March is all about celebrating women. As we go through Women's History month and celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, the women of Washed Ashore decided to dedicate this month’s blog posts to the women in our lives that inspire, support and motivate us.
So here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
This week, Laura Theron tells us all about culture, open mindedness and how an onerous leg surgery that left her in pain and crutches for years, ended up pushing her to see the world.
You have been around the world a couple of times. What have you learned about yourself or the world during all those travels?
Overall, it proved me that we are one as people. With all our differences, and diversity, humans are one. All around the world, as one, we share the same sense of curiosity and above everything we share the need to laugh and love.
And on a personal level I learned to be kinder to myself. I met so many amazing people along the way: all of them were curious, openminded, kind and had good intentions towards me. It was always genuine moments of sharing. It helped me see myself a little bit more the way they did.
Salinas Grandes, Argentina
You’re always travelling, living somewhere amazing (think Venice - Italy, Paris...), finishing a degree or working several jobs at once. Are you running from something?
Some of my friends think so… Maybe they’re not so wrong but I haven’t figured that out yet!
What I am sure of is that life is short, and full of complicated or difficult moments. So, when you are at the maximum of your capacity you need to make the best of it. I feel like you owe that to all the people in the world who don’t share your luck…
Machu Picchu, Peru
What were your 3 favorite destinations you’ve been to?
By far, Peru would be my favorite country on earth. I adored the people, the history, the culture, the landscapes and of course the food… I was supposed to stay three weeks and I stayed two months!
Some cities made big impressions on me such as Istanbul, Prague, New Orleans, among others but I visited a little be more than forty countries around the world and I adored almost every place I went to, it is too hard to make a choice!
I’m sure you have many but can you tell us one crazy story from your travels?
Hitchhiking through Europe with a friend of mine was quite something.
But the one that still makes me laugh was that day I decided it would be a good idea to go by myself by public transport to a part of the Great Wall of China, near Beijing in the middle of winter… Chinese do not speak English, I do not speak Chinese… It took me around three hours to just get there, people were helpful but stared a lot at that tall blond girl in the middle of nowhere in China.
It was worth it. I spend three hours walking on the Great Wall I was almost all alone the whole time. It was freezing but so beautiful!
The Great Wall of China
What are some of your most important travelling tips?
You need to have faith in yourself and be able to let go of your self-consciousness. Trust yourself, be openminded and do speak to strangers, they’re generally a lot of fun!
Tahiti, French Polynesia
You have been back living in your home country Tahiti for over a year now. You are working as a teacher and at the same time you started two companies to promote Tahitian culture. Can you tell us more about that?
I don’t really feel like it's a crazy lifestyle, even though I realize that it can be exhausting and that I don’t have as much as time to myself as I’d like to.
In all my activities, I have the sense that I’m working in the same direction. I feel like I’m helping to build a better future for our country, so everything makes sense together.
French Polynesia just came out of a major political and economic crisis; I believe we need to put out a little effort to walk out of it successfully. This is the main reason why I came back here actually.
You have a master’s degree in Management of Cultural Institutions. What is it about various cultures and the world that fascinates you so much?
I strongly believe that culture is a main key to the concept of living together, whether as a small community or as a globalized world.
My first master’s degree was in History. It taught me that knowing the world, civilizations as well as your own history and identity makes you feel stronger and more confident about who you are as people. And knowing others’ history, culture, language or civilization teaches you that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Cultural dialogue and exchange is so full of richness, always… To me culture and education can solve a lot of our societies’ problems such as racism to start with!
Lastly, you have always been a strong defender of women, their rights and their strength. Is there anything you would like to tell other women or girls that might be reading this?
For a long time I thought I wasn’t a feminist: I grew up with two older brothers that I look up to and it made me dream of being a boy for quite a long time. Adulthood made me own that feminine part of me and also be proud of it.
Then, traveling (among other life experiences) made me realize how unequal men and women are. And now, every day I grow a little bit more feminist than the day before and I make sure to educate the men around me on different subjects, to make them realize that it is also their responsibility to reach that equality.
It is not about “please guys, protect us”, more about “please guys, open your eyes”. Most men are not predators nor misogynists but almost all of them have no idea of what it's like to be a woman and to feel like “prey” sometimes for no reason, just because the world can make us feel unsafe.
I’d like to say to women of our world: be feminists, educate men around you. Being feminist doesn’t mean that we are against men.