Conferences tend to put me to sleep. There has never been a moment when my mind hasn’t wandered or how a certain corner of the room magically turns into my bed. So, imagine my surprise when I actually registered for the Asian Women’s Empowerment conference in a heartbeat.
Organized by Juno Kim (Runaway Juno), this conference held in Malaysia aimed to bring together like-minded Asian women who believe in empowering themselves through travelling and living life independently. Most importantly, it aimed to educate women on how they too can go after their dreams. And that it is not all that impossible after all.
To paraphrase Juno from her opening talk, “Don’t ever think that you have to do this all alone. To be independent, you need to be dependent.” It struck me for the first time that a great support system is essential in chasing your dreams. I have always been under the impression that in order to be strong and independent, one has to go about it alone. Juno’s awesome talk clearly resonated with me. I am glad that I don’t need to do this all alone. And I am especially glad that it is not a sign of weakness to turn to friends or family for support when I need it.
I was also lucky enough to have Jeannie Mark (Nomadic Chick) join me for lunch. To have a traveller as experienced as her talk to me was a real treat. I constantly wonder if maybe I have missed my boat with this travelling and writing “thing”, but after talking to Jeannie (who calls herself a mid-lifer, even though she clearly doesn’t look it!), I am convinced that it is never too late to go after your dreams. I am so glad to have met her and so appreciative of how supportive she was.
Lek Chailert from Save Elephant Foundation was another speaker who left an indelible impression on me. She had us all in tears with her heartfelt stories on saving the elephants of Thailand. She opened our eyes to the atrocities faced by the elephants – abused, raped and maimed all in the name of tourism and profit. Her personal journey was of immense hardship, but she has soldiered on and continues to work passionately for these amazing animals. I am glad that I was able to tell her personally how inspiring she was and what a wonderful job she was doing. All I could give her was an appreciative hug, but she has no idea how much she has given me with just that one talk.
In a nutshell, this amazing conference has dared me to dream. I am once again inspired and full of ideas on fulfilling my travel writing ambitions. The lovely ladies I met at the conference were fantastic – we laughed, we cried and we hugged. And most importantly, we have become a community of women who support each other. I am so privileged to have been able to meet all of these inspiring women and I can’t wait to see them again next year.
For more on AWE : https://www.facebook.com/AweOrganization