Hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill in our backyard or our neighbors, the pools in town finally opening for the summer, ‘School’s Out For Summer’ shouting with fist bumps in the air. This was the Memorial Day of my youth. I vaguely remember going to the cemetery to lay flowers, but do recall overhearing a few funny stories about the older generation. I think all the sad remembrances was an adult thing.

Now that I find myself squarely in the adult category and leaning toward the older generation, I find I enjoy thinking about my ancestors and all they have given me, all the wisdom I have gained and how they shaped me, my parents, their parents and on back and back. I do miss those who have died in my lifetime and those cause the most tugging at my heart. I do however enjoy conceptualizing about the 19th-century authors, or the 18th-century fisherman from Northern Scotland and how when they went to sea, the women with all the children would pack the sit in baskets on their back and set out to sell their wares. I appreciate my strength and endurance which was borne on their backs. These are MY women, and there were no sissies there!

This day of remembering can and should be, a perfect combination of both joy and sadness, but primarily a day to be grateful. I sat with my husband over morning coffee and discussed all the people we miss and what we gained by having them in our lives. It was interesting to note it was the kindnesses, the loving caring, connections, lessons which taught us how to be our best selves and acceptance and guidance when we were not. Fun and laughter 

Tonight we will gather with thousands at Ala Moana Beach Park and float our intentions and gratitude out into the sea. One Ocean, many rivers is the theme. We were asked to move through our days with aloha for everyone. We were asked to respect our elders and the environment. We were reminded to seek peace and understanding. This year we remember many who have died fondly, they remain forever in our hearts and our actions. We do this for ourselves to remember all those we loved and also for those who were loved by those dear to us.

I will remind myself to be GRATEFUL for all the loving kindness around me – right here, right now. We decided to write notes to our children about our love for them in the event we never get the time. I hope being grateful, kind and loving will be the things for which my future generations remember me OR perhaps I should settle for them remembering that I was never a sissy girl!


Our History

The Women's Heritage Walk is a life-affirming trek inspired by the worldwide history of women who walked to feed their families, bring water to the villages, trade goods and services, and migrate to safer, more hospitable lands. Women have been on the move for centuries, often reacting to the weather, food, and resources.

The Walks was a natural corollary to the three-day Wellness Seminars established in and around the mountains of Garmisch, Germany, in 1992. This format expanded to Poland, Rome, Italy, and into schools to meet the growing need to address the social and emotional need to cope with increased stress, particularly bullying in schools. Women's Heritage Walk, established in 2015, has become an unrivaled multi-layered experience for women.

The Women's Heritage Walk is an unrivaled multi-layered experience for women. It is rooted in the belief that women empower each other, their families, communities, and themselves through growth, learning, and pushing their limits.

Preparation begins three months in advance with a curated program to prepare walkers mentally and physically for an arduous, exciting adventure. This experiential journey captivates all the senses and enhances each woman's physical strength and internal fortitude while enhancing an individual's personal health and wellness path.

This adventure allows walkers to immerse themselves authentically in the local country's cultural heritage. Daily programs stimulate a more profound understanding of our foremothers' life experiences and offer a new appreciation for the habits and customs borne from the hardships of early life.

Participants forge deeper bonds with themselves and each other through physical, mental, and emotional development. Shared hardships endured with common goals create lifelong attachments, increase mutual understanding, widen tolerance parameters, heighten mutual respect, and reinforce shared values. Once accomplished, it accentuates individual strengths and potential more fully.

This transformational endeavor impacts the Walkers and their network of friends, family, colleagues, and community members. Each person learns vicariously from the participant's persistence, perseverance, lifestyle changes, growth, reinvigoration, and heightened knowledge.

Each year brings a new adventure and opportunity to connect as we obtain the most up-to-date research to augment and improve upon the four pillars of Culture and Heritage, Health and wellness, Strength and Leadership, and Community Connection.

We employ an overarching approach encompassing all human needs. We focus on physical and mental health, joy and balance in relationships and spiritual and intellectual curiosity.

Tolerance, perseverance, self-awareness, and cultural respect are themes discussed in the Wellness Component. These become more relevant as the event brings women from multiple nationalities together. The journey provides an open forum for the women to discuss culture, values, and traditions and to learn from each other without judgment. Through it, they discover more that unites them than separates them.

Each woman takes a chance by overcoming fear and disrupting their life momentarily, hoping to find something special inside and outside themselves. Through connections to others unlike themselves, they learn and grow.

"A heart afraid never learns to dance and never takes a chance." Bette Midler

Fear isolates us and diminishes our opportunity to live our best lives by finding our best selves. We must be challenged to do this, and the Women's Heritage will challenge you. Complacency and walking through our lives on autopilot does not. When we think of adventures, we think of exploring something outside ourselves. However, in this Walk, a large part of this challenge and any arduous struggle happens inside ourselves. This Walk challenges you to go outside your comfort zone in all areas.

This program is guided by integrity and honors heritage. The Women's Heritage Walk develops personal and collective strength. Proximity and shared hardship build not only tolerance but respect. By finishing, they teach our daughters, families, and community that difficult does not mean impossible. The challenging walks teach us to persevere with compassion, humbly appreciate nature's power, and draw on inner strength to keep moving forward when weary. This gift of struggling fortifies a heightened and profound belief in oneself and gratitude for the support given.

Along with her in-country cultural experts, Jody continues to develop a modern and ever-growing tribe of a global 'sisterhood.'

26-year-old UAE national Waheeda Al Hadhrami participated in 2017 and said about the event, "Walking through our beautiful deserts and reconnecting with our past was life-changing, although it was physically and mentally challenging. The experience allowed me to meet many women from different backgrounds and walks of life, and I enjoyed the cultural exchange. I loved every step of the journey!"