We all know about the Great Explorers.
When I was eight, I learnt about em all in one big
Friday arvo whammy. Ernest Shackleton, Captain Cook, Marco Polo.
Men who charted unknown oceans, swam down ancient rivers and
captured alien stars. It was a poetic and occasionally tragic age
of discovery, and these men, with their ships, their mountains and
their costumes of old made me yearn for some serious
But, I noticed even then that there were no women on
Women have always been bound by a kind of
omnipresent feminine-ish FEAR. Eve was trapped by the serpent and
Adams muscular thighs. 16th-century chicks got steel corsets. We
millennials are shackled by Skinny Me Tea and The
This FEAR is never more obvious than when it comes
to women travelling. Girls who wish to sail the seven seas are
often met with concerned shrieks of, But are you totally,
totally sure? and, Whatever you do, DO NOT DRINK ANY
SPIRITS, I watched a thing on Channel 7 and apparently none of its
alcohol over there, just pure roofie! and, You do realise
that youre a GIRL right. You better have a boy with you,
This keeps us two-dimensional and trapped. No matter
how well intentioned, it stops us from living out the full lives we
long for. It has imprisoned us for aeons. Women who travel as such
are an anomaly and are almost completely omitted from our
But I am here to tell you that girlish explorers
Freya Stark, Gertrude Bell and Kira Salek are all
truly Great Explorers. Their names are probably new to you, as they
were to me. As is so often the case, they have been left,
floundering and forgotten in the wash of history, overshadowed by
Marilyns platinum curls and bodacious rack.
Let me introduce you to these bad-ass explorers
without a Y chromosome. They could change your life.
Freya Stark was not a Game of Thrones love child.
She was even more impressive. She was a combat nurse in WWI. After
that cheerful period of history concluded, she decided that the
time had come for her to have some adventures.
She was fluent in Arabic, Turkish and Persian and
undertook a number of crazy expeditions in the Middle East,