We Travel For Women+: Adriana Navarrete, WeTravel
Live from: Quito, Ecuador
I’m Adriana, an Ecuadorian born with a big passion for traveling, which has taken me to live in eight countries – and travel to 40+ countries. But you know what they say: It’s not about the places, but the people you meet and become part of your multicultural pot of a life.
I’m a POS Finance Agent at WeTravel, and owner of Takiri Travel, a Galapagos tour operator.
I had my first solo travel-abroad experience when I was 18, and meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds captivated me. Working in the travel industry feels for me like having an open window to the world while being at home.
Coming from a country which still has lots of work to do regarding gender equality, starting in an industry which was predominantly managed by men, was challenging.
My first interaction with the market was guiding, and being yet a junior, I wasn’t fully trusted to “be able to manage a group” so everytime I would be sent with a male guide to “help me” while other male guides of my same age and experience would not need the back up.
Most businesses were owned by males and you would be treated like an apprentice and paid much less than our colleagues. Even in job interviews, you would be asked about your relationship status and whether you wanted to have children or not, and it all influenced your ability to make yourself a spot in the yet so small, developing travel industry in Ecuador.
Thankfully, female representation in travel has changed a lot in the last 12 years than when I started. More women+ opt for joining the travel industry and not from behind a desk only, but guiding up to the top of active volcanoes, or snorkeling in the deep waters of the Galapagos islands!
The courage of women+ is what inspired me to open my own tour operator five years ago, where I am proud to say 60% of our collaborators identify as women+.
I’m not the only one seeing this change: Little by little we are seeing more women+ breaking free from the fear of traveling solo in far away countries, and this also means that female-run companies are trusted more. The female sorority particularly helped me to make myself a spot in the tight travel industry of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, where some of my female customers felt safer to book with me because I’m a woman.
It was not an intended target market for me at all, but rather the market which found me, and to the date I’m very happy to host female travel groups in my beautiful corner of the world!
Of course, representation is key. Seeing more and more adventurous women+ opening their own businesses, managing tour groups and finding success is truly inspiring for new generations. Of course this has also been fueled by solo female travelers, who dare to get out and break free of the general fears of “this or that country is too dangerous for women”. For me it is like saying “Hey, sis, come over here, we got your back!” and is when great friendships are also born!
As we move forward, we must keep supporting female-owned businesses, especially in countries where equality still has a long way to go. Seek for those supporting social projects to empower less privileged women+, buy your souvenirs from the Indigenous lady in that handicraft market with a baby on her back, the grandma cooking in the small restaurants, the family-owned hotel run by a mom in that tiny town. Small things you might not consider but that have a great impact in the lives of these women+. When choosing your travel experiences–or the travel experiences you add to your itineraries–know who you’re purchasing from – it makes such a difference.
On that, I’ll leave you with this quote:
“They buried us, but they didn’t know we are seeds,” – Unknown