When I started this blog, just about 12.5 years ago, it was one of the first travel blogs in the world. Those were the days when no one knew what a blog was. Like everyone else during those early days, I was feeling my way, trying different things to market myself and gain a following. I didn’t really know what I was doing…none of us did. In fact, I clearly remember attending the first ever Travel Blog Exchange Conference in Chicago, during which one of my fellow travel bloggers told me it would be nearly impossible to be successful doing what I was doing – telling travel stories. She insisted I needed to start writing “top ten” articles if I ever wanted to build an audience. I refused. I would have shut my blog down rather than write that kind of garbage.
Fortunately, I connected with Evelyn Hannon, publisher of Journeywoman.com, soon afterward. I would learn that Evelyn had beaten me to travel blogging by about nine years. She’d begun writing a travel newsletter that encouraged women to travel solo back in 1992 and converted to blogging in 1997, when the technology was in its infancy. Evelyn was long regarded as the first ever travel blogger and her site quickly became “the premier travel resource for women.”
But I digress. This story is not about Evelyn’s success. It’s about the wonderful person she was and the impact her kindness had on me. You see, Evelyn did me a great favor in the beginning of my travel blogging career. I wrote her, asking if she would consider featuring me in her newsletter. She couldn’t, for good reason. If she featured my blog, she would have to do the same for others, and that would have been impossible. So I asked if she would let me advertise in her newsletter. I don’t think anyone had ever asked her that, but after some thought she agreed to let me run a three-line classified ad. That one little ad did much to increase the visibility of my blog and set me on the path to success.
I met Evelyn Hannon in person not long afterward and over the ensuing years we kept in touch. She occasionally featured me in her articles that promoted tips for safe travel, or tips about various destinations around the world. She didn’t have to help me like she did, but she knew we had similar goals – to encourage women to travel. I never forgot her kindness and every time we met up I expressed my gratitude. She always demurred, insisting it was “nothing.” It wasn’t “nothing” to me.
I learned last week that Evelyn Hannon passed away on April 29, 2019. I was in Tibet at the time, standing atop the 5,200-meter high Geu La Pass, gazing at Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Evelyn would, no doubt, have been proud of me. She lived her life doing what she loved and encouraged so many of us to do the same. To this day, I believe that my blog might not even exist had she not been there to provide that initial boost. I will miss her sorely, for her kindness, her passion, and her indomitable curiosity. RIP Evelyn. You will always live on in our hearts and minds.
32 thoughts on “Homage to Evelyn Hannon, Publisher of Journeywoman.com – You Will be Missed”
Opened my email this morning and was SO SHOCKED to hear of Evelyn’s passing. Although I did not participate in her journeys as I live in Bali Indonesia…I nevertheless lived vicariously through her and enjoyed every aspect of her blog. The adventures of her missing orange travel bag was quite something!
My sincere condolences to her family and friends. Such an amazing woman has left us. God bless.
Hi Barb. It was so sad to her of Evelyn’s passing, but since then I have learned that the family is going to keep the newsletter and website going!
What a heartwarming homage you\’ve written to this trailblazing pioneer! And what a treat, that you had the chance to meet her too. It\’s clear that Evelyn left her imprint on many of our lives… all across this world.
I just today thought of her, having just arrived in the L.A. area for a week\’s visit – and momentarily thinking to check out some suggestions on Journeywoman… I paused, then realized that it\’s been 3 months since Evelyn\’s death. So, instead, I penned a short tribute of my own (which may or may not appear on the Journeywoman Facebook page). In case not, I wanted to share it with you:
If only it were possible to revive Journeywoman – in her name! I so wish that Evelyn was still here to guide us on our travels, far and wide…may her shining spirit live on.
Thanks so much Amit. Evelyn is sorely missed.
Thank you for sharing your story and connection with Evelyn. I have been wondering for the last few weeks why haven’t had a Journeywoman newsletter or update on Twitter. Evelyn was so good about sending messages and encouragement periodically. I looked forward to them to help me continue to dream about my next trip.
I was an early adopter of her newsletter before she started “blogging”, in the late 1990s. I loved receiving that email loaded with tips and information about how to travel as a single woman. I still have one of her Journeywoman luggage tags on my suitcase.
I am saddened to hear of her death. She has always been present in my heart when planning a trip and traveling. Thank you, Evelyn for your kindness, excitement and optimism for life and travel. We will miss you! Hugs & love to your family!
Thank you for your kind comment and story Teri. Evelyn is truly missed by many.
Dear Barbara Weibel – I am in shock with this very sad news of Evelyn Hannon’s death, I have been marketing my land journeys in my native Ireland with Evelyn for about 15 years. As I began working on Spring in Hidden Ireland – 2020 I wondered why I was not getting any response to my emails from Evelyn. Just today – I googled and discovered this very sad news. Evelyn was a wonder woman. A woman ahead of her own time. She had a deeply sensitive and creative take on all travel and, in particular, women traveling alone. I am just wondering what comes next. Will Evelyn’s exceptional legacy continue through her daughter or web designer? Such a unique, professional and loving travel journal needs to continue. Please keep Evelyn’s travel professionals advised once you know. Thank you for such a lovely tribute in your blog. Kindest regards, Ann V Quinlan, Maine
We were all pretty shocked, Ann. I had no idea she was even ill. I haven’t spoken to the family, as I really don’t know them, but my guess is that they will not keep her travel journal going.
