At least, that is my impression of the function of these things; all too often, it appears to be an excuse for a tedious foreword ripe with spoilers and the opinion of some-or-other critic of renown.
I don't intend to do this to you. I'm not a literary critic; I'm a something of a literary optimist. Everything written has some value - even if only as a cautionary tale.
Women on Adventure has taken (thus far) a year of my life and counting to assemble. It's been great fun, and in many ways has been its own reward. I'm truly excited to be presenting the continuing work to you, anticipating the amazing women you will meet from week to month.
How did I get to this point, speaking to you now from the words of the device cradled in your hands, or glowing from a vertical screen? It's an explanation which could use a flow chart, but we'll avoid that for now, in favour of a Hollywood-esque precis (ie, somewhat inaccurate, but full of feeling):
Girl likes book, quite a lot in fact. But not being the monogamous sort (of reader), she immediately casts about for further writings of the type, asks the book if it has any attractive friends, and so on. Wikipedia lists may have been referenced, in the initial throes of lust. Shh! Don't tell anyone.
Girl discovers an entire ocean of incredible writing by women adventurers: travelers, scientists, sportswomen, journalists, hunters, pilgrims, cartographers, spies, soldiers, mountaineers, archaelogists and the wanderlusty. Many went on the road less traveled, but some of them laughed at the signs, and forged ahead, straight into the thick of the forest, leaving the path behind them entirely, the bushes closing over their footprints. Where have they been all my life? She wonders. How can they have been so invisible? How could humanity have forgotten them?
Being both a modern person (ie, one who needs to pay rent, buy foods and continue to afford decent dentistry) and an optimist (ie, one who expects everyone to be as excited about new discoveries as she is), Girl wonders how to both monetize and popularise this wonderful world of adventure.
Girl begins highlighting her favourite parts - the parts which make her laugh out loud with amusement, or shock her into awed silence for whole minutes at a time, or swallow hard because life can be terrible and people can be both beautiful and brutal, sometimes within the same brief moment. They lived.
Finally, after summarising books (over 70 of them) until eyestrain quits merely threatening and launches a full retinal attack, Girl begins to assemble these highlights into themes. It's the commonality of human experience that Girl wants to use as the touchstone of Women on Adventure: regardless of where you are in the world, you will need to eat, require places to sleep, see animals, encounter perils. There will be liminal zones, where you hover between transport, or between countries, neither asleep nor awake on transport entrusted to unknown hands. You might meet calamities. You will meet people. Shopping may occur, if it can't be avoided. Mountains certainly will. They should never be avoided.
As the Archive will show, each excerpt belongs to one of the themes of experience. There is overlap between them, but overall, a quotation by one of our adventurers will match the rest of the theme, providing a network of adventurers' commentaries and opinions, and preventing the entire enterprise from collapsing into confusion.
To return to the first person: what is really intended is that these women can speak in their own words about their experiences, so my commentary has been strictly limited. In its ultimate end state, my book will be complete with introductions to each category chapter, and nothing but the barest clarification will be allowed throughout the rest. What Women on Adventure really is, is a collection of other peoples' voices as they encountered the trials and delights of the life adventurous, from the 384 AD - 1918, the end of the First World War.
Perhaps this means I am an editor, rather than an author: but I repent not.
Come. Explore with me.
The wilds are calling.