Wander Women


Our happiest moments as tourists

always seem to come when we stumble

upon one thing while in pursuit

of something else.

Lawrence Block



In planning a holiday, do you ever feel torn between your inner gym rat and spa goddess? I am definitely neither. I don’t see the point of giving up an hour of a good night’s sleep to workout before the start of what is already called a work day. I am confident sunsets are just as lovely as a sunrise. I do not have patience for enclosed chambers with scents or recycled air when my lungs are involved in aerobic exercise. My skin crawls at the thought of spandex, sneakers and extended lounging in bathrobes in public spaces. I question the regimen of standing (or even sitting) upright when the laptop has been ingeniously designed for a comfortable recline on the sofa.  And hard as I try, I simply can’t think of one good reason why I should be running when no one’s chasing me.

This December, I shall explore where I belong in the spectrum in between. I will give up my usual seat on an air-conditioned tour bus to join a National Geographic Expedition where the itinerary includes days of two to four hours on the kayak or hiking and six to eight miles of biking in 90 degree heat. Even without the physical strains, their recommended list of what to pack already tests the religion of my closet:  a hat with a chin strap, a rain jacket that blends with the crowd, sneakers, a backpack and a 44 lb. baggage weight limit for a two week trip. Holy Mother of Glam!

If you’d rather not be seen this underdressed in male company, Travel & Leisure recommends adventure companies that cater to female travelers only. Why not consider a new spin on the bachelorette party, the mother daughter weekend, the sisters bonding holiday, the stocking stuffer?


Adventures in Good Company  Specializes in expeditions in the U.S., like dog-sledding and snowshoeing on the shores of Lake Superior

Balanced Rock  This nonprofit’s yearly Women of Color Wilderness Retreats in Yosemite combine survival-skill building, yoga, and mindfulness exercises.

Wild Women Expeditions  Leads intimate journeys, like a horseback ride across Mongolia, designed to foster inclusivity.

Adventure Women  Books luxe trips, most lasting at least a week, to 26 destinations — like hiking, biking, and whitewater rafting in Colombia.

Explorer Chick  The company arranges backpacking trips in the American West and Appalachia, including a trek in the Great Smoky Mountains.

WHOA Travel   Climbing Kilimanjaro and other destinations like Bavaria, Peru, Nepal, Russia, and India.

REI Women’s Adventures  This outdoor-gear co-op leads ambitious expeditions, like a South Africa safari, and three-day Outessa retreats in California, Oregon, and New Hampshire.  Outessa is another REI brand.

Fit & Fly Girl   Daily workouts anchor retreats to party-friendly locales like Ibiza, Spain.

FP Escapes  The Free People clothing brand’s itineraries in places like Nicaragua’s Playa Maderas emphasize mind-body connection

Damesly  Hosts self-discovery workshops in Arizona, Hawaii, and Iceland.

One more that’s personally recommended by a friend who travels the globe year round:  Private Journeys  for small group luxury and exotic destinations.

Intimidated or not, I love National Geographic Expeditions for their commitment to environment conservation through sustainable travel and donating 27% of proceeds to the National Geographic Society, whose explorers and researchers are furthering our understanding of the planet.

A challenge is a good thing when you begin to think you have clearly delineated fences around your ways of being. Even if I don’t discover the Iron Woman in me, at least, the hotels will be fabulous and I’ll have a few laughs to share when I get back in January.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your most memorable, albeit unlikely, adventure.



Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947



Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman


Very Koi Body Painting

It is a paradox of creativity that

we must get serious about taking ourselves lightly.

We must work at learning to play.  

Julia Cameron

“The Artist’s Way” by  Julia Cameron  recommends a weekly “artist date” to continually replenish our reservoir of creativity before we dredge a dried out bottom and feel stuck, blocked, or uninspired.   An artist date is any activity that’s fun, enjoyable, akin to childlike play and exploration.  My inner artist happens to be an uptown girl so for a recent artist date, I had to drag her kicking and screaming over the Brooklyn bridge to the new body painting studio of Danny Setiawan of www.DenArtNY.com (he’s matching me in red below.)  And, Goddess, was she glad I did!

Models patiently stood/sat through a couple hours of being a human canvas–whoever wasn’t comfortable being topless covered her front torso with a scarf or halter top .  My inner artist had not touched a brush in months.  She quickly got carried away painting the biggest koi fish possible, extending the design all over my model’s forearms and the contours of her voluptuous body.  After 3 hours of painting punctuated by fits of laughter and dancing, my model and I squeezed into the studio’se tiny bathroom where a wall of painted curls and swirls provided a matching graphic backdrop.  The perfect souvenir for a most memorable afternoon.

Add body painting to your possibilities for playdates and unique gift ideas.  Make a party out of it and ask Danny to bring his art to your venue!

Where will you take your inner artist on your next date?

© Sharon Birke


Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

%d bloggers like this: