Why girls that travel, are the new wave of ‘tomboys’.

travel tomboy new thumb

‘Tomboy’ is fast becoming an outdated and what some would call ‘offensive’ term. To be honest the word doesn’t offend me. I was always really proud to be called a tomboy as a kid, maybe it’s because I grew up around the word. Today there is a new wave of ‘tomboys’; groups of women adventuring around the world.

On my travels I have found these amazing women; ‘the adventure girls’. The ones who hike, who jump off cliffs into the ocean, who snowboard, who dress however they want. These women push their own boundaries and decide for themselves what is acceptable, they take risks and move outside the perceived views about women, to experience life to the full. They are independent and brave, and they don’t care about impressing boys; they are too busy chasing adventures.

bren sit surf

I didn’t know about these women growing up. I didn’t see them in magazines, I didn’t have older family members like them to look up to, I didn’t see them on TV. So as a child I tried to be one of the boys – I was a ‘tomboy’. I preferred to hang out with boys; playing sports and climbing trees. When I was about five I cut my hair off so I could play Oliver Twist in the school play and in the Nutcracker I got the part of the King Rat – because I wanted to sword fight.

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When I got to junior school my mum had to talk with the headteacher because I refused to wear my school summer dress. My Grandma once told my mother that she should put a stop to my ‘tomboy’ ways, because I would ‘become’ a lesbian. This just goes to show how much progress our generation has made, from my Grandmother’s generation. One day when I was about eight, a girl asked me if I was a boy or a girl. That was when I decided to grow my hair again, I didn’t want to be a boy, I just wanted the opportunity to do everything they could. I still wore trousers to school, after all they were more practical for climbing trees.

As a teenager, I looked up to the boys in the skate park and I tried to pluck up the courage to drop-in, feeling their eyes on me, judging me, because I was a girl. I tried to justify other reasons to my girl friends, for possibly wanting to play football; ‘because the boys come and watch’. Yuk. Eventually I lost my way, I stopped doing the things I enjoyed and I started doing the things I thought I was supposed to as a girl. I wore girly clothes, I did my make-up and I made my hair look pretty. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed doing these things, but I didn’t want to be just that. I longed for adventures, to run around carefree and to be involved in the action sports, that my male friends were part of.

It wasn’t until I got on a plane and left the country that I slowly worked my way back to being a ‘tomboy’. Being away from home and my slightly conservative 9-5 job, I was free to do what I wanted, I could be whoever I wanted to be. I spent the summer working at a camp for kids. I played soccer, I went mountain biking and I ran around all day. It was liberating.

Then I moved to Canada and I spent a season snowboarding. Here is where I started to meet the ‘Adventure Girls’. They were working with me; planning the next camping trip or trek to the glacier caves. They were in the clubs; wearing oversized t-shirts, beanies and trainers. Here were the girls I wanted to know growing up, the ones that I could adventure with. Don’t get me wrong we would still gossip and trade clothes and they were still feminine, but there was just, so much more than that.

I have met these girls all over the world. Instead of planning baby showers and adding to their shoe collections, they spend their time and money, planning trips and extreme activities. They are free spirits wandering the world with passion, looking for the next experience. Now I’m not saying that you can’t have both; that you can’t be girly and like clothes, as well as travel and like action sports, you can. It’s a mindset that travel broadens; your priorities change. The women I have met aren’t ready to settle down just yet, there is more they want to do first. These are a tribe of girls doing things, that still has a social stigma around them. They are breaking through the stereotypes and sticking it to the man. These are the girls I want as my friends and the ones I will want my daughter to look up to.

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My roommate asked me the other day, if I wanted to head down to a nearby carpark and go for a skate, before work. My girl friends back home would never have asked this. When travelling it is accepted and expected that these girls wandering the globe, would want to try and take part in activities that are socially seen as male activities, and that they will be good at them (or try their darned hardest). Travel makes men and women more equal. Travellers care less about where you’re from, your gender, your race, your sexuality or your looks; all they care about, is having experiences with like-minded people.

Travelling allows you to be creative and passionate, to be yourself, to be who you want to be and decide how you want to spend your time. The best thing? You meet people who inspire you. I have met so many amazingly brave women, who want to experience new things, who won’t let any boy tell her she can’t do something because she is a girl. They are the girls up at the crack of dawn, in whatever clean clothes they can find, to hike a mountain. The women booking ATV sessions or sand-boarding down dunes. These adventure women are redefining the word ‘tomboy’. They are redefining what it is to be a woman in the world today and I want to be with them when they do.

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37 Comments

  • Reply Why girls that travel, are the new wave of ‘tomboys’. | expatsinkohrong January 31, 2016 at 1:44 am

    […] Source: Why girls that travel, are the new wave of ‘tomboys’. […]

  • Reply expatsinkohrong January 31, 2016 at 1:48 am

    This is such a great post!

    • Reply Pops January 31, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Kim February 1, 2016 at 12:53 am

    I felt the same way while traveling. And now that I’m back home I feel the difference between boys and girls while traveling and the ones here. I actually can’t wait to leave again and be with the ‘adventurous people.

