Aug 15, 2014
SHOW NOTES: This episode is the debut of this new series (COURTNEY! I AM CURIOUS) and the show topic is, "Aren’t You Scared Traveling All Around The World As A Woman?"
I struggle with this question as I don't think of myself as any different from anyone else. So, I don't dream in gender, or age, or nationality, or any other individual trait. I simply dream. Then, I do. To me this question is like asking me, "Aren’t You Scared Traveling All Around The World As A 63 inch (1.6 meters) tall human? I am aware of my height but it is not something that I think about in terms of stopping me from traveling. Of course, there may be some instance where I am too short to reach something (and then I ask for help from a person or for a ladder). There are certainly cultural norms that I must be aware of and respect as I travel (in the US and everywhere else). We all have to do this so I don't think that it is a unique burden for me.
1) Why do I travel?
Because I want to. I travel for work and for the pleasure of seeing my planet. This is my planet just as it is your planet. Why shouldn't we explore as much of it as we are able to (and desire to)? When I travel for work it is because I want to work and I want to learn as much as I am able to in order to provide my clients, students, business partners, investors and you with accurate information. The world is 'out there' so if I choose to stay in one location and miss out on learning about what is happening it will be my loss and a deficiency in my ability to address international business solutions.
Watching a television show about someone eating an apple is not the same as me eating an apple in real life. I need to experience real life to be able to provide real solutions in my work. I also need to more fully understand the context and reality of different parts of our planet. My ability to understand an apple is much greater if I eat it myself than if I read about it or watch someone else eat it on television and it the same with other experiences. I have been to India, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Australia, The Netherlands, etc., in order to better understand my planet.
2) You are a female so it is an issue when you travel. How do you address it?
I agree. I am female. I am not alone (as per my gender identity) in my enjoyment of exploring my planet, “Females are estimated to comprise 50 percent of frequent fliers, according to Travel & Leisure's Begley. If a woman has a family, she may make 70 percent of all her family's personal travel decisions, Begley continued. Forty percent of business travelers today are women, while just thirty years ago female executives comprised only one percent. A glance around any airport or train station confirms that things have changed.” (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/4611.html)
I do study the locations that I will be going to (in the US and internationally) to make sure that I have lodging, transportation and logistics to provide the safest probable outcome. This is how I address my gender (and height and everything else that I am). I do not suggest that anyone (of any gender identify) randomly go places without researching the location and planning ahead. Again, I am not alone in my concerns, “In corporate travel, female executives are often interested in two specific areas: safety and connectivity,” (http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20130213-business-travel-gets-a-female-touch)
Here are some potential resources for travel information from the US and Canadian governments (always pay attention to travel warnings):
3) Are you ever alone?
Yes. I am often on a plane by myself. That is not unusual for business travelers, as, “Sixty-three percent of male business travelers say they often travel alone. That compares to 48 percent of female business travelers.” (http://www.cnbc.com/id/48433282#)
4) Don't you travel more than most people?
Yes. I did not realize this but as we often discuss on the show, data is our friend. I talk to my friends and people in my daily life and they are always sharing about some fascinating trip somewhere I haven't been (or not been to recently). So, I am always thinking that I travel an average amount. Also, I grew up as a 'military brat' (my parent had a career in the US Army and retired as a Lt. Colonel). I was born in Germany (Nuremberg) and moved around the world my entire life when I was growing up. I am not 'from' any specific place and am very used to moving around and learning about new parts of the world. I also spent the majority of my time growing up in the US living and going to school on military bases (which are more diverse than many other parts of US society). My personal experience thus skews my perception on travel and exploring our planet (compared to someone who was born and grew up in one town).
I was shocked to read that [...]
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