Travel solo Women
On the second Wednesday of the month, Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes a guest column featuring tips and advice on solo female travel. It’s not a topic I can cover and since there’s a lot of solo female travelers out there, I felt it was important to bring in an expert. This is her column this month.
My male friends who travel have been invited into the homes of locals for meals just as often as I have. They’ve enjoyed the same far-fetched and heart-warming experiences that I have. We will come home with many of the same engaging stories. We both have the same sized backpacks. We both have family members and friends at home who worry about us. We face the same daily challenges as travelers.
So why do people make such a big deal out of solo female travel?
Because, like it or not, women and men do have different concerns when it comes to traveling, especially when alone.
As a solo woman I often lack the freedom to travel without locals. In many cultures, females don’t have the kind of autonomy we have in the West and it can be both worrying and confusing to see me by myself. At 28, I’m already quite ancient for a single woman in many of the countries I’ve traveled to.
In Borneo, a woman came up to me while her husband fixed my flat motorbike tire. “Sister, ” she said, “you’re alone? You have no brother, no husband?” While her concern was genuine and appreciated, I get asked this a lot. Surely I have a husband somewhere. Don’t I at least have a boyfriend? Where are my children? What in the heck do I think I am doing?!
I found that answering, “I actually find being single to be quite liberating!” or “Well, I don’t really want any children, ” just results in more horrified looks, so I usually just told them that my husband or boyfriend is “at home” or “on his way.”
While men and women both have to worry about personal safety while traveling, there are a few things that can happen that tend to exclusively target females. For example, I was groped in the dark while walking along a dirt road in an area that was known as “safe” in Nepal just after sunset. Even if I had been holding pepper spray it wouldn’t have mattered, since he was so swift, I never even saw his face or had a moment to react. When I told a police officer, his first question was to ask me what I was doing alone.
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