A Salute to Journeywoman Founder Evelyn Hannon – The First Travel Blogger

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In April of this year, we lost a pioneer in women’s travel. Evelyn Hannon, the founder and editor of Journeywoman, passed away.

She was, by all accounts, a private
person, and word spread slowly of the loss of this leader in women’s travel.
There are many tributes to her work, but the one I found most touching was a tribute posted
by her daughters.

Rewind a few decades, back to that
time when I was a busy woman with a busy family and a demanding job – all of
which I loved.

I also loved travel, but with minimal
time, I – like many other women during the frenzied 90s – lived my travel
adventures vicariously, feeding the bug with the writing of those who were out there
making adventures happen.

Whether or not I was available to
travel then, almost always there was a tour or group listed on Journeywoman
that reached out and pulled me in. It was wonderful to know other women were
out there, living that inquisitive travel life, and one day I might have more
opportunity to join them.

My introduction to Journeywoman
in the 1990s came in the form of a newsletter which arrived with the postman
every so often. That newsletter was full of bits and pieces of information for
women travelers, most particularly women who travel alone.

The Birth of the Travel Blog

An early convert to the Internet,
sometime around 2004, Evelyn became known as not the first women’s travel
blogger, though she was that too, but as the first travel blogger. Those
periodic newsletter mailings, dropped in the mailbox outside my door in earlier
years, now appeared in my email inbox.

Always current, I’m sure her stated
mission changed a bit over time as well. Basically, I remember it as a mission
to travel safely, travel well, and to connect female travelers around the
world.

The topics in her newsletters and on
her website consistently covered special areas of importance to women
travelers: safety, travel tips, and specific interest areas.

Travel Safety

Articles on what to look for when
considering safety in lodging and transportation, how to locate hotels that
paid particular attention to the security of women travelers, input from other
women travelers, and their experiences and recommendations could frequently be
found.

Travel Well

Sponsors and advertisers in Journeywoman
never failed in providing a list of interesting tour companies that catered to
women, sometimes of a particular age and sometimes not, although information on
the website shares that the majority of their subscribers are from 50 to 70
years of age.

Evelyn’s newsletters provided information
on specific types of tours, many operated by women. It gave those tour
companies catering to women an outlet to promote their offerings and reach
thousands of women subscribers.

Travel Tips for Women

Evelyn encouraged her readers to
submit their travel suggestions – everything from traveling and finding the
gems in specific neighborhoods of cities, where to find the most friendly
bookstore and the tastiest bakery goods as well as locations of little-known
open-air markets.

I recall submitting a couple of travel
tips when I began independent travel and ran across a unique shop or market.
I’m not sure if they were included in a newsletter, but the sharing of travel
experiences among women travelers was important to Journeywoman’s
readers.

Travel Solo (If You Choose)

Writers who frequently traveled solo
wrote articles that covered mainstream interests while others were more
esoteric or far off the beaten path.

During one of my travels I used a
great hotel tip from Journeywoman about a 4-star hotel in the West End
of London that offered a few single rooms for solo travelers. I booked one of
those single rooms when I finished with a group tour ending in London and
decided to stay for an extra day or two.

That single hotel room was indeed tiny
but gave me the opportunity to stay in a wonderful hotel with a wonderful
location at a fraction of a regular room rate.

The early work of Evelyn Hannon
encouraged women travelers, cleared the path for many of today’s travel
bloggers as well as for many of us who continue to enjoy travel adventures –
big and small.

Journeywoman lives on through the efforts of those
who knew Evelyn. I wish it well and will continue to follow.

What travel blogs do you follow? Were
you (or are you) a Journeywoman subscriber? When did you first read the
newsletter? Did it impact your desire to travel, or to read travel literature?
Please share in the comments below.

Let\’s Have a Conversation!

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