This post is a contribution by Kim Burgess, co-founder of TripaSista, an Australian tour operator dedicated to catering for women travelers.
Growing up on the east coast of Australia during the 1970’s and 80’s was idyllic and beautiful albeit quiet and isolated – and very “white”. The only way to experience life beyond the mind-numbing conformity was to travel overseas (or “O.S” – as it was known). If you had been “O.S”, then you had really experienced life – and I so wanted to experience life. During those days, I travelled extensively through India and South America as a lone woman often in mixed tour groups.
I remember feeling even then that mixed tours didn’t cater to my needs as a woman traveller – the point of view of the guide, the sexual dynamics at play, the innuendo – none of it spoke to me. I was looking at sights that didn’t interest me and attempting to physically keep up with male company. These tours had a backbeat of conquest and competitiveness which left me feeling left out!
In 2005, I went on an all-women trip to Lesvos, Greece – and it was a complete game changer for me.
The guide was a woman who showed us the sights from a female point of view. Sure, there were group dynamics at play, but we were women, we talked it out. It felt safe and it was FUN! As a group we were embraced by the local culture. We supported and understood each other.
Since then I have always tried to travel with other women and support accommodation and services owned and operated by women. Over the last 10 years there has been an explosion of women tour groups – offering everything from cooking classes in Tuscany, motorcycle rides through Rajasthan to treks through Egypt. Women are coming together I dare say for the same reason I discovered back in 2005 – we’re like-minded.
Such is the scope of amazing experiences on offer for women out there, that trawling through the internet these days in search of the perfect women’s tour can be time-consuming, even confusing. The need to put all of this information in the one place – create a one stop shop – for women travellers seemed obvious and so I found my business partner, Susan Ferguson, and together we created TripaSista.com
It’s a big step and it’s taken a lot of guts to get here. Our ambition is to create an online platform for women travellers – to support not only the many grassroots organisations found in holiday destinations, but ALL travel related businesses that are dedicated to women.