Playwright and actor Amy Mihyang Ginther, whose one-woman show, "Homeful: A New Solo Play About Roots & Restlessness," debuts this fall.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Amy Mihyang Ginther is a professor, a playwright, an actress and a world traveler. This fall, Homeful: A New Solo Play About Roots & Restlessness — her one-woman show about travel, loss and finding home — debuts off Broadway as part of United Solo, the world’s largest solo theater festival.

In the show, Ginther unpacks her identities as an American, a transracial adoptee and a woman of color while addressing the reoccurring question, “Where are you from," as she embarks on a journey to define what home really is.

We caught up with Ginther to find out how travel has inspired both her personal and professional journey. And we also got her advice for how your can create your own dream career through travel.

Laura Begley Bloom: Tell me about yourself.

Amy Mihyang Ginther: I am a queer transracial, Korean American adoptee. I was born in Gimchon and was adopted at three months old to Upstate New York, where I was raised by a white family. I am professor of theater arts at UC Santa Cruz and I perform and continue to make original work. I wear many hats: I specialize in teaching acting, voice and speech, both in a classroom setting and privately. I write theory about the intersection of bodies, identity and power. And I make theater, primarily around real events and people.

Amy Mihyang Ginther, on the go.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Begley Bloom: I understand you have a show debuting off Broadway this fall. What is it about?

Ginther: The name of the show is Homeful. It’s a coming-of-age story based on my experiences as an adoptee, traveling and living abroad in my 20s. The 90-minute solo show takes the audience on a journey through places like London, Argentina and Senegal. My character is always asked, “Where are you from?” when she arrives to a new place, which she often struggles to answer. The play then segues into an emotional return home to the U.S. and ultimately a move to Seoul as another journey that focuses on family and loss unfolds.

Begley Bloom: You’ve written the play, will star in it and have amassed a female-identifying, multiracial creative team. How does it feel to have that level of creative control?

Ginther: It feels amazing and it feels like it’s about time. I am incredibly excited and proud of my team. I prefer to work with women of color and queer/non-binary folks, as I feel more seen and our shared experiences make the work we create more powerful. I’ve found we are able to collaborate in more meaningful ways as we share some common understanding of life experiences.

Entrepreneurs make choices every day about who they want to pay and support, which is another reason I prioritize working with people of these particular backgrounds, who have long deserved to have their talents amplified, recognized and compensated.

Begley Bloom: How did you get to this point in your career? 

Ginther: When I entered college, I was certain that performance was the future for me. I had been in theater my entire life. As an Asian adoptee who grew up in a predominately white community, having creative outlets quickly became the best way for me to express myself in playful and joyful ways.

By the time I graduated from college, my thought process had evolved. Many of those who completed the theater program at the same time were auditioning in New York and L.A., which didn’t feel right for me. So, I moved abroad to London to figure out what came next.

Begley Bloom: What made you realize it wasn’t the path for you?

Ginther: When actors start auditioning for commercial work, they are often at the mercy of casting directors and I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I felt like if you’re going to make it in New York you’re going to have to initially do everything and that felt overwhelming.

Also at the time, I felt casting was limited for me as an Asian American woman. This was in 2005 and the dialogue and some of the cultural movements towards inclusivity and representation hadn’t taken off as publicly yet. We are acknowledging some progress now, although there’s still work to be done. At that time I already knew I wanted to create work myself, rather than being cast in stereotypical roles, but I didn’t know what that was yet or how to accomplish it.

In my BFA program at Hofstra University, it was impressed upon us that when you sit down with a casting director, you are your own best asset. I was expected to show a clear sense of self and have my unique personality shine through but I didn’t yet know who I was or the story I should tell.

I realized to find that clarity, I wanted more life experiences to shape me and from which to create original art. I hoped that real-world encounters might be more valuable for me starting out in order to build my life and simultaneously create authentic narratives and inclusive opportunities for others and myself.

Amy Mihyang Ginther, exploring.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Begley Bloom: How did you go from working in theater administration and professional management to an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher?

