Evelyn Hannon, Publisher of Journeywoman.com, Passes Away

Homage to Evelyn Hannon, Publisher of Journeywoman.com – You Will be Missed

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.

Evelyn Hanon, publisher of Journeywoman.com, often said to be the first ever travel blog, passes away at79Fortunately, 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.

20 Comments on “Homage to Evelyn Hannon, Publisher of Journeywoman.com – You Will be Missed

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

    • You’re welcome Shawn. Thanks so much for your comment.

    • You’re welcome Shawn. Her loss is deeply felt in our community.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. Barbara,
    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.

  7. Nicely said, Barbara. Evelyn will indeed be missed. She has encouraged so many of us.

  8. 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’ ?

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