Posted in Growing Up, Travel, Travel Writing

What is “agency” in coming-of-age?

I have a thing about “agency,” which I wrote about in my coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away. For many of our young women particularly, but also young men, I believe they have difficulty in acquiring a sense of “agency” for themselves in today’s world. “Agency” is not an often used term, but it seems to capture much of what I think is needed for young people to develop as they come of age. (My concern and interest is primarily young women, so I will address them.)

I want to explore this concept for several days in a row on my blog to see if I can bring more clarity about it for myself and for you, my reader. Hopefully we can discover its ingredients to growing up and maturing in our society. Here goes!

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When I speak about the agency of a young girl, growing up, maturing and coming of age, what do I mean? Think with me in terms of a “travel agent.” What is the role of a travel agent?

An agent researches and selects a destination; sets up an itinerary of sites to see and things to do; arranges lodging, food, and transportation; develops a budget to generate the cost for you; creates reasons and benefits of why one should go to that location–all to minimize your work in getting ready to travel.

Much like a travel agent, a young woman learns through experience, how to make things happen for herself. Even failure becomes a powerful learning tool. Each young woman  is capable of becoming her own “agent.”

She can determine a destination that appeals to her and check the things she wants to see and do there-decide if it is a worthwhile journey. If still it’s still an attractive destination, then she can determine if she can afford to go. If so, she can schedule transportation, make arrangements, and generate the cash to finance the trip.

Once she is there she makes the most of her research and what she learned from others who have been there before. She will learn what she likes and doesn’t like about the place and the trip. Failure and success will inform her next adventure in life.

Over time, this sense of “agency” becomes more refined and more productive for her. We often call this “growing up.”

What do you think?

 

 

 

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Author:

Writer, published author, traveler, blogger, workshop facilitator, spiritual sojourner. Authored coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away. This story covers my travels at a young age as a result of my involvement with my local church. My relationship with my mother prepares me for my ventures into the world. But I disappoint both family and church by leaving the church. Working on novel about a young woman who travels to India in 1906 to sell her uncle's horses. She loses her brother in route, builds a friendship in India that solidifies her sense of self that she has questioned all her life, and finds a man on board ship who loves her just the way she is but struggles to commit. I live in Texas with the love of my life, husband Lynn, and our Shih Tzu, Murphy, who is more cat than dog.

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