This international event was founded in 2001 to connect the global sailing community in a fun, creative, multifaceted, multi-location sailing holiday. Every year, Summer Sailstice connects over 19,000 sailors all over the world—cruisers, racers and recreational—to celebrate and showcase life under sail. It has expanded to include participants from Asia, across the Americas and Europe. Read more
Captain Christy runs small sailing trips in Greece and Turkey and writes:
Thanks to the mass media, Greece and our sailing tourism is so down, you find the media discouraging people to come to Greece when most the tourists are needed. Nothing has changed here – (sun, sea and Greek ruins change little) and without the crowds, it is even better!
I am running my trips as always.
Economic and environmental disasters can have a huge impact on small ecnomonies that rely on tourists to sustain themselves. It is important that we keep supporting such places.
What about getting a group of 5-6 and joining Christy in a sailing adventure?
Phyllis Stoller has been associated with travel for women for years – she founded the well respected Womens Travel Club as a tour operator for womens trips. She sold it in 2006, and last year it stopped trading, leaving an opening for Phyllis to start something new.
Phyllis had maintained her passion for women and travel in the intervening years, and has regularly organised groups of women to travel. Now she has launched a new venture The Women’s Travel Group - Smart Tours for Women Read more
I stole the ‘langourous’ bit from a poet, Oliver Bandmann, who writes here, but it is such an apt adjective- especially on these ‘mid winter’ days of misty mornings and golden afternoons in Luang Prabang.
A town of temples
Quiet, shady streets
Heightened with saffron
The golden stupas glow even brighter, the smoke from small restaurant barbecues twists up through the palms and banana plants, and the long boats reflect like brush paintings in the light on the Mekong River. Along the river banks, new gardens appear daily and another bamboo foot bridge has been built above the lowering water. Little boys swim along on polystyrene chunks, while the little girls cajole the watching tourists to buy bracelets and necklaces- for our school books, they say.
The food is fantastic- everything from Laos fried rice or noodles, made spicy and full of fresh vegetables, to baguettes, fruit smoothies, and pancakes at the markets, to gastronomic extravagancies at the French restaurants. Danielle was perplexed when her hot pot arrived along with all the raw ingredients, and she had to ask what to do next. (cook it and eat it was the answer!)
The Hmong people are the dominant tribal group here and sell their colourful fabric and clothes at the night market. We learnt about clothing codes and marriage customs at the beautiful little Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, which is dedicated to preserving and transmitting the cultural resources of Laos.
A new seal of authenticity , Handmade in Luang Prabang, was being launched with an impressive exhibition of fine arts and textiles. This gave us the chance to see the different methods and designs of different tribal groups. The fabrics themselves are so painstakingly woven or embroidered, but the final designs of shirts, or dresses or jackets are not always appealing to Western buyers, so it was good to see the beginning of new design and marketing initiatives. The silver work is beautiful and desirable, as are paintings and handmade paper (which we cannot bring into NZ as it is full of seeds). Needlework and embroidery is everywhere- women pick it up in a spare moment. I even saw an idle policeman embroidering peacefully.
Ock Pop Tok is a fabulous place to visit. There are three shops in Luang Prabang, selling the best clothing and fabrics I saw. They put you on a free tuk tuk to visit their model production centre, just 2km out of town. Here women spin silk, and weave the most elaborate and exquisite designs, which are sold world wide. The prices reflect the quality and, more importantly, their fair trade practices and wages. Their Silk Road cafe on the banks of the Mekong serves a Persian tasting platter, reminding us of the romance of the ancient silk trade.
Monks by the hundred live in Luang Prabang, at the dozens of temples. You spot them out walking, going to English classes, bathing in the river, sitting in the park talking to tourists, labouring in the temples, and talking on their mobile phones. Most of all you see them before dawn, emerging from the gates of their temples, walking along the street in a long silent line. Local people are ready to offer alms- rice, biscuits, fruit, and the tourists are ready with flash bulbs. Many tourists also take part, by kneeling, feet pointing away from the monks. You do not look up as they go past, but simply place food, or money in their bowl. The monks eat breakfast and lunch, and that is it for the day.
