6 Feminist Road Trips To Take With Your Squad This Summer
Get your Thelma & Louise on, but without (spoiler alert) the cliff-dive ending: summer is prime time for some road-tripping. And whether you're armed with a driving license, a passport or a bus ticket, there are several destinations, both worldwide and close to home, where you can make some truly spectacular feminist road trips. Some of these itineraries will bring you on pilgrimages to honor previous generations of activists, while others pay homage to the here and now. But whichever way you choose to go, there's a feminist destination at the end of the road.
Road trips can be an act of solidarity with other women; that's the idea behind projects like GirlDrive, and many women who bused or carpooled to the Women's Marches in 2017 and 2018 will have experienced the joy of coming together to travel for women's rights. Even if you just gather some like-minded mates it's still a statement of political sisterhood. But it's also OK to set out alone and revel in your power and freedom as a grown-ass woman traveling solo. So get your gas tank filled, update your passport, and download a map that works even without data; you're about to go on the feminist road trip of your dreams.
1. The Black Feminist Road Trip, U.S.
Dr. Heidi Lewis of Colorado College created a virtual Black Feminist Road Trip for the U.S. that allows people to plan pilgrimages to some of the most influential places in Black feminist history across the U.S. Though it began as a lesson for a seminar, there's no reason you can't follow the itinerary it lays out. It started with five places: Akron, OH, where Sojourner Truth declared "Ain't I A Woman"; Combahee River, South Carolina, where Harriet Tubman freed 750 slaves; Borough of Manhattan Community College, NY, which was the site of a historic protest; and Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia and University of California Berkeley, both of which housed hugely influential projects by Black feminist academics. It's since expanded to include many other suggestions, and you can follow its tracks all over the U.S. using just a bus ticket and a camera.
2. Women's Rights City Tour, England
If you happen to be in England, 2018 marks the 100th year since (some) women got the vote, and many cities are laying on special celebrations to commemorate the event. If you're in London, pay a visit to the new statue of suffragette Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, then take in a walking tour of suffragette locations around the nation's capital, including the sites of important protests. Then motor elsewhere — perhaps to Manchester, home of some of the country's most famous feminist fighters and a bunch of historic locations and museums devoted to them.
From there, follow the National Trust's Women and Power trail of palatial properties gifted to the country, many of which are staging historic exhibitions about women and their roles in honor of the anniversary. Don't forget a trip to Bletchley Park, where female code-breakers proved one of the keys to winning world War II.
3. Suffrage Road Trip, U.S.
Popular travel blog Made All The Difference has a tailor-made suffrage road trip for people wanting to celebrate women's rights in the U.S. this summer. Starting in Chicago at the home of Ida B. Wells, it traverses Seneca Falls, site of the famous women's rights conference in 1848, and then goes through Massachusetts, where abolitionist Angelina Grimké became the first woman to testify before a U.S. legislative body in 1838.
It then heads through Washington D.C., where the first women's rights parade was held in 1913, and down to Lorton, Virginia, where female activists were imprisoned in the local workhouse and beaten by authorities before being freed after the press found out. It's been a long, hard road, and you'll reflect on it throughout the nation's highways and train stations.
4. Marching On Versailles, France
Women held a powerful role in the downfall of the French ruling class in the French Revolution, and the beginning of the revolution itself is often dated to the "Women's March" of 1789, when a huge mob of peasants, mostly women, traveled from Paris to the palaces of Versailles and demanded that the royal family return with them. The Revolution was highly bloody and brutal, but the women involved, from Marie Antoinette to the female citizens of the March, drove the course of history. Trace their influence from the Musee Carnavalet in Paris itself, which carries a lot of artifacts from the Revolution, to Versailles, one of the most decadent places in the world and easily accessible by train.
5. NARAL's #FeministRoadTrip, U.S.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, an organization devoted to protecting women's right to choose, holds regular road trips devoted to ferrying activists to prominent places where their voices need to be heard. Their #FeministRoadTrips take women to state legislatures and health centers to spread the word about reproductive control to political representatives and ordinary people. They're still building their roster for the rest of 2018, but if they hold a road trip in your state, why not go along, share your story and fight for your right to determine your own bodily autonomy?
6. Feminist Heroes, Latin America
From the statue of Bolivian rebel and guerilla leader Juana Azurduy, in Buenos Aires in Argentina, to the museum devoted to feminist intellectual Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz in Mexico, there's a lot to offer the feminist tourist in search of inspiration throughout Latin America. Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires is also an important, poignant area of tribute to women's political efforts; it's the place where the Mothers Of Plaza de Mayo, mothers of people disappeared under Argentina's military dictatorship, have mounted a weekly march for justice since 1977. Their persistence has been key to the country's attempts to move past its murderous history.
Near or far, there's a feminist road trip itinerary to suit anyone in search of adventure.