While participating in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program, I was challenged to come up with unique travel programs for women. In checking the tours offered in North America, I discovered that the tours catered to women included the usual sightseeing, standard meals, spas, shopping and wellness programs. I did not see much substance regarding women and their impact on society, role in today’s world and growth through changing times.
I felt there is need to design tours, by the women for the women, where we meet with women of visiting country, understand their journey through life, how they lost their identity and re-claimed it. What it means to be empowered and inspired by one another.
“What does it really mean to be a woman?” It is a question that has plagued me. As I began to design my special tours, I realized how resilient women are, our inner strength is amazing and our blind faith in knowing `it will all work out’ is phenomenal. Researching and developing the tours to Asia, Africa, South America changed me – made me stronger, respecting myself, realizing my inner strength and my soul growth has been amazing. I want to share my experiences growing up in India, going through the caste system, the untouchables, moving to America, owning and operating a tour company. Growing up in a mixed family (my mother was Jewish married into a Hindu Brahman family), my world famous father and his achievements in swimming, winning the prestigious Bharat Ratna award (highest award given to a civilian by Indian government). I want to share my travel experiences and meetings with women, political leaders, teachers, spiritual leaders, housewives, social workers and even a vegetable seller. Women coming from various ethnic back grounds, social stigma, restrictions imposed by cultures, religions on them & more.
Come join me on this incredible travel experience for “women”, a journey of self discovery and empowerment meeting some of the most inspiring women of the world. Come take the challenge for a life changing experience!
RESULT- In Their Own Words: A testimony from our Women’s empowerment tour of South India
Visiting: Seoul * Mt. Naejangsan * Namwon * Gyeongju * Busan * Jeju * DMZ
A woman’s self-worth and honor in Korean history was measured by her chasteness and obedience to men. She was expected to give an heir to the family, respect men and most importantly abstain from sex. Early on in life, women were taught the merits of being subordinate to men, preparing them for their future roles as wives and mothers. Women were prohibited from participating in society. Today, a woman’s status in South Korean society is dictated by her education and financial independence. Hence, as a member of society – contributing to the economy of the country, Korean women have additional power in decision making at home. South Korean women are at par with men with regards to education, health and legal rights. Having said that, Korean women continue to face gender discrimination in the realm of political and economic participation – it is a fight to bridge the gap between the two genders.
Visiting: St. Petersburg * Moscow * Ekaterinburg * Tyumen
Join Debika as we experience and understand the regal and ostentatious Russia in her historical greatness, an amalgam of infused cultures, rich architecture, art, literature, renowned for classical music composers like Travinsky, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, including a ballet performance at the Mariinsky Ballet, established in the 18th century, known as The Imperial Russian Ballet and continues to be one of the world’s leading ballet companies. The Bolshoi Ballet, established in 1776, is one of the world’s oldest ballet companies. Russia, a destination omitted by many travelers, a missed opportunity to explore an amazing country in the world, whose culture, history and landscapes inspiring many artists, poets and writers over the centuries. Based on political differences, many shy away from visiting Russia, denying a lifetime opportunity to glimpse into her past and how Russia has evolved into a great nation. Join me and together we will explore this majestic and magnificent country. Our adventures will lead us through many palaces, churches and evocative landscapes. We will return richer in mind and soul – every experience etched into our souls.
“… every person, when he or she is young, dreams of finding some enchanted place, of beautiful mountains and breathtaking coastline and clear lakes and amazing wildlife, and most people give up on it because they never get to New Zealand.” – Paul Theroux, The Happy Isles of Oceania, 1992
Visiting:Auckland * Nelson * Abel Tasman National Park * Malborough * Queen Charlotte Track * Kaikoura * Christchurch * Queenstown * Fiordland National Park * Milford Sound * Martins Bay * Mou Waho Wildlife * Mount Cook National Park
“…but nothing on Tahiti is so majestic as what faces it across the bay, for there lies the island of Moorea. To describe it is impossible. It is a monument to the prodigal beauty of nature.” – James A. Michener
Visiting: Tahiti* Moorea * Taha’a * Bora Bora
An interesting fact, during pre-Christian Tahiti, the highest titles in the Society Islands were not assumed by right of patrilineal descent. Women were equal if not superior to the chiefly men. Rank from a titular succession was inherited from the mother. However, daughters whose fathers were great warriors (hua or toa in Polynesian) would inherit the title since their mothers were low ranking but sons were not given this privilege. Another interesting historical fact, missionary John Thomas documented that in Tonga, it was impolite for a boy to ask his mother who his father was. Women’s status changed after the colonization and the advent of the missionaries. They became daughters, wives and mothers.
Join Debika to learn more about Tahiti & Women of Tahiti…….
March 16- April 01, 2020: Small Group maximum 11
Chennai * Mahabalipuram Puducherry (Pondicherry)* Chidambaram * Kumbakonam * Thanjavur (Tanjore) * Chettinad * Madurai * Periyar (Thekkady) * Kumarakom * Kochi (Cochin)
A society’s advancement can be assessed by women’s status in society based on her education. India, her varied ancient cultures, when taken into consideration, holds the unique status in the world as the first nation in the world, during the early Vedic period, where women were at par with men in all aspects of life. She was educated, chose her own husband, opted to be in a live-in relationship, a priestess or even a queen who led her army to battle! A woman’s role, through the ages, ever changing – evolving from a powerful entity during the early Vedic era to a diminished role of a housewife, in about 500 BC; finally, in 1917 a resurgence as the first women’s delegation, became a major organization in the movement for social change for women.
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