Ginther: When I thought about staying abroad longer and living different places, teaching EFL enabled me to do that. I have a certain level of privilege because my first language is English and I will say that teaching it abroad has some complex ethical concerns. The idea of spreading or perpetuating English as a global language is complicated — so I have mixed feelings about having done it. I attempted to be aware of and sensitive to that context in ways that benefited my students and clients.

Begley Bloom: Where did that skill take you next?

Ginther: When I was instructing EFL, I began in Prague with adults. In Korea, I worked with elementary students and the second time I lived in Korea, I was teaching exclusively in corporate settings.

While working in these different niches and countries, a theme emerged. I loved teaching pronunciation, which I noticed most of the other teachers did not enjoy. When English is your first language, you often have limited understanding of why and how you pronounce things because you learned it as a child. When someone asks how to make a sound, if you don’t have further training you don’t know how to answer the questions that arise.

I remember how thrilled I felt when a CEO in Argentina, with his hands on my throat, finally discovered the difference between a voiced and unvoiced sound — it was an incredibly rewarding moment for us both and I knew this was the kind of impactful work I could do passionately, and with all the skills I had been nurturing.

Begley Bloom: At any point, did you suffer from a feeling of displacement or longing to feel more rooted?

Ginther: Yes, resounding yes. As a transracial adoptee, this is a permanent part of who I am; my displacement started before I even had conscious memory of it. In every place I’ve ever traveled to or lived in, I’ve felt both connection and estrangement. Part of my growth in my twenties was allowing those emotional experiences to exist side by side. Even coming back to the U.S. after living abroad, I experienced a new sense of this, as I would see how we perform our national identity through a new perspective. It would also be isolating at times when I would be with people who didn’t share my experiences abroad.

Ultimately, I’ve been able to find joy in letting go of thinking there is a place where you’ll fit in entirely. That’s a central theme throughout Homeful, because in my travels I learned that belonging is about creating a place, a home within yourself, as opposed to finding the perfect city or country to fit into.

The play really examines this concept in moments of both solitude and in the middle of a community, as I sit with emotions and loneliness or correspond with friends and family from afar. I think it’s important for young people to know that feeling like you don’t belong is common and to see a representation of that on stage. A later part of Homeful focuses on what it’s like to live in Korea as an adult Korean adoptee, as I build a relationship with my biological family. There are many people from this particular community who go back in hopes to feel a stronger connection to the culture they lost through adoption. That can happen, but living there can also highlight the differences between adoptees and those who grew up in Korea with a Korean family.

Begley Bloom: You contributed a chapter to the novel Modern Loss. What did that teach you about vulnerability and the universal experience of loss?

Ginther: Without giving away too much, I’ve learned that loss is complicated: traversing grief is not linear and is full of contradictions. I set out to explore that space as it applies to my experiences and hopefully create a dialogue around how we all process loss.

I avoided writing Homeful in its entirety for a long time because I was worried with how personal the subject matter is, that it could come off as self-indulgent.

A few years ago, I wrote a shorter piece about a microaggression I experienced in Brooklyn. After performing it, many people thanked me for its impact; they learned something or were validated in their own experience, or both. This encouraged and empowered me to write Homeful in the hopes we could create more space and dialogue around the larger themes I explore through a specific narrative and perspective. I felt emboldened to share this work with the world, and now to take it Off-Broadway.

The response for the both the book and the show has taught me that tackling painful and challenging topics can be powerful and rewarding and I always strive to make impactful art that will resonate with my audiences. Homeful had a sold-out run in San Francisco last year, and we have already sold out our first performance for the United Solo Festival this fall in NYC. We are thrilled to add more performances as we sell out each one!

Begley Bloom: How did founding a vocal coaching company come about?

