I was having lunch the other day with a couple of men that I knew casually through a friend. They’re fellow bloggers and we were sharing stories about our “craft” together. They asked me what kind of blog I write, and I told them I edit a women’s travel magazine.
You could pinpoint exactly when their eyes glazed over. It was when I breathed that terribly irrelevant word, “women”. Obviously, writing a woman’s travel magazine has nothing to do with them. They were still courteous and friendly, but on a deeper level, they had disengaged. Women’s travel just isn’t a part of their world.
Or is it?
Men are arguably as much a part of women’s travel as women are. They are the husbands, the boyfriends, the sons. They are the enablers and the supporters; the travel companions, or the ones who loyally wait at home. Sometimes, they are offenders and oppressors (not discounting the fact that women can also serve in this role). They are the uplifters and the recognizers.
And, they are the dads.
Having a dad who is dedicated to his daughter’s pursuit of travel is precious. They can serve as role models and pass along their life’s passions, as Safia’s father did. They can raise their daughters to be strong-willed, independent women, as Vanessa suggests. They can inspire their daughters to seek out a world beyond what’s in front of them, and to do so fearlessly. And, if you’re lucky, they might even pad your wallet when you’ve run out of money while studying abroad (thanks, Dad).
Fathers have the opportunity to have a huge impact on their daughters’ lives. It’s why I was disappointed (though, frankly, not surprised) when my new friends seemed to feel that women’s travel didn’t apply to them. “Do you have a mother? A sister?” I asked them. “Do you plan to marry a woman? Will you have a daughter?” And if that day comes, how will you raise her? To hide in her shell, or to embrace the world?
To the men — the fathers, the future fathers, the father figures — happy Father’s Day, in the US and elsewhere. Make women’s travel relevant in your life. Your daughter will thank you for it.