the love in return.
(Maya Angelou, Poet, United States)

Life shrinks or expands in proportion
to one's courage.
(Anais Nin, THe Dairy of Anais Nin, 1940)

Courage is the ladder
on which all the other virtues mount.
(Clare Booth Luce, Readers Digest, 1979)

Like a muscle
courage is strengthened by use.
(Ruth Gordon, L'Officiel, 1980)

The truly fearless think of themselves
as normal.
(Margaret Atwood, The Whirlpool Rapids, 1986)

There is plenty of courage among us for the abstract
but not enough for the concrete.
(Helen Keller, Let Us Have Faith, 1940)

Speak your mind even if your voice shakes
(Gloria Steinem, Feminist, United States)

We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few
have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
(Gloria Steinem, Feminist, United States)


Be courageous but stay out of trouble...

Follow rules...

It's easy enough to get into trouble through no fault of our own. That's why it's such a good idea to be safety savvy while on the road. Here's a few articles for you to review before setting off.

An Expert Shares 25 Safety Tips for Women Travellers
Subway Safety for Women - 20 Tips
The Pitfalls of Travelling to Meet Mr. Right
Sex and the Single Travelling Girl
Culturally Correct Nudity--Staying Safe
Help! My Credit Card's Gone

Safe journeys, everybody!










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