Ginther: By the second time I returned to live in Korea, I had completed a graduate degree in Voice and Speech from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. When I didn’t get a Fulbright I had applied for, I had to decide what to do next, living in a now familiar place but bringing to it new expertise and perspectives. I created my business, Vocal Context, where I worked with both corporate clients and actors on voice, speech, accent, and presentation skills. I basically took a crash course, mostly from online resources, on how to start a business like this, where I could succinctly express the value of what I do for specific clients and communities who were unfamiliar with this type of work. I went to networking events, reached out to collaborate with the connections I already had, built a website, developed my professional voice and did a lot of learning on the fly.

Begley Bloom: You’re also an assistant professor.

Ginther: I teach in the Theater Arts Department at UC Santa Cruz, specializing in acting, voice, speech and text work — so Shakespeare, for example.

My time living abroad has given me a lot of understanding and compassion for cultural difference and how people experience the world based on their identities. My students come from so many backgrounds and they continue to teach me about how important their experiences have shaped their way of thinking and being in the world. Part of my work is helping students find their literal voices (developing their ability to speak on stage and be understood) and their political voices (instilling in them a sense that what they say matters.)

I had no mentors of color when I was training as an actor. One of my professors, Jean Dobie Giebel, saw some of my potential and we started to collaborate together on my first solo show, between. She flew across the Atlantic, rehearsed me, and directed me at a time when I was still uncertain if theater was the right path for me. She invested in me in a way that had a profound impact on my sense of self and the art I create, and I aim to do the same with my students, in the classroom, on stage and in life.

Begley Bloom: How did you get back into theater? 

Ginther: There were times when I wasn’t involved in theater at all and times where I didn’t think I’d ever have a sustainable career in it. I would say when I lived in Argentina I wasn’t performing at all. I didn’t do theater when I lived in London and Dublin I took a break (with the exception of the Edinburgh Fringe) but I kept finding my way back.

While I lived abroad I learned you have to fight for the work you create, build community around it, and support its significance. You have to find ways to make the work important and make it stand out when it’s one of hundreds of shows in a festival.

Begley Bloom: How does travel impact you?

Ginther: Travel humbles me and empowers me. It helps me re-evaluate my way of being because I have to reexamine my and others’ behavior in a different context every time I move or take trips.

Travel reinforces the idea that my way of seeing and doing and understanding things is not the only way and often it is not even the best way. You also know yourself so much better when a new context allows you to see aspects of yourself that were once invisible. You also have the freedom to reinvent yourself when you engage with new people and new places.

When I lived abroad, I was confronted all the time with difference. I saw types of inequity I had never seen or fully understood, particularly around class, race, gender, and sexuality and how U.S/ policies have impacted specific governments and communities in very real ways.

Begley Bloom: Why should people see Homeful?

Ginther: I think a lot of people — whether it’s a straight white male or a queer person of color — have different dimensions and levels of how they didn’t fit into a given circumstance or environment. People should see Homeful because almost everyone experiences some type of growth in their twenties as they are trying to figure out who they are and how they belong in the world. It’s exciting for an audience member to see where their narrative overlaps and where it diverges with my specific experiences. A search for home, whether a physical place, identity, feeling safe in one’s own body, or beyond — that’s a path a lot of people can relate on both personal and political levels.

Begley Bloom: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Ginther: Be someone who can be counted on.  I don’t think I’m a particularly extraordinary person who has abilities that other people don’t. I attribute so much of my success to simply showing up when I say I will. I work in the arts, so it means a lot, personally and professionally, to make time to engage with a colleague’s play, concert, exhibition, or film. I’ll never be able to make it to everything, but when I prioritize this and keep my word with my commitments, I feel like I have more agency and more collaborative opportunities came may way. Living abroad solidified this for me because if you want to build any type of community from scratch, you have to show up. 

Begley Bloom: What advice do you have for other women who want to create a startup like this?

Ginther: I think when I first started to live abroad I was constantly thinking there was a right way to do things. Once I realized that this one way doesn’t actually exist, it opened up possibilities for me. There’s a temptation to compare trajectories, especially in the current atmosphere of digital documentation of everyone’s lives; once you can liberate yourself from those expectations and let go, you will be moved, you will feel open and energized.

