I have always wanted to be a traveler. I’ve dreamed of being the fabulous jetsetter, a la the family Beckham, with my put together flight wear and simple, chic, well-stocked carry on. I’ve imagined myself quite the trekker, going so far as to purchase a North Face backpack and hiking boots (for travel between New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta). I read travel blogs, magazines and tips like they’re going to save me from an impending zombie apocalypse, which is more likely to happen than my actually putting those tips to use. See, I’m not a good traveler. Wait, I take that back. I’m a fine traveler, I just happen to be disorganized, nervous and have a strong tendency to get lost. Let’s just say I’ll never be that girl traveling though Asia or Africa or Canada alone with a journal and a backpack, okay?
I’d never heard of Ayun Halliday before I read How to Become a Famous Author Before You’re Dead, a book by Ariel Gore. In it she talks about starting and keeping up her award winning zine, East Village Inky. Something about her “just go for it” attitude excited me and inspired me to start my own zine out of a sheet of paper and felt tipped, fine point pen. (That never went anywhere, though it was really fun.)
A few months later, perusing the shelves at Green Apple books in San Francisco, I came across No Touch Monkey!, Halliday’s second book and the one that has made her famous in my mind. Inside its pages I’ve learned where not to take pictures in Amsterdam, that if the boat’s falling apart the hippies probably aren’t coming and to watch where I step in Java. Not that I’m ever going to actually put these lessons to use. (See above.) What I love more is the idea that I could do these things. She makes it all sound so easy and fun. Being chased by rabid, starving dogs? Fun! Kneecap split off to forge its own way round the back of one’s leg at the bottom of a gorge? Um, yes please! If she can do that for terror and excruciating pain imagine how much fun she has with cooking mishaps and terrible jobs in Dirty Sugar Cookies (complete tales with recipes) and Job Hopper.
It’s because of that sense of fun and lightness that I have chosen her as this week’s She-ro. Don’t we all have that friend who can make mountains into molehills with a nod and a laugh? No? Well we do now and her name is Ayun Halliday.
image via ayunhalliday.com