Her Face is a Map of the World.

Evelyn in Antarctica this past January.

Evelyn in Antarctica this past January.

I’d like my face to be “a map of the world”.

To me, it would mean that I am a life-long learner.

One who is forever growing.

Living dynamically.

I strive for this in my life and traveling solo helps me feel like I am making progress. But, as I meet certain people, I realize how far I have yet to grow.

“Everything around her is a silver pool of light.”

What a lovely image – a “silver pool of light”.

This line, and the one from the title of this post, is from “Suddenly I See”, a song by KT Tunstall. It’s not new but the song recently made it back onto my walking playlist. I like the words and the images. Naturally, they make me think of travel and I wondered whose face really is a map of the world. I wanted to give you many examples but Evelyn Hannon, the founder and editor of Journeywoman stood out so much that this post had to be about her.

Evelyn’s energy is like this silver pool of light. It is valuable, encompassing, and uplifting.

It seems to me that it is also unwavering. She sees the good of the world on a grand scale and in its minutia, but also with a critical eye.

“Her face is a map of the world.”

Evelyn has been traveling the world, mostly solo, since the 1980’s. After a divorce from her husband, she set out on her first trip. You can read her story here. She started Journeywoman in 1994 and has been sharing travel tips with women ever since.

I first met Evelyn on Twitter in 2009, shortly after starting Solo Traveler. After learning that we both lived in Toronto, I was invited to her home for tea. In our conversation I spilled my story about the loss of my husband and the origins of Solo Traveler. She listened patiently then shared her own story in a somewhat more quiet manner. Her transition to a new life had taken place decades before. Mine was fresh. Her energy supported me and her words encouraged me on my path.

And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Since then, I have seen Evelyn a number of times. I’ve seen her speak at travel bloggers’ conferences and at Meet Plan Go, an event I have hosted in Toronto each fall for several years. Last week I attended a panel discussion on solo travel safety where she again shared her advice and, as always, with a quiet confidence.

So when I think of whose face “is a map of the world”, I think of Evelyn.

Her face is a map of the world
Is a map of the world
You can see she’s a beautiful girl
She’s a beautiful girl

Yes, her face projects a beauty that comes from knowledge collected from years of travel, compassion accumulated from connecting with women all over the world and wisdom gathered from a mindful approach to her travels. Her inspiration has been instrumental to me and many others.

And she’s taller than most
And she’s looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from the page of a magazine
She makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
The power to be
The power to give
The power to see…

Yes, I aspire for my face to be a map of the world and to pass on all of the above. “The power to be. The power to give. The power to see.”

Do you?

You can follow Evelyn on Twitter where she is aptly known as @Journeywoman.

Now here’s “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall.

  • Faith Dugan

    Wonderful post! Both of you ladies inspire me:)

  • msinfo

    Janice- thank you !!!!!!! for this post- so many great ideas, suggestion- this is worth it’s weight in Gold and I hope to meet you some day- you are my idol

  • Elizabeth Verwey

    What a treat! You each inspire me to pack my bags and move along….a big thank you to you both for helping us “see” what’s possible!

  • Kantilal Doobal

    Welcome to KUTCH THE PHOTOGENIC !

    Kantilal Doobal Photographer/Tourist Guide.

  • Nancie

    What a lovely post! Evelyn really is an inspiration, and so are you for writing and posting a tribute that obviously comes from your heart :)

  • Aleda

    A beautiful tribute to an incredible woman ! She kindled my desire to travel to distant places and do things outside my comfort zone. Her writing has been an inspiration to many of us. Thank you so much for your celebration of her spirit !

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    That’s cool.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Thanks Shelby. It came from the heart.

  • kristie

    what a wonderful post– i was introduced to journeywoman by my mother, and i find it absolutely inspiring. as a gender scholar working and living in japan, this post and thread reconfirms that i belong to a community of like minded people :-)

  • Evelyn Hannon

    I so agree with Shelby!

  • http://www.anewbohemia.com/ Shelby

    I love the spirit of this post. Women supporting other women– both for their character and accomplishments– is something I’d love to see more of. Beautifully done!

  • LadyoftheZoos

    I loved this song before but now thanks to your post I love it even more! Thank you!

  • Evelyn Hannon (aka Journeywoma

    So… now I’m sitting at my desk crying. Janice, you have no idea how much your blog post touched my heart. Not because you’ve singled me out but because you are telling me that I may have reached my goal — to inspire other women, and to hold their hand so that they can travel safely and well. Thank you so very much!

    P.S. If, as you say, I might have had a teeny hand in the gorgeous work you are doing with Solo Traveler, that makes me cry even more. Well done, Babe!