    • Reply Pops February 1, 2016 at 1:02 am

      It’s kind of hard to explain hey! I think it’s because you only have a certain amount of time when your travelling so everyone wants to make the most of it. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Reply MeanderWithMeg February 1, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Loved this! Pleased to have just linked to your blog via Instagram (ah, the wonders of social media!) and really related to this post. Keep doing what you are doing and be proud of who you are and what you achieve 🙂

    • Reply Pops February 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      That’s such a lovely comment thank you! Really appreciate it 🙂

  • Reply Jess February 2, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    I absolutely loved reading this blog. I feel like I can relate to pretty much everything you said. I feel as though I am a girl that loves adventure, my boyfriend calls me an adrinaline junkie. I just came home from my first time traveling and it changed my life. I now know that I want to travel all over the world and now I know I can do it too. I also now know that I am not ready to have children and I am even struggling in my relationship. I have to figure out what I really want in life. I really did meet the most amazing people during my travels and I love new adventures. I feel the most connected when near nature/water or doing something new and exciting or adventurous. I think it is amazing that you have lived in so many different countries! It is very inspiring to me.

  • Reply Kate Snoopy McGeever February 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    What I am enjoying now, is like you said, when we were younger girls didn’t see women travelling alone, exploring the world and having adventures. The next generation will not only be able to see that, but will be encouraged and hopefully it will be easier and cheaper for them to do so.

  • Reply nycgingeronthego February 3, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    What an inspiring and motivational post. I think it is so important to break down gender roles and stereotypes!! You look like you’re having the time of your life with your adventures…just be careful with that cliff jumping stuff. 😉

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you 🙂 haha I will try! I won’t be doing any in Aussie water, possibly irrational fear of sharks!

  • Reply hannahnomad February 3, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Awesome post! so true also. I cannot believe you were Oliver Twist at 5 – When I was 6 my mom made me join a ballet class and they did a ballet version of Oliver Twist – guess who was Oliver?? So cool we have that in common lol.

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Haha no way! So much in common. Were you King rat in the nutcracker too? Now that would be freaky!

  • Reply usaabroad February 3, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    This is a really lovely post. Travel has really allowed me to be my true self and then return back home more confident in the person that I am. Glad you’ve found your tribe 🙂
    Laura | collectinglabels.com

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I’m glad travel allowed you to be your true self too and become more confident 😊

  • Reply Jacqueline February 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I love this topic. Thank you so much for exploring it and opening up something that needs to be dissected and reexamined. Much appreciated!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you found it interesting.😊

  • Reply Tonya February 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I just saw the “like a girl” commercial again last night. I love that you are out on adventures and traveling “like a girl” Redefining what that means!!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      I love those ads! Thank you 😊

  • Reply Molly February 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I totally agree! Traveling really helps you drop high-maintenance tendencies too, especially after multi-day treks and dirty hostel stays. Love it!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Haha it’s hard to care when you haven’t had a hot shower in a while! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply Maydi February 3, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Love this! While I grew up in a very traditional environment/family, I was fortunate enough to have an open-minded dad who for as long as I can remember, has always encouraged me to do whatever I want. He always motivated me to do things I wanted to do but might have been scared of. Thanks to him, very few things scare me now. And I always keep in mind that being scared is not a problem, as long as you can say “F It” and go for it anyway!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Love this comment! Makes such a difference when your parents are supportive and encouraging 🙂 my mums the same!

  • Reply Hope February 3, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Wow, what an amazing and inspirational post! I completely agree that travel broadens your perspective and changes your priorities… thanks for sharing your story!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Thanks hope 🙂

  • Reply Serendipity Tess February 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    A very inspirational post! I also just read that you are also someone like me who likes to hop from one country to the next and live there for a while. England -> America -> Canada -> Australia. With me it was Switzerland -> Namibia -> England…..and where will I go next 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean here – I really struggle to mingle with ‘normal’ girls you know? 😉 I love the adventurous power women amongst us – we are just a different kind of breed 😉

  • Reply La Vida Sunshine February 3, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Yes! Hooray for you! Keep traveling! I’d rather be anywhere else than at a baby shower also. Lol! Happy Travels!

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Than you! Haha I will try 🙂

  • Reply Stella February 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I completely agree with this post! I’ve traveled on six continents on my own, and I’m always so entertained when people ask me where my boyfriend/husband is. No one would ask me where my wife was if I was a man! We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go.

    PS. I also like the term tomboy. In French, the term is “garcon manque”, which I don’t like nearly as much.

    • Reply Pops February 3, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I get asked that too! And odd looks when I say Im on my own. Haha tomboy is possibly one of the only words that’s not better in French! Everything sounds better in French.

  • Reply Rachael February 4, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Great post Pops! And I totally agree and feel the same…I wish I’d known some of the ‘adventure girls’ I’ve met on my trip in Canada so far! Keep it up 🙂

    • Reply Pops February 4, 2016 at 1:03 am

      Thank you Rachael 🙂

  • Reply janne February 5, 2016 at 3:08 am

    .

  • Reply janne February 5, 2016 at 3:17 am

    Love this. But just because you are planning a baby shower/ are a mother, or like a good shoe collection does not mean that you are not adventurous or a traveler! Shoes are my weakness but my life revolves around skiing, ski touring, xcountry skiing, x country biking, backpacking, climbing, going on trips/ traveling, and ripping/bumbling around outside all day.

    You can be a mother, plan a baby shower, plan a wedding, be single or in a relationship, be 20, 40, or 60, and also be badass and feminine, rough & tumbly and sexy, a traveler, adventure, athlete and so on!!!

    • Reply Pops February 5, 2016 at 3:24 am

      Haha exactly! Love that 🙂

  • Reply dametraveler February 5, 2016 at 4:39 am

    totally true! – nastasia

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