Yuko- Japanese Factory Worker Turned Solo Female Backpacker (Anyone CAN travel the world)
This tidbit comes to you from Cartagena, Colombia. It was so long ago. I love looking back and remembering. Actually, I don’t remember shit. All of my memory cells came out with the kids. But, the video remembers. I watch the video and then, I recall in that old lady Alzheimer’s way. “Oh, yes. I remember that…” So, for me Yuko was larger than life. She was the very first time I had met a woman backpacking alone.
Then, the idea of a girl, going alone in the streets, taking buses, figuring out where it was safe to stay, wigging it alone, was totally out of my realm of comprehension. Since Yuko, my she-dar has been up, and I’ve been honored to meet tons of solo female backpackers. Each has been so cool, unique, and amazing in their own right.
Meeting Yuko, with her kind, laughing spirit and modest ways was really a treat. It was she that opened my eyes to an option that only a dozen solo female backpackers later, I could verbalize.
I, also, want one day to travel solo. I do. I want to travel alone with Kobi, and I want to travel alone, alone, alone. Though at first the idea was terrifying; since then, twice I’ve gone off by myself. And I don’t mean to Europe where I had the hotel waiting and my brother arriving the next day, or my California speaking tour, where I had it all lined up for me. Alone in that I get on a bus, and figure it out when I get there. I meet other backpackers on the way,and together, or alone, I figure out where I’ll sleep, how to get around, what to do. I’ve done it once in Ica and Paracas, Peru and once in Battambang, Cambodia and both have been so exhileratingly amazing.
Kobi and I are a great couple. We are. I feel nothing but blessed to have been with the same man for almost 19 years and still admire, and learn from, and love him. We’ve been through a lot together, and continue to love, support, challenge, be attracted to, and develop each other. He’s been really supportive of me spreading my wings spiritually, travel-wise, and in every other facet. But, in our relationship, as in any relationship, there are ingrained dynamics that function. Ours have always been weak, little Gabi and strong, big Kobi who takes care of her. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and all the unreal benefits from needing him to take care of me, and everything. Now, slowly, we’re working on changing that dynamic as, with the help of a deep soul-friend, I have learned just how powerful and able I am.
We’ve been talking a bit lately about the idea that we won’t travel forever (thus killing our tagline) and it makes me uncomfortable. It took me a long time to fit into my ‘identitilessness’ of being a butt in the air, a travelers, and the idea of having roots, a home, a community, a job again, one day, scares me. I loved our lives in Israel and didn’t want to leave. Now, I love my life on the road, and don’t want that to change. So, in a year or two, or whenever it feels right, we may just settle back down in the lush Upper Gallilee Valleys of Northern Israel. Then, Kobi says, we can create a lifestyle that allows our children stablity and friends and still, lets us travel. Maybe we’ll do 2-3 months every summer a trip, and once a year both Kobi and I go off alone for a month of travel. I like that. I like that vision. I like that, a lot, minus living in one place. But, hey,if we can figure out how to afford life back home, and 3-4 months of travel a year, I’m manage. Somehow, I’ll manage.
So, oh shit, I almost forgot. Here’s Yuko and her adorable interview from November 2011 in Cartagena, Colombia in her tiny corner room where the roof slants and we barely found the floor space to open the tripod up to record.
And yes, you can find her in Facebook. She’s a friend of mine. I now have two Yuko’s from Japan, and both are just fantastic models of humanhood. One is traveling alone all around this globe; the other is saving it. Yipee!
Ever met a traveler who changed something in you permanently? Ever met someone who introduced you to options you never even knew existed before? Ever sniffed a wiff of someone else’s life and drooled? Ever randomly discovered that next screaming thing on your bucket list? Do tell, do tell.