by Jen Lucas, Pack Up + Go Contributor

In honor of Women’s History Month, I am grateful to find myself surrounded by passionate, courageous women pursuing their dreams and powering through the current political climate with the influential kind of love this world needs.

Writing has allowed me to not only chronicle my adventures but most importantly to conquer my fears and doubts, putting my private thoughts and experiences out there, even if my mom is the only person who reads them. The opportunity to write for Pack Up + Go, which was founded by an amazing young woman, has not only been a huge inspiration but also gives me an outlet to publish my content and pushes me to continue generating ideas and putting them onto virtual paper.

As I continue down this incredible literary path, I’m constantly introduced to like-minded women and those outlets that provide us the creative freedom we require. One, in particular, Pink Pangea, hosts a community of women who love to travel by publishing travel writing on their website and hosting writing retreats both virtually as well as in locales all over the globe. All levels of writers are welcome as well as those who simply want the experience rather than trying to improve their writing skills. I’ll be attending my first Pink Pangea retreat this June in Venice, Italy.

A few months back I attended a virtual Pink Pangea workshop titled “A Woman’s Worth” which was an empowering, eye-opening experience where I recognized the self-doubt that I held onto. Their technique is meant to be interactive rather than your typical “educational system” style. It encourages the participants to share their writing and provide comments or feedback to one another. We engaged in several free writing exercises and sharing was always very much supported.

After several exercises, Jaclyn, the co-founder, provided us with the topic and we had eight minutes to draft an article: fiction, poem, or personal account. This topic, “Despite her difficult path she thrives,” is one that I am most familiar with considering the last few years of my life, but I hesitated to share my writing. I had my cursor hovering over the button to “raise my hand” and read my passage to the group, but couldn’t bring myself to click. This was a great realization that I continue to work through, but had I not participated in the workshop I would not be as aware. After this positive experience, I knew I had to journey halfway around the world to attend one of their retreats.

The Pink Pangea retreat in Venice will be my first trip to Europe since 2007 and I plan to make the most of my time by somehow visiting 4 countries in 10 days. As you can imagine there is a great deal of planning involved, several flight itineraries to manage, lodging, international phone plans, what to pack, etc. Thanks to a few apps, I’m able to organize my to-do lists, flight information, and travel confirmations efficiently.

Wunderlist is a task list application and, although a simple concept, it helps me in all aspects of life. You can use it to create a variety of lists. For example, I have shopping, trip planning and separate work to-do lists that can be shared individually. There’s also a due date function that can send notifications if set. This app has helped me to stay organized in my trip planning, tracking all of what to pack and purchase, questions to ask, items to take care of before I leave, etc.

TripIt helps to organize all your hotel, flight, rental car and restaurant confirmations in one spot. You simply forward your confirmations to an email address and it transforms it into one master itinerary which you can access even when offline. As trips approach and flight data information becomes available, (including terminal and gate information) it will display within each itinerary. There is also the option to upload travel documents into the Profile section, including your drivers’ license and passport information should you find yourself in a jam.

As I prepare for this well-organized adventure (thank you technology), I remember to express my gratitude for sites like Pink Pangea for this opportunity as well as the forum they provide for like-minded women to not only empower ourselves but also one another.