Mireya Mayor is a first-generation American, her family struggling to adapt to new life after leaving their Cuban home with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Born and raised in Miami, Mireya loved all sorts of creatures from when she was little, going as far as storing some bugs under her bed (to the dismay of her grandmother). She went on to do a brief stint as a professional cheerleader with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins football team, before she gave that up for the life she was meant for – to explore the world as a scientist and explorer.
Book of Note – Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey From NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer.
This book is sort of like an early memoir for the relatively-young Mayor. In it, she first describes her childhood, growing up in a large, Cuban expat community with her “three mothers.” She tells of her inability to truly fit in with any group during her school: she was too nerdy for some, and too fashionable for others, a paradox she would come to accept. After her brief time as a cheerleader for one of the most famous professional sports teams in the world, the Miami Dolphins, she left to pursue her dream as a scientist studying various animals, particularly the endangered ones. This book is a great inspirational guide for anybody who has dreams abroad which they want to chase, yet feel that they are ill-equipped or not worthy. At first, only a handful of people took Mireya seriously as a scientist; she was a girl who had previously worked as a cheerleader. What’s more, she liked to stay fashionable out in the field, with her pink boots and name-brand clothing and gear. However, she stood her ground and proved her capabilities, going on to become a renowned explorer for National Geographic with much recognition under her belt, including being the discoverer of the smallest primate in the world.
This “Recommended Reading” column is a short dedication to books that I believe are relevant to travel. They may be fiction, biographies, recounts of a specific adventures, and I’ve fully read the mentioned book and recommend it for one or more reasons to other travelers. Disclaimer: I do not consider myself a writer of any particular strength or merit, but these are not reviews. I will not consider grammar, style, or locution, unless it is in a positive light. I recommend these books simply for the fact that I believe that they contribute to inspiring a desire for travel, a consciousness of cultures and traditions, and/or a thirst for learning about the world. For more “Recommended Reading,” click HERE ->
*Photo of M. Mayor taken and adapted from her official website, www.mireyamayor.com.