Life on the road: photographer Gale Straub captures seven women’s unique travel experiences

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  • Connecting with nature, either close to home or in a far-flung destination, is an increasingly important part of how many women are living their lives. Gale Straub documents eight inspiring journeys

    ‘To be honest, I’m not sure travelling was always in my blood,’ admits Gale Straub, whose new book is a celebration of female travellers. It’s a surprising admission when you consider that Straub’s life – a website, two podcasts and now a book – focuses almost exclusively on the subject of uniting women who love to travel. In 2014, the former accountant from New Hampshire, US, decided to take some time out of her career with her partner Jon. Together, the pair set off on a year-long road trip, living in a van. ‘This was the trip that changed everything,’ she says. ‘We didn’t own a house or have kids. The timing felt right for us and we saved for more than 15 months to make it happen.’

    Their travels led Straub to set up, a community for women who love the outdoors as much as she does. Since then, the site has featured hundreds of travel stories from women around the world, and formed the inspiration for her podcast and book, which shares 40 women’s experiences of travel, alongside the lessons Straub has learned while exploring. ‘Writing the book was important to me, because I see a lot of women who have a curiosity about going out into the wild, but don’t necessarily have anyone in their circle of friends they can ask questions, or see as role models,’ she explains. ‘I love inspiring people to spend time in nature – studies reveal how beneficial time outside is, and I wanted to make that more accessible for everyone. I also felt it was important to show others that you can travel locally, too, since books often just share far-flung locations, which can seem unattainable for the majority. Sure, be inspired, but know that it’s possible to have some of that for yourself, closer to home.’

    Straub’s travel tips? ‘Plan your route thoroughly and if you’re travelling alone, wear colourful clothing [so you’re easily identified if you go missing],’ she says. ‘You should also always know when you’re coming home – and stick to it.’

    She Explores Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild by Gale Straub (Chronicle Books, £17.99)

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