Kalin’s Chronicles: Visiting Women Warriors

rosa20parks1 With 10 days left in Black History Month, I thought I’d discuss a destination associated with Civil Rights icon, Rosa Parks.  I had the pleasure of meeting her years ago, while on assignment for CNN. I interviewed her in Montgomery, Alabama during the 40th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. When I imagined her saying “NO!” as she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in 1955, I thought she’d have this big, powerful voice. However when I met her, she was extremely soft-spoken. It confirmed to me that you don’t have to scream to leave your mark in this world.

After interviewing Ms. Parks about her role in the Civil Rights Movement, I was able to tour the actual bus where, at 42, she made her powerful stand by staying seated. I can’t begin to tell you the emotions I felt sitting in the actual seat where Parks sat. A few years later, I traveled to Montgomery again to tour the new Rosa Parks Museum. It’s constructed on the site of the old Empire Theatre where the bus was stopped when Parks was arrested. The museum takes visitors back to the Jim Crow era with interactive exhibits that include: a replica of the bus Parks sat on, original photos of Parks being arrested and finger-printed, and film of church meetings planning the boycott. For more information visit the Rosa Parks Museum website.

And for more female inspiration during your travels, visit monuments and museums to the following women warriors…

Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Visiting Women Warriors

Kalin’s Chronicles: Going Underground at Bed & Breakfasts

j0399692 When I first stayed at a Bed and Breakfast years ago, I didn’t appreciate it – there was no phone in my room, no TV, and no entertainment. At the time, I preferred the variety and amenities of a hotel. Since then, I’ve stayed at several B&B’s and really enjoy the unique experience of each one. And these days they have modern amenities like Wifi. B&B’s are also a wonderfully romantic getaway, so Valentine’s weekend is a great time to plan a visit.

Continue reading Kalin’s Chronicles: Going Underground at Bed & Breakfasts

Introducing our very own Multicultural Travel Maven

kalincapetown Editor’s Note: My biggest and most exciting plan for celebrating forty? Travel, travel, travel! Many of you share those plans even beyond your 40th birthday. You’re planning on expanding your horizons and embarking on new adventures, and travel is one of the best ways to do that. That’s why I’ve tapped Kalin Thomas, a friend and travel expert, to become Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. This former CNN travel correspondent has visited six continents – including Antarctica, and owns her own multimedia company.  In her recurring column, Kalin’s Chronicles: Tips & Tales from The Multicultural Maven, Kalin will help us all experience travel with new eyes. (Image: Kalin in South Africa)

An introduction from the maven herself – Hello you 40 and fabulous women! I’m excited to be a part of this blog and want to give you a little background on myself. My love for travel started with family road trips when I was about six years old. My parents would pack up the car with suitcases and sandwiches while my sister, brother, and I would pile in for our annual summer trip. We’d make the two- to three-hour trip north in my father’s ’65 mustang from Baltimore, Maryland to Atlantic City, New Jersey. This was in the days before casinos, when it was still a family destination. Continue reading Introducing our very own Multicultural Travel Maven

We’re more alike than you think: Five questions – Part 3

Friends working together We’re about a third of the way through our 100 women, 5 questions, 3 words or less Challenge. Thanks to everyone who’s participated!

If you’re not familiar with the challenge, it’s where we ask our readers to answer five questions. The challenge is two-fold. The first is getting 100 women to respond. The second, and even more challenging, is getting them to answer each question using three words or less (it’s not as easy as it sounds!) The goal is to see how much alike, and different, forty year old women around the world really are.

As you can imagine, the responses thus far have been really interesting. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that many of us list “finishing school” as the answer to the “Three 6 Mafia” question.  Whether it’s medical school or a bachelor’s degree, at forty, many women have their sites set on going back to school. For many of us, weight – or as Rachel put it, “my ass”  – is the monkey on our back we can’t shake (see “The life I’d Planned”). Relationships have simultaneously been our biggest regret and the thing we’re most proud of.  Whether it was the Greek, that first husband, or the three divorces, even at forty, wading through the relationship waters, for some of us at least, hasn’t gotten any easier. Other women listed their marriages and children as the thing they’re most proud of.

If you haven’t yet participated in our 5 question challenge, click here to include your answers (anonymously if you’d like) on our site. You can also add comments on our Facebook Fan page or follow us on Twitter. If you’ve got something to say and three words just won’t cut it, email us at contribute@womenatforty.com. We’d love to post your Women at Forty story on the site. Finally, if you’re reading Women at Forty from somewhere other than the U.S., here’s a challenge within a challenge for you – be the first Woman at Forty from your country to share your story with the rest of the world. We’d love to hear from you!

Here’s the latest sampling of responses to our “100 women, 5 questions, 3 words or less challenge”…

Continue reading We’re more alike than you think: Five questions – Part 3

I Am Forty Years Old…

Jenny&Sonya Women all over the world have been reading our stories. In a few short weeks, Women at Forty has gotten visits from women (and probably some curious men) all over the world including; Germany, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Lebanon. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories soon. Today, one of our readers from Hawaii, Jenny, who’s in the middle of her fortieth year on earth, talks poetically about her life pre-forty. She likens it to wearing a dress that just “didn’t fit right,” not being exposed, having the appearance of normality but always adjusting, making temporary fixes and fussing, always fussing…

I Am Forty Years Old

Jesus, just writing that makes me gasp! And for different reasons, not just because of the number…40. Good grief.

I gasp because 40 just kind of snuck up on me.

I gasp because I let time slip carelessly through my fingers.

I gasp because I didn’t plan right.

I gasp because I planned too much.

I gasp because I didn’t plan enough.

Truth is, it was someone else’s plan, not mine. I’ve never been on my own, EVER, until now, my 40th year on earth. There was always someone else to mold and adjust to – I moved from my parents home to college where I lived in a dormitory for a year, then moved in with my boyfriend. Then we married, few years later divorced and I moved in with another boyfriend. The cycle repeats…we get married, then hard times come again. My starting-over life felt like shampoo instructions – lather, rinse, repeat. Plan, execute, start over….but still, not my plans, never what I wanted. I always gave up my big dreams, and that was too much of a compromise. I just didn’t know it then.

My life was like wearing a dress that just didn’t fit right. You’re not naked, not exposed at all and you have the appearance of normality even though you’re always adjusting, making temporary fixes, fussing, fussing…and that became routine and normal. But until you listen to that little exasperated voice inside Continue reading I Am Forty Years Old…