Margaret Wertheim on stage speaking at TED in 2009

5 Best Travel TED Talks for Women

Are you planning to travel somewhere down the road and looking for some inspiration for your next adventure? Or perhaps you want to hear more about what travellers learned on the road? There’s no better way than with a good TED talk or two.

Lucky for you, we’ve got five of the most inspiring travel TED talks for women right here! Each has a very different tale to tell, and a different lesson to share, but they all have one thing in common. That is, that travel has shaped them. 

Take a look below and dive into some of our favourite thought-provoking talks from women around the globe.

1. Kitra Cahana, ‘A glimpse of life on the road’

Ever since she was little, Kitra Cahana dreamed of running away. Now, she lives that dream as a documentary photographer. She spends her days on the road, travelling the United States and documenting the lives of other nomads and vagrants. 

Kitra’s talk is a short but insightful look at a life lived differently. She delves into the reasons why people choose to live their lives this way; a life of hopping freight trains, sleeping under the stars, raiding trash cans for morsels of food and picking up work where possible. 

It might just make you think differently about the people you encounter on the road when you take your next trip.

2. Taiye Selasi, ‘Don’t ask where I’m from, ask where I’m a local’

What do you say when someone asks you where you’re from? It’s a question you get asked a lot when you’re travelling, and if you’re a third culture kid, or have spent time living in a variety of places, it can be a difficult one to answer. 

In this TED Talk, Taiye Selasi urges us to think about culture rather than countries. The answer to “where are you from?” is much more than the name of a country, or a town: it’s about human experience and human interaction. 

It’s an interesting concept, and it will likely inspire you to forge deeper connections with the people you meet when you’re travelling.

3. Lexie Alford, ‘Life lessons from the youngest person to travel to every country’

By the age of 21, Lexie Alford had travelled to every country in the world, making her the youngest person ever to do so, and earning her a Guinness World Record. How’s that for travel inspiration?

In this TEDx Talk, she talks about getting out of your comfort zone; something we can all take heed of when it comes to travelling the world. Sometimes, the best experiences are the ones you have when you take a leap of faith and get out of your safe space. 

Lexie has some wonderful insights on travelling alone. Solo travel as a woman is often so far out of our comfort zone that it can prevent us from taking trips. But Lexie has tales about the great things that can happen, and the connections you can make, when you face that fear.

4. Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols, ‘This is what LGBT life is like around the world’

As a gay couple residing in San Francisco, Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols realised they had a relatively easy time living the life they wanted. But they knew that for gay people in countries like India and Kenya, circumstances were very different.

So they set off on a mission to find ‘Supergays’ around the world, LGBT people who were doing something extraordinary.

Their TED Talk is a funny and insightful look into the lives of people in 15 countries around the world where LGBT rights are limited, or non-existent. 

It’s an eye-opener for anyone concerned about travelling to countries where they might not feel safe as an LGBT person, and a potent reminder of the power we all hold as individuals.

5. Dame Ellen MacArthur, ‘The surprising thing I learned sailing solo around the world’

Quench your thirst for adventure with this talk from Dame Ellen MacArthur, who broke the world record for the fastest solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2005.

She regales us with a thrilling tale of navigating high winds, blizzards and crashing waves in the Southern Ocean near Australia. It’s ideal if you’re planning a solo adventure and need some encouragement from a woman who’s been there, done that many times before.

More than that, though, she explains how her sailing adventures led her to a deeper understanding of how finite the world’s resources are, and the journey she’s taken since then.

This talk is a great reminder that travel can help us alter our thought processes. A lecture on how we can change the world and ensure it’s still here for future generations to enjoy, it will certainly get you thinking.

If you’re hoping to travel somewhere down the road, many operators on TourRadar now offer flexible booking options for your peace of mind. So whether you want to get out into nature or go on a solo adventure – when you book tour operators with flexible options, in case your travel plans change, you’ll receive a credit towards a future tour with them. Head over to TourRadar to find inspiration for your next adventure.

Lauren is a freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh, Scotland. As well as writing, she loves exploring her country (and the rest of the world), and can often be found running up a hill or on her yoga mat.

a group of people with colour on their faces taking a picture of themselves
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