Drums at 4a.m.
Wake all the monks, pious ladies
Who prepare their rice
I had conversations with several monks, at the Big Brother Mouse English classes, and all said they had become novices, to get a good education- much better than in a government school. All spoke Lao, plus their own tribal language, Thai, English, and usually some French or German or Spanish. As well as languages, they learn maths, science, history and Buddhism. The novitiate ends at 19 years, when they can choose to continue as a monk, or to go to University, or get a job. All these boys came from country schools and all had parents who are small farmers, so being a monk is a way to move out of the poverty cycle. It is a matter of great pride to have a monk as a son .
They say Luang Prabang is the most beautiful city in South East Asia- we loved it, and were sad to leave the changing river scapes, the gracious streets, the local people , the colour and energy and kindness, the countryside. Thank you to our friends, Robin and Pam, who told us to stay a while. We did.
With 32 million trips taken last year, U.S. women — young, old, single, married, divorced, widowed, mothers, daughters and sisters — have become a driving force in the travel industry. Estimates are that women will spend some $125 billion on travel in the next year. Read more
For those who living with and beyond cancer, it is sometimes a struggle to hope again, to regain confidence and self love. A new travel company Travel Toward Wellness based in Seattle has been set up to focus on the needs of these women. Their current programmes include a weekend in the San Juan Islands, shopping in Tuscany and spa retreat in Sausalito, California – and more are planned. Read more
4th to 18th of September 2010
The village of Skala Eressos on Lesvos Island in Greece will host the 10th anniversary of the International Women’s Festival. Read more
In the network of Women Owned Travel businesses around the world, Gayle Lawrence’s Journeys of Discovery have always been out there and visible with a great range of trips that touch the soul.
I have just updated the Tour Calendar at Women Travel the World with her latest tours and what a choice there is:
- Meditation and service in Bhutan
- encounters with Humpback Whales in the Dominican Republic (get in early for 2011 these sell out very fast!)
- Women’s Quest to Avalon in Britain
- A writing retreat in Mexico Read more
So many to choose from – that is the only problem…
Women Travel the World websites lists 6 options in the South of Spain – from the fabulous women only Diva Espana (I have stayed there, and would gladly have stayed longer) to a new listing near Almeria that offers horse riding as part of the package. Search
The Women Travel the World website Tour Calendar lists tours for women – most of them are women only and cater especially for women travellers. There are walking, writing courses, painting, horse riding, and riding and writing courses
Women Tour Companies
What are we waiting for….
Picture yourself swilling wine in a hot tub at the end of an invigorating day’s bush hike, or relaxing in a country pub having biked the classic Otago Rail Trail, or taking a dip in the turquoise waters of the glorious Abel Tasman after sea kayaking to a golden beach…
do these things sound like something you would like to experience? Well, read on, because your prayers have finally been answered!
As busy women we often have a myriad of (often feeble) excuses why we don’t do things for ourselves. But let’s face it: there is never an excuse good enough for not doing something positive for yourself – like taking a well-deserved short break somewhere!
Venus Adventures – Trips for Women – is now offering a range of short breaks within New Zealand (and Europe) for women who, well, just need a break! The breaks include anything from culture to adventures, and are always a lot of fun, and the website is a one-stop shop for short breaks for women.
The idea behind women-only trips is to help women escape their everyday roles and routines as busy mums, wives or workers, and to get away with the girls and have some fun!
“More and more women are realizing the importance of getting away from it all and letting someone else do all the organizing for a change”; says Julie Paterson, founder and owner of Venus Adventures Trips for Women. “Women naturally bond and network easily. Doing a trip which gets you out of your comfort zone a little is easier in a supportive women’s group. It’s a great environment in which to try new things. But, depending on the trip, we also indulge in fun things like spas and a little retail-therapy! Age also doesn’t matter as long as the spirit is there!”
All you have to do is get yourself to the trip starting point and all the rest is taken care of. So what are you waiting for? Your next adventure is just a mouse click away…for more information visit www.shortbreaksforwomen.com.
By Julie Paterson
Venus Adventures – Trips for Women