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Domini Clark is an editor at The Globe and Mail.

I have a confession to make: I have lost my lust for travel.

As I write this, I’m four days out from a birthday weekend getaway – which I haven’t booked. And in one month I’m off to Wales, my favourite place in the world – yet I’m procrastinating on most of that planning.

Compare that with my travel schedule in December, 2019, when I eagerly went to Copenhagen, Munich, Miami, England and Seoul (followed by a jaunt to Barbados in the first week of January). Heck, even as recently as 2021, I wrote about how thrilled I was to be travelling again as pandemic restrictions were lifting: “I was starting to worry I had lost part of myself,” I said at the time.

Clearly, my feelings toward travel are different now. And, as silly as it sounds, I feel a little guilty – almost as if I’m letting down womankind.

For years, I was the archetypal solo female traveller. You know the one: Untethered by a relationship, children or other responsibilities, she flits around the world, forming friendships, enjoying flings and collecting wild stories. She is Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, and Cheryl Strayed in Wild (you bet I did long-distance solo hikes). She is the prototype behind countless other blogs, Instagram profiles, podcasts and tour-operator brochures full of tales of strong, independent, travelling women.

It’s a privileged life, to be sure, but also one associated with female empowerment – and has been for centuries. Writing in 1863, Irish adventurer Mabel Sharman Crawford made a plea for more “lady tourists,” imploring English women “of independent means and without domestic ties” to fight society’s expectations and see the world.

“And if the exploring of foreign lands is not the highest end or the most useful occupation of feminine existence,” she wrote, “it is at least more improving … than the crochet-work or embroidery with which, at home, so many ladies seek to beguile the tedium of their unoccupied days.”

The women who forged this path faced scorn and risked their reputations. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, for example, caused a fuss when she ventured to Turkey to meet up with her husband in 1716. After being ostracized from “polite society” over a salacious sex scandal in the late 1800s, Gertrude Elizabeth Blood (better known as Lady Colin Campbell), found relief in travel. In a short essay titled Marooned in Milan, she writes that rather than being “overcome with dismay” in a tricky situation, “I am so overcome with a sense of exhilaration at being for once in my life absolutely free … that I very nearly dance a rigadoon of delight.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the first women to publish stories of their travels were also influential feminists, including Mary Wollstonecraft, who left her infant daughter at home during a sojourn to Scandinavia in the late 1700s. (And, yes, most of these women were well-off and white; sadly, not much has changed in that regard.)

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Domini Clark takes a dip during a coasteering adventure in Wales.Celtic Quest Coasteering

Now, let me be clear: I would never place myself among the ranks of these greats. But I have had other women voice awe at my travels, and tell me that “they could never” because of various fears. (”Yes, you can,” I always reply.) So I do feel a responsibility to carry on the legacy of the women who took a steamship so that others could fly.

Which is why my current attitude somehow feels wrong. Especially given the reason: love. Deep, nourishing, wonderful, blissful, never-felt-this-way-before love – the kind that is insufferable to be around. The kind, I will admit, I used to roll my eyes at. The kind I never thought actually existed.

Suddenly, I find myself in less untethered circumstances; I’ve become part of a more rooted pair.

This isn’t to say I’m giving up on travel completely; I still have a bucket list of dream destinations. Nor am I saying farewell to solo trips (I’ll be on my own for Wales). I still want to see the world, but in a more mindful way – and I want to see it with my man, Spencer, as much as possible. Unfortunately, I have far more vacation time than him, so if that means I spend some of my days off exploring my own backyard instead, well, I’m okay with it.

More than okay. Because while I’ve spent the past however many years exploring 43 countries and connecting with hundreds of strangers, you know what I haven’t done? Created a home with the love of my life. (Told you it was insufferable.)

Does that make me a bad feminist? Does this make me no better than a Victorian lady with her embroidery needles? Ms. Crawford never took a husband; Lady Campbell never felt the need for a second.

No, it doesn’t. Of course. I don’t need to sleep in a one-person tent to prove my independence.

Even Ms. Crawford, for all of her moxy, knew that such adventures, while worthwhile, were not required for a fulfilling life.

“As long as the world endures, man, and more especially woman, will seek to find their happiness in the limited sphere of domestic life,” she wrote. “To do today what has been done yesterday, and to run in the same groove from year to year, will ever constitute … one of the essentials of a happy existence.”

Ultimately, being an empowered woman is about knowing what you want, and going for it. And right now, travel just isn’t at the top of my list.

What else we’re thinking about:

For almost 15 years, England’s National Theatre has offered people around the world the chance to see some of its best productions as special screenings at their local cinemas. I saw both the original Fleabag and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet that way. That stopped with the pandemic, but fortunately the National Theatre at Home streaming service started. For $18 a month I can watch incredible performances by some of the world’s best actors. Most recently I was wowed by Jodie Comer’s Olivier-winning role in Prima Facie. Up next is Romeo & Juliet starring Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor.


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