Something that has come to my realization as growing up is that I am a very independent woman. Not in every way but in the fact, that doing something alone doesn’t stop me. Growing up with a single mom had a lot to do with that. Looking back, I would not trade that for the world. My mother taught me to be strong, independent, and love myself. From a very young age, travel and other cultures always appealed to me. From different types of music and food to sponsoring children in African who didn’t have the same privilege as me. I am incredibly thankful for my wonderful mom. Without her, I would never have made the jump and moved abroad or had the strength to travel alone! Traveling is something that I would recommend to anyone whether it be solo, with family, or friends. It could be for months or it could be for just a few days. Whether it is traveling thousands of miles or just the next state over.
Let’s talk about being female for a minute. When alone in general can be scary and worrisome at home or traveling. For women, it’s worse! You are constantly worrying about being safe or if you are “asking” for it. Parking your car close to where you are going or sometimes not even going at all. For a long time, women have been and still are told that we owe men something. Women used to be sold as property when getting married. Yes, we’ve come a long way but things of this nature still exist today which make travel for women way more difficult than for men.
When traveling one of the most important things is where you stay. With budget friendly travel on the rise, things like couch surfing and hostels are an easy option. That is not always the case for a solo female traveler. You must worry if you may get assaulted when sharing a space with complete strangers that you “trust” when you travel. Unfortunate sexual assault is way more common than it should; when solo women travel. Often the resources you need aren’t available when traveling; sometimes they won’t even believe you. The reality of this is often brushed over and shushed.
Personally, I have had many people tell me that traveling alone as a woman is not safe (That’s why I have Hans). Especially to certain countries. My belief is that if you use your gut and respect their culture you can do it. Meaning that if a situation feels bad or you get an uneasy feeling get out of there! Also, know America and the way we do things is not the end all be all! Other cultures and countries have been around for thousands of years compared to a few hundred! Differences will happen but respect the people who practice them as people because that’s what they are! Live and let live! Differences are what make us beautiful if we were all the same then what would the point be? We should celebrate the things that make us who we are and where we come from, not fight because of it!
Now that we have talked about some of the horrors of solo female travel let’s talk about the good. To travel as a solo female is one of the most empowering things I have ever done! You learn so much about being an individual and realizing there is so much you can do without another person. As women, we are often told that our beauty and worth is defined by a man. This is the furthest from the truth. Women are stronger than we are told or made to believe. Traveling alone makes me realize that beauty and strength are something way beyond physicality. Being able to navigate a city or country without speaking a lick of the same language is so rewarding. Traveling solo taught me to love myself and taught me who I am and who I want to be.
Everyone is looking for true love and the one who will complete them. Honestly, I say forget that! I don’t need someone to complete me. The only thing I can be sure of is that if I love myself and who I am becoming; then I will be happy. Personally, always learning and improving is something I strive to do. Learning about and embracing other cultures test me and teach me more about myself that I could ever imagine. There is a quote that goes “Great things never come from comfort zones.” Solo travel has thought me more about myself than anything else in the world.
The Friends Along the Way
Another fantastic thing about solo travel is the friends you meet along the way. Travelers are some of the most caring and understanding people you will meet. Hearing crazy stories is also part of the deal. For instance, one time I met a guy from Britain and we started sharing stories. His far better than mine. It was the story of pedalo shit boy. He and a few friends went on a pedal boat or pedalo if you are from the UK. They made their way to an island out in the sea. Well on the way back one of them had to take a shit. He asked his friend to not tell anyone if he took it off the back of the pedalo. The friends told him if he was going to do it just do it. Well, he did it and now he will forever be known as pedalo shit boy. There are tons of other stories but that is by far the funniest one I have heard in a long time. Meeting people while travel often brings like-minded people together and you can make so of the best friends while traveling!
People ask me why I enjoy being a solo traveler and here is why! There is nothing better to me than walking around a new city and just getting lost in the culture and history. Often when traveling you stretch your comfort zone or step completely out of it. When with others you not only have to worry about your feelings and comfort zone but also about theirs. So, call me selfish but I like only having to worry about where my comfort zone. No matter how you like to travel keep doing it! With that said stay safe and be respectful!
Again, thank you, mom, for raising me to be such a strong independent woman! As well as supporting me even when I scare you to death! I couldn’t and wouldn’t ask for a better mom! Also, below are some of my inspiration for travel!
The Rebel Chick: http://therebelchick.com/
Girl Gone International: https://www.girlgoneinternational.com/