For women in particular, when you start to love, support, and champion other women, everything becomes possible. So many of us, at some point in our lives, have felt jealous or competitive when it comes to other women. When we engage with solidarity, compassion and community with other women, we are unstoppable. I love how we are talking about this more, for example, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow’s Shine Theory. Once I started to really put this into practice, I felt like my career took off and my personal communities deepened.

Here, Ginther’s tips for how you can create your dream career through travel:

1. Share your intentions with people in your life. You will be more accountable to them, you will develop your ideas and plans around them through speaking with others, and you will be amazed by the generosity and wealth of resources your communities provide in supporting you.

2. Be proactive about seeking out information and resources. Someone else has gone to the place you’re looking to go and will have advice. Online communities offer a wealth of knowledge, as do travel and entrepreneurial websites, blogs and online-news outlets. I often had no contacts when I moved to a new destination, for instance, Buenos Aires.

3. Network with a generous mindset. Focus on what you can do for others, because networking is not initially about what others can do for you. Identify and articulate ways you can be helpful to others and people will respond by being generous in ways you can’t even currently imagine.

4. Break down your actions. Planning to move abroad, or take a new job, or start a business can be overwhelming and abstract. I found I was able to accomplish more and take bigger risks in moving abroad by breaking things down into a series of actions within a larger plan. Research a visa. Apply for a visa. Get the visa. Buy a flight. Stepping out of the bigger picture and focusing on logistics helps to lead to action. I would add, however, that there is a need for balance in this, particularly for our mental health; it’s important not to minimize the overall impact of an international move.

5. Make bold requests often. When you don’t ask someone for help, you withhold information from them and they never have the opportunity to make a choice. You’ve decided for them. Trust that people will let you know if something is feasible. You’ll be surprised to find the answer is often yes, or if it’s a no, there’s a new suggestion that opens up new possibilities.

“>

Playwright and actor Amy Mihyang Ginther, whose one-woman show, “Homeful: A New Solo Play About Roots & Restlessness,” debuts this fall.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Amy Mihyang Ginther is a professor, a playwright, an actress and a world traveler. This fall, Homeful: A New Solo Play About Roots & Restlessness — her one-woman show about travel, loss and finding home — debuts off Broadway as part of United Solo, the world’s largest solo theater festival.

In the show, Ginther unpacks her identities as an American, a transracial adoptee and a woman of color while addressing the reoccurring question, “Where are you from,” as she embarks on a journey to define what home really is.

We caught up with Ginther to find out how travel has inspired both her personal and professional journey. And we also got her advice for how your can create your own dream career through travel.

Laura Begley Bloom: Tell me about yourself.

Amy Mihyang Ginther: I am a queer transracial, Korean American adoptee. I was born in Gimchon and was adopted at three months old to Upstate New York, where I was raised by a white family. I am professor of theater arts at UC Santa Cruz and I perform and continue to make original work. I wear many hats: I specialize in teaching acting, voice and speech, both in a classroom setting and privately. I write theory about the intersection of bodies, identity and power. And I make theater, primarily around real events and people.

Amy Mihyang Ginther, on the go.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Begley Bloom: I understand you have a show debuting off Broadway this fall. What is it about?

Ginther: The name of the show is Homeful. It’s a coming-of-age story based on my experiences as an adoptee, traveling and living abroad in my 20s. The 90-minute solo show takes the audience on a journey through places like London, Argentina and Senegal. My character is always asked, “Where are you from?” when she arrives to a new place, which she often struggles to answer. The play then segues into an emotional return home to the U.S. and ultimately a move to Seoul as another journey that focuses on family and loss unfolds.

Begley Bloom: You’ve written the play, will star in it and have amassed a female-identifying, multiracial creative team. How does it feel to have that level of creative control?