I’ve been thinking of Evelyn for a couple of months now, and I just learned of her death today. Evelyn and I talked together a few times a year, and I never knew that she was ill. While we talked travel, we mosty talked about our families and her delight in her daughters and granddaughters. She always asked me about my two daughters and offered me such sound and loving advice when I asked for it. Evelyn was a gracious, lovely woman. I feel so blessed to have known her…if only via e-mail and the phone. May God bless her and her family.
I just learned today of Evelyn’s death. I had the good fortune of meeting Evelyn. I was travelling solo withADVENTURE CANADA on one of their Arctic expeditions. I knew I would have a cabin mate but had no idea who she would be. My cabin mate was Evelyn!!!! She was a delight…so unassuming….I had no idea she was the Journeywoman blogger…in fact did not even know about Journeywoman. She was the most wonderful cabin mate one could ever have. We did keep in touch over the years. She was so fiercely proud of her family. A simply wonderful person!
Journey on Evelyn!!!
Hi Margaret: Thanks so much for sharing your story about Evelyn. It seems she had the exact same effect on every single person she met…and I am not surprised.
Evy was my cousin, not by birth but by marriage, but she was always my cousin. My brother and I are twins and she was our babysitter when we were young. We were the pages at her wedding na dI still have the photo of us dressed up in tails and top hat on my dresser. When she was in her mid twenties she and her younger brother bought a children’s camp in Ontario and Camp Kennebec was born. I mean who does that so young? Steve, her brother was the heart and soul and Evy was the head. The chances of success were minimal but more than 50 years later Camp Kennebec is still thriving and completely altered the lives of generations of Kennebecers. After her divorce from my cousin she was still nevertheless my cousin. Then she did again what she had done before, create something out of nothing. What single woman in the early 1990s not only goes travelling alone around the globe, but then has the nerve to start a magazine dedicated to helping women like her travel and expand their horizons. She went first and took the risks, and then returned to help others do the same, but in safety and security. Then who starts a blog before most people ever heard of the word? Evy was a true pioneer and once more she’s the first to take her new journey. Evy our family will never be the same without you but travel well.
Dear Danny: Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your lovely comment. It is a wonderful tribute to your cousin. I hope more people in your family read my story, as I want them all to know that Evelyn made such a difference in so many lives.
I googled her today because I realized that I hadn’t received her newsletter in a while and found this lovely reminiscence about her. My condolences to you and all of your family. She was a true traveler and so generous with her information and stories. I will miss her.
Oh my gosh. I literally just discovered journeywoman’s blog today, and found your blog. So sad to learn of her passing. My condolences to all her knew her. I’m inspired to travel solo again by all your writings.
Jane, she would have loved to hear what you just wrote. Her work lives on every time a woman decides to travel!
Thank you for sharing this sad news. She was a very lovely person!
She was indeed, Lori.
We all loved Evelyn, the pioneer of travel blogging. She was a great role model for us “young” bloggers back in 2007. I can’t believe how long it’s been since TBEX Chicago in that little room. Glad you wrote this; she will be missed.
Thanks Nancy. The world feels a little emptier without her in it.
Your blog inspires me to continue, and your kind words about Evelyn are wonderful and touching. Thank you.
You’re welcome Shawn. Thanks so much for your comment.
You’re welcome Shawn. Her loss is deeply felt in our community.
Blessed that Barbara can write this.
For those of us who never met Evelyn in person, however were and are influenced by her writing, her travel journey and insights that she created on her content.
If you are considering travel as a solo person or a couple then be sure to check out her site, it remains relevant. For that matter check out Barbara’s site.
We were influenced by them both when we started our journey five years ago.
Bless you Evelyn. May your journey continue.
Duncan and Jane
I love that final sentiment, Jane. May her journey continue, indeed.
Lovely homage to the ‘journeywoman’ who gave so many of us courage to explore and write, even if it meant on our own.
I was quite saddened to hear of her recent passing which was another reminder how fragile life can be.
So wonderful to hear how generous she was with you, Barbara, yet it doesn’t surprise me.
Thank you, Vivian. My grandmother used to say that nobody really dies, as long as someone remembers them. If that’s true, Evelyn will be with us for a very long time.
I read each and every Journeywoman newsletters for advice and encouragement as a woman traveling alone. Yes, she will be missed. What an inspiration.
She was one in a million Regina. I do hope her family leaves her site up forever.
Nicely said, Barbara. Evelyn will indeed be missed. She has encouraged so many of us.
She did indeed, Laura.
This is such a heart warming story (RIP Ms Hannon). I wish we will have more Evelyn in our lives and more of us will be Evelyn in others’ ?