Travel and Anita

travel_anita-roddickIn my early twenties, I had the privilege to work for Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop.

Anita is one of my heroines. Rare for someone to be able to say they met their hero/ine in flesh and blood, much more work for them! This is one gig that I’m truly proud of, even until now.

Anita was a human rights activist, an environmental advocate and an entrepreneur. She was one of the pioneers of ethical consumerism. She increased awareness against animal testing and strongly advocated for fair trade.

I saw how she worked day to day. I was a witness to her discipline, her passion, fire, and conviction. She spoke her mind. She stood her ground for things she strongly believed in.

Her discipline was admirable. We were up and ready at 6am for her hair and make-up as anita-roddickwe thoroughly pored over some of the questions she needed to answer for the media. I was walking her through the sales figures while the stylist was meticulously doing her hair.

I witnessed her compassion. Her generosity. Her gentleness. She was passion and compassion personified.

Fierce. This woman was the epitome’ of fierceness.

She was also tremendously inspiring. You know when you describe someone as larger than life? Dame Anita was that for me.

Travel is like a university without walls.

This is one of her favorite quotes that I took to heart. Travel opens your eyes and widens your horizon.

It changes you.

Looking back, Anita was my major inspiration why I wanted to travel and work at the same time, why I wanted to be an expat in the first place.

Anita traveled all over the world for The Body Shop. She went to the nooks and crannies of Africa in search of suppliers for the brand’s raw materials. She brought back with her wisdom and experience that made her the courageous woman that she was.

Every now and then, when I look back to recall how it all started for me, I always think of Dame Anita.

Then and now, she remains to be my “travel heroine,” my inspiration and my source of passion,  which I hope every girl and every woman could have in their lives.

To Dame Anita, thank you for igniting the fire and being my role model. I remember you every now and then, and you continue to inspire me in my advocacies, which seeds you also planted within me.

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