Ginther: It feels amazing and it feels like it’s about time. I am incredibly excited and proud of my team. I prefer to work with women of color and queer/non-binary folks, as I feel more seen and our shared experiences make the work we create more powerful. I’ve found we are able to collaborate in more meaningful ways as we share some common understanding of life experiences.

Entrepreneurs make choices every day about who they want to pay and support, which is another reason I prioritize working with people of these particular backgrounds, who have long deserved to have their talents amplified, recognized and compensated.

Begley Bloom: How did you get to this point in your career? 

Ginther: When I entered college, I was certain that performance was the future for me. I had been in theater my entire life. As an Asian adoptee who grew up in a predominately white community, having creative outlets quickly became the best way for me to express myself in playful and joyful ways.

By the time I graduated from college, my thought process had evolved. Many of those who completed the theater program at the same time were auditioning in New York and L.A., which didn’t feel right for me. So, I moved abroad to London to figure out what came next.

Begley Bloom: What made you realize it wasn’t the path for you?

Ginther: When actors start auditioning for commercial work, they are often at the mercy of casting directors and I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I felt like if you’re going to make it in New York you’re going to have to initially do everything and that felt overwhelming.

Also at the time, I felt casting was limited for me as an Asian American woman. This was in 2005 and the dialogue and some of the cultural movements towards inclusivity and representation hadn’t taken off as publicly yet. We are acknowledging some progress now, although there’s still work to be done. At that time I already knew I wanted to create work myself, rather than being cast in stereotypical roles, but I didn’t know what that was yet or how to accomplish it.

In my BFA program at Hofstra University, it was impressed upon us that when you sit down with a casting director, you are your own best asset. I was expected to show a clear sense of self and have my unique personality shine through but I didn’t yet know who I was or the story I should tell.

I realized to find that clarity, I wanted more life experiences to shape me and from which to create original art. I hoped that real-world encounters might be more valuable for me starting out in order to build my life and simultaneously create authentic narratives and inclusive opportunities for others and myself.

Amy Mihyang Ginther, exploring.Photo courtesy of Amy Mihyang Ginther

Begley Bloom: How did you go from working in theater administration and professional management to an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher?

Ginther: When I thought about staying abroad longer and living different places, teaching EFL enabled me to do that. I have a certain level of privilege because my first language is English and I will say that teaching it abroad has some complex ethical concerns. The idea of spreading or perpetuating English as a global language is complicated — so I have mixed feelings about having done it. I attempted to be aware of and sensitive to that context in ways that benefited my students and clients.

Begley Bloom: Where did that skill take you next?

Ginther: When I was instructing EFL, I began in Prague with adults. In Korea, I worked with elementary students and the second time I lived in Korea, I was teaching exclusively in corporate settings.

While working in these different niches and countries, a theme emerged. I loved teaching pronunciation, which I noticed most of the other teachers did not enjoy. When English is your first language, you often have limited understanding of why and how you pronounce things because you learned it as a child. When someone asks how to make a sound, if you don’t have further training you don’t know how to answer the questions that arise.

I remember how thrilled I felt when a CEO in Argentina, with his hands on my throat, finally discovered the difference between a voiced and unvoiced sound — it was an incredibly rewarding moment for us both and I knew this was the kind of impactful work I could do passionately, and with all the skills I had been nurturing.

Begley Bloom: At any point, did you suffer from a feeling of displacement or longing to feel more rooted?

Ginther: Yes, resounding yes. As a transracial adoptee, this is a permanent part of who I am; my displacement started before I even had conscious memory of it. In every place I’ve ever traveled to or lived in, I’ve felt both connection and estrangement. Part of my growth in my twenties was allowing those emotional experiences to exist side by side. Even coming back to the U.S. after living abroad, I experienced a new sense of this, as I would see how we perform our national identity through a new perspective. It would also be isolating at times when I would be with people who didn’t share my experiences abroad.

Ultimately, I’ve been able to find joy in letting go of thinking there is a place where you’ll fit in entirely. That’s a central theme throughout Homeful, because in my travels I learned that belonging is about creating a place, a home within yourself, as opposed to finding the perfect city or country to fit into.

The play really examines this concept in moments of both solitude and in the middle of a community, as I sit with emotions and loneliness or correspond with friends and family from afar. I think it’s important for young people to know that feeling like you don’t belong is common and to see a representation of that on stage. A later part of Homeful focuses on what it’s like to live in Korea as an adult Korean adoptee, as I build a relationship with my biological family. There are many people from this particular community who go back in hopes to feel a stronger connection to the culture they lost through adoption. That can happen, but living there can also highlight the differences between adoptees and those who grew up in Korea with a Korean family.

Begley Bloom: You contributed a chapter to the novel Modern Loss. What did that teach you about vulnerability and the universal experience of loss?

Ginther: Without giving away too much, I’ve learned that loss is complicated: traversing grief is not linear and is full of contradictions. I set out to explore that space as it applies to my experiences and hopefully create a dialogue around how we all process loss.

I avoided writing Homeful in its entirety for a long time because I was worried with how personal the subject matter is, that it could come off as self-indulgent.

A few years ago, I wrote a shorter piece about a microaggression I experienced in Brooklyn. After performing it, many people thanked me for its impact; they learned something or were validated in their own experience, or both. This encouraged and empowered me to write Homeful in the hopes we could create more space and dialogue around the larger themes I explore through a specific narrative and perspective. I felt emboldened to share this work with the world, and now to take it Off-Broadway.

The response for the both the book and the show has taught me that tackling painful and challenging topics can be powerful and rewarding and I always strive to make impactful art that will resonate with my audiences. Homeful had a sold-out run in San Francisco last year, and we have already sold out our first performance for the United Solo Festival this fall in NYC. We are thrilled to add more performances as we sell out each one!

Begley Bloom: How did founding a vocal coaching company come about?

Ginther: By the second time I returned to live in Korea, I had completed a graduate degree in Voice and Speech from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. When I didn’t get a Fulbright I had applied for, I had to decide what to do next, living in a now familiar place but bringing to it new expertise and perspectives. I created my business, Vocal Context, where I worked with both corporate clients and actors on voice, speech, accent, and presentation skills. I basically took a crash course, mostly from online resources, on how to start a business like this, where I could succinctly express the value of what I do for specific clients and communities who were unfamiliar with this type of work. I went to networking events, reached out to collaborate with the connections I already had, built a website, developed my professional voice and did a lot of learning on the fly.

Begley Bloom: You’re also an assistant professor.

Ginther: I teach in the Theater Arts Department at UC Santa Cruz, specializing in acting, voice, speech and text work — so Shakespeare, for example.

My time living abroad has given me a lot of understanding and compassion for cultural difference and how people experience the world based on their identities. My students come from so many backgrounds and they continue to teach me about how important their experiences have shaped their way of thinking and being in the world. Part of my work is helping students find their literal voices (developing their ability to speak on stage and be understood) and their political voices (instilling in them a sense that what they say matters.)

I had no mentors of color when I was training as an actor. One of my professors, Jean Dobie Giebel, saw some of my potential and we started to collaborate together on my first solo show, between. She flew across the Atlantic, rehearsed me, and directed me at a time when I was still uncertain if theater was the right path for me. She invested in me in a way that had a profound impact on my sense of self and the art I create, and I aim to do the same with my students, in the classroom, on stage and in life.

Begley Bloom: How did you get back into theater? 

Ginther: There were times when I wasn’t involved in theater at all and times where I didn’t think I’d ever have a sustainable career in it. I would say when I lived in Argentina I wasn’t performing at all. I didn’t do theater when I lived in London and Dublin I took a break (with the exception of the Edinburgh Fringe) but I kept finding my way back.

While I lived abroad I learned you have to fight for the work you create, build community around it, and support its significance. You have to find ways to make the work important and make it stand out when it’s one of hundreds of shows in a festival.

Begley Bloom: How does travel impact you?

Ginther: Travel humbles me and empowers me. It helps me re-evaluate my way of being because I have to reexamine my and others’ behavior in a different context every time I move or take trips.

Travel reinforces the idea that my way of seeing and doing and understanding things is not the only way and often it is not even the best way. You also know yourself so much better when a new context allows you to see aspects of yourself that were once invisible. You also have the freedom to reinvent yourself when you engage with new people and new places.

When I lived abroad, I was confronted all the time with difference. I saw types of inequity I had never seen or fully understood, particularly around class, race, gender, and sexuality and how U.S/ policies have impacted specific governments and communities in very real ways.

Begley Bloom: Why should people see Homeful?

Ginther: I think a lot of people — whether it’s a straight white male or a queer person of color — have different dimensions and levels of how they didn’t fit into a given circumstance or environment. People should see Homeful because almost everyone experiences some type of growth in their twenties as they are trying to figure out who they are and how they belong in the world. It’s exciting for an audience member to see where their narrative overlaps and where it diverges with my specific experiences. A search for home, whether a physical place, identity, feeling safe in one’s own body, or beyond — that’s a path a lot of people can relate on both personal and political levels.

Begley Bloom: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

Ginther: Be someone who can be counted on.  I don’t think I’m a particularly extraordinary person who has abilities that other people don’t. I attribute so much of my success to simply showing up when I say I will. I work in the arts, so it means a lot, personally and professionally, to make time to engage with a colleague’s play, concert, exhibition, or film. I’ll never be able to make it to everything, but when I prioritize this and keep my word with my commitments, I feel like I have more agency and more collaborative opportunities came may way. Living abroad solidified this for me because if you want to build any type of community from scratch, you have to show up. 

Begley Bloom: What advice do you have for other women who want to create a startup like this?

Ginther: I think when I first started to live abroad I was constantly thinking there was a right way to do things. Once I realized that this one way doesn’t actually exist, it opened up possibilities for me. There’s a temptation to compare trajectories, especially in the current atmosphere of digital documentation of everyone’s lives; once you can liberate yourself from those expectations and let go, you will be moved, you will feel open and energized.

For women in particular, when you start to love, support, and champion other women, everything becomes possible. So many of us, at some point in our lives, have felt jealous or competitive when it comes to other women. When we engage with solidarity, compassion and community with other women, we are unstoppable. I love how we are talking about this more, for example, Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow’s Shine Theory. Once I started to really put this into practice, I felt like my career took off and my personal communities deepened.

Here, Ginther’s tips for how you can create your dream career through travel:

1. Share your intentions with people in your life. You will be more accountable to them, you will develop your ideas and plans around them through speaking with others, and you will be amazed by the generosity and wealth of resources your communities provide in supporting you.

2. Be proactive about seeking out information and resources. Someone else has gone to the place you’re looking to go and will have advice. Online communities offer a wealth of knowledge, as do travel and entrepreneurial websites, blogs and online-news outlets. I often had no contacts when I moved to a new destination, for instance, Buenos Aires.

3. Network with a generous mindset. Focus on what you can do for others, because networking is not initially about what others can do for you. Identify and articulate ways you can be helpful to others and people will respond by being generous in ways you can’t even currently imagine.

4. Break down your actions. Planning to move abroad, or take a new job, or start a business can be overwhelming and abstract. I found I was able to accomplish more and take bigger risks in moving abroad by breaking things down into a series of actions within a larger plan. Research a visa. Apply for a visa. Get the visa. Buy a flight. Stepping out of the bigger picture and focusing on logistics helps to lead to action. I would add, however, that there is a need for balance in this, particularly for our mental health; it’s important not to minimize the overall impact of an international move.

5. Make bold requests often. When you don’t ask someone for help, you withhold information from them and they never have the opportunity to make a choice. You’ve decided for them. Trust that people will let you know if something is feasible. You’ll be surprised to find the answer is often yes, or if it’s a no, there’s a new suggestion that opens up new possibilities.