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international womens day

Journal Solo Travel Stories

To The Women Who Wander

To the women who wander, remember this, your courageous steps made toward learning this wide world, its people, its nuances and details and sweeping landscapes, is a testament to the curiosity within us all. But the stark difference between you, dear Dame Traveler, and those who are happy to just stay put is this… you fearlessly open your arms to the possibility of what this world has to show you. You fear not about the tribulations of trying to navigate coarse waters or bumpy backroads, because you know that no matter the end destination is, you will learn and you will grow.

To the women who wander, let you commit this to memory, follow where your footsteps guide you. For you are the dreamer, the maker, the seeker you read about in storybooks and anthologies of world explorers. Let your misty-eyed wonderings lead you to wander wherever your heart desires. You are more than your degree, your pinned locations, your checkins and your baggage. You are a person of this world hellbent on seeing, savoring and experiencing all that you can collect through the places you inhabit and the people you meet.

Delight in the fact that you are a world explorer. At one time, the names of the world navigators were once only fathers, sons, brothers, uncles and nephews. That time is long gone. And you, you free feathered woman, are a legendary change in perspective. You are atop a ship, scanning the broad horizon, you are a captain of your explorations. Every day you pack a nap-sack like Huckleberry Finn. You trek with confidence and pride as if just like a conquistador set on your path. And yet, all the while, you are sensitive, you are compassionate, you are a mess, you are a work in progress, and you are a feminine power to be reckoned with. And the greatest power you possess is that ability to dually be resilient and vulnerable all at once.

To the women who wander, know this, you are a divine, curious student of the world. Let it teach you, let it break you, let it lift you back up. Let it lead you to stories that only you could dream up. Wander on, dear heart.


Sara Melotti: On A Quest To Redefine Beauty Worldwide

You’re the founder of the inspiring project Quest for Beauty. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to start it?

Quest for Beauty, is a project for social change. An actual quest around the world to find out what beauty means for women, giving them a voice, with the mission to change the unrealistic beauty standards we are forced upon everyday.

After 3 years working as a fashion photographer I started to feel torn inside when I realized that the work I was producing was helping creating unrealistic beauty standards that made many women suffer, making them feel they aren’t good enough. My conscience crisis came when I started noticing that more and more of my girlfriends were constantly saying horrible things about their appearances and their body, yet they were gorgeous to my eyes. Then one day it hit me: it was my fault!

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of flawless “perfect looking” women and we now think that’s what we should aspire to look like. But those images aren’t real nor achievable . It takes hours of work, a model with physical traits that belong to below 2% of the population, a whole team of professionals and tons of photo shop and post production to achieve the look we see in those images. What we see in advertisements and magazines are unreachable standards, but not many people know that!

So I felt the need to change that! I didn’t want to be part of a self esteem killer machine anymore, I wanted to make women feel good about themselves with my work as I strongly believe that every woman deserves to feel Beautiful and comfortable in her own skin. I started asking myself “what is Beauty?”, and in October 2015 I began to travel, photographing an interviewing women to find out!

Where is one place you feel most like yourself?
Kind of everywhere now but I have 3 places where I feel more in tune with myself: South East Asia, London & NYC (quite opposite places!) I am both very zen and spiritual, and very artsy, driven and workaholic so weather I’m meditating overlooking green rise paddies in Vietnam or typing away on my laptop in a griddy coffee shop in the East village or listening to music on the Piccadilly line during rush hour I feel completely myself and in tune!

Who or what inspires you?
Everything! Seriously! Nature, Art, Music, People, words.

When it comes to photography I try to look for inspiration outside of my own field.

As far as people go I’m a sucker for Neil Gaiman and Anthony Bourdain!

What growth experiences have you learned from travel?
Travel is such a humbling and self discovering process, it shrank my ego so much and it taught me to learn to trust my instinct at all time!

The more I travel the more I realize that I really don’t know shit! How little I am in this world, how much there is to learn from other cultures, from nature and from life itself. And lastly I’m learning that no one is better than anyone else and we are all so similar despite our differences.

You often ask this question yourself but what do YOU believe makes a woman most beautiful? And what is beauty to you?
Self esteem, a kind and loving heart and an open mind! Beauty to me is a feeling, an emotion. It’s a little spark in your heart that makes you eel something.

What makes you come alive?
Creating and traveling. Weather I’m writing, dancing, photographing there’s something in the process of creating that I can’t live without. Same goes for traveling, seeing new places , new cultures and new realities fuels my veins with new life!

What is your creative process like?
A mess!! I’m quite mystical about it actually. I have my rituals to make inspiration come faster (scented candles and music always help me writing!) then when I finally get in the zone, as crazy as it sounds, I feel like ideas don’t really come from me, I’m more like an antenna that catches them from somewhere else and brings them here to turn them into something we can see and touch. To turn them into that I then sit down and do the work!

Your most rewarding accomplishments to date?
Finding the courage to leave the life I knew and loved for pursuing my project full time. Having articles about QFB on publications like the Huffington Post and Teen Vogue is incredible for me but having women from across the world writing me telling me the project is helping them to feel good about the way they look is the biggest reward.

Aisle or window seat?
Always window! Watching the sky is always a beautiful show.

What’s your best advice for aspiring travelers and dreamers?
Don’t take life too seriously, have fun, don’t ever fully grow up, be kind, trust your instinct, persevere, don’t listen to anyone and believe everything is possible! Something within you—call it your subconscious, your soul, your inner voice or whatever you prefer— already knows what’s best for you, trust that gut feeling! People will always tell you something is impossible, or too hard or not likely, don’t listen to them and keep going! Whether you want to visit every country on earth, climb Mount Everest or simply quit a job that is not making you happy, you can make it happen; thing are impossible only if we believe they are, the only real obstacles between you and your dreams is you!

Follow more of Sara’s adventures:
Behind the Quest: blog | instagram
Quest for Beauty: website | instagram