Musician Naomi Westwater caught the travel bug when they were a toddler, traveling frequently with their parents. Now, three decades later, they are still eagerly exploring the world. The Falmouth native is also enthusiastic about exploring the roots of feminism and how they have shaped the feminist movement. To that end, they have organized an event called “Reimagining Lilith Fair” that will be held at Club Passim on Sept. 30. “I grew up in the ‘90s and love the music of the ‘90s. I especially love the women and queer people, the singer-songwriters who were making music in the ‘90s and have a lot of respect for Lilith Fair and what was accomplished,” said Westwater, 32, during a recent phone call. “I also think that every wave of feminism up until this point has often left out the intersectionality component for people of color, for queer people, [and] for people with disabilities.” In addition to Westwater, performers include Melissa Ferrick, Pamela Means, and Mint Green guitarist and lead singer Ronnica. Sasha Goodfriend, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women, will join the musicians for a post-performance discussion about feminism with the audience. “I want to pay homage to the people who came before and still say OK, we have to do it differently,” said Westwater. “We still have work to do and I’m doing that through the lens of music, but hopefully thinking about it in the broader context of feminism in our country and in the world.” Westwater lives in Brockton with their husband, Dan Blahnik, an EMT, their partner, Samantha Rose, director of grants and programs for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, and their “very goofy” yellow lab rescue, Beau. We caught up with the singer-songwriter to talk about all things travel.
If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go? I would love to go visit my great aunt and uncle in Barbados and swim in the ocean there.
Where was the first place you traveled to after COVID restrictions were lifted? I’m more reluctant to travel on a plane because of COVID, so the first place I went to was Southport, Maine, to visit my best friend.
Do you prefer booking trips through a travel agent or on your own? For me, part of the fun of traveling is the planning, so I love to do the research on my own.
Thoughts on an “unplugged” vacation? Yes! It is not a vacation if I’m on my phone or computer. I like to bring my film camera with me, so I can fully unplug and not have the stress of notifications, or the temptation of just sending one more email.
Do you use all of your vacation time or leave some on the table? As a freelance musician and educator, I don’t have dedicated vacation time, and I often work every day of the week. But over the years, I’ve tried to make sure that I schedule time away and use that time when I can.
What has been your worst vacation experience? This April I went to Spain for work and vacation, and got COVID for the first time. It was very difficult to manage being so sick in a foreign country.
Do you vacation to relax, to learn, or for the adventure of it all? I often like to vacation to spend time with family and friends and decompress. More and more, I also like to get away to write and work on creative projects. It’s easy to tap into creativity when I’m away from the nagging laundry pile and my full inbox. I’m not someone who enjoys sitting still for too long, so after a day or two of relaxing, I like to explore the nature, culture, wildlife, and food around me.
What book do you plan on bringing with you to read on your next vacation? I always bring Mary Oliver with me when I’m on vacation. I would also like to tackle the epic “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke next vacation I go on.
If you could travel with one famous person/celebrity, who would it be? I’d love for Stanley Tucci to tour me around Italy. Yum!
What is the best gift to give a traveler? Comfortable walking shoes and one of those silly neck pillows; they really do help.
What is your go-to snack for a flight or a road trip? Trail mix and a proper cup of black tea, which can be hard to find at the airport, so I always bring my own tea bags.
What is the coolest souvenir you’ve picked up on a vacation? When I was 14 years old, we went to Italy and everywhere we went my dad gave people hats and pins from his restaurant. He gave them to people working at the hotel and waiters at the restaurants. It really touched people, so people often gave us things back. I have a beautiful hand-painted mug from the Amalfi Coast from that trip. It’s nearly 20 years old and reminds me of the kindness of strangers, and how one can quite easily communicate without knowing the language when one is generous.
What is your favorite app/website for travel? I love watching videos on YouTube, so I can see where people have stayed.
What has travel taught you? I am very fortunate that I started traveling internationally before I was 2. Traveling has taught me to be open. It’s taught me the generosity of people, and it’s taught me that there is always so much to learn and explore. Since COVID, traveling has also taught me that you don’t need to travel far to experience new surroundings.
What is your best travel tip? Even though it’s cheaper, the redeye is never a good idea.