Adventure: Women of the World

Photograph Courtesy OF Thomson Safaris


BY Angela Caraway-Carlton

While flipping through a travel magazine at her kitchen counter one morning, Mary Oves stumbled across a promotion for a horseback-riding trip in southern Iceland. It promised rides through picturesque valleys and unreal lava fields, with stops at hot springs and pools, along with a visit to a Viking farm—and most appealing, it was a female-only vacation hosted by a travel company called Adventure Women.

Oves needed an escape from her home in Ocean City, New Jersey. Her husband had passed away just eight months earlier after battling medical problems for years.

Oves impulsively booked the tour, set for June 2018. “I was always passionate about travel, but we were limited on what we could do because of my husband’s health. For once in my life, nothing was stopping me,”says Oves, adding that her children were grown and out on their own. “I had to get out of my mind and go where no one knew me or what I’ve been through and didn’t feel sorry for me.”

Arriving in Iceland, the 53-year-old was joined by eight total strangers from all over the nation.“I loved the anonymity of it. When you travel, you don’t have to disclose anything about yourself, and for me, it was freedom,” Oves says. As the days passed, the women became confidantes. “We were a beautiful motley crew. Some whole, some broken. Women lacking self-actualization or fine-tuning it.” While the trip delivered on thrilling experiences—riding Icelandic horses through the wild terrain, viewing beautiful lagoons and waterfalls, and mingling with the people who call the area home—Oves says transformational moments spread throughout the group of women.

“There was raucous laughter, cathartic breakdowns. We never descended to cattiness, mean comments or cliques. We formed a bond that was strong and true.”


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