When asked about her role at Global Gals, LaVonne said, “I have been a writer since I was a little kid—I can’t ‘not write,’ and enjoying editing trails after that trait like the tail on a dog. Imagine how excited a dog gets over playing ball—the way they just vibrate with delight— that’s pretty much me when it comes to editing and writing. Despite the fact that my job at Global Gals lets me do the things I love to do, that’s not the best part of being a part of the Global Gals’ team.
What’s best is being a part of empowering and educating women so that they can fulfill their travel dreams. I believe heart and sole in the Global Gals mission for the most profound reason a person can have for believing in something. Global Gals helped me before I ever came to work with the wonderful team of women, who like me, are bent on seeing women travel safely and joyfully to wherever they want or need to go.”
LaVonne went on to explain how her battle with cancer caused her to retire from the workplace some years ago. Then she attended a Global Gals event where she got to listen to Chief Global Gal Brenda McGuire talk about her life of travel and the benefits of travel. “I am not one for clubs and joining, but the Global Gal get together was exciting and enlightening because you had a group of women together who had interesting travel experiences to share, or just interest in other cultures and travel. All my life I had a paralyzing fear of flying that limited what I could do, but after listening to Brenda talk about everything she had done and experienced in her young life, the bands of that old fear began to crack and crumble.
“One of the great things about being 62,” Hammans laughs, “is you’ve had time to experience many things. My early childhood was spent on a military base in the wilderness of north-central Alaska. This tiny community was full of people from different backgrounds and countries. In school, most of my classmates were American Indians. My sister and I explored the woods and learned about nature in the care of our Blackfoot neighbor, Mrs. Shoot. Summers were sometimes spent with our Iowan grandparents. I remember Iowa rural life as fun, yet so horribly hot that I knew I would never want to live there. Eventually my family moved from Alaska to the east coast where there was a rich mix of cultures including Appalachian mountain people, many ethnic groups, as well as a mix of urban and rural cultures. Because God has a great sense of humor, I married a sweet man from the one place I said I would never live: Iowa. His work caused us to move around the country from northern Minnesota to Houston. I have multiple degrees, so was able to find various jobs as we moved, teaching in public school and college, working as a journalist and editor, and being an artist in residence around the Midwest. I even worked as a clown when my husband was working on his internship for his cultural anthropology degree. He gave up going to China because he wanted me along, and I couldn’t fly. It was still an amazing experience. I did my clowning at a Chinese Community Center because I couldn’t’ speak a word of Chinese and the Chinese group that was sponsoring my husband wanted me to be involved too. I’m someone who finds clowns a little creepy, but they wanted a clown and one of my degrees is in theatre, so I rigged out a ‘happy clown’ costume and found out how much you can say without words.”
Shortly after Hammans attended the Global Gals get together she got on a plane with her sister and flew to visit her daughter in San Diego. Being able to fly was a life-changing experience for her. “In five hours,” she said, “ I felt like I was transported to paradise. Because I like colder temperatures, I had never traveled to somewhere like San Diego. It was love at first sight and smell—ocean sea salt in the air, fresh citrus and flowers.” When I got home, I knew I wanted to work for Global Gals. Between my age and my illness, I am very selective about what I invest my time and energy in. Global Gals isn’t like a normal business that was formed because someone thought they had an idea that would make them money. Founder, Brenda McGuire’s father inspired and supported her in her travels—both her parent did. When her father passed away suddenly from cancer, he had already given her the thumbs up on her idea to create a company that would give women the sort of support she had to make their travel dreams come true. Brenda went forward, dedicating the company to his memory. It’s a company about dreaming, about overcoming obstacles, and women in community helping each other to achieve their dreams. Every time I sit down at my computer to do some work for Global Gals I feel like I am doing something important because the mission of Global Gals is important. I love being a part of the dream, and I hope I can encourage other women to ‘step onboard,’ with Global Gals and find out that ‘the world’s the limit’ and nothing else is!”