Meet the travel bloggers: Evelyn Hannon – Journeywoman

This week’s Meet the Travel Bloggers spotlights Evelyn Hannon, aka Journeywoman, a pioneer in the field of solo woman travel blogging.

How did your blog get that name Journeywoman?
My daughter Leslie Ehm is highly creative. It was a Sunday morning in 1994. She was in London. I was in Toronto. By telephone (no Skype then) we played with the words ‘female’ and ‘travel’ and soon narrowed it down to ‘Journey’ and ‘woman’, and then combined them to make Journeywoman which we both loved immediately.

travel blogger Journeywoman Evelyn Hannon photo Evelyn Hannon

At the Shakespeare Garden in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, Photo/Evelyn Hannon

What do you want the title to convey to readers?
I wanted it to denote ‘strength’ and the go to place for any and all things pertaining to women and travel.

When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
The basic idea for Journeywoman was hatched in 1984. I was 44, newly divorced and the mom of two grown daughters who were already on their own. I was setting off on my first solo journey and searched the libraries for any ‘how to travel’ books for females. I found biographies of famous women travellers who disguised themselves as men and rode camels in the desert. I was only going to Europe, wasn’t interested in camels and hoped to find some sisterly advice on safety and accommodation. There was nothing, an absolute void in the marketplace. So after 10 years of solo travel, when I could finally consider myself an expert I began the first website designed to inspire other women to travel safely and well. The rest, as they say, is history.

travel bloggerTravel blogger Evelyn Hannon, Journeywoman in Times Squsre photo Evelyn Hannon

Enjoying Times Square in New York City, photo/Evelyn Hannon

Do you blog full time or as a hobby? What governs this choice? How frequently do you post?
Along with Twitter and Facebook updates, Journeywoman has been my main focus.  I post about three new articles each month (except for the summer) and I send my travel tip newsletter out once a month. That newsletter usually contains the latest ‘women and travel news’, ten women-centered trips for the upcoming season (classifieds) and 12 of the best female friendly travel tips I receive from readers all over the world. Our newsletter is read by over 64,000 women. It’s always been free and we welcome everybody who’d like to join us.

What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
The lovely response I get from my readers and the support I receive from my fellow bloggers and Twitter followers who are always there when I need them. Besides, who can resist an email that says, ‘Evelyn, without your help I would never have had the courage to set off on my first solo journey?’

What excites you about travel?
New lands, the people and how they live. Period.

travelblogger Evelyn Hannon in Isreal photo Evelyn Hannon

Evelyn Cooking pizza in Israel, photo/Evelyn Hannon

Are you a luxury, bargain, backpacking traveler or a mix?
 I think I’m a bit of everything. When I first started out I loved being a budget traveller and finding ways to make my money last as long as possible. Now that I am older I appreciate a bit of luxury every once in a while. However, in my minds eye I am still the young Journeywoman. I still picture myself in jeans, hiking boots, fleece and a backpack and I’m loving every minute of the journey.

What are the most important things to you on a trip?
I love to meander with my camera, exploring on my own and meeting folks along the way. I pop into shops and markets. I check out museums (but I don’t spend a lot of time in them). Actually, just being able to wander the streets and to stop in at a cafe to relax, people watch, and write my observations is heaven to me.

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
At this stage of my life I’ve done all my comfort zone testing. I know what I like and don’t waste time on activities that I am sure will simply aggravate me. That said, I will happily go out of my comfort zone if I know that I will be rewarded with meeting a fabulous person or family or tribe at the end of the journey.

travel blogger Evelyn Hannon Semester at Sea photo Evelyn Hannon

Sailing around the world on the MV Explorer for Semester at Sea photo/Evelyn Hannon

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever?
My most memorable trip has got to be my first trip alone after being married for 23 years (1984). I was in Belgium and Britain for five weeks (the cheapest European ticket I could find) and I spent a portion of each of those 35 days crying. I cried eating solo, I blubbered at sunsets, I sobbed watching couples having fun together. But, it wasn’t as sad as it sounds. It was incredibly cathartic, I met lots of wonderful people, and I came home a great deal changed. I learned that I was strong and capable and most importantly I learned that I had definitely caught the solo travel bug. After that first trip there was no turning back.

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Italy. Every single inch of it. I love the people, the scenery, the sound of the language, the food, their style and, of course, the gorgeous men

Where are you off to next?
Two exciting destinations — Southern India in the Fall and then I will be spending New Years Eve with Quark Expeditions in the Antarctic.

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
Fantasy suggests I’ll never be able to do it. So, my answer is I have no fantasies because I’ve learned that ‘where there is a will there is a way.’ Up until a few years ago my dream was to circumnavigate the globe on a ship the way that the early explorers originally did it. Then, I was able to do that with Semester At Sea and it was an incredible experience. So now I’m turning my attention to train travel. I’ve been researching some of the more interesting ones but I’d welcome and appreciate juicy suggestions from anyone reading this post.

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels or your blog?
My most rewarding aspect of blogging in 2012 is that I am now not the only person blogging about women and travel. I can’t begin to describe my absolute joy in watching other female bloggers who were growing up in the Nineties, who have moved up in the ranks, gone out, discovered the world and are now writing from their own point of view. These women and their achievements are my gift. It shows us all that the topic of women and travel is now mainstream. We’ve come a long way, Babes. I salute your determination, your intelligence and your woman-centered travel stories. I wish you safe and wonderful journeys.

Evelyn Hannon is a 72 years old blogger (often referred to as the Grandmother of Women’s Travel). Her blog, Journeywoman is a valuable resource for solo women travelers. She’s Canadian (Toronto), the mother of two daughters and grandmother of four grandchildren. She’s interested in people and places. She loves photography and once, a while ago, she ran a 10K race to celebrate her 65th birthday. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up to receive Journeywoman’s newsletter.

Who are your favorite travel bloggers? Let us know ans we’ll see if they want to be part of our Meet the Travel Bloggers series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses to “Meet the travel bloggers: Evelyn Hannon – Journeywoman”

  1. payje
    August 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Awesome!! The answer to your fantasy bucket list question really spoke to my heart… I completely agree with you, whatever you want to do you can do! And, for train travel, how about the Alaska Railroad? I haven’t made it on there just yet myself, but I’ve heard GREAT things… it allows you to see Alaska in ways and places that you can’t with other forms of travel. Nice to meet you, and thank you so much for everything you’ve done for the travel community and us ladies!
    payje recently posted..Fresh Halibut Fish Tacos: Gluten Free Style!My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      August 24, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      Isn’t she an amazing role model for women who want to travel?

    • Billie Frank
      August 24, 2012 at 7:41 am #

      Isn’t she an amazing role model for women who want to travel?

  2. Zoë Dawes
    August 24, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    Fantastic interview – loved reading about Evelyn’s story and philosophy. I was lucky enough to meet her last year when she visited the Lake District and she is an inspiration to all!
    Zoë Dawes recently posted..Murder & Mayhem at lovely Leighton HallMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      August 24, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      I am soooo jealous?! hope I get to meet her next June at TBEX.

  3. Traveling Ted
    August 25, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    I have been following Evelyn for three years now on twitter and have enjoyed her tweets and posts. Great to know a little bit more about her. She definitely is quite a pioneer and way ahead of her time.

    • Billie Frank
      August 26, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      I have, too, Ted. I was thinking about all the people I followed in the early Twitter days and how many have become “friends”

  4. Katy
    August 26, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Fantastic interview Billie! I found the Journeywoman site when planning my own solo adventure, and Evelyn really inspired me, both in travelling and blogging. Thanks to both of you 🙂
    Katy recently posted..Friday Photo: A Portrait of PeruMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      August 26, 2012 at 8:20 am #

      It is a great site, Katy! She’s helped countless women. I met her early in my Twitter days and got to know here through her daily travel tip for woman.

  5. Juliann
    September 25, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I love discovering new places through Journeywoman but liked this closer look at how it began even better. I could relate to so many of Evelyn’s thoughts on travel. I’ve evolved from a budget traveler to a business traveler, to a solo traveler. I love it all, and love blogging about it. It’s so much fun and I feel like part of an adventurous community.
    Juliann recently posted..Our Cincinnati Chili Blind Taste TestMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      September 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      It’s so exciting when someone writes something that you can really relate to. Glad you enjoyed Evelyn’s post. It was a joy for me to read to.

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