My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer
by Mireya Mayor
Daughter of Cuban immigrants, Mireya Mayor was raised by three strong women and it\’s really admirable how she lived her own life- outside of all expectations and stereotypes. She professes to being a \”girly girl\” but also had a strong love for wildlife and adventure, even as a child. She was a professional cheerleader (that practice regimen sounds demanding, let me tell you) but then took an anthropology course to fill a credit in college, and realized she really wanted to go to exotic places and study primates. So she did. Without giving up her designer labels or beauty products. She talks about how hard it was to break into the field due to her different background, and \”not looking like a scientist\”, how her feminine products came in handy on exploring treks in unexpected ways, how she worked for her PhD while being a mother. There\’s chapters about many different expeditions- to Madagascar to study lemurs, the Congo in search of gorillas, diving with sharks, hiking through deserts, travelling on food to the very spot where Livingston was once found (and nearly starving en route). Lots about the difficulties and hardships in remote locations, the tedium and logistics nightmares. The writing is light and conversational, a bit short on the kind of details I usually appreciate, but quick to get through and probably appeals to a broader audience, too. I did start to get tired of one final chapter where she went with a small team that was being filmed- a kind of explorer\’s survival reality show- and most of it was about their constant disagreements. I would have liked to know more about the actual research done on the various trips, and more description of the animals encountered. But that\’s just me. This book is a great inspiration for any young woman, to just go for your dreams, no matter how they match up with anyone else\’s ideas.
Borrowed from the public library.
Rating: 3/5 304 pages, 2011