In The Women I Think About at Night, Mia Kankimäki blends travelogue, memoir, and biography as she recounts her enchanting travels in Japan, Kenya, and Italy while retracing the steps of ten remarkable female pioneers from history.
What can a forty-something childless woman do? Bored with her life and feeling stuck, Mia Kankimäki leaves her job, sells her apartment, and decides to travel the world, following the paths of the female explorers and artists from history who have long inspired her. She flies to Tanzania and then to Kenya to see where Karen Blixen—of Out of Africa—fame lived in the 1920s. In Japan, Mia attempts to cure her depression while researching Yayoi Kusama, the contemporary artist who has voluntarily lived in a psychiatric hospital for decades. In Italy, Mia spends her days looking for the works of forgotten Renaissance women painters of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and finally finds her heroines in the portraits of Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and Artemisia Gentileschi. If these women could make it in the world hundreds of years ago, why can’t Mia?
The Women I Think About at Night is part travelogue and part thrilling exploration of the lost women adventurers of history who defied expectations in order to see—and change—the world.
Mia Kankimäki has worked with books all her life: she has a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Helsinki, and she has worked as a copywriter and editor at various publishing houses. Her travels in Tanzania, Kenya, Italy, and Japan in the footsteps of inspirational, historical female figures: fearless explorers, gifted writers and passionate artists, inspired her second book The Women I Think About at Night: Traveling the Paths of My Heroes. Mia Kankimäki currently lives in Helsinki, Finland, when she’s not traveling for her next book project. A teacher of Japanese flower arranging at the Sogetsu Ikebana School, Mia also loves tai chi, wild animals, live jazz, good food, and excellent tea.