Whenever I am really not feeling my job, like every three weeks when I am on deadline, I think about tying up my must have possessions in a dish towel, tying it to the end of a sturdy stick, and heading for the hills. Why do I need to live this peaceful bourgeois life? Why can’t I bounce around the globe with a camera, my latest vaccines, and not a care in the world? There are of course many reasons I can’t do this. Common sense is a major hurdle along with a lack of millions of dollars and parents who are sick of me calling them for money from a pay phone in Siberia.
But a girl can still dream. And when I really want to imagine my rebel globetrotting lifestyle, I crack Barbara Holland’s book about women wayfarers, warriors, runaways, and renegades for a few lessons on how to become one of these fast talking dames.
I first took up an interest in female rebel rousers when I read the biography of Emily Hahn, a writer who lived with a pigmy tribe and crossed Central Africa in the 1920s before moving to China where she became an opium addict, slept with a Chinese poet and the British chief of intelligence, and kept a pet gibbon on her shoulder clad in a dinner jacket. She eventually wrote 54 books and more than 200 articles for the New Yorker before she died at 92. Well! After I read about Emily Hahn, I wanted to read about every woman who lived life like that and bought Barbara Holland’s book.
Turns out there were some darn adventurous women in the world, they just never got their due. But times they are a changing. If Emily Hahn had had a Twitter account, she would have more followers than Britney Spears.
Am I going to become a hobo anytime soon? Sadly not, I have to help a luxury lifestyle magazine go to print on Tuesday. But do I want to run around the world with an eye for the ridiculous one of these days? Absolutely. I always thought I’d make a really